14 July 2009

A week in the life of a big Catholic family

Jarring, shocking and even mundane, all these events happened in my family recently.

* My little baby brother, all 6'4 and 225 pounds of lean muscle, turned 42.
* I met a first-cousin who was back visiting from California who had moved away a very long time ago. He was shocked when I introduced myself to him, never knowing my father had married and had kids. "I thought Uncle X was a bachelor!" Well, he was until he married at the age of 40!
* My aunt celebrated her 90th birthday and members of my father's disjointed, dysfunctional family showed up and everyone had a pleasant day.
* My cousin's husband, a life-long practicing Catholic, committed suicide, rocking this more conservative branch of the family.
* I learned that three of my cousins had been sexually abused as children.
* A divorced cousin remarried outside the Church.
* A cousin's daughter graduated from high school and while my cousin (aunt to the graduate) was at the graduation party, her own daughter went into labor. Her daughter lives across the country, so my cousin flew out as soon as she was able. The baby is breech. No word on how things went.
* Family letters over 100 years old were given to me. One written by my great-grandfather to my great aunt. One containing a lock of my aunt's bright red hair with a blue ribbon around it.
* A cousin who is a nun, is in town and wants to get together to talk genealogy...and we are planning to meet with cousins I have only talked to a few times in my life.
*I've been asked to pray *hard* since several elderly aunts are in poor health.
* One cousin's son is in South Korea teaching and another is in Russia.
* A cousin's two grown children have lost their jobs and are living in my cousin's basement.

That doesn't even include my husband's neo-pagan family!


Vincenzo said...

"*I've been asked to pray *hard* since several elderly aunts are in poor health."

Praying for them.

Ray from MN said...

That's a pretty great report, Swissie!Given the century, your Mom's family are probably good candidates for "Family O' the Year.

My Mom had three sisters (a brother died in a car accident when he was about 20.) All the sisters stayed in Duluth. One became a Benedictine nun and under the old rules we couldn't communicate more than once a year.

But my Mom and her other two sisters must have chatted just about every day. I never could figure out what they had to talk about.

I've tried to keep my brothers and sister (another sister died young) together, be we are separated by states (California) and miles (Duluth, St. Paul, Mpls) and it just doesn't work out well. We get along on holidays but rarely see each other or talk between them.

I thought the Internet would be great for communicating, but it is tough to get much more than one sentence out of two of them. My brother in California and I are pretty close, electronically.

swissmiss said...

Thanks, V!!

Ray, I have over 50 first cousins, which I didn't think was a lot growing up, but it is a lot compared to my husband's family! There's always some drama unfolding with that many in the mix.

My kids have all of four cousins and that's probably all they will have (all boys). My brother is in Switzerland, so hard to get together with him. Duluth isn't that far, you make it sound like a foreign country! Well, you could argue that case.