Monday, February 04, 2013

And Then There Were Three............

As I've said in some blog post years ago, my mum was one of twelve; yes good guess, a Catholic family  !  As far as I know, the photo above is the only one of the lot of them together and by my reckoning, was taken in the mid 1930's.

I say this because my mum was born in 1922 and she is the one 3rd from the left holding the youngest, Kevin.

As of today, Kevin is the only male still alive as his brother, Edmund, died last night.  It seems he had cancer but swore Kevin to secrecy and he kept that secret.  Edmund and Kevin left the ancestral farm in N. Ireland while I was still at school there and moved to England.  They lived about 85 miles apart since then and visited each other regularly.

Over the years, death has reduced the 12 until now only 3 remain, 2 aunts still in N. Ireland and Kevin in England.  The irony is that I'd been planning on visiting Edmund for some weeks now and kept putting it off. I've all the time in the world and he lived in a delightfully picturesque English village called Chaddersley Corbett near Kidderminster in the Midlands so it's a nice drive and a lovely destination.

Sadly that came into my thinking as I decided I wanted good weather for the 300 mile return trip and even thought about getting a Travelodge or something nearby to spread the visit over 2 days.  Then, as I've thoughts about visiting Devon this summer, I thought about visiting Edmund on the way down there as my route would take me only a few miles from him.

Now it's too late.  He's gone.

We rarely know what the future holds although to some extent, Edmund did.  I can't say that hiding his cancer from everyone robbed me of getting to see him as he had it for a relatively long time and I've had more than enough time to go and visit him......I just kept putting it off.  My fault.

The 12 were always very close.  When I was growing up, the aunts and uncles were always visiting each other and rarely a day passed without one or another dropping in for a cup of tea and a 'bite to eat.'  It was that generation - no mobile phones, no internet.  If you wanted to chat, you visited.

I found out about Edmund's death via a Skype call from a relative in Manchester.

We may have moved on enormously in terms of communication options but somehow I feel we've lost something along the way.


Richard Speight said...

Sorry for your loss Ian, and as you say we often put things off until it's too late.

Milo said...

"It was that generation - no mobile phones, no internet. If you wanted to chat, you visited."

Agreed, and we have lost something. It is the same with email/letters. I got an email from an aunt today (my mum's closest sister) asking for advice about something for her daughter (my age) for her bday. I sent a nice newsy email back, but it was written all in lower caps and took me under <5 minutes. I remember writing my aunt & uncle long, thoughtful letters when I lived abroad all those years ago. Now it's a string of sentences in an email and done and dusted on a whim in minutes. My failure to use caps in any non-work email is a sign of me 'receding' into the 'txtmsg' generation... ugh.

My condolences for your loss; a sad story.

The major interview I was meant to have tomorrow has just been postponed (due to the death of the interviewer's father) and the very nice old guy in my building (the dowager's uncle; Italian), who is 87, had a heart attack over the weekend I just found out. Not a good time of year.

Silverback said...

Thank, Rich.

Jay at The Depp Effect said...

Oh, no .. I'm so sorry. I know how it feels, because I've done the same. There are several relatives I wish I'd taken the time to visit more often, and now they've gone and there are no more chances. But do I get off my lazy backside to visit the ones that are still alive? No, I do not.

And I have no idea why.

Edmund clearly didn't want a lot of relatives turning up at his bedside with long faces. I suppose I can understand it. But when a good friend and ex-neighbour died after having cancer for a few months and her daughter rang to let me know, that's all I could think; why didn't someone tell me so I could have gone to see her, or at least have been prepared?

rhymeswithplague said...

Sorry to hear of your Uncle Edmund's passing. I was raised alone as an only child but then at age 17 became part of a family (through my father's remarriage) in which I became the middle one of five, and my stepmother herself was the next to oldest of ten siblings, five boys and five girls, nine of whom all lived within 20 miles of one another. One brother had moved about 300 miles away. Hardly a weekend went by without several of them gathered together and fortunately they all seemed to love one another, too.

Helsie said...

My mother , also born in 1922, was the fourth child in a family of 14. Today there are six still surviving my mother the oldest. Another old time family who remain close still though distance has meant they don't see eachother as often as they once did. Mum used to do a circuit once a year to visit each sibling and their offspring but age has meant they mostly they visit her these days.
Modern families don't have the same closeness do they?

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