Monday, December 7, 2009

3 phone calls

I made the choice to move to another province almost 12 years ago. This meant leaving family behind. At the time I was just getting back onto speaking terms with my parents and I have no siblings so the move was not a big deal for me. In fact I had "left" my family nearly 4 years before that when I first moved out of my parents house.

But even with the upheaval in my relationship with my parents, extended family was still important to me. I may not see them every year, and in fact could go several years without even communicating with someone, but they were still family. Joys and triumphs could be celebrated over phone lines or through cards and flowers.

Family doesn't seem to be very important to my parents however. My father has 9 siblings, 5 of whom he has not spoken to since 1971 when their mother died. My mother has 3 siblings and they have all sorts of problems.

Since I have lived in Halifax I have had 3 phone calls from my mother, each of which have left me sad - not just at the content of the message but at the blatant disregard for my feelings that my mother has.

All of the phone calls have involved her telling me that someone close to me has died: My Uncle Bob, a good friend of the family Bill and now today my Uncle Maurice, my Dad's only brother. She doesn't call me specificially to tell me about these events. Quite the opposite, they are an after thought midway through our conversation, sandwiched between the weather and how work is going. "oh by the way, I forgot to tell you that your Uncle Maurice died last week. Are you enjoying working from home?"


It's like she thinks that because I live far away and am not active in someone's daily life that I no longer care about them. That hearing about their death won't upset me.

It's almost like she doesn't care. And maybe she doesn't. But I do.


Unknown said...

I am sorry for the loss of your uncle. My relationship with my mom is somewhat less than stellar, so I will refrain from offerring any advice about THAT!

Anonymous said...

I can't give advice either, because this is very much like my situation except that I haven't moved away (though we live far from extended family). It's so frustrating and hurtful every single time, and then I'm frustrated and hurt that it still gets to me. I'm sorry you're going through this, and sincere condolences on your loss.

N said...

News tends to come that way (as an afterthought) in my family, as well. Especially from my mother. Only occasionally deaths, but still important stuff. "We got a new car. Oh, why? Well, remember when your brother totaled the car last month..." uh... no.

I'm sorry for your loss, and even more so that you had to find out about it that way. *hugs*

luna said...

I am also sorry for the loss of your uncle.

my in-laws do something a lot like this. at the same time they manage to disregard whatever is going on in our lives because it's not as significant as whatever is happening there that we're too far away to care about. sigh.

Lynne Marie Wanamaker said...

Oh, Andy, I'm sorry for your loss. My parents, with whom I have a great relationship, have a totally different take on extended family, death and grieving than I do. It adds to the heartbreak almost every time. I try to believe that they are doing the best they can. And then I am so grateful for my friends and community who help me with my own style of grief. Take care of yourself in all the best ways you know.

Heather said...


Sorry to hear the news about your uncle. Thinking of you!