remember me saying that my mom and aunts would pack us all up and haul ass for the furthest cemetery from the sun? i got a call from one of my aunts. my mom's family is fairly small- 1 boy and 3 girls. my uncle is the oldest and his cancer has apparently returned with a vengeance. i don't remember much about him- only from pictures. he was in the navy and eventually settled in tex-ass for much of my growing up. he moved back to new york close to 10 years ago and i saw him a couple of times. my mom and her family are estranged- because you know what? toxic relationships are toxic whether you are related or not. and i told my mother it was ok not to have her family in her life if she didn't want to. she has been relatively happy ever since.
but family has a way of showing up when you least expect it to. my grandmother was not a paragon of virtue. she was gossipy and manipulative and fairly mean spirited all around. she lived her life the way she wanted to- children be damned. she had been dead, i think (and don't quote me because i honestly don't remember) almost 6 years? i thought maybe my mom and her siblings could possibly reconcile then. without the shenanigans my grandmother pulled to keep them fighting with each other. nope. my middle aunt picked up where my grandmother left off. she sent my mother a box of broken knickknacks and half empty photo albums.
so here we are. uncle dying of cancer; mom's health pretty poor; middle aunt apparently had a heart attack a few weeks ago- and youngest aunt (the caller) has had heart problems for years. and they all let a mean spirited woman manipulate them into not having a relationship with each other- and now, it's habit. the jealousies and ill will and hard feelings. sigh. mom is too sick now to want to deal with any of it. she hasn't spoken to youngest aunt in 10 years or so and it's a shame. but it's their lives and i have enough to do without sticking my nose in. i am grateful that i have the life i do with the people in it that i have.
but life is funny- family has a way of rearing its head- ugly or not- when you least expect it.