My godfather died this week. But I didn’t find out about it until today, when his memorial service was already well under way. Too late. Too far away. Just too sad.
When I was little my family was split into two groups. There were dozens upon dozens of Boston relatives on my dad’s side, and fewer on my mother’s side, down South, who we rarely saw.
Up here, we gathered often with extended family members for any occasion that warranted a party, drawing first and second cousins, aunts and uncles, grandparents, and pretty much anyone else, including neighbors and friends.
Sometimes it was smothering, but mostly just wonderful.
Dad’s side of the family was famous, though, for holding grudges. There had been a big split when my grandfather was a young man that had never healed and we never knew an entire side of his family who lived locally.
Two other splits came when I was in my early 20s, and then late 30s, neither of which could be resolved, and neither of which involved me. Sparing the details, they were tragic and complicated and unfixable.
And somewhere in the middle, my godfather, and his brother, both of whom I adored as a girl, stepped away from the group, and we never saw them again. Which makes it that much harder to read this obituary today because of the history that came before the split. The fun. The love. The expectation it would always be that way when we were so much younger.
Over time so many of our loved ones have died there are very few of us now. So not being there to mourn hurts deeply. It’s heartbreaking to know, decades later, that all that the grudges accomplished was to rob us of time together.