Why do some families drift apart?

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by 4timmy, Feb 25, 2011.

  1. 4timmy

    4timmy New Member

    Just got a call from my sis telling me that my aunt died. (Wife of my dad's brother who's also passed). What really stinks about it is that our family just stopped getting together for holidays, etc. once the grandparents passed away and it was really hard for me to understand when I was young why. Now, the only time we ever connect is when someone dies. It's just awful. All we can do is draw upon the PAST.

    I actually had to work up enough courage to call my cousin tonight and speak to her. I have no clue why!!! Guilt? I suppose. We were so close as kids. Her mother (the aunt that just died) was actually very verbally abusive towards her and I remember always feeling bad for her. She was an only child and I think my aunt and uncle stayed together just for her when they really should have split.

    Anyways, what a way to re-connect with your family huh? I think the last time I saw her was at my uncle's funeral..... so pathetic.
  2. shellyd67

    shellyd67 Active Member

    family dynamics can be so strange sometimes. I only see some of my cousins and aunts and uncles at funerals. Very sad ... Sorry about your Aunt.
  3. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    Organizing big family get-togethers takes a lot of time and planning. Usually this was done by the family matriarchs. As the older generations pass on, few of the next generation are stepping up to do it. Everyone is so busy, reunions are expensive, etc etc etc.
  4. Star*

    Star* call 911........call 911

    4t -

    My deepest heartfelt sympathy for the loss of your Aunt. My prayers are with your cousin.

    You know - our family is the same way. I miss it too - All the old men sitting around having A beer - not 20. All the women sitting in the kitchen talking and getting quiet when men or kids came in the room. Kids actually PLAYING outside. I hope maybe it skips a generation because my son seems to be very good at getting people together for gatherings. Not us - we're hermits. It even says GO AWAY on our door mat. (no really it does)
  5. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I'm sorry for your loss.

    I've been very fortunate with my dad's side of the family. We have family reunions every year. It used to be the aunts and uncles that planned it and now it is planned each year by the children of the aunts and uncles. This year, my sister, brother, and I are in charge. I wish I saw everyone more often but look forward to the time we do get together.
  6. Andy

    Andy Active Member

    Like most if not all relationships, if you don't actively work on them, they can just drift away.

    I have reconnected with my cousins through facebook. It has been an awesome tool as all my my aunts and my one uncle and all my cousins on my mom's side (I am the oldest grandchild) and my sisters and mom are all connected (as well as my nieces and nephews). We keep up somewhat through what each other are posting. It helped me connect with everyone while my Grandmother was dying and weather prevented me from going to see her one more time. Atleast I was kept informed each hour and each day of what was going on. It gave us a place to post pictures and memories. Today I posted a interest in a certain Spring item and it is cool that my aunt replied that it must be genetic because that is also her favorite Spring item and then my sister chimed in that she has already gone through a bag full. Awesome connection with relatives that I only see about every 5 years.

    My dad's side of the family have drifted apart. It could be because my dad is the youngest and many of his siblings have passed. I don't know my older cousins any more - usually we know our same age and younger ones the best. I don't even know how to find those cousins.

    I am so sorry about your aunt's passing. I do hope that this event has found a way for you to stay connected with your cousin. I am sure it is just as awkward for her but if the bonds were that strong in the past, they will be strong again real soon especially if you hold on to the ties.
  7. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    I'm so very sorry for your loss. My prayers go out to you, your cousin, and the rest of the family.

    On my mom's side of the family, once my grandmother passed, the family sort of floundered for several years........oh about 10 or so years down the road her children got their acts together and started up the family gatherings again, but it was mostly just them, the grandkids had all pretty much drifted so far away that it felt strange to come home again. And on my dad's........phht was never such things that I recall.

    husband's family? mother in law did it up right, the old fashioned way. When she could no longer do it, the baton was passed to me and I took it up. At times when, for whatever reason, I can't........my girls will pick it up. We work hard at being close and involved in each others lives. Ok, that didn't come out quite right. Hmm. I'm at a loss as to how to phrase it as being together isn't work..... But there are times when you're missing someone........and you need to pick up the phone and call them and tell them that. Or maybe curious as to what their up to, so drop them a line or two to see how they are. Ya know? It's so easy to get so caught up in our own lives that we drift far away from those we care about without realizing it. Then when it hits us......it feels awkward to make that connection again.
  8. skeeter

    skeeter New Member

    growing up - we were the one's out in the country with the huge yard, so we always had the family reunions. Mom's side of the family only, dad used to joke his family reunion could be held in the car. But once my dad died and my mom sold the house, we've not had a single one since.
    As a UK friend of mine quoted - hatches, matches and dispatches - that's the only time I see some of those extended relatives.
  9. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts

    I'm sorry for your loss. As others have said here the people who organized the reunions are passing; no one is stepping up to take over.

