Why do families drift apart…??

This topic has long been on my mind, and I’ve been meaning to write about childhood memories, experiences and such, and now seems as good a time as any. I received a text from my mom yesterday (I was at work, else it would have been a call) that my uncle had passed away while in hospice care after a lengthy battle with cancer. It was an expected death obviously, and my uncle by all appearances, has had a good life. He raised three beautiful, successful girls, has several grandchildren, and came from a prolific, tight-knit family. At least, we used to be…

So, after talking via text to Mom for a bit, I started thinking about my uncle and the last time I had seen him. And, I struggled to remember. It had to be at least six years ago, if not longer…

As a child growing up in New England, I felt as if my family was exceptionally close. My maternal grandparents were my rock. I, at the time, had a step-parent who was,(for reasons I still don’t understand), unkind and borderline abusive to me, and my grandparents were always there for me. I spent every weekend with them, and my life as I knew it, literally revolved around those weekends. I’d be excited and filled with anticipation on Fridays, knowing they were going to pick me up from school, and literally sick to my stomach on Sunday afternoons, knowing I had to return home. I traveled with them on summer vacations to Florida (even winter vacations when I was young and could be pulled out of school) and that is a very large part of why I live here now. But some of my fondest memories are of the holidays. The ENTIRE family got together at my grandparents house. Aunts, uncles, cousins, pets, extended family, family friends… you name it, we all were there. Even after my grandfather died, my grandmother remained the matriarch, keeping the family together, until she was no longer able to do so. And I guess that’s when everything changed.

Maybe it’s just that I grew up, or perhaps its this crazy world that we now live in, but it seems as if my family, once so close and loving, has been scattered to the ends of the earth. Some of my cousins, I haven’t seen since my grandmothers 80th birthday, almost 31 years ago. My newly lost uncle – I haven’t sen him or his family in 6+ years. I’ve never even met some of my cousins’ children… I rarely hear from any of my extended family either, with the exception of the occasional post on Facebook. (What would any of us do without that damn Facebook?) I am not blameless. I am fairly introverted and don’t reach out to many. If I don’t hear from you, I presume you don’t want to hear from me. Foolish, perhaps, but it’s how my mind works. Less than optimal experiences in my formative years I suppose. But my uncles death just got me to reminiscing and grieving not only for him, but for all of my family, both living and deceased, and the closeness we as an extended family all once had. And for the first time in a very long time, I am feeling bereft, and so lonely…

Why do we, as families, drift so far apart??

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