When Families Evolve: What Happens When We Lose Our Matriarchs?
This holiday morning, I read one of those "Dear Dad" Facebook posts from a son missing his dad on this holiday. Easter was always very important to his dad, and he passed away this year, so the pain is fresh and his absence palpable. We often see such posts because, of course, families around the globe gather at holidays. Our mothers, especially, play huge roles in uniting us. The thought makes me wonder, what happens to families that lose the matriarchs and patriarchs who brought those families together?
When my own dad passed, aside from the obvious issues, it didn't impact our family's feelings of togetherness; my mom was more so the catalyst for family get-togethers. Not to be morbid, but since she's getting up in years (85 this summer), I can't help but wonder what will happen to our family after she is gone. We are already somewhat fragmented, even though seven of us live locally. Will we scatter to the winds? I wonder what "normal" is or if there even is one. Maybe I am just lamenting the fact that my family is disjointed, a situation that isn't likely to improve after Mom is gone.
And what of small families? When Mr.4444's dad and two grandmas passed away within a few years of each other (two of them within six weeks, unexpectedly), the 4444 family identity had a huge blast hole in it; at the time, I wondered if we would ever feel whole again. What I've learned in the past eleven years is that when someone so important passes, your family will never be the same again. However, that doesn't mean it won't be whole; you will be happy again, you'll love again, you will feel peace. It's the circle of life, of course.
We have a new normal now; Mr.4444's mom is, of course, our matriarch (and a beautiful one, at that), and Mr.4444 and his brother (who doesn't live here) are as bonded as ever. Our children, not having grown up together as cousins, have a ball when the 4444 family gathers. And some day, we will have babies to continue the cycle of 4444 family love. Our family is just right for us.
Sorry about the rambling post; just know that I'm thinking of you. My heart goes out to those of you who've lost parents and are missing them today. If you celebrate Easter and your family gathers this year (and even if you don't) I wish your family happiness, health, and peace.