My aunt died this week.
Actually, she was my great aunt, on my dad’s side. But that doesn’t matter much, I always just called her “aunt” and saw her far more often than any of my other family.
My parents moved here from New York as teenagers. My grandma’s brother and his wife were my parents only relatives in the state.
We used to visit them frequently, while I was growing up. They had this crazy couch where each of the seats were individual pieces, so you could rearrange it any which way. It was like the most fabulous, giant puzzle in the whole world. I always got to rearrange the couch as much as I wanted. At night, all the pieces pushed together to make a massive bed, and we’d get to sleep in the Big Bed.
I have always aspired to own a couch that could become a big bed… Unfortunately, if you say that in a furniture store, they just show you to the pull-out couches. That’s not the same as Aunt Diana’s Big Bed.
The whole time he was sick, losing my dad’s family was one of my biggest concerns. I polled my friends who had lost parents and they all assured me that family stays family. It turns out, I didn’t get so lucky. After my dad died, his family decided they were done being my family. I didn’t just lose my dad, I lost all of my aunts, uncles, and cousins too. My first cousins on my dad’s side won’t even friend me on Facebook. I haven’t seen any of them since my dad’s funeral.
All except my Aunt Diana and her family. We continued to visit them, and I made a few trips down to sleep in the big bed on my own after I moved out. I still keep in contact via social media with her children.
When my mom let me know she had died, I said I wanted to go down, but wasn’t sure I could get the time off during the week. So we agreed to go down this weekend, but I also spoke with the family I’m working for about attending the funeral in case my mom decided she wanted to go. Yesterday, I texted her for details about the weekend… And she was already there, at the funeral.
She saw the rest of my great aunts and uncles, my cousins, and even my dad’s sisters. She got to see the family I had so desperately wanted to keep, but lost. The family that is truly mine, while hers only through marriage.
Worse yet, they asked why I wasn’t there. They’d made time to fly in from New York, but I couldn’t even work out a day trip. I’m still the same, shitty, forgotten niece/cousin they dumped 14 years ago.
I so want family.
I have my cousin. Just her. And we didn’t even grow up together.
I’m so mad at my mom. I wanted to be there. I would have gone alone, but agreed to do it with her.
Last night, I told her I was mad, because I’d already lost that part of the family once and she destroyed the chance to reconnect.
She responded with “fine, bye.” And now she’s not speaking to me either.
I wish my family wanted me as much as I want them.