I have chosen to distance myself from most of my family. From the mother who never felt I was good enough, even though she never said so in so many words, her actions spoke volumes. From the older sister who moved far away in more than just miles. From the brothers who have serious paranoia issues and no sense of commitment to anyone or anything. From the younger sister who does enough in her day with no time for anyone else, or herself for that matter. Do I regret that I have distanced myself at this time in my life? No, I have not.
You know what I do regret? I regret that when someone I love, be it family or friend, becomes sick or different due to their age, I retreat. I am basically, selfishly, afraid. I do not want to see the person that I love become someone else. As in most cases of age or illness, people are wont to change - whether they like it or not. I don't want it to seem like I shut these people out of my life, I don't. I keep in contact via telephone or cards meant to cheer them up, but I do not go to see them.
My favorite Uncle passed away a year ago April. Prior to that he was in a "rest" home for 2 years. I never saw him in that place. To me, he was not Uncle John any longer. He was not the man that saw me through my own father's death, supported me through becoming a single mother, supported me through the death of a fiance. He was simply a sick, old man. And I failed him. I believe he knew that I loved him and I hope he knows why I did not come to visit him. I think he did - he and I were very similar. I choose to believe that he understood because that makes me feel less guilty.