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Old 01-20-2016, 08:13 AM
 
16,019 posts, read 19,703,264 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, I lost my last brother April 2013 and my only Sis July 2011...I spent the last couple years progressing through grief....

I finally feel normal....meaning for example I enjoyed decorating and doing some holiday get togethers with my adult kids. Doing normal daily activities.

I'm in my early 60's...and the oldest. My brother that died in 13' was my baby brother. Somehow you don't expect to outlive your younger siblings.

It is soul-saddening to know there is no one anymore that shares your childhood memories...that just gets you.

As I said, I progressed through grief...I finally got to the point that I knew they would be fussing at me for not "living"...so I'm getting on with it.

My advice to all people, if you are fortunate to have an older relative...spend time...ask questions, start a video diary, record them telling family stories....it is so healing and priceless.

My condolences to your aunt.
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Old 01-20-2016, 08:59 AM
 
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I'm an only-child, the son of an only-child, who was himself an only-child. Three out of four grandparents passed before I was born, and so many other relatives perished in WW2. On my mother's side, there were some relations, but most have passed. My parents have passed on. I have no children (by choice) and no spouse (not by choice). In the US, I have zero relatives. In the "home country", I have a total of 4 – whom I've not seen for decades, and most of whom are in senescence and decline.

At my instigation, my mother wrote a kind of diary/autobiography before she died. Written in an uneven and barely intelligible scrawl, in a jumble of languages, it nevertheless is haunting connection to the past.

Memories are never eternal; we delude ourselves in thinking that a folk-continuity or written-record will endure indefinitely. But what ceaselessly frustrates me so much is the American cultural imperative of "family", or "family values". So often we hear, "Family is everything, so that if you don't have family, you don't have anything". Doubtless this is wise rebuke against the estranged, to not disregard their kin. And it's useful reiteration that our individual gains and accolades are of limited importance, compared to the human connections of blood and tribe. But what of the practical consequences? We talk of the needs of "working families". Well, what about "working singles"? When there is a natural disaster or security-emergency, the workplace closes, with employees instructed to return home, to "be with their families". Well, with whom shall singles be?

Lastly, and crucially, there are implications for dating. Yes, it's the wrong subforum for that; but considerations bleed over from subforum to subforum. The imperatives of dating, the stakes and consequences, are very different when we already have family, and are merely looking for a romantic partner – vs. when we have nobody whatsoever, and are looking for another human with whom to feel kinship. It also exacerbates the feeling of "desperation", so destructive and pernicious for any attempt at dating.
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Old 01-20-2016, 09:05 AM
 
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My sister died before I was born, and there were no other children after me. I've always been on the top of the mountain.
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Old 01-20-2016, 09:52 AM
 
Location: Idaho
1,455 posts, read 1,157,295 times
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My comments in blue

Quote:
Originally Posted by ohio_peasant View Post
But what ceaselessly frustrates me so much is the American cultural imperative of "family", or "family values". So often we hear, "Family is everything, so that if you don't have family, you don't have anything".

My observation is that Old World cultures put a lot more emphasis on family connections and family values than America. I also disagree with the statement or interpretation that "if you don't have family, you don't have anything". Yes, we frequently hear about the important of having a family mainly in the sense that it is usually considered one's support system. I don't recall hearing or reading that other elements of one's life (friends, community, achievement, career etc) are considered insignificant or meaningless.


But what of the practical consequences? We talk of the needs of "working families". Well, what about "working singles"? When there is a natural disaster or security-emergency, the workplace closes, with employees instructed to return home, to "be with their families". Well, with whom shall singles be?

IMO, 'working singles' mean adults who usually can take care of himself/herself whereas children are implicitly included in 'working families'. When there is a natural disaster or security emergency, working parents should return home to take care of their children. Again, it is expected that an adult working single should be able to take care of himself/herself and likely does not have family responsibilities.
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Old 01-20-2016, 11:12 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BellaDL View Post
Yes, we frequently hear about the important of having a family mainly in the sense that it is usually considered one's support system. I don't recall hearing or reading that other elements of one's life (friends, community, achievement, career etc) are considered insignificant or meaningless.
By my observation, mainstream American culture extols the ideal of "family", as building-block of society, to which all other connections – friends, neighbors, coworkers – are secondary. Doubtless there is much hypocrisy and divergence between theory and practice. But those very same "old world" societies, I think, expend less effort on the vocal advocacy of family, in rhetoric and public policy and national discourse. The upshot is that persons without family aren't so marginalized.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BellaDL View Post
... it is expected that an adult working single should be able to take care of himself/herself and likely does not have family responsibilities.
It's true that a single adult without children has by definition fewer responsibilities than those with children, and fewer personal commitments than say those with a spouse or elderly parents. But attending to responsibilities, in time of emergency, is only half of the matter. The other half is that our families are supposed to provided us with solace and emotional support, with a warm embrace and kind words. Lacking a family, one lacks such support. The implication is that a person without family is less of a human and less of a citizen.

