I left off about my aunt’s sister in my blog entry: http://40andoverblog.com/?p=5014. I have learned much since but it was hard for me to reconcile the information. My aunt’s blood nephew found his other aunt, thought dead for so many years, in an institution in New York City.
My aunt’s nephew, whom I want to claim as my family, is a good man. His mother’s papers left no clue, either, that a sister was alive. He is trying to do the right thing in a fractured family. He is also trying to find out about his family. Only a scrap of paper in my aunt’s files gave him a clue an aunt might be alive and he followed the trail until he found her.
She is 88 years-old. She was never “quite right” in her youth and her mental state has deteriorated beyond any ability to communicate. (Would she have deteriorated so, if she had family to support her?) She can provide no information about the family nor, we think, can she experience any solace that, after so many decades, a man she never knew existed came to claim her as his family and do the right thing. At long last.
But my newly-minted cousin can’t undo the decades of neglect by siblings — both his mother and my aunt — who lived within miles of her.
I asked my uncle yesterday, “how could this be that Aunt [blank] had a sister who needed help?” My uncle shrugged. He had no idea that everyone wasn’t dead. No one asked questions “in the old days”.
At long last, someone stood up for this woman. But it was too long in coming. Far too long to make a difference.
Now the weight of the tragedy is on our generation.
We must teach our children: Never again. Never ever again.