Sunday, October 25, 2009

OOC: Family

Sometimes a loss can make you realize exactly what strengths you have. I "lost" my father this week and just came back from the funeral. In actuality I deliberately chose to lose him many many years ago when I moved 600 miles away. Along the way, I lost the greater part of my family. We are spread out over 15 years, so by the time I left the house at 18, I never had the chance to get to know my baby brother at all. There are 5 of us now because we lost a brother about 10 years ago. We only seem to have family reunions for weddings & funerals, but this get together was the best I have ever had.

We are united in our desire to protect Mom and keep her happy & safe. Mom had a stroke a few years back and sustained a bit of brain damage. She cannot cook or remember certain things, but the bright light that made her such a wonderful woman and beloved by all who know her still shone through. And the sparkle that I was afraid Dad had managed to obliterate returned when she realized that all her children were surrounding her. My oldest brother (who is actually a year younger) and I sparred like we always do. He rested his elbow on my head and I punched him (not hard) in the stomach. He sang "short people" and I tugged on his scraggly, red beard and Mom said "Will you two stop it?" We just grinned and hugged each other. I sat on the couch, sipped my tea and realized what a deep well Mom had to draw from: I know enough about trusts and estates so that the brother and sister who are executors will be able to ask me how to proceed and I can offer advice. Al is a farmer and crew chief for Habitat for Humanity and my other brother has his own very successful painting business. My son was able to assist him by accessing my Dad's internet accounts (Steve is quickly learning about computer technology). One of my sisters is head dietitian/nutritionist with a large regional hospital, so she will be able to keep an eye on Mom at the assisted living place she helped locate for her. And the remaining sister has lots of love in her heart and will be able to support where it is needed.

But best of all, I realized that now there is nothing keeping me from returning to live close to family (except the weather, haha). At any rate, I will now make up a family email list and send weekly updates. With Mom moving out of the place where we all used to catch up with other, we will need a "center" to keep us all informed about each other even if it is virtual. And I think I can convince the rest of my brothers and sisters to keep in touch by email now that they see how fast and easy it is (and cheaper than phone calls). Most of us have Dad's penury...

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