    My mom was the social butterfly that kept our enormous family connected. When she passed away my sisters, SILs, myself, even my dad have stepped up to keep the annual cook off, the golf outings, the reunions for both sides of the family going. Sadly, fewer of the cousins are taking the time to keep in touch. Family is so very important to me personally I hate to see this kind of stuff happening.
  10. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    Sadly, this does seem to be a sign of the times! When I was a kid, everything centered around my dad's very close large family. We all lived in the same area and my grandparents big old house was always filled with aunts, uncles and cousins and they got together at least once a week, usually more. Then when we were young teenagers we moved away from where the rest of the family lived and didn't get to see them for years, but the rest of them kept it up. Then the grandparents died, the old house was sold, all the cousins got married and started their own families, a few moved away. It's sad but that's the way it usually happens. I lost track of many of them for a while but try to see them all at least every few years. Some of the cousins live in other areas now and the ones that are still there don't get together very often any more either - mostly weddings and funerals. I have kept up with many of them on Facebook though, which has been wonderful. We could have kept touch by email but we didn't. And now my grandparents are gone and my dad's whole generation is gone except for one aunt and one aunt by marriage and we're all scattered.

    My mom was an only child but had been very close to many of her cousins and we were raised very closely with the children of those cousins. But then we moved away when we were kids, then my mom became disabled and my dad didn't keep up much with mom's side of the family. And now I have completely lost track of that whole side of the family! Of course, all the older ones are gone now but I've tried to track down a few cousins with no luck. It's difficult with women because they marry and change their last names. I even joined Ancestry.com and have been trying to piece together my mom's side of the family, which answered some questions but brought up many, many more! When I was a kid I never thought about things like that and now that I want to know, it's sad to think that every single person who could have answered my questions is gone now!
  11. Jena

    Jena New Member

    i'm sorry to hear that she passed, sorry you had to handle the phone call and feel awkward. i totally get you. if my aunt passed tmrw. id' feel same way contacting my cousin. we are friends on facebook yet tha'Tourette's Syndrome it. our lives took seperate paths and we too were super close as kids.

    i think it just takes a whole lotta effort to make the time to get together that alot of us dont' have in our busy lives.

    ((Hugs))) you never know maybe something good can come from it and you can build upon seeing her now this time and plan another time you get together than maybe add in kids and rest of family. ya never know life can be strange as strange as our families :)
  12. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    As a kid, I remember HUGE gatherings. Of course, my Dad's parents lived half a state away - but my Mom's parents... Each of them had 8 siblings! Mom was an only, and I am an only, but WOW!!!

    Then... There was some sort of family feud. Grandpa's favorite brother and Grandma got into it, and, well... Sigh. This happened about the time Mom, Dad and I moved 2000 miles away. We did go to a country-wide reunion of Grandma's family, in Arkansas, around 1992. I remember, the motel we stayed it, looked like Psycho... I wouldn't allow Mom to close the bathroom door when she was in there, and wouldn't close it myself. Spiders the size of dinner plates, too.

    Married XH in 1998 and started talking to great-uncle (fav bro) via email. He called XH "the Kraut" due to last name (I can tell you, uncle's first and middle names were Karl Marx... great-grandpa was a character). Apparently he printed out some of my emails and wrote Grandpa, and somehow they healed the rift before he died in 2000.

    I'm getting to know some of husband's family (cousins, one of whom is a "fun party" person)... mother in law was an only, and father in law had one sister, and apparently they hadn't spoken in years, and last year they started to again - Wow - Is it me? I did the same thing to XH's fam!

    Mom's parents' families have gatherings, still, but we don't go often. Most of the people we knew well, have passed on. Sigh. But we still keep in touch! (Facebook's great!)
  13. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    It's funny but some of the cousins I keep up with the most now as an adult were not the same ones I was closest to when I was a child. The ones I knew the best when I was a child were the ones closest to my own age. When you're a kid you don't hang out with other kids who are five years older than you are or five years younger. But now that we're all in our fifties and sixties and some of the older ones are even reaching their seventies, it really makes no difference any more! One older cousin has sort of assumed the position of matriarch, town crier and family historian. She has everyone's email address and keeps everyone up on what's going on with everybody else. Between that and Facebook, we do keep up with each other.