I just got home from my family reunion in the mountains east of Cedar City.
It was, as most family reunions are wont to be, a mixed bag of emotions. I was really happy to see a few of my cousins that I hadn’t seen in a long time and I was happy to see my beloved Aunts and Uncles. They were such a big part of my childhood. My mother is the baby of 9 and they are all still with us. (My mother is the hottie standing third from the right.) Sadly, we are going to be losing two of the aunts very soon. One is on a respirator in Arizona (Regina-1st on the right) and the other managed to make the trip to the reunion, but she was very ill (Pauline-4th from the right).
It made leaving very difficult.
The saddest thing is that I hardly talked to my aunt that is dying. I don’t know why, I just couldn’t. It was too hard. I was also afraid that I would start bawling and babbling to her and say inappropriate things like beg her to tell my son how much I love and miss him.
So…I kept my distance. I’m a coward.
The reunions with this side of the family are BIG. There are so many of us that it was hard to know who was who, but we managed. I got to get acquainted with a cousin I hadn’t really spend much time with and I just loved talking to and I didn’t have as much social anxiety as I thought I would. Believe it or not, at these things I get pretty quiet, stay in the background and am pretty much an introvert. SHOCKING, isn’t it? In fact, I managed to be pretty respectful, restrained and entirely appropriate the whole reunion. Well, except for one TINY exception:
There is one thing that I cannot ever get out of at a reunion that draws attention to me and that is singing. This year, I didn’t mind because I got to sing with my cousin, Brian, who is a bit older than me, but someone I really like and who has a pretty great voice. We sang a song that my grandpa wrote at the family talent show that was held in the outdoor ampitheater. We went off into the woods to practice before hand and I just couldn’t help myself as we entered into a thicket of trees.
“You do realize that this is the part in the horror movie when we’re killed right? I REALLY hope you aren’t a virgin.“
I know. My mother wasn’t very happy with me, but at least my cousin laughed.
I started off the song about 5 keys too low, but I think it still sounded ok. It was pretty moving because the song is very sentimental. Due to the circumstances, the whole reunion was pretty sentimental. Plus, two of us cousins had children pass away since the last big gathering so it was pretty emotional at times. I swore that I wasn’t going to cry and I managed not to until right before I went home. They had a slide show presentation and the minute I saw a photo of my grandpa, I just lost it.
My grandparents would have had their 86th wedding anniversary this June. Grandpa Paul was born in 1900 and Grandma Susie was born in 1892. My grandmother was 8 years older than grandpa was and she died when I was 8. I don’t have a lot of memories of her, and virtually none of her when she wasn’t ill, but I remember she was kind to me and she smelled like Jergen’s hand lotion. I still keep a bottle of that stuff around, just to smell it sometimes.
My Grandpa Paul was probably one of the kindest and best men to have ever lived. Because I am the youngest child of their youngest child, I didn’t get to have him in my life as long as I would have liked. He passed away when I was 16 and I was devastated. I wasn’t liked by many people when I was a kid, but my grandpa liked me. He loved me. He liked to spend time with me and there wasn’t one tiny molecule in my body that was afraid of him. I was so broken hearted at his funeral that when my twin sister and I went to sing, all I could do was sob and heave up at the pulpit. Seeing his photo up on that big screen just undid me and the tears ROLLED. It was hard because I am not a person who cries in public a whole lot.
I miss him more than I can say. Some days my only consolation is that my son gets to be with him. Hopefully, grandpa will have more success teaching Matthew how to whistle with his hands than he did with me.
Going to these reunion may stress me out beyond, but that is due to my own prejudices and anxiety and my issues in general. Like any family reunion there were things about it that were comical and cheesy and I could probably mock if I wanted to, but I don’t.
They’re my family and I love them.