Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Welcome to "Club O"

My Uncle passed away this weekend. He had been very sick for a few months and generally sick for many years. In fact, I always remember him being sick from my earliest memories. He had diabetes, heart problems and was very overweight so if you add those up, it's a recipe for disaster. My father was the exact same and he died 16 years ago when I was in high school.

I'm sad about my Uncle passing away as this was my dad's only sibling so in a way, I feel like it's the end of an era. Sure, there are kids on both sides and the sons have sons so it's not like my family name is gone. But that generation is done and the knowledge and wisdom is gone with them. There are many things I wished I had asked my dad or uncle but never did. With my dad, he passed away suddenly so I didn't have much warning. With my uncle, he's been sick for a long time so I had ample opportunity to talk to him, but I never really did. I found it hard to be around my uncle because of his likeness to my dad. Maybe some people would have found that familiarity comforting, but I just found it too hard to handle.

So what's "Club O"? It's Club Orphan. To me, there is a distinct difference in personalities between people who have parents alive & well and those who do not. A friend of mine (who lost her mom years ago) brought this up one day to me to see if I notice a difference too. She & I concluded that when you lose a parent, something happens inside of you.

You have been orphaned and something intangible inside of you changes. And when both parents pass and/or are very ill, it's like that safety net is no longer there. You have to sink or swim. You're on your own and if you fail, you don't have a nest to run home to. Even though I'm into my 30's, there's been so many times where I've just wanted to run home to my mom and have her pat me on the back, give me a cup of tea and tell me "everything's going to be ok". People who have parents don't get this. They don't know how things are in Club O. And I look at them somedays and know the heartache that lies ahead for them one day...

I went to my Uncle's visitation last night and looked at my cousins with such heartache for them. A few of them mentioned to me that "I must know what they're going through". Yep. Went through it way too early in life. Even though my cousins are mostly older than me, it's still hard for them. You're never ready to join Club O.

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