Saturday, January 12, 2013
For the past 8 or so years, off and on, I've been on a search. When I've had a moment to dedicate to the cause, I've been looking for family members that I've not seen or heard from in many years. This week I found not 1 but 6.
My mother's side of the family is more aloof, or so I've always seen them that way. I grew up far away from most of our family on both mom and dad's side, so it wasn't a natural thing to really get to know them. Both parents weren't the most sociable as well, which cooled down family ties over the years.
After becoming part of the Abella family, I wanted to find more of my own. Sure, I've kept in contact with a couple of family members, including one I consider my "second mom", but that's nothing compared to the family ties that I saw and continue to see in my husband's family.
Hubby has a family that is both local and scattered, if that makes sense. He has local family via his mother's side, which are Kansas born and raised many generations back. He has family within a block of his family home, and all over the little town he grew up in, and out in the county, mostly concentrated in a 2 to 3 county area. He has family also scattered throughout the US and Cuba. Despite the distance, they try to see each other or at the very least email or call or write one another. They keep the family ties tied tight.
I wanted that, and in a way still do. So I started searching for family I hadn't seen since my mother's funeral in 2003. It was a messy thing, with mom dying within 2 weeks of being diagnosed with lung cancer. Family fought with family over meager belongings, which mom had tended to prior with a living will and a list of what she wanted to go to whom, and had put her care taker in charge of the legal stuff. Unbeknownst to family, including sisters, that wasn't me.
I lived 6 hours away from her and my sister, 3 hours from other family, and was a single mom freshly out on my own and tending my Kevin. At the time he was medically fragile, and it was all it took for me to make it from one day to the next. Family outside of where I lived was not exactly my highest priority. I was not ready for the expedited loss of mom, especially after losing dad in 2000 to cancer with even less notice. I kept in contact with mom when I could, and she helped me when she was able to maybe buy a few extra groceries or put a little gas in the car. She helped fund my way away from my abusive ex (Kevin's dad), or I wouldn't have been able to leave and make it to a safe shelter and be able to start life over.
Fast forward 3 months from the day she helped me leave, and she was dying. I don't know if she knew before an "official" diagnosis, but the doctor told me and her caretaker and so on that she had 2 weeks. Exactly 14 days from then, she was gone. During that time, I made sure she got to see her youngest grandbaby (at the time), I tried to be there as much as I could and still keep my job. I tried to be in both places as much as possible, and the night she died, I was at home 6 hours away, and a hospice nurse in the nursing home she'd went to just days before called to tell me she'd passed. Her care taker gave me info on her funeral, I was told what I could take home from her apartment before the care taker cleared it within the time frame given, and we buried mom. It seems like decades ago, and it almost is one.
One of the things I was given was mom's address/contact book. I kept it in my purse, along with a toy that she'd given to Kevin. I never left my purse anywhere, never let it out of my sight. Then one night at work my purse was stolen, with that contact book and all my ID's/checks/etc. And the toy. I lost all addresses, phone numbers, etc of a ton of family members. I didn't have any of them memorized. Within a day or so after the funeral the caretaker dropped all communication with me and any others in the family, and that was the last I ever heard from her. The rest, I had no idea.
Not too long after, I started searching names online, trying to find some info. I didn't have lots of time to dedicate to the mission, so I fell flat each time. My searches usually led to the places where you pay for subscriptions, and it seems I never had the extra to part with. So my searches went on and on. Then, this week I hit paydirt.
I found on Facebook 2 nephews!
Then things turned downward, the happy feeling to bittersweet. I learned the sister, the next sister in age older than me, was dead. She'd committed suicide. No one told me. I'd been looking since 2004 for her, no one in the family had bothered to tell me she'd died, let alone how. I never got the chance to try to clear up misconceptions that went on between us. I never got to show big sis that I wasn't what I was made out to be. And I never got to share the gospel with her. As far as I know, she didn't know Jesus.
My sister was in her mid 40's when she took her life. She had multiple medical issues, many related to uncontrolled diabetes, which runs rampant in our family. She also had a long history of mental illness, with a psychiatrist who'd been put in prison for some unscrupulous actions. So, her treatment wasn't optimal, and she suffered with depression for most of her life. She was close to mom, and mom's passing combined with misconceptions she harbored pushed her beyond her abilities.
It's been many years, but it is fresh to me. I just learned this week. So I am grieving the loss of my sister. I grieve that I never got to tell her all about how Jesus loves her and wants to be her Savior. I'm saddened that she never knew the One who could have delivered her from her depression. It didn't have to be.
Something can be taken away from this....tell your family you love them. Tell them about Jesus, if they don't know Him. So what if they may not like to hear it..they need to know!
God is the Healer, He takes care of hurts and heals all wounds. And someday very soon, there will be no more tears, no more sorrows, no more hurts and fears. Only Him.