Sunday, May 15, 2011


Dear Diary:

So I got a phone call that a member of the family had passed away Friday night after finally succumbing to leukemia.

You are probably thinking I am heartbroken over this. Sorry, I am not.

Let me give you a little background on mi familia.

My dad is one of four kids. When I say that everyone in my family has been divorced, I am referring to his side of the family. This is the side of the family I share my name with. This is the side of the family that I am closest too. This is the side of the family that I really grew up with, that is, when we were actually around each other because my parents decided to be the ones to move away from their hometown. Everyone else stayed within a few hours driving distance.

My mom is an only child. Her dad, the only grandfather I ever knew (he was a the coolest guy on the planet and I still miss him every now and then, even though he has been dead about 20 years), was also an only child. Her mother however was one of eight. Of those eight, each had about three kids. And each of the kids had about three kids, and I am like the fourth oldest of this generation (the great-grandchildren). So my mom has a huge family. I lost count once the great-grandchildren started popping out babies.

Other than my grandparents, and maybe a dozen or so of this gigantic brood, I never really saw many of them. And I am not close to them, other than a few, and close is a relative term at this point. I cannot tell you even the last time I had a conversation with one of them. They do not call, and neither do I. I couldn't pick half of them out of a line-up if you paid me.

So when I get a phone call that a great-aunt, whom I have seen maybe twenty times over the course of my life, has passed away, I don't really have a sad reaction. I am sympathetic, but other than that, I really do not even know how I am supposed to react to such news. I can offer my condolences, but other than that, what am I supposed to do?

I think my mom was expecting me to have some sort of bigger sense of loss, but I really do not. How can you feel a sense of loss towards something that you barely knew? This woman's death does not, and would not, affect me to the extent that losing someone on my dad's side of the family would.

So, I will now basically just go through the motions, and do what is expected of me as a member of the family, but other than that, I am not doing much. And I don't know if that is fucked up or not at this point.


  1. Well, I am sorry to hear about your great aunt...but I do know what you mean about not feeling much beyond symapthy, given you didn't really know her well or were that close to her. The end of a life is never easy, but it's always much harder when you were really close to them.

  2. it's not fucked up. it just is. when i'm confronted with news like that, it's almost like someone famous, like someone from a TV show i used to watch a long time ago, died. it's, "hmm. that's sad. sorry to hear that." then i go to the fridge and get a peach or something. does that make sense?

    i am to the point in my life where i don't feel like i owe people a bowing-and-scraping emotional response if i don't feel one. i think it's hollow, and that it does a disservice to the situation more than honesty does.

  3. I feel the same way. I've barely had any contact with extended family my whole life. When someone passes away I don't even feel a sense of obligation. It's just, "Eh, ok, sucks for her/him."

  4. I don't think that's fucked up at all, but as usual it's always refreshing to read your very honest post. You don't really know her, so of course you feel sympathy for those who were affected, but you aren't personally moved by the news. I think, as Magnolia said above, its more important to be real which you always are.

  5. My grandmother -- my last grandparent -- died this past Mother's Day. I couldn't care less. She was leathery and mean.

  6. I have had a similar reaction. Several of my great aunts and uncles have passed away, but I have never been overly sad because of it. I mean, I felt bad that they had died, but I am not exactly broken up about it either. I barely knew them. But I do have a hard time coming to grips with these lack of feelings because it tends to make me feel selfish and uncaring. I don't know. I think one of my flaws is that sometimes I care too much, if that is possible.