This post was originally made on 9 September 2017. I have made some additions to the list of family deaths—over a span of about 410 days (1 year, 1 month, 2 weeks).
Within the past
ten thirteen and a half months or so, the ranks of relatives have thinned more dramatically.
- 26 October 2016, Aunt Dorothy, Mother’s sister (98 yrs)
- 15 November 2016, Mother (94 yrs)
- 26 February 2017, Dad (100 yrs)
- 17 May 2017, Uncle Wayne, Dad’s brother (77 yrs)
- 20 July 2017, Uncle Jim, Mother’s brother-in-law (93 yrs)
- 31 July 2017, Uncle Albert, Dad’s brother (95 yrs)
- 5 September 2017, Aunt Marion, Dad’s sister (88 yrs)
- 30 October 2017, Aunt Esther, Dad’s sister (82 years)
- 6 December 2017, Nora Kathleen, Aunt Marion’s daughter (60 years)
- 9 December 2017, Don, Al’s uncle (91 years)
I am planning for steps in self-care in preparation for the continuing journey. The bereavement counselor that I began meeting with at the end of October has kindly scheduled another meeting and left me a book that I am appreciating. Recalling moments along life’s road. So, a few weeks from now, we have one more meeting, at least, in which to wrap things up.
One thing that made the losses difficult to deal with was that the information on a number of deaths in the family did not get passed along, because key contact people were among the first to die. Inevitable, I expect, in terms of family dynamics. And the contact information was not passed along across the generations. At least not in our family. (I’m not gonna say who sat on it, but that happened.) There was no obituary for one of the recent deaths I learned about…by accident, since the family of origin/birth name was not included.
I am sad for missing death notices, family gatherings, opportunities to mourn and celebrate together, and chances to visit more with folks whose lives and ours did not intersect as often as I could have hoped. Even USPS mailing or email addresses would have diminished the feelings of isolation that came with the discovery of so many of the deaths.
Finding out that many of us were not in the loop(s) takes away the feeling of estrangement, leaving only my own grief and my personal loss. I can deal with that.