More family funerals.
For years, we have discussed another trip down to visit Trickey's Maltese Aunts. Years.
We even discussed doing it on Good Friday weekend, but ended up cancelling. Why? Pain, a friend cancelling our Sat/Sun visit, exhaustion...
Then I get on Facebook and read that one of the Aunt's has died that day.
Which made me feel really sad/stupid/angry at myself that we had put it off for so long.
Hubby and his brother are the children of the youngest sibling, we'll call her ... no I can't give her a false name. Everything I know of her is linked to that name, because I have never met my MIL. Rosa is the family tragedy that still makes them cry to this day. Which is possibly another reason we stayed away, it's not nice to know that every time you visit, you will bring on memories that make the Aunt's cry.
After my Princess was born, with her face so blatantly a lighter haired version of Rosa as a baby, that the Aunts and Uncles remember so fondly from their childhood, it got better. Smilier.
Then Rosa's long lost adopted daughter appeared and then took off, betraying the family, causing more tears and Then...
My depression and lack of more children made things difficult and the visit's tapered off. The Princess stopped looking so Maltese and her German heritage came out.
Trickey's German Dad came back into the Maltese Family's picture, unwilling to reunite with his son and new adorable granddaughter, but okay with visiting his in laws. Until... and no one will tell me what happened, but something happened and the crying began again. Nice Bloke. There were many visits around this time. I was very much a confused-in-law.
*sighs* This is not the post I was trying to write.
At the funeral, which was calm by our family's standards, we caught up with so many cousins. Heard so many stories.
Cousin R. told us that she always looked forward to Aunty Rosy visiting, because she was so lovely. Aunty Rosa (which is what I tend to call her, having heard her called Aunty Rosa more that any other term - even though she is my husband's mother) kept her figure slim, always had her hair done and a little makeup on. The smile that lit up on Cousin R.'s face showed how warm and happy these memories were, as she finished off with "and Aunty Rosy smelled so lovely." in an adoring and affectionate voice.
I treasured this up to tell Princess, as I have so few stories of her Nonna to share that are happy. Cousin R. also described a photograph of Rosy with her sister, the recently departed Aunt, that I had never seen. She was saddened to realise that we only had 9 pictures of Rosa, which I had spent many years scouring the Aunt's photo collections for, borrowing to get copies made at the local photo centre and then returning. Addresses were shared and I have hopes for a new picture for my still heartbroken boys.
30 years ago. 30 years ago my Trickey and his brother lost their Mum. All that is left are these impressions Rosa left in people's hearts. I am crying as I write this, because they needed her. How could she leave them?! Cousin R. said she loved those boys so much, that she never would have left them and we talked about the trauma's Rosa had been through that would have driven her to a state where suicide seemed a choice.
Cousin R. also said both boys had never heard the word "No", though she rushed onto say that they were well behaved, not complete rascals. I am quite aware that the word No is foreign to my two boys. For all the difficulties they went through, growing up in the Foster system, learning to be self reliant, learning how to choose who to trust... When they are feeling safe, secure and happy, there is still an element of surprise when I say "No".
Cos the Female Matriarch Figure doesn't do that! What's up!
As the Princess says it...they are used to hearing, "OK, dear."
"I want to drive my 2 yr old brother down the very steep driveway in a go cart I am testing out."
(Some scars are usually pointed to on the younger brother during this story)
"Can I have a chocolate eclair for lunch?"
"I want to take my horse out riding all day, see you!"
"Mum, I'm going to see what happens when I put explosive fuel in the incinerator and light it."
I have no idea if that is what Rosa said, but those boys still go ahead as if they have the permission to do whatever mad thing takes their fancy. Love them both so much. Pair of brats.
Talking to Cousin F., he had been with Trickey's Dad the day he died. (Both work in the same industry in a country area) WOW! He had administered CPR until the ambulance came, then he was so overwrought, he just patted the Evil Step Mother (the accurate name I am going to give the woman who would be my step mother-in-law if Trickey's Dad hadn't abandoned and legally divorced himself from his son - I will never understand or forgive him for this and every day I offer up thanks to the foster family that took my boy in) on the arm and said he was sorry and had to leave to cope with what had happened. Just wow.
Of all the family, only Cousin K. came to Trickey's Dad's funeral, partly to be there for Trickey and partly to make sure the bugger really was dead.
Talking with Uncle V. and Aunty T. is always a highlight of our visits, they are definitely my favourites. I really have to struggle with their accents, but as long as they don't have too many of the other Maltese family around, I can manage. When there is more family around, they start interspersing Maltese with English and this is my cue to sit, with a polite smile and just enjoy the atmosphere.
A hug for Uncle M., husband of the recently departed Aunty D., and he
was so pleased we were there and made sure we got to speak with each of
his 7 children, the cousins.
Cousin M. and Cousin J. both had long car related conversations with Trickey, which is male bonding and just good fun. Cousin I. found out that we live near a remote control plane flying area he visits and got our addresses to call and visit when he comes up. Cousin P. was curious to know how we found out, as no one knew how to contact us. When I replied through Facebook, his eyes got sad and he said how one of his children had found out through social media, even though he had asked the family not to say anything for a few days, so he could personally call each person. (SO MANY relatives!) In our case, it was good. I am sad for the child who found out her Granma had passed on via the internet, though.
I mentioned to Cousin K. that I had spent too much of the past year catching up with families at funerals and we decided to host a family reunion some time this year. I am Excited! Too many relatives for any one house, so we need a hall or park...but I don't trust the weather, so I am hoping to find a reasonably cheap hall.
And yes. I intend to bring circus equipment. Cos it makes people smile.
R.I.P. Aunty D. You live on in my memory as your kind words of advice with my newborn, your enthusiastic smile and your openly welcoming us into your home.