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When Families are Apart

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Growing up in a higher middle class family surrounded by uncles, aunts, cousins, grandmothers, grandfathers, their brothers and sisters, friends and others, I am accustomed to certain rules, regulations and closeness to others. I would hear one relative talking to another other or gossiping on some other relative in groups but when the time came everything was under the mat and everything was business as usual. No matter how many differences were there between people they covered it up and never let them surface. We as children didn't even know what was going on. Even though we felt tense situations we were never aware of the seriousness of them. If someone was drunk and was misbehaving the others in the family took care of it and everything was a hush by morning. If someone got sick others took care of him or her. If there was an elderly member who was deathly ill all the family members took turns to care for him or her. We never had our doors closed for anyone. We never had to call someone to visit anyone. We just went and we were never turned down for a dinner or lunch. Hospitality was the number one priority in our families. There was always enough food cooked for one or two more people just in case. Most of all I have never seen the women in the house having problems with each other or fighting for places.

As the time went by and we children grew up to be adults, we also grew apart with some of us being married to people away from our hometown. Some of us like myself went off to other countries. Some newer family members did not like the idea of being too much with the family so they moved away only visiting for major events. Most of us had only one child since we couldn't bring up more than one in present day conditions. Everything was considered before the child was born and planned. Except for me, most of my brothers, sisters and cousins had only one or at the most two. Most people in my age group worked and didn't have anyone to care for the children at home. Daycare became expensive and kids were always sick being in preschool. So our kids grew up to be individuals with very little knowledge of family ties and how relations worked despite our efforts to keep them communicated. We explain to them how we used to live and how important it is to keep up with family members. But still my kids don't even remember half of my close relatives like my uncles, aunts, cousins, their kids, etc. They only remember some of our brothers and sisters and their kids. They grew up to be too practical I think, thinking about how to make a living today rather than how to keep up with relatives. I don't blame them at all. In today's economy where people are constantly struggling to get somewhere in life and survive, who has time to think about others? Some of my nieces and nephews are not planning to marry or have kids at all. They think they are happy the way they are. They actually don't have time at all to think about married life or life with kids. Weekdays they go to work and come home in the evenings dead tired and with absolutely no interest in doing anything else. Weekends they just go out meeting with some friends or dates and that's about it.

I remember crying for days for my people and my parents after coming to America. Even now I remember how it used to be in festive seasons. I regret every day not raising my kids with knowledge of the relations and importance of relations in order to stay healthy, peaceful and alive. I failed to reiterate to them a lonely life is a miserable life towards the end of life. I forgot to mention to them that they don't need thousands of people to make friends with or to have company, they only need their own people to be wanted. Company is what we lack in this day and age where we are dealing with individualism and we don't have tolerance for company. But emotions are important, the feeling of family is important, and feeling wanted is important because at the end we don't want to be dead in some lonely apartment while our sons or daughters live in the next street waiting for their retirement. People need people to live more than anything at all because, OUR LIFE MATTERS.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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