Grief is a powerful emotion. I think probably because it consists of so many emotions.
I think, like many of us, life gets in the way of staying in touch with people who are important in your life...even if that importance was decades ago. I remember being very young and, honestly I think during the time my parents were divorcing, we spent what now to me seems like a great deal of time with my Aunt Helen and Uncle Eddie. They had blueberry bushes in the backyard and my sisters and I would go out in the morning and pick them for our cereal. Aunt Helen had candy dishes and plastic covers on the furniture in the living room. There was a big (to my mind's eye) playroom downstairs with a ping pong table and I remember my cousins (Aunt Jo and Uncle Tommy's boys) and my cousin Maggie (Aunt Helen and Uncle Eddie's only child) being down there.
Through the years and into adulthood I stayed in touch. More and more peripherally. I was greatly saddened by Uncle Eddie's death, it came as quite a shock. Somehow family thought my sister was communicating the situation and my sister somehow thought it was not her story to tell, blah blah (more bad communication. By the time I got "over" it, life got in the way. And after my mom passed, I was not able to embrace any family relationships, not for a very long time.
Many of my memories of my young life are blurred and indistinguishable. I think this makes the ones I do have stand out with great clarity. That is how my memories of my Aunt Helen are. I pretty much suck at personal relationship maintenance, years of counseling and the best answer I ever arrived at is that this is true of many children who are very young when their parents divorce, a factor perhaps in the likelihood of generational divorce. But, at some point, I did become an adult and could have reached out to reclaim those relationships with my father's family. I have some regrets in my life and that is certainly one of them. I have been trying to get together with my dad and stepmom for three years now, but between their family members being ill and passing, my surgery, and career building life keeps getting in the way.
For my fellow emotional eaters, stop letting life get in the way of what is important. Reach out it may actually be worth putting your vulnerability on the line.
I will miss my pint-sized, impeccably dressed, and well mannered Aunt Helen and will cherish those memories of a young and oblivious little girl for the remainder of my years.
Have a happy, healthy, and safe day