sending a ping out

I am estranged from one of my uncles, and consequently, from two of my cousins. Or maybe he’s estranged from my family. Not sure how that whole estrangement thing works. It is seriously not as formal as it sounds–there is no process no organized method of release. Estrangement is a crazy hectic road that ends abruptly. Regardless, we’re not on speaking terms.

These are two cousins I spent happy days with as a child, before they moved back to Korea, before their father got divorced (whereby the female cousin cut herself off from him, her brother, and us and left for her mother’s house after a furious protest and hunger fast), and before their father pissed my father off (whereby we cut ourselves off from him and them). Whereby all ties were severed. We were all in junior high school when we last saw, talked, corresponded with each other.

Not too long ago, I was handed some data about those cousins. One of them, the female one, is married to a Stanford Ph.D. student. That means she lives within driving distance. It maddens me to think that I can’t get ahold of her, even though she is within such close proximity.

Not too long after that piece of information, I was handed the mailing address of the other male cousin (her brother). I’ve mailed him a letter. No response. I mailed him another letter after that. No response.

This holiday season, I’m mailing him a holiday card. I expect no response.

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10 Comments

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10 responses to “sending a ping out

  1. chaesq

    Urgh. I hope you get one anyway. And I hope it’s nice.

  2. We also a small family estrangement: my mother and one of her cousins. As a result, I have been estranged from her son, which is odd, since I really like him and always have. Anyway, I found him on Facebook recently, sent him an apology for any role I might have played in the estrangement and we are now in contact again!

    Hope you have luck with your cousin.

  3. hyunjini

    hey, props to you for making the effort and extending yourself.

  4. Talk to me about family estrangement, I’m an expert. 😦 My husband has no connections to his first cousins and we have fairly recently reconnected w/a set on my father’s side. Blame it all on weirdness between the parents. But one day they will all be gone and so will whatever tenuous tie between the children now adults.

  5. I have a cousin I’m estranged from. It’s very sad actually. I’m an only child and she and I were like sisters to each other when we were kids. One day some twenty years ago she got mad at me over some guy nonsense – specifically, me spending more time with my bf than her – and though we’ve seen each other for the occasional family function (once every ten years) there’s no relation there anymore. My aunt tells me that the cousin in question has no intention of ever talking to me again.

    I’ve been mourning that kinship for twenty years now.

  6. Why can’t you get a hold of the female cousin? Because she cut herself off or because you don’t know where she is? If it’s the former, I would contact her anyway.

  7. charlotteotter: Facebook is amazing in that way!

    hyunjini: thank you–I just say to myself that at least I tried.

    arirang: family estrangement is something inherit, don’t we? it doesn’t go away when the people who quarrel pass on…somehow the children take up that battle.

    Smiler: oh, dear. I hope that someday that does get resolved–maybe the aunt can help?

    bustopher: I don’t know where my cousin is, she has a fairly common name. She’s the one I really want to contact, but I just can’t track her down (firstly because she cut off contact to her dad and doesn’t want to be found).

  8. Leila

    I’m the one who cut self off from family in my 20s – parents only; the cousins were all distraught about it. Also family friends, uncles and aunts, etc. Then in my 30s we worked it out, much to everybody’s relief. Now I’m seen as the “good” daughter and other cousins/siblings get to be the rebellious ones who don’t call enough or come to holiday dinners when expected.

    There’s one family member I ignore as much as possible at get-togethers, and another I would ignore if I ever saw him, which I don’t. My larger family does have a couple of pretty bitter estrangements, but there are so many of us cousins that there’s still plenty of love to go around.

    I have lived so far from most of my kin that they aren’t close enough to bug me. We talk by phone and now that there’s a crisis in the family, I am grateful for their phone calls and support.

    Hope you make contact with that cousin, Jade, and hope she’s evolved enough to let old resentments drop.

  9. This post really got to me. I am estranged from all of my cousins too, ones whom I was realllllly close to in my childhood. Our parents don’t speak to each other and I guess out of support for that, the “kids” have stopped contact as well. It’s been many years. I recently found one of my cousins’ children on Facebook and even though she friended me she wouldn’t give me the email or contact info for my cousins. I’m really sad about this. And since my birth family is not in contact with me either (their choice, not mine) it’s hard for it not to all pile into a big heap of rejection feelings. Sigh.

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