Even the best of families have their demons.
But first the good part: We had a great reunion with a great family. Of the 5 siblings families represented we were missing only ONE of our 11 children. For the first time ever 10 of our children were together and my kids were reunited with a cousin they haven't seen in 10 years. It was wonderful. We missed #11 a lot, but the cousin who came said it definitely won't be so long before we see him again. If you are reading this Billy - I am proud to be your aunt. Or aunt-in-law or whatever you consider me.
We got to see first hand the insidious disease that alcoholism is. This family has suffered the effects of this disease for many years, as their oldest brother committed suicide under its effects and his clinical depression. He was a wonderful man. He did a terrible thing. Family members still do not want to talk about it 23 years later. His nieces who never had the chance to meet him want to know how and why, but they want to know him and hardly anyone will talk about him. His absence is felt every time.
If it ended there, I suppose it would be okay. Others concern us greatly and have for years and it went from laughable to just tragic as we watched the effects of alcohol each night. It is heart breaking.
I am not a tee-totaler by any means. I like a good margarita and a great glass of wine. I had a taste of a pretty good margarita and some really great wine. But I remained sober and played lots of board games with my absolutely fabulous nieces. I love these girls. Including DD, we ranged from 15 - almost 30, only missing the 35 year old niece. We also played poker and they are much better than me. I lost a lot of M & M's.
One niece in particular wanted answers this weekend. We talked to her and was honest. I felt choked up as I realized that these girls feel like something is missing. I remembered being a child and missing the fact I didn't have grandfathers. I always wanted to know them and my parents shared with me about their father's so I felt some connection to them. It probably wasn't my place to have this conversation but this child is 17. DH and I shared. His son shared a little too. I think it was good. I was hoping it would open up into something more on a spiritual level.
There are so many things I could talk about concerning this reunion. We loved hosting it and loved being with our whole family. We laughed a lot and cried a little. We hugged and watched videos and ate too much. We took a great trip to the mall (well, just me and my girls) and baked brownies. We were a family for at least a few days and it was great.