Dreft; and Things Just Like It.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004


Doubt is a pain too lonely to know that faith is his twin brother. Kahlil Gibran

I have a very, very large family. On my mother's side alone, my grandfather was the oldest of eleven; Polish and German/something anglo, and my grandmother the oldest of five; Italian. My grandmother's father had ten siblings, her mother had eight. My biological father was Italian, but I don't know too much about that family. My adoptive father has a smaller one; I have a lot of cousins, but only one aunt and uncle. My father was the last male, so his name will die with my parents once my sister and I are married.

We are a large family, mostly independantly living. It could be literally years between visits with this cousin or that great uncle. But there's a grapevine. I know when someone moves, when someone is pregnant, when someone disaproves of a new spouse. Consistancy is in weddings and funerals, as I'm sure is true with most families. It's not right NOT to pay your respects.

When I was a little kid, there were about 20 of us. Literally. That's my generation. The next older one was our parents, in their 20's to 30's, and then their parents, in their 40's to 60's. The funerals were my great grandparents. They were too old by the time we were around to know them well, and we were too young to value their lives or understand their deaths.

I'm 24. My grandfather passed away on January 3, 1997. I haven't dealt with it yet. There are tears in my eyes as I write this. I feel guitly because I have a hard time talking to anyone about him, and I know that because of that his memory is not living on through me as it deserves to. The truth is, he is the first person that I was close to that forced me to deal with death. And we were close. Before my mother was remarried, we lived in my grandparents' house. He was my father figure; he was everything.

Since his passing, I have been to the funerals of several of our former neighbors; all men, all friends of my grandpa. I did not go to my grandfather's funeral. It was in Las Vegas, and I lived in Chicago. They offered to buy me a ticket, but I wouldn't go. I couldn't. I wanted to remember my grandpa, as he was in life; I could not deal with seeing him in death. I still can't. At each of his friends' wakes, I have been practically hysterical. Anxiety... Things closing in... Every time, it is not a neigbor in that casket, it is my grandpa. And it could be my grandma... No, I can't bere that thought right now...

There is a thought that I do have to bere, an uncle of mine in one of those caskets. Because it is inevitable, and as of yesterday there is a very narrow timeframe between now and the moment he faces St. Peter. My Uncle Teddy has Lou Gherighs Disease. My Uncle Teddy has Lou Gherigs Disease. He's fifty one. He and my aunt Donna have two girls: Erica and Julie. Erica is two years younger than I am, and Julie is my little sister's age. My dad is fifty four.

More on this when I can...


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