History of the Bleil Family
Nobody had heard from him for a long time. It was not uncommon, though. My uncle was living in a little house made of tin that once housed my grandfather and him, and he was always an isolationist. Something happened when I was about seven. Every time my family went to visit my grandfather, my uncle would find a way to be away. I distinctly remember him sitting down the road in his car, watching, and waiting for us to leave. I never knew what had upset him so much, but I remember talk that my parents believed that my aunt had told him something that made him want to have nothing to do with us.
Sometime after college, I decided to just drop in and visit. In my immediate family, I may have been the last person to see him. He told me that he was no longer angry with us, all was forgiven, and that I should let everybody know they can come to visit him. I passed the word on, but I don’t think anybody was interested. So, there he lived, alone, in the tin shack. He never married, and I have no idea if he had friends or not because he still wasn’t reaching out to us, despite telling me that he was open to us reaching out to him.
Eventually, one of my other uncles, married to my father’s sister, decided to go check on him. I do not know if he was keeping in touch with them or not, but as he approached the house, he knew something was wrong because of the swarm of flies on the crack of the door as if they were trying to get in. He called the fire department, and they broke into the house, only to find him lying on the floor, decomposed to the point that they had to scrape his body up to dislodge it from the floorboards.
I sometimes wonder if he died where my grandfather did. My grandmother died when I was too young to remember her, and my grandfather never remarried. He had a girlfriend at one point, forty years younger than he was, creating a great scandal. As it turns out, she was stealing from him, as he didn’t keep money in the bank. She was just periodically opening his cash drawer and helping herself to what she wanted. I don’t blame her, or him, honestly. At his age, maybe he should have spent his money on what made him happy. The family, however, put a stop to it. He lived with my uncle, two Bleil men in a tin can. Eventually, my uncle came home and found my grandfather dead on the floor, apparently on his way to the bathroom.
My mom died about a decade before my father. My dad lived in a modest house, perhaps a bit too large for just one person, but the consummate do-it-yourselfer and mister fix-it that seemed to be able to repair anything and everything had let the house go. Mom struggled at the end, and dad took care of her, perhaps not emotionally, but at least physically. He did the cooking and cleaning when mom was alive, along with helping her bathe and change and everything else that was required. After she passed, dad lived alone in his little house, and didn’t do much of anything except feed the squirrels (and I’m not even sure he still did that). He was diagnosed as diabetic and took his diet instructions far too literally. He moderated his intake as precisely as only an obsessive-compulsive could, but never went back for any follow-up appointments. As his body changed, his diet remained rock steady. Eventually, his body began wasting away, causing him to lose most of his muscle mass. The last time I saw him, he looked mummified. You could have used his legs as a skeletal lesson in an anatomy class.
Living alone, he finally decided he had had enough. He didn’t commit suicide, per se, but he used his legendary stubbornness to just die. He stopped eating causing renal failure. His plan was to go out the way his dad did, isolated and alone in his house, but my sister had him hospitalized. It was a matter of days until they moved him to hospice, and only days longer until he finally passed.
It’s a kind of legacy on my lonely and very short branch of the Bleil group of families. I’m the last Bleil on my branch, nearly sixty years old, and too old for children of my own. My name will die with me, and here I live, alone, in a decrepit house that I’m letting backslide far more than I should. I wonder how long it will be until the flies start to gather.