Monday, May 4, 2009

A different kind of mourning

This weekend there was a death in the family. My uncle passed away. Uncle by marriage, my mom's sister's husband. And yet I feel no sadness...

My Uncle was an old-school kind of man. He was born and raised on the farm in an era that no longer exists. And yet those antiquated ideas lived on in him. 

Man is the head of the household. 
No love shown, no support given. 
However abuse, both emotional and physcial, is given at will. 

He was a hard working man, he gave his family everything they needed except love. 

My aunt's story is sad and while it is not mine to tell I want to still have the words out there, somewhere, for someone to see. So that someone knows the wonderful woman whose life was not fair. 

Let's go back to her childhood. My grandfather was not around much on the farm. He was away, in the city, with other women. When he was around home he had nothing but anger to give his family. My grandmother was also an angry woman who hated the way life ended up. She was unable to show love. My aunt was raised in this house (as was my mother and my uncle). 

Off on a tangent I go! One day I was visiting my aunt in the hospital after one of her many operations to replace another part of her body that was worked until it broke. She was groggy on pain medications and alone in her drab hospital room, built in the 50's. On impluse, I crawled into bed with her ,wrapped my arms around her and we talked. I think it was the medications that let her drop her guard but she actually talked to me. She told me that her childhood was hard. I know it was hard for my mother, but she spoke about how she would try to shield her younger brother and sister from the worst. At the first chance to get out, only by marriage in that day, she left. A child still, not even 18, she married a dashing young man who farmed near where she was raised. My uncle. And almost from the start it was wrong. My uncle did not know how to show love. And then more anger, just like her childhood... she didn't actually get away. 

That same hospital trip where I hugged her and we talked, my mom bought her a silly teddy bear. Small, something from the gift shop. My aunt held it close, like a baby, and had tears in her eyes. A woman in her 60's.... and this was her first stuffed bear. 

Well, after over a half-century of marriage my aunt is alone. My uncle died, they could never figure out what was going wrong... he was too ill for the testing. 

I don't mourn his death although I know I should. I mourn the loss of her life, her happiness, her dreams. And now that she has a chance to find some happiness I am scared that it's too late, that she is too broken, too used to the lack of love to know anything else. 

No comments: