I had thought at some point, I’d “get used to” having a smaller family. Like after my son’s death by suicide, it was a matter of adapting to just the three of us. Not that I thought I’d forget or get over it.
While I’ve accepted that my youngest son is gone, it still feels like I’m cheating on him when we get together without him. There is a sense of strange sense of guilt for taking a family photo without Charles. Like they aren’t real. As if my family is an unfinished puzzle and we just need to locate the missing piece to glue it back together and make it whole again.
I’m grateful for my family and what I do have. What has been the hardest to become accustomed to is the conflicting emotions that I feel at the same time. On the one hand, there is the elation and joy of being together which often magnifies the sadness of our loss.
How can I want to laugh and cry at the same time? I guess that’s where the word bittersweet came from.
4 thoughts on “Family abbreviated”
Anne I’m so glad that you articulate your emotions the way that you do as others feel the same exact way. When I was younger my 2nd oldest brother was molested by my twin uncles who died free men and they did this to multiple of my cousins. My mom is one of twenty children. I’m not sure the exact number of cousins affected, but my brother acted out and eventually asked the courts to remove him from our house. While he was in a group home, the story came out. I was eight and I never felt complete. The court held 3 hearings and he was already hiding his pain with drugs and the court dropped all charges. My uncles died free men. I never felt complete because as of that point my brother became the black sheep (never to me or my other brother or my mom(rare moods my dad), but I know what it’s like to get together without the full family. You have that missing piece. Mine was in jail 20+ ×’s and addicted to drugs when he wasn’t behind bars. I pray for him daily. He moved up here during the month of January and he was so bad that I couldn’t recognize him as him as his former self. I tried to talk him and his wife into going into rehab, but they didn’t feel they had a problem. I never felt more empty. The good thing about their trip was that I was able to meet my nephew and although he says not I think my niece too. They left after 3 weeks and now I’m more empty than before if that even makes sense.
Wow Chris, that does make sense. We want something out of our family experience and sometimes it just doesn’t pan out that way. I’m glad you found some positives out of it despite how it unfolded.
I completely get that A-M…We’re just a couple again. For us, there is no “family” unless we are with my parents, siblings, nieces and nephews. And it always feels wrong. Sometimes I just skip it. Sometimes it makes me mad that they are all so happy to be together. I would feel just like you. Feels like you’re cheating.
I have never like the word bittersweet!?
I can’t say I am a big fan of the word bittersweet. Maybe because it’s too close or too cliche. I am not sure which.