A Thought on Extended Families

I know a woman who has a large extended family. Let’s call her Pat. Pat’s immediate family is gone. She was an only child who had no children. Her husband is still living. Pat has a large, but dwindling, extended family on her father’s side that she grew up with. They were all always close. Until one of Pat’s aunts passed away. Then, the family basically fell apart. The aunt was the glue that held them together.

The relationships within this extended family have gotten complicated. It makes Pat sad. She loved her extended family, particularly her cousins. But, I’m getting ahead of myself. I feel sorry for Pat. She assumed, for her entire life, that she could always depend on her extended family. Now she knows there are a few that she can depend on, but most of them don’t care about her anymore.

There were seven aunts and uncles in this family. All had one or more children. Pat’s cousins. The brothers and sisters were all close even though there were occasional squabbles. They saw each other frequently. That meant the children, Pat’s cousins, saw each other and were also close. Right or wrong, since Pat was an only child, she saw those cousins as her siblings. The older cousins were mentors. The younger cousins were her loves. She felt like they were her’s.

Everyone, of course, grew up and went on to live their lives. Of course, everything changed. Pat didn’t understand why their relationships with each other had to change. Just like in any family, there were quarrels. Everyone seemed to hold grudges instead of working it out. Emotional distances grew between the cousins. But not between all the cousins. Pat remained close to a cherished few of her cousins. Those cousins are the ones who live far away.

There is one aunt who is left in Pat’s family and she is treasured. Besides the one aunt,  there are 17 cousins, including several first cousins, once removed. Pat loves them all. There are two cousins that Pat has no contact with for reasons she doesn’t know. That leaves 15 cousins. Out of those 15, Pat thinks there are about five she could depend on in a crisis. Earlier in her life, she felt she could depend on just about all of them. Worse yet, Pat misses her cousins.

Take my poll. How do you feel about your extended family? The poll is anonymous. #amwriting #writing #blogging #family

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