I received bad news last night- someone in my family has died, possibly, or probably, he took his own life.
He was related to me by marriage, but that marriage ended and both moved on. While I haven't seen him in some time, he was around for a good chunk of my life. It is so hard to understand how I'm feeling. I think it boils down to the idea of family and the definitions we place on it. Technically, he wasn't related to me any more, but does that make him less a part of the family? It certainly doesn't make our grief any less, or easier to wrap our minds around.
He was a genuinely nice guy but as my mom put it, "f*cked up". But as I said to her, "aren't we all a little bit?" I get that about him and a lot of people I know and care about. This is just one more event is a series of difficult things that are currently going on or have occurred in the family recently. Things I can't talk about here except to say that we're all just trying to help each other through step by step.
I've been mulling over whether I would say anything here or not about what happened. The fact is that when my mom told me yesterday afternoon, I didn't feel anything. There were words I was hearing, but they didn't have substance to them. My Mom was understandably upset and I was trying to help her but I couldn't feel anything at the moment. I felt a little useless. Then Bean woke up screaming and I was trying to deal with her, making me distracted. I know my mom understands.
It wasn't till I looked up the news article on the internet about the incident that I broke. Seeing his picture, broke open the dam that was holding all the emotions in. A monumental flood. When it passed, I didn't necessarily feel better but in a way I did, if you know what I mean. Though, even typing this last paragraph brought another wave on. A momentary release.
It's a reminder that the ties of "family" go beyond blood and genetics. There's the saying that you can choose your friends but not your family. I disagree. You can choose your family; and right now, we're grieving for someone we cared about and who meant something to us. It's the realization that family goes beyond life, and death.