My parents divorced when I had just turned 15. At that time my father's family sort of divorced me too. I had been pretty close to them, especially my grandmother but for reasons that I've never been able to come to terms with, she chose to pretend I didn't exist after the divorce. Eventually I lost all contact with that side of my family. Not only did I miss my grandmother but loads of cousins too.
A few years back I ran into one of the cousins that still lives here. My grandmother and most of the aunts and uncles, including my father have passed on now and most of the cousins live out of state, but this cousin visits me at work pretty often and keeps me up to date on most of them. Last year I even got to see my favorite aunt and uncle whom I was close to as a child. Conversation was a little strained but after a little while I remembered why they were once my favorites. The shock of their appearance after 35 years went away pretty fast because pretty soon the gray haired elderly lady who once had flaming red hair and the older man who recently had his leg amputated because of Diabetes revealed they were the same beautiful woman and handsome young man that I loved so as a child. The shock of seeing me after that much time was probably pretty weird to them too.
Last week my cousin came in with some pictures of me as a child, school pictures from 1st grade up until 8th grade that my mother had sent through the years to my grandmother. Some of them I hardly remember, not even sure my mother has them so it was a treasure to me and a gesture that I appreciated greatly.
I always feel sad when I think about the years I missed with these people. I know divorce is hard on everyone but I share the same blood with this side of the family just as I do with my mother's side. I guess I'll never understand why my grandmother made the decision that she did but I never stopped loving her or any of the others. I wish I could tell her that. I wish after I had gotten grown and before she died I'd made more of an effort to do that. But I guess you're just not as wise at 20 as you are at 50. And that's a real shame.