My Grandfather in law passed away yesterday. Ever since Bonnie Jean and I married I've known he was very weak. Barely made it out to our wedding. But still its unexpected when it happens. I was a little surprised how much its hit me. Never knew him that well, only met him a few times. I was verging on tearing up when I asked my manager for time off for the family events coming up. I was telling Janet (my manager) how Bonnie Jean was much closer to her grandparents than I'd ever been to mine and I just choked up a little. Hit me by surprise, but then, since when have strong emotions given me much warning of their coming?
The closeness of extended family among my in laws has always struck me as a little strange, in fact made me a little jealousy for time by myself with Bonnie Jean that I realized wasn't forth coming because major holidays were centered around grandparents, not married couples and kids. But its such a different feel to walk into their 'compound' where all the married adults and even some of their adult children who lived in the area together pitched together and purchased a very large home in which they could all live together with the grandparents. Perhaps it wasn't all the siblings there (obviously not my wife's immediate parents) but everyone was welcome, no massive gaps, no seething family politics boiling just under the surface. A place where the family could be together, be weird, and be themselves. And to a certain extent join in and be myself. One of the only places on earth I'll probably tell a complete stranger they made a Joule of a comment and have them respond "Watt, it was nothing special" and have someone else respond "Ohm my" without any misunderstanding and without the sense that my behavior is tolerated out of public generosity other than by a different complete stranger protesting that our puns are reVOLTing.
Describing this living arrangement to a professor he responded that that was obviously a family that had created transcended human beings because no one but the transcended could live so close together with immediate family into adulthood without them wanting to rip each others throats out (paraphrasing of course). Just thinking of my own broader family now and I think I have to agree. Maybe give it 20 years so that all of us are well into adulthood. Then maybe things will be different.
But for now I'll have to settle for having lost some opportunity to better know and understand
a patriarch who could preside over such a family.
3 months ago