This Furniture Made Possible by the Family Tree

I am due to inherit some furniture from my grandmother. She is still alive and still very young for having a large family and great-grandchildren. She has early stages of Alzheimer’s Disease and has Parkinson’s Disease. She simply cannot live alone anymore. She has always given her most precious stuff away through the years, even in the best of health. She found it creepy to imagine fights between people for stuff after she dies. It was a sound plan, and we all appreciated her gifts and I believe it made us respect living and dying more than if she had waited until she was gone.

My family is probably no different than a lot of families. But they are certainly different. We are huge, for one thing. And very segragated. The siblings are, at least. The 2nd generation, the cousins, are not. We are a pretty tight unit, despite our parent’s weirdness. I am grateful.

My grandfather was an incredibly loving and accepting man for his time. Had no notions of what was or wasn’t appropriate, knew right from wrong (and did both, alot) and loved his children, until the disease of depression kicked in and took that all away from him. He once removed a door to a bathroom that his unwed teenaged and pregnant daughter was hiding in, only to hug her once he got inside.

He stood by her side from beginning to end. He accepted and loved his first grandchild, me.  He broke his daughter out of a home for unwed mothers to spend the holidays with his family, and when he was questioned about what others might think, he replied “fuck ’em”. Kids ran in and out of that house all of the time. My aunt’s and uncle’s spoiled me rotten. That one city block was my entire world. I had no clue anywhere else even existed.

My grandma was a bit different. She was a bit cooler minded and worried about social norms than my grandpa was. But she was a wonderful grandmother. She put up with a lot of philandering from my grandpa. She was very much in love with him, even after they divorced. I had no idea that grandparents were even allowed to divorce. But they did. I have always had a closeness with my grandmother. We look exactly alike. We had the same aspirations, the same voice, the same attitude.

The thing that I don’t understand is that even now, with all of it’s arguments, separations, taking of sides, tragedies and outright denial of the simplest things, every last one of these people shine, in one way or another. They are hilarious. They are sharp. They are extremely loving. They keep the “kids” out of the “adult’s” issues. For every ounce of ridiculous, they are extremely hard to dislike. It’s very hard to stay loyal to the person they are tormenting at the time, but it’s just as hard to take sides. You just want to love everyone.

How can such a phenominal group of people turn out so twisted? Is it the result of just too many kids and not enough parents? Too many drugs and too much beer coupled with 10 generations worth of depressive and crazy genetics? My aunt is our family historian and after she did her homework, she determined that genetically speaking, her mom and dad really never should have gotten married. There would be no hope for two sides of nuts like that. And she was right. But here is to hoping that it skipped a generation. I think that is has, fingers crossed.

My grandpa is gone now. My grandma is leaving…one way or another. My aunt’s and uncles are all in their own groups and don’t seem content just avoiding each other. The only thing the masses seem to agree on is that at one point in time, we were quite perfect.

My furniture awaits.


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