Wednesday, February 18, 2009


When you a part of a very large family, you expect, regretfully, that death will visit. Of my father's huge family, he has two sisters and a sister-in-law who remain alive out of 41 (including spouses of siblings). I've been to a lot of wakes and funerals of aunts and uncles over the years.... The aunt I refer to on this blog, who I care for, is the last sister-in-law in that line of my father's family. I cared for her husband, my favorite Uncle Charlie, through the winter of his life until his death. He and I were very close.

My cousin called to tell me that another uncle, the husband of one of my father's sisters, died after a long illness on Sunday.

My uncle's death is sad, but was not unexpected. I'm just wondering where my grief is? I wasn't all that close to him, but wasn't estranged. We just did not see much of each other. My uncle had his hands full when I was growing up. Read on.

I'm sorry my uncle died, and feel badly for his family. He and his wife had four kids. One of their children, a daughter, died about 15 years ago at an early age. His two youngest children still live at home. Both have severe developmental disabilities, and act and operate at a significantly reduced mental capacity. The situation is so sad. Their parents knew that they had opposite Rh factors and that children, especially after the first or second, were very much at risk for being born with developmental disabilities.

But "La Famiglia" and the Catholic Church, ... I won't say more.

My aunt, the wife of my uncle who died, remains hospitalized for her own major, chronic health issues, and may die soon. She is not able to take care of herself, nor her children. The whole situation is very sad.

I don't know what will happen to my aunt and uncle's developmentally disabled children (adults in their 50s now). The one remaining "normal" daughter doesn't want to care for them. Who will?

The family is working on it. Plans are being made, but I'm not sure quite what they are. I don't communicate as often with the ultra-Catholic branch of the family tree. They sorta shunned me since I live in sin -- being gay, having a partner, and all that.

Anyway, life moves on. The family prevails. We'll hang together, albeit uncomfortably. Such is life in a huge family -- and you thought my direct family was large. My Dad's was larger. Well, regretfully, it is time to update the family tree, of which I am the keeper.

Life is short: show those you love that you love them, each and every day.

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