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July 12, 2013 at 8:00 AMComments: 1 Faves: 0

My Family at 24

By Colleen Hammer More Blogs by This Author

At twenty-four, I didn't imagine myself graduated or engaged. I didn't expect to still be with very little friends. I also didn't expect to be questioning my future, when at one point it seemed so clear. What I expected was to have more friends, or already have children. 

I always spent my holidays with my mom and dad, up until I met my fiancé. I look back at what it was like before I met him, and I didn't have relatives around. It was a difficult time for me to see friends speak of their family. I could not relate due to the distance.

Why was there distance? It's hard for me to understand, but it all started when I was 10 years old.

Changes

My grandmother had always been a part of my life as a child. But since my grandfather died of leukemia, my mom's sister Barbie decided to control and limit who could visit my grandmother. Over time, we did not get to see her as much. On New Year's Eve in 2011, we received a phone call from her to tell us our grandmother was in the hospital. We were confused, and went the next day. Barbie confessed to being overwhelmed, and apologetic for keeping us away from her.

Seeing my grandmother in a hospital bed after ten years of separation was a huge deal. I did not recognize her, and she had ultimately forgotten me. We learned she had severe dementia, and other health related problems. She had been living in a nursing home until Barbie realized she was doing poorly there. 

Barbie continued to control when we would visit the hospital, and the doctors told her to stop being dramatic. We decided to step out of the situation, because over time my mom was getting tired of having to make appointments with her sister to see her mother.

I did not have any attachment to my grandmother because I had not seen her in so long. I remembered tiny fragments of my past with her, but the distance between us had shifted the relationship we could have had. 

Isolated

For years I have been confused why this even happened. When I try to explain it to people it just leads to more things I question. I have turned to other sources of family, in my years of isolation. My bond with my own family has become stronger, and I have worries of my own future with a family.

My relationship with fiancé's family has made me aware of just how much I have lost in the past years, and how much I have missed being around families. I missed being able to go places on holidays, instead of sitting home with a dinner for three.

Losing my grandmother has shifted the way I view family, due to how close my bond with my mother and father is. My mother often tells me she is upset about this, but there is ultimately nothing we can do. My grandmother has changed, and my Aunt has no interest in being around us. 

When I have a family someday, I hope that it can be less awkward and not like this. It's hard to even find a reason why this could happen, but in the end it makes me more self aware of what I do have in a family. 

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1 Comment

  • I have a really strange extended family on both sides as well and there are a lot of details that I'll never fully understand. My immediate family is extremely close because of this, but I've always been keenly aware of how "alone" we were especially when we'd get asked to come to "family" events and I would be introduced to cousins I never knew existed.

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