Family shrinking?.

When I was a kid, my Aunt Joyce died. I think it was cancer. I remember seeing a wig in her room on a Styrofoam head once. Well it was my room, but every time she and her daughter (who hated me) came to visit, they'd take my room. I was around 10 years old I think when she passed away
Aunt Joyce was my dad's sister. He had a really big family. One other full sister, 3 full brothers still living, 2 half sisters, a half brother and 2 step brothers, plus all their spouses and kids. Also at that time his step dad was still alive (my grandma and grandpa died before I was born) and there was at least one great uncle. They all came to town for the funeral if they didn't live here, and many stayed at our house.

Mom and Dad had a huge spontaneous family reunion at our house after the funeral, like is traditional for the South. They had a huge cookout, plus all the food that people brought over as well. I remember it being a great time with family and everyone agreed we needed to get together more and don't let it be a funeral to force it next time. When Dad passed away I was 17, we lived in a much smaller home, but I still remember so MANY people coming around, almost all family. (I didn't go back to the house after Mom's funeral. I didn't want to be in her house without her there, and I just didn't want to be around anyone. It was rough, and I prefer being along I guess. But I'm sure it was a huge party. )

Well, eventually Mom started organizing the family reunions.  When she passed away in 2005, my Aunt Thelma (one of dad's half sisters) continued it.  This year, there were lots of empty tables at the reunion, and my little family of 5 that went were probably a quarter of the attendees. In the past, it was packed.

Well, tonight I went to the funeral home again.  My Uncle Frankie passed away. He was my Dad's youngest full brother. Uncle Frankie requested no big service at the funeral home and a closed casket. He didn't want a fuss, and will just have a small graveside ceremony. They had receiving of friends tonight. There were a fair number of people, but not like previous ones. Though people who had not come to the reunion were at the funeral home.
The core family has kind of broken apart and the kids are grown and gone off on their own and don't do the traditional things like gather for funerals.  I'm guessing there will be a gathering at his house with Aunt Brenda and my cousins and their families, but I won't be going as I don't know that side of the family very much. And I think this may be the case with a lot of the family.

So, maybe it's not that the family is shrinking, but rather just growing apart and more distant. I guess this is normal, but it's sad. The original brothers and sisters and fewer in number now, and those of us in the next generation and beyond will just have to move on to our own family and create our own traditions and get togethers.

And you know what's funny... people asked me about things they'd read on my Facebook page! Haha.  And two people asked if I'd heard from Mom or if Mom was coming - then they looked mortified - and said "I mean your sister, Connie!" HAHA  She's 11 years older than me. They can think of her as Mom if they like.  My Uncle Glenn said I didn't look old enough to have a 19 year old.  That was nice too haha.