Totally Random Post: Family Reflections

31.5.12 ShaSha LaPerf 0 Comments

This post isn't really about anything Asian or Black related, but more a reflection about my past week or so. I've been out of town and just got back home today.

So last week I found out that my uncle died and this week my mom and I drove up to Michigan to go to his funeral. When my mom told me about the death, I knew I had to get up there somehow since my aunt had died just two years ago, and I'd missed her funeral because I'd found out about it at too short a notice and I was graduating at the same time. So we loaded up the car and headed back to what had been my home for over 20 years. On the trip back to Maryland today, I had a lot of time reflect and made me realize something so important and so common sense. I love my family.
For the most part, I was one of those people that loved my family, but was also extremely frustrated with how dysfunctional they were, especially on my dad's side. My mom's side is loaded with all kinds success stories. There are doctors, lawyers, engineers, you name it. Yet, Her side of the family was always more on the colder side and seemed disjointed. I was rarely around her side outside of my grandfather and aunt, both of whom had died years earlier.

My dad's side is a different story. A serious mix of country and ghetto with the women having two first names and the men having prison records. Drug users, drug dealers, yep, my dad's side had them all. But the one thing that got me was just how close knit they were. Despite not being the most educated and richest, they planned lavished and fun family reunions and picnics. It's the type of family where you don't just mess with one of mess with ALL of them. And despite me not wanting to have any connections to their much shadier side, I always felt a bit more comfortable around them than my mom's side.

When my mom and I made it to Michigan, I was really sad over the fact that I hadn't seen my uncle in so long. However at the same time, I was pretty excited to see my cousins. I have a lot of cousins...I actually have lost track of the number I have but my uncle's kids and I were the closest in age and we would be the ones causing a ruckus at the family reunions. They moved out of Michigan around the time I moved to Japan, so it had been years since I'd seen them as well. They were both surprised and happy to see me and my mom at the funeral--apparently the only person that knew we were coming was one of my aunts and she neglected to tell anyone.

What got me about the funeral was just how many people had come to pay their last respects to my uncle. The place was packed--some folks even came up from ATL to the funeral. Pretty much every available family member on my dad's side was there, just reinforcing how tight knit they are.

For me the best part was at the end of the day. We went to my late grandmother's house to give my uncle one last send off: 100 white balloons were shot out in the air. However immediately after that, it was no longer mourning for my uncle, but a celebration of his life and our family. My male cousins and uncles brought out a set of horseshoes, a game my uncle loved to play. We got the music going, food was brought out and suddenly it was a happy family reunion. I got to hang out with my cousins, one of which was falling into the same zones and some of my aunts and uncles. I was so happy to hear that she had earned a Master's degree and turned into a mature young woman. An aunt of mine who was on drugs throughout most of my life, I had turned herself around and become one of the most beautiful people at the house. My mom and I couldn't stay too much longer since we did have some other family members to see before we made our way back to Maryland. But I made sure to get contact info and pictures of my family before leaving out. I don't want to lose touch with them again.

It's funny. I'm sure on the surface many people probably see my dad's side of the family as a bunch of hoodlums and I can't say decision they've made has been the greatest. But dammit, they're still my family and I gotta love them.

Okay, enough with the rambling, I'm hitting the bed. It's a freaking long drive from Michigan to Maryland. I'll get back to the regular blog posts and responding to comments later this weekend.