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What Brings Families Together

Updated: Aug 9, 2021

I found out my grandmother on my dad’s side passed away on Friday. My initial reaction was blank. Then I got upset and started crying at work and left early. Then I got angry. I didn’t think I would have these emotions and reactions at all.

My dad passed away in 2003–I haven’t spoken too nor seen my grandparents or uncle since the day of my dad’s funeral.  All families have their skeletons, right?

I had the same reaction to my grandmother passing as I did to my uncle passing away in 2013.  I remember sitting at my desk as a summer intern, scrolling through Facebook during my lunch break, and finding the announcement from my aunts status.  We wouldn’t have known about my grandmother this time unless my great uncle called my mom.

One would think that death would bring families together, but unfortunately not in our case. My grandfathers initial reaction, to let his only living grandchildren to pass our family name, was “I don’t care if you tell them.”

I would like to give my respects to my grandmother, though no service will occur and the burial will be of the convenience of the family. No more information was given to us aside from an article of the obituary we found ourselves online.

I cried because I will never have a relationship with my grandmother. Was that my fault? Should I have done more in the past to reconnect? Would we even have a good relationship? That’s hard to say. She was an alcoholic and so is my grandfather.

There comes a point where you have to realize that not everyone wants you in their life—even family. And that’s okay.

I mentioned alcoholism runs on my dad’s side of the family. I wonder if this was recognized and ignored. Or maybe it wasn’t recognized at all. I wonder if all the deaths could have been prevented. In fact, most deaths probably could have: diabetes related, alcoholism, overdose, etc.

Alcoholism is a disease and its genetic. It changes your state of mind. Your brain only wants alcohol in its body and it clouds your judgement. You have to absolutely hit rock bottom in order to understand you have a problem in the first place. People mention it but you deny it. You only want to be around other people who drink and who have the same mindset you do. You chose alcohol every time over every thing.

I was angry because this disease has overtaken myself and my family.  It’s in my blood and the gene will pass to my children. It’s the cause of marital problems. It’s the cause of family tension. It’s the cause of deaths.  When will my family realize this and stop it? Why don’t we talk about this more?

I blanked because I was processing what happened. I had a feeling someone in the family died but the question was, who was next and would this change anything in my family or will it remain the same?

Anonymous couldn’t have said it better:

“The sadness that has surrounded this family for generations. It’s the issue of alcoholism and obviously mental health. It’s a family that has lived emotionally detached from each other and the world.

It’s unwilling to want or ask for help and change their own well being and the well being of the family unit. 

It’s the choices that each one of them made that brought all of this together. 

We are outsiders looking in but we are also the ones that have suffered but have made the necessary changes to be better and do better because we value the family that we are.”

Does alcoholism run in your family? Was it realized?

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