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Old 01-19-2016, 06:34 PM
 
1,293 posts, read 948,212 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Serious Conversation View Post
Last week, my only remaining great aunt/uncle passed away at the age of 72. Her passing left my grandmother, 79, the only remaining sibling of either eleven or twelve that made it to adulthood. When we were at the funeral Saturday, she brought up the fact that she was the only one remaining and had buried all of her siblings, parents, and also my grandfather. It seemed to shake her up significantly and made her realize her own mortality and age more than I think she typically does - she's a healthy 79, lives independently, and still gets around well.

Have any of the posters on this board faced this situation?
I became an oldest person in the family at 35. It burdened me a lot, and made me sad, and gave me a feeling that I'm next in the death row. But at 79? Sounds pretty normal to me.
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Old 01-19-2016, 06:47 PM
Status: "0-0-2 Game On!" (set 1 hour ago)
 
Location: The beautiful Rogue Valley, Oregon
7,294 posts, read 15,345,231 times
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I'm 57 and the last one left in my family (except for my son) - my mother died when I was 28 and my father died when I was 43. My mother's parents died before I was 10, my father's father died before I was born and his mother died when I was 12. My parent's siblings are all dead as well. I have 3 first cousins remaining (I am on the younger end of the cousin scale), but they are scattered across the world.

My husband's parents made it into their 90s, but died in 2013 and 2015 and he isn't close to his sister. His father had no siblings and his mother had 6 siblings but only 1 left, on the other coast, whom we have never met.

I have a lot of memories of people long gone, places I have been that I can't name, except to say what the house looked like or other odd details. When you don't have a lot of "past" left, you don't dwell on the past, you look forward. I have been married for 35 years, that is a fair amount of "past" to go on.
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Old 01-19-2016, 06:50 PM
 
903 posts, read 653,820 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Serious Conversation View Post
Last week, my only remaining great aunt/uncle passed away at the age of 72. Her passing left my grandmother, 79, the only remaining sibling of either eleven or twelve that made it to adulthood. When we were at the funeral Saturday, she brought up the fact that she was the only one remaining and had buried all of her siblings, parents, and also my grandfather. It seemed to shake her up significantly and made her realize her own mortality and age more than I think she typically does - she's a healthy 79, lives independently, and still gets around well.

Have any of the posters on this board faced this situation?
Yes. With my grandmother Who in addition to siblings and my grandfather, also buried both her daughters, both having died young from cancer. My heart goes out to her and to you. It's tough My grandmother lived an additional 9 years before succumbing to Alzheimer's.
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Old 01-19-2016, 08:07 PM
 
Location: VT; previously MD & NJ
2,199 posts, read 1,342,982 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ndcairngorm View Post
When I became the "last one standing," so to speak, the one thing that came through to me was this: I am now the last repository of family history. If I don't know a particular something about any of my parents or aunts and uncles or older cousins, not one person left in the world does know it. If there are family pictures with people in them I can't recognize, no one else will know who they are either, ever.

I then wished with all my heart that I had asked my parents, my aunts and uncles, and everyone else who was related to me about everything to do with their lives, to tell me their histories so that I could know and remember and pass it on. But all these things are now lost. There is no one left to ask.
There is no one left to ask. That got to me after my parents and both aunts passed on. But I do have a very comprehensive family tree that I put together many years ago with my mother's help. Filled in a bit from EllisIsland Records, Ancestry and a few cemetery record websites. But that doesn't capture anything about the feelings family members had for each other or the fights or the funny stories. Those are gone.

After my parents passed, a cousin mentioned that after her parents died she surprised herself by saying "I'm an orphan now." It was a very sobering thought, and I realized "me too."

I also have 70+ years of family photo albums. The last time I pulled them out I realized that for my son and grandsons, most of the people in those pictures will mean nothing to them. They are labeled and could be matched up with the family tree, but still, the younger generations just never knew these people. At this point, I'm the only one who remembers. That makes me sad.
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Old 01-19-2016, 08:46 PM
 
Location: Tennessee
23,580 posts, read 17,553,447 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ansible90 View Post
There is no one left to ask. That got to me after my parents and both aunts passed on. But I do have a very comprehensive family tree that I put together many years ago with my mother's help. Filled in a bit from EllisIsland Records, Ancestry and a few cemetery record websites. But that doesn't capture anything about the feelings family members had for each other or the fights or the funny stories. Those are gone.

