Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The Downside Of Being An Only

I am an only child. I didn’t grow up wishing to be surrounded by siblings, nor do I remember feeling particularly lonely. It wasn’t until my maternal grandmother, Nina, died when I was 25 yrs. old and I watched how my mother and her older sister supported each other that I realized how this “only” status would prove to be a handicap, as I grew older. It was then that I decided I needed to get serious about having my own family because when the rubber meets the road, you need to have family and good friends to help you travel the peaks and valleys of life.

Over the past four weeks, I’ve had the honor of witnessing my girl, Alexis, as she, her two brothers and mother, assisted her father, Alec, as he succumbed to cancer. Without putting all of their business out on Front St., let’s just say the family’s been blindsided by their father’s sudden diagnosis and subsequent death in just three weeks, but through it all Alexis and her brothers have been absolutely amazing. I’ve often heard folks say that weddings and funerals sometimes bring out the worse in families, but not Alexis’. Nope, this family has always been tight and through this incredibly difficult time they’ve been supportive of each other and their mother, and handled themselves with such grace.

On the ride home from Mr. Alec’s inspiring home-going services, I was overwhelmed with a sense of gratitude because unlike 18 years ago, I am no longer a single, only child, but now I have Loverman, the kids, an extended family and wonderful friends that hopefully will be by my side as I meet the inevitable challenges we all face as we get older.


T.I.C. said...

although you don't have siblings, you do have your owm family and family is everything.

Los Angelista said...

My heart goes out to your friend and her family. Three weeks is incredibly sudden and I'm not sure how I'd deal with that. You make me think about how wonderful it is that we're born with family but we can also make our own families to support us. The thought of getting the call about one of my parent's death scares me a lot, but I also know what a comfort it'll be to have my sister there as well as all the sisters and brothers I have who aren't really related for me but are down still the same.

Nerd Girl said...

Leaving Lovegirl "alone" is the only thing I regret about our decision to only have one child.

When my aunt - my mother's only living sibling - died, I was grief stricken after watching my mother break down at the gravesite while softly repeating "I'm an orphan, I'm all alone now." At the time my mother was 49 years old with a husband of 25 years and four children. Strange, that this memory gives me a measure of comfort when I'm beating myself up for only having one.