By Sparky | October 20, 2007
Sitting in the crisp cold of an open-air stone mausoleum in Walla Walla lays the ashes of Tami Anderson, the estranged aunt I never knew. I’m a little confused as to how I should feel about the whole experience – I never knew her, talked to her on the phone, or really knew of her aside from knowing that my mother had a sister.
After getting the call nearly a month ago informing me that ‘Tami has died’ I’ve gone through a strange progression from barely knowing of her existence to slowly lifting the shroud of mystery that has long covered my mothers side of the family. I’ve reached to my mothers half-brother (trailer-park loser), searched the internet for her abusive and estranged father (rotting in a California Veterans Center, broke, drunken, and worthless), and sifted through death records looking for other half-siblings and blood relatives.
The more I learn the more I realize how my mother is a shining star – an amazing person who has made a name for herself, becoming a loving wife, mother, and friend. She has propelled her career to lofty heights, is a well-respected pillar of society here in Walla Walla, and has a network of friends that care for her. When I look at the rest of my mothers estranged family and compare it to the family I know and love it’s obvious that the two are night and day.
After attending the funeral today I feel strange about the experience. It’s weird sifting through all the photos of Tami and looking at her lives leftovers I feel like I should feel something, but I still not a spark of emotion or connection stirs.
I know my sister has some desire to reach out to the side of the family we never knew, but my brief brush with them has left me with a sour taste in my mouth. I have no desire to dig deeper into the depths of that particular branch of my family tree, preferring to leave it to slowly age from this earth, myself and my sister it’s only real legacy.
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