young matriarch

our family is dominated by women.  strong, independent women. 

grama has been the matriarch of our family for all of my life.  she’s dying. 

after her it went to my aunt, grama’s oldest daughter.  she’s been holding the position for the past couple of years as grama got more weak and confused and eventually went into a nursing home a year and a half ago.  but my aunt is dying.  it won’t be long now.

you would think the matriarch position would next go to my mother.  it’s funny because i was talking to my aunt about the legacy of our tiny little family when we found out the cancer was back.  a couple months ago my aunt and i talked about what it would be like once she’s gone.  we agreed that my mom just didn’t fit as the matriarch.  what was going to happen to us?

last night was my mom’s birthday and i went and hung out with her.  i gave her updates on grama, who i visited the day before, and told her things i had been talking to my aunt about.  we had a nice night, actually.  as i was leaving i told my mom i would be back sometime this weekend.  she surprised me by referring to me as the matriarch of the family now.  hmm.  off the cuff i replied, “well, somebody’s gotta do it.”  and she said, “yeah, and it’s gotta be somebody young enough to get around.” 

so weird.  i never before that moment thought it was passing to me.  i just knew that in the last couple of weeks as school was winding down and i saw my future opening up, i knew that visiting and spending time with my family was important to me again.  it’s fucking tragic in our family right now, but i somehow pull it together when it’s time to visit and i enjoy the time that we have.  i mean i really stay in the moment and i enjoy it.  it’s shocking because i’ve had a habit of dipping out when things get overwhelming.  but i’m where i want to be and i want to soak up every terrifying, sad, glorious end of life moment that i can.  and when this transition is over i’m going to step up and hold this tiny little family together.  we’ll grow again, we’ll get married and have kids and stick together. 

i’ll be that young matriarch.