- The Simple Life
We had a really fun weekend connecting with our relatives on two sides of our families, and we have another weekend to go, with two more reunions, one Saturday, and one Sunday. How interesting that I am reading a book all about emotional cutoff, and had no idea the connection, so it was wild that all these ideas came out right when we have a chance to talk to so many of our relatives!
What an opportunity.
Emotional cutoff is when family units, for some reason or another, splinter off from some part of their family. My first thought was that it didn't really happen in my family. But with a closer look, I can see that it has happened several times on both sides of the family. Some families I read about had whole branches of the family living all around them, they didn't even know were there.
One amazing story I learned talking to an uncle.
When he was in high school, he had a locker partner, who became a good friend. He'd always known he was adopted. Nearly 10 years later, he found out that his good friend and locker partner was his half-brother! He found more brothers and sisters he didn't know he had. He also felt very fortunate that he'd been raised in the family he had. His brother told of a lot of instability and hard times. He had grown up in a stable, loving, Christian home. He was also happy to report that all his brothers and sisters had all come to faith in Christ, no matter where their lives had taken them. What a rich family history!
Sometimes cutoff happens such as I read about when one whole branch of the family died in the early 1900's in an influenza epidemic that was actually world-wide, leaving whole sections of families gone, or orphaned. Husbands were left with small children, and so were wives. They struggled to make a living and survive, while raising these children. If they were fortunate, they might re-marry.
Survival from the beginning of humanity has depended on two parents raising children together. As hard as it is now to be a single parent, imagine of you were without family, a widow, had small children and were living on a small farm or even in a large city.
But often cutoff happens for other reasons than disease, or even war. Many families are cutoff from the after-effects of war or migration to make a fresh start.
Several families I read about had parents who had left and gone on to have more children that were almost untraceable, which were half brothers or sisters. Finding these scattered family members often results in more clues about family relatives.
Sometimes there were cutoffs because of cutting someone out of the family over money or property, alcoholism, gambling, mental health and divorce.
A man told my husband he'd been kicked out of his home by his wife of 28 years because he became ill. "She said I was no good to her anymore." They divorced and he has been living in a motor home since. He was only 64, but looked in his 80's. He was glad he could finally collect Social Security.
When we find out the reasons for cutoff without blame, but out of curiosity and just to seek information, we become wiser people.
Take a folder of paper. Ask each family member to write down their parents, spouse and children. Ages, dates of birth, marriages, diseases, educations, careers, skills, even temperaments all are a bonus, if they are willing.
My husband said about his grandmother, "She was German, and not afraid to get out her switch. She also loved to knit. She once made a pumpkin pie, but it was really squash. She didn't tell her husband it was squash, so he ate it."
I wrote it down. I think it is an interesting piece of information my grandkids will enjoy many years from now. I wrote down what he remembered of the big old farmhouse he visited as a child. He can remember large family holiday feasts. I asked him the town, which he knew, but couldn't remember the road name. Later, he remembered. Maybe we can drive by someday and visit the area. Who knows? The old house may still be there. A photo would be nice for the scrapbook. I was on a roll and wrote down all the names he could remember. There were at least 7 children in his father's family.
Research is finding that people who stay connected or find cut off branches of family are often healthier and live longer when they can fill in the missing blanks in their family. The genealogists of your family have the right idea. If it's not you, try to cooperate with them.
Murray Bowen, pioneer in the field of family systems, believed that if an individual develops a person-to-person relationship with each living person in his or her extended family, it will help him or her "grow up" more than anything else in life. Being "present and accounted for" during significant family events was very important. Who knew getting along in life is tied to how well we get along with our own families. Bowen also believed that just one person can make a difference in helping to grow and heal a whole family by just getting started in the process.
Talk with interest and curiosity to the older generation. They often will impart huge chuncks of wisdom and insight. They deserve to be revered for the knowledge they have gathered over the years.
Still keeping it simple,