The last weeks have been rather intense.
First, two of my mother’s younger siblings visited for a couple of days. The routine – as usual - had been, that they would be visiting their old hounds and remaining relatives in the area, taking mum with them. I never knew when they would return – but was expected to show up at mum’s flat as soon as they had. One evening they wanted to have dinner at our place, but they couldn’t tell me which evening would be convenient, for that would depend on when they would be able to leave the place of whichever relative they were visiting …
So I had decided on serving a plate of regional specialties, which I would sample from a farm outlet shop as soon as I got the call that they would be coming over to our place.
Seeing them again was nice, but the waiting and not knowing when they would show up, was not.
The day after they left, I went to a family gathering with cousins from my father’s side of the family. We attended church to pray for the members of our family that have already passed away, and then after church we gathered at a restaurant, had a nice meal and chatted the afternoon away. That was nice.
The next Sunday I went on the most extensive hiking tour, I’ve done so far. More than 8 hours walking time, more than 20km and 1200 m difference in altitude. And a quite difficult terrain - well, difficult for me.
On our way back down we knew we would pass a small pilgrimage church, and we had intended to rest there. Just at the moment we arrived at the church, my mobile rang. My nephew, being of the same age as me and living in another part of the country, called me. I thought he might be in the area visiting his parents … but he had to inform me that his mother, my oldest half-sister had, died rather unexpectedly.
My 3 siblings (children my father had in previous relationships) all were adults at the time I was born, had their own families and, in case of my oldest sister, already children of her own – and were living in different cities than the one we lived in. Basically, I grew up not *with* my siblings, but in the knowledge that I had siblings, which I would see once or twice a year. I have to confess, I do have cousins I have closer emotional connections to.
Nonetheless I’m deeply affected by my sister’s death, which made me realise just how short life is.
My nephew interviewed me on who would have to be contacted on father’s side of the family, for my sister didn’t really have much contact with anyone, beside my mum and me. So I told him the addresses of the two remaining uncles, and offered to inform my other two siblings of his mother's death.
Now my other two siblings do not only share the same father, but also have the same mother – but had had a severe falling out over the inheritance of their mothe, and haven’t spoken a word to each other ever since her death more than 18 years ago. *Sigh*
It truly surprised me that my brother offered to come to the funeral rather instantly. On the other hand, it didn’t surprise me at all that my remaining sister didn’t. She does have health problems, and her husband isn’t the most considerate of men and wouldn’t want to driver he, so that was that.
I would have wished to see that part of the family under happier circumstances – but we all vowed to be getting together more regularly from now on, maybe in the manner of the gathering with the cousins a couple of days previous.
And parallel to all that, I had been assisting Larva with her hunt for a small flat in the city she has chosen to go to university to. We’ve been looking at quite a few flats, and have been dismissing most of them. But finally – incidentally right after my sister’s funeral – we found one that would be perfect.
On Thursday, we will get the keys, and then we will start with the cleaning, painting and furnishing. That, at least, are going to be good times.