Sunday, October 9, 2011

Family visits

Recently I have made two trips to visit an Aunt and Uncle of mine.  I am ashamed to say that I have only visited them twice since they moved backed to Maryland in the early 2000's.  It is not that we live that far away.  Before I moved to PA. it was just a 2 hour drive, now it is 3, but still it is shameful.  When you take a look at our lives today, we are all so busy, at least that is what we tell ourselves.  Most of us aren't that busy that we can not set aside time to go see family, we are just too selfish to do so.  Instead of making the time while our relatives are alive and we are able to enjoy being with them, we wait until they are dead and go to their funeral.  We then reminisce about the person that we haven't seen for who knows how long.  Isn't it strange how all of a sudden our busy lives stop and we have time to go see our relative who has now passed away?

I am ashamed to say that I did not visit another Aunt, my Father's sister, the way I feel I should have.  I fell into the "I have a lot going on" syndrome and time just went by.  So much so that the first time I saw her and my Uncle after a long period was during the last days of my Mother's illness.  They came to stay with my Dad so he wouldn't be alone in case Mom passed away while I was out of the house.  Mom passed in 2007.  I think I saw my Aunt Nody and Uncle John one time after that.  I was making plans to go see them at the beginning of September during the Labor Day holiday in 2009.  Did I mention they only live an hour from my home?  Before I called to let them know I would like to come and visit, my Aunt Nody suddenly took ill.  She was diagnosed with cancer in her throat.  I talked to her twice while she was at the hospital.  I told her I was getting ready to pay her a visit before she got sick, but I will come see her when she gets home.  On the second phone call she told me that there's not many of them left (my Dad had 4 brothers and 2 sisters, 2 brothers and 1 sister had already passed).  My Aunt didn't come home from the hospital as fast as we thought.  She had to due chemo, so I told Dad I would go see her at the hospital.  He told me no, my Aunt didn't look good and I should wait.  My Aunt did come home, but she passed away the following day.  On September 22, 2009, just 3 weeks after being diagnosed with cancer, my Aunt Nody, my Dad's sister, was gone.

I have taken my father on these trips to visit my Aunt Inge and Uncle Paul.  Dad is 82 now.  His brother, my uncle, is 67 and has had leukemia for 9 years.  I feel with Dad getting up in age and my Uncle's health, they should visit as much as they can.  I told my Aunt Inge my new theory is the next time I see someone is not at a funeral.  I want to make the time now and see people while they are still alive and can spend time with them and talk to them, hear the family stories, then pass on what they have told me and what I knew about them.

I did learn that my great-grandfather Leander or Lee as he was known, was a really mean man, but his wife was the sweetest lady.  Makes you wonder about the 17 kids they had.  Guess things were different back then.  I have also learned things about one of Dad's other brothers.  He was very tight with his money.  I mean very tight with his money. 

I wonder what the next trip will bring?