The Family (Or most of them)

The Family (Or most of them)
The Family

December 23, 2006

SEPARATION ANXIETY

HA! LOOK AT THESE PHOTOGRAPHS.

As I listen to this incredible song on the day before Christmas Eve, many gifts still to wrap, I want to tell you about people found, people loved, people lost.

About 50 per cent of people in North America have experienced separation or divorce. I'm among them. That's not directly what this is about.

All I want to tell you about tonight is the people on the periphery who are lost as a result of that, people I'm thinking about.

When the marriage of two people breaks down, it's not just the husband and wife who break up, and it's not just their kids who are thrown into chaos. People take sides. It's human nature.

Brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, their kids you loved -- your nieces and nephews, children you tossed in the air and teased and who you wondered if you might say a speech at their wedding -- disappear from your life.

They almost become ghosts. You don't see them any more. You don't hear about them. Tanis, Derek; Kristopher, Jessica; Michael, Justin, Dylan, Darren; nephews and nieces once, stolen away.

Ryan, Barb; Ronnie, Janet; Cam & Sherilyn, their parents...your in-laws on your ex's side of the family...all gone. Like they never existed, but you know they did. You loved them for 20-25 years.

You loved their kids, you saw them every Christmas, every birthday, you got to know their families and feel warmth and love about them and for them, know their struggles, triumphs titillating their lives.

The couple above lived with my ex and I for a while before they got married. The guy on the left is my ex's brother, posing with his second wife and their first-born at my ex's family cottage.

The pic on the right is from a couple of years ago of the entire expanded clan. I haven't seen them or heard from them in about a year, maybe, although I think about them often and love them all.

The pic on the left is of one of my sisters-in-law in the back, holding my then one-year-old daughter on the left and her daughter, Tanis, on the right.

The pic on the right is Tanis's wedding about a year ago, with my daughter and son on the far right. They were part of the wedding party.

I was invited by the mom to "sit at the back of the church so you can see your kids in the wedding party." She had to "hide me." I didn't go. Instead, I sent a cheque and a card to my niece and her husband.

The lad on top there with the blonde hair is my nephew Kristopher, whose pic I loved taking. Haven't seen him since 1996. The girl at the left on my lap there with my daughter is Jessica. Same deal.

Argh. Outta sight, not outta mind.

So what do you do with this? You need to accept it and allow yourself to still hold those people dear and close, but realize that they have to do what they have to do..and that you do too.

And that at special times like Christmas, you have to embrace the people you've always embraced, and to bring more into what you want to and have to embrace, and leave the past to what it is.

If Blogger had allowed me, I would have posted more pix of my close family (three sisters, two brothers, their spouses and kids). But here are my kids and a lovely woman who I want to embrace this Christmas.

Like the song says, it's time to say it: Goodbye. Goodbye.

Merry Christmas to you all.









20 comments:

  1. You're a bad boy, WW, for depressing me, but I do understand your situation second-hand. Often in a split one (or both!) of the pair will be unreasonable and create chaos from their pain. I know you're not pointing fingers but in your case it appears that there's someone who only considered their own feelings, not the feelings of those friends and family who cared for both of you. The terrible divide that happened in both my family and my husband's family after both pairs of parents split up (right before we were married) still exists two decades later and has infected most family gatherings and holidays.

    But no more bah humbug from me. Easy for me to say because I have a happy, intact family under my roof, but I have been having trouble eating for days (except truffles :) as I nervously anticipate dealing with the extended tribe, so I'm with you!

    (Oops -- I forgot to flirt :) Here's hoping you have a good time with your kids this holiday and find some good "WW time". Feliz Navidad and a Christmas hug.

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  2. Anonymous8:40 PM

    Actually you said it all. Nothing much left for me to say. People do go away but love does not. Out of sight is not out of mind.

    All I can say is keep loving them the way you do. You will be richer for it and so would they. It does not matter that they might not know about it. But blessings always work. Distance does not matter at all.

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  3. You made me cry. That was so sweet and so beautifully expressed. I don't think I know I more sentient being than you. It's a beautiful thing.

    I sometimes struggle with letting go of people I love who are no longer a part of my life. The love never dies, but you have to carry on as if it did. It isn't easy.

    *deep sigh and a warm hug to you*

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  4. oh, ww, you are so honest and real. i like that so much about you. sometime i hope you might consider calling some of those nieces and nephews and inlaws and reconnecting in a different way. you never know. i worked things out with my family after nine painful years.

    i am divorced also. i haven't much nostalgia for my inlaws but i understand very well what you are feeling. at least be proud that you feel love, because that's what this post is about.

    and as for that lovely lady, hmmmm. sounds like an interesting holiday.

    ww, merry christmas to you. i consider you a dear blogfriend and i am honored to know you. i hope to make you laugh in 2007.

    :)

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  5. Such a BEAUTIFUL family!

    You have spoken what so many have suppressed.

    WW..Happy Holidays, to you and yours.

    Much love, Awaiting

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  6. Oddly enough, until right now I've never given any thought to this kind of thing -it's dreadfully sad, isn't it? Heartbreaking. To have to lose people from your life like that.Like all of a sudden you are supposed to cut your feelings off.

    I'm actually spending Christmas Day with my in-laws -it's just the way it worked out this year.We have stayed close, but it seems that this might be the exception to the rule, more's the pity.

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  7. Andrea:

    I am a bad boy, aren't I? Just found myself feeling this yesterday, as I do every year.

    Had to post about it.

    I go back and forth about finger-pointing. The fact is, I can't be where my ex is, so it's a domino effect.

    No one wants to acknowledge the discomfort and people are allied to whom they're allied by blood.