After my parents passed, a cousin mentioned that after her parents died she surprised herself by saying "I'm an orphan now." It was a very sobering thought, and I realized "me too."

I also have 70+ years of family photo albums. The last time I pulled them out I realized that for my son and grandsons, most of the people in those pictures will mean nothing to them. They are labeled and could be matched up with the family tree, but still, the younger generations just never knew these people. At this point, I'm the only one who remembers. That makes me sad.
That's one thing I regret to a degree. Other than the one sister I mentioned who went to church with us, the rest, I never really knew, and they didn't leave all that far from us (30-60 minutes). Given the sheer number of them at one point, I doubt all I could have known them all, but I think the family could have done far better than it did at getting to know each other.
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Old 01-19-2016, 11:36 PM
 
Location: Las Vegas
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I am the eldest and the last of my 5 siblings. Sadly there is no one to directly share family memories. I have made a deliberate, consistent and real effort to contact and maintain relationships with my nieces, nephews and cousins who are scattered all over. This has brought great joy because they are younger and some are just starting families. As a bonus they appreciate the fact I knew their parents and grandparents. Sometimes "family" does not just happen, you need to make an effort.
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Old 01-20-2016, 12:02 AM
 
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I don't have any siblings, and I'm the oldest of 5 cousins. I probably won't ever be the last one standing as it were in terms of family. But at almost 40, I do have some idea of this feeling. My best friend and her mother died within 6 months of each other after long illnesses (a lifetime in the case of my best friend) when I was 23. I had known my friend since I was 5 and her mother had been a sort of second mom to me and a mentor as I grew up and entered the workforce. I was very close to both of them in their final illnesses.

After they died, it occurred to me that I was the keeper of all the leftover memories that were between us. There was a lot the three of us did together, especially near the end. Even though I have many friends and loved ones, when I think about that, I suddenly feel very alone and isolated. There's a whole volume of my life that I shared with just the two of them, and with them gone... it all feels like my grip on those memories is very fragile. And even though I'm a writer, I cannot even begin to put those memories to paper for some reason. It's like the ache is always with me, tucked away in a corner of my brain - it's gotten duller over the years, but it's there.

And every once in a while all that old hurt digs its way out of that pit and washes over me. I think about what it would have been like if they'd lived. About what I would tell them about what's happened in the intervening years if this had all been a misunderstanding and they'd been off seeing the world for 15 years rather than being dead. I want to ask them about the 20 years of memories that I can only access from my perspective and what their perspective was.

I think maybe the huge circle of friends I've built up since their deaths is a way of trying to avoid ever having that feeling again.
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Old 01-20-2016, 12:34 AM
 
Location: U.S.A., Earth
4,492 posts, read 2,879,022 times
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All of my grandparents passed away. It's only a matter of time before my parents go, but they should still have many good years left. Still, I talk with them more than not, so that would be all the more lonelier. I have a sister, but she's busy with work, so we try to talk, but not always possible to do it often enough. Currently, if I do, I'll be survived by my niece and nephew. I'm not as old as some of the posters here, but I do need to redouble my efforts on finding a wife and getting kids. If not that, at least put in a solid effort I'll die comfortable with.
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Old 01-20-2016, 05:37 AM
 
Location: Cochise County, AZ
1,318 posts, read 834,094 times
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My mom was one youngest of 11 children, and there is only 1 of her brothers left. My dad was the youngest of 10 children, and none of his siblings are still living. My oldest brother and younger sister are deceased. Due to the things that happened after my mother died, I'm now estranged from my two younger brothers.

I do keep in touch with my numerous cousins, and of course, with my children and nieces and nephews.
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Old 01-20-2016, 06:44 AM
 
Location: Los Angeles area
14,018 posts, read 17,732,288 times
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In my case it's the older generation which is almost gone. One aunt survives of the many aunts and uncles, and she is 95. My Godmother is still there, in her 90's. One former neighbor lady from my childhood, the mother of two boys about my age, and I am 71. Those three are about it.

I had a total of 16 first cousins, combining both sides of the family. Four of those are gone - three died before their time (30's, 40's and 50's). Surviving cousins range in age from their 50's to their late 70's, and when they start to go, I will have that feeling of lonliness. I have only one sibling, a sister three years younger, who is in good health and will probably outlive me; our parents lived a long time - 85 and 90. I actually hope I do NOT live to be 85.
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