This is also why there's pressure to have children, while we're still of an age when family-formation is sensible. Advance by 20 or 30 years, when the putative children will have become young-adults, and the presumption is that the resulting kin-network will provide emotional support, even if the now-older person is in great health and financially secure.

The alternative is a society with less emphasis on kin-group and more emphasis on a community of unrelated persons… or, at the risk of politicizing the discussion, Comrades. If kin-allegiance is weakened, and state-allegiance (for lack of a better term) is strengthened, we become less reliant on having parents or children or siblings or whatnot, instead deriving our emotional support from acquaintances and institutions.
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Old 01-20-2016, 11:27 AM
 
635 posts, read 405,599 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Serious Conversation View Post
I feel bad for her and realize we probably don't have that many years left together, but I personally didn't know any of her brothers or sisters that well, with the exception of one sister who passed away several years ago. I can't remember seeing the men more than once every few years or having a conversation of any meaning with any of them. Not trying to come off as callous, but most of those great aunts and uncles were essentially strangers to me.

I am not going to read through all of the posts here, but what the heck does your closeness, or lack thereof, with your aunts and uncles have ANYTHING to do with how upset your grandma is over the loss? As someone else noted, this seems incredibly callous on your part. And this is not a first time thing. I DO understand if you have atrocious social skills. I do too, and I know that often what I say is misinterpreted. BUT, if you do not have that issue, I cannot help but suspect that you might be deliberately hurtful and cold. If this is not the case, I apologize, but please try to present a bit more cognitive AND effective empathy.
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Old 01-20-2016, 11:49 AM
 
Location: San Antonio
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I am the oldest and the only one remaining of my siblings. Brother shot and killed in the line of duty at 31, my precious sister died of cancer this past June at 58 yrs of age. It does shake you up. There is suppose to be "order" and you feel a kind of "survivors guilt" when you bury your siblings. Mom and Dad both gone, and only a surviving Aunt left (and she married into the family, not related by blood). Lucky to have a house full of grown kids, wonderful hubby, darling grandchildren and my sister daughter, who was an only child and has now joined as one of ours along with her hubby and 2 daughters.
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Old 01-20-2016, 12:39 PM
 
6,637 posts, read 3,756,268 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?
Not yet. I am one of five (the middle one). We just lost the one of us. Now there are four. Anything can happen, but I suspect I'll be second to last to go.

I miss the sister who died. It feels wrong, there being only four of us. Even tho we aren't close, there have always been five of us. Like a toe missing. You know there should be five.
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Old 01-20-2016, 12:48 PM
 
5,429 posts, read 3,455,723 times
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Why do people feel compelled to post when their personal situation has nothing in common with those of whom the discussion is about?

And then to not stop there, but to tell the universe and everyone in the forum that 'no, I am not one of you at this point' and 'I have everything that you do not' but even more touting that 'I still have a whole bunch of relatives'?

And yes, one can contemplate possibly being in the situation in the future (but not really usually if one has had children who live a full life span and are on speaking terms), without writing self-centered posts about how they are surrounded by relatives and touting that they are surrounded by relatives.

Last edited by matisse12; 01-20-2016 at 01:26 PM..
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Old 01-20-2016, 12:54 PM
 
12,721 posts, read 14,093,600 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vicky3vicky View Post
I am not going to read through all of the posts here, but what the heck does your closeness, or lack thereof, with your aunts and uncles have ANYTHING to do with how upset your grandma is over the loss? As someone else noted, this seems incredibly callous on your part. And this is not a first time thing. I DO understand if you have atrocious social skills. I do too, and I know that often what I say is misinterpreted. BUT, if you do not have that issue, I cannot help but suspect that you might be deliberately hurtful and cold. If this is not the case, I apologize, but please try to present a bit more cognitive AND effective empathy.
It seems clear to me that Serious Conversation was contrasting his own feelings with those of his grandmother, and also this particular posting was being done in response to a previous poster. There was no implication that I can see that his grandmother's feelings were inappropriate, and his were the correct ones. Perhaps one of the postings you didn't read was where he regretted that there hadn't been closer relationships/communication in his extended family.

From what you then go on to say, you have weighed him in the balance and found him wanting in the past.

And then you launch into an extremely vituperative denunciation of the OP with all sorts of very ugly and nasty speculation; finally coyly flipping out a self-serving "apology" after this display "if this is not the case."

Given your past umbrage, why have you not just put him on an Ignore List instead of continuing to read and rage?

You have encouraged the OP to examine his conduct, you might take a page from that book yourself.
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