    You end up being excommunicated in a sense. I feel for you and the "infection" you talk about.

    No more Bah Humbug from me either.

    Flirt, flirt, flirt...hugs to you too.

    Gautami:

    Thanks. You're right. At some point, I can and should give them a call and get together with them separately. That I can do.

    Anna:

    Thanks. Those kinds of struggles are big ones and I've had to deal with lots of 'em.

    But don't we all. Just another journey...

    KJ:

    I think you're right about reconnecting, at least with some of them.

    Some have their arms open to it more than others...some I haven't responded to the way I should have.

    These are things that can be changed. But for now it's just a bit static.

    I certainly feel the same way about you, KJ, in terms of being a blogfriend who's real and honest.

    And I wish you a very merry Xmas too.

    As you know, I've been a bit up and down, on and off about blogging recently. The creative juices haven't been flowing...kinda like writer's block.

    I don't know how much that will change or not change or how much I'll be visiting others.

    But I do look forward to being made to laugh by you in 2007.

    :-)

    Awaiting:

    Thanks, and all the best to you and Jack and that lovely crew of beautiful kids you've got...

    Lee:

    Hope you have a fantastic time with them. My ex's parents are dead, so they haven't been a factor.

    All the best this Xmas.

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  8. Anonymous10:58 AM

    This is not the post I was expecting to read here, I anticipated seeing another closet picture, or possibly more of the butt-less Santa, but I think it was the one I needed.

    I am also divorced. My ex hasn't been seen or heard of since 2004, literally. I'm not sure if he's alive or dead. We divorced in 1986, he remarried soon after. His second wife died on Nov. 25, 1999 of cervical cancer. She left behind a son from her first marriage and my son's half sister. My ex was unable to care for them properly because of his alcoholism and her son ended up living with me until he graduated from high school. Their daughter petitioned to be removed from my ex’s house and spent a lot of time with us as well. Over the last year, we have lost contact. Your post has given me the push I need to reach out to them again.

    Thank you.

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  9. Anonymous10:59 AM

    You made me tear up too, Chris. I'm not in that situation but I believe I have been there several times in spirit. Life situations seem so fragile sometimes.

    I imagine that writing this down has been helpful for your inner WW. I guess that would be the Wintin part. :)

    Merry Christmas.

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  10. Anonymous11:00 AM

    I mean the "Within" part.

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  11. dfm...

    Thanks for baring your soul...those are some tough times you've lived, and...shit happens, I guess.

    What a source of strength you've been to those kids, though.

    Good luck in reaching out, a show of more strength and love. I've put you on my blogroll, hope that's OK.

    Hugs and Merry Christmas. :-)

    Brian:

    From Within, Without, Brian. You're certainly right.

    You are a very spiritual soul, blessed (by observation and through HE) with a lovely family and wife in Joyce.

    When the heck are we going to meet in person?

    I can only imagine the warmth that must flow within your household. All the best.

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  12. Anonymous2:59 PM

    I just got off the phone with the kids. I found them at their maternal grandparent's house. It was almost like we never lost touch and I will be seeing them soon. If not for your blog post, I wouldn't have had the strength to call. Words can't express how thankful I am.

    Thanks, too, for adding me to your blogroll. I've added you to mine as well.

    Merry Christmas :-)

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  13. dmfmmgm:

    What fantastic news!

    I appreciate and am overjoyed that maybe reading this prompted the feelings that urged you to act...

    But it was YOUR action...and what a fantastic act it was.

    I hope it turns out to be everything you hope it to be, and more.

    :-)

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  14. Anonymous5:01 PM

    Dysfunctional families-bah! I guess we all have them, some are worse than others. But they all cause hurt to the blameless parties.So I'm sorry for all your "fragments" but pleased for you that you have spoken it aloud on your blog.(Kimberley-Clark shares will rise on my account alone!)
    And I hope you and your "pink bird" are having a happy time creating new memories.

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  15. Having never been through it i cant even begin to understand. Thank you so much for sharing that of yourself. very brave and very very human...

    TAke care of yourself over the holiday period...

    Aidan

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  16. ...fixed my f%@#$#ing computer and back in business..I loved this expose because few kids realise that their EXuncles miss them..I try to email every once and a while but as the neices and nephews grow older and get busy with their lives..well you know what it's like...the other thing to remember is that oddly enough kids seem to hang on to their most cherished images and memories of the Aunties and Uncles for their enitre lives...so it isn't all bad news...great post and certainly something that needed saying.

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  17. That was very poignant and sweet.

    It's something that few people mention but there are always those characters in the background that we miss following any big split.

    I'm sure they miss you too.

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  18. Anonymous1:26 AM

    aaah ww, a very sad post... i wish i could make you feel better. i think they can consider themselves blessed that you still hold them close in your heart.

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  19. Anonymous3:08 AM

    That was a lovely post,and just so true. Life is never simple is it?

    Laura

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  20. Dinahmow:

    Hey, wasn't necessarily trying to make it sad, but just saying there are others affected -- like collateral damage.

    I have now gone out and bought Kimberly-Clark stock. Thanks.

    In terms of the "pink bird," well, it was an eventful week, but sometimes these things don't work out.

    Aidan:

    Thanks chum. Like I've said to you elsewhere, sincerely hope you and Stace had a great first Christmas as newlyweds.

    HE:

    Yep, don't you and I both know it to be true. See you this week. And thanks.

    Bibi:

    Thanks, I'm sure you're right that we all miss each other. Hugs.

    Angel:

    There's certainly some sadness but it's simply part of the reality with family allegiances, I think.

    Laura:

    Thanks for the visit and for the comment. Life certainly isn't simple...I would never argue.

    :-)

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