I’ve talked about my genealogy research many times, but I was remembering back to, I think it was 2008, when a distant cousin on my mom’s side began an intensive search to find as many relatives as possible. To my awe, and annoyance, one of my first cousins made it very clear that she was vehemently opposed to this family tree being built and had no interest in it — her pronouncement of “I’ve got too much family already” shocked many of us. What an insult that was!
Several of us were perturbed and felt that she was too self-centered (and indeed through the years she lived up to that hype). But I have often wondered HOW could you have too much family? I am very aware of a traumatic time period where my husband and I lost all four parents within a four-and-a-half year period. I guess when you have family and loved ones, you are vulnerable to that aching pain when you lose someone. Maybe avoiding that pain is worth it, to some, by not allowing yourself to grow attached to someone else; but then look at all of the joy you are missing out on.
Since that first distant cousin whet my appetite for learning all about my roots, my lineage, and my legacy, I’ve actually gotten to meet (sometimes only in the virtual sense) many, many relatives. I’ve learned things about my family that I hadn’t even thought of before and now, since so many of the older generation are gone, I am having to dig up more of this info on my own. I’ve learned that my paternal grandmother (my dad’s bio mom) was one of at least nine children and I have gotten to meet a couple of her great-great nieces and nephews, or better known as my third-cousins. I had no idea anyone of that side of the family even existed. I’ve actually made good friends with some of the people who share my bloodlines. I’ve become friends with distant cousins on my mom’s side as well.
And yes, it is true that you open yourself up to more heartaches when you care about more people, but the times you can speak with them and share, and find out how many similarities you actually have, it fills your heart with joy and wonder. It’s unfortunate, but I know that I probably will never get to actually meet some of these people face-to-face, but luckily our internet capabilities do allow us to “see” each other and talk in real-time. Being surrounded by family is just so warming. I think the biggest problem I have is not being able to spend time chatting with each, there just isn’t enough time.
And of course my long-term friends and more immediate family members are not lost just because I’ve reached out through the vast web of relations. By the way I saw a meme on Facebook today that said simply “If you’ve been friends for more than seven years, you may as well be family”. Indeed some friendships (non-blood) have lasted longer and have been closer than some people in the family you are born into. Whether there is actual blood between us or not though I could never close myself off to the people that surround me, virtually or in close proximity.
No, you never can have too much family.