Two Families 5/8/19

by Richard Bleil

Today has been a good day. As my regular readers probably already know, I am in a living situation where, rather than having my own home, I have been living as a “basement troll”. One of my friends has given me a room in her basement, and I have been living here for far too long as I look for a job.

Her husband has been away on deployment for the air force. She and her daughter will be leaving in a few weeks to join him. Frankly, I had not planned on seeing him again. I’m not sure how I feel knowing that i was wrong in this assessment.

Don’t get me wrong; I really like him. He’s a great guy, we get a long very well, and he is just as responsible for allowing me to stay here as his wife so I am most definitely indebted to him, but the circumstances of his return are not as happy as I wish it would be. See, his mother-in-law is currently in hospice, so he is here to spend time with her and be supportive.

I’m trying to make myself scarce, at least for a while, to give them family time together without my interference. But that’s not really what today’s blog is about.

This morning, I went upstairs to say good morning, shake his hand and welcome him back. He and his wife were still in their bedroom, with their daughter with them. Sure, he’s suffering (no doubt) from jet lag, bot to see the three of them together was heartwarming. I could feel the closeness and love within the family, the strength of being reunited,

On the other end of the spectrum, I consider my own dysfunctional family. When my mother passed away, I was not informed until after the funeral, because, I was told, they didn’t want me to waste my money to go to the funeral. Twice my sister has come through my state, and twice she visited me, for supper, after spending several weeks here, on her way out. My father designated my sister’s husband executor of his will.

I suppose what I’m saying is that my family is, well, not close. It’s an odd thing, really. My sister insists that we are, but the last time I heard from her, the message was so angry that I couldn’t even finish it. My family will tell me that they respect me, and yet they also feel the need to make decisions for me.

I guess that what I’m saying is that families take work. I’ve been ostracized from my family for years, hearing from them maybe every few years, and usually only in anger. The closeness of my host family I have seen in others as well. My friend has four daughters and a son, most of whom are married, with children. Their family is very close with her, so it is possible. But, it’s not easy. She shares some of the trials and tribulations of the family, and how they depend on her. But, it’s not so easy for me either. Many times I have felt the desire to turn to my family, and rarely have I felt that I could. Alone without a partner and no family, I’m most definitely adrift, not only when I need somebody, but also when I wish to share with them, but don’t feel like I can.

Ultimately, life is work. My friend is back on leave for a difficult reason, but he is providing support for his family, and they him. When I go through a difficult time, I go through it alone. But, at the same time, I also know that my family would be far more critical of me than supportive. For me, it’s just easier to have distanced myself and go on my own, but it has been a long difficult journey. The family with whom I am living are well on their way to building a supportive and loving family, but it will also be a long difficult journey.

This blog is all over the place. Clearly this is reflecting my own conflicted feelings, coming from a dysfunctional and aloof family, but with a strong desire of a close and loving family of my own. I have seen the power of strong families and the damage caused by bad. I really have no advice, no sage words of my own. But make your decisions carefully, and be prepared to pay the consequences either way.

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