The one cousin on my dad’s side I have who I didn’t really grow up with has been reaching out to me recently in light of Ed’s passing. The funny thing about us is that even though we didn’t spend much time at all together during our childhoods, we have a lot in common. We’ve been sharing lengthy e-mail exchanges about the drama and sentiments around his father’s passing, my brother’s passing, and our generally dysfunctional wider family that we are entwined in. He also has left the Bay Area to pursue a happier, more hopeful life with his wife.
He has told me that although it may be hard and painful, sometimes cutting out the negativity, even if that means shunning some family members, is what we may need to fully heal and give ourselves a chance at happiness. When there are too many negative influences around us – those who complain and do nothing about their grievances, those who self-loathe, those who do nothing proactive to help themselves or help others, we get weighed down by them and consciously or subconsciously become like them.
I know this is necessary, but it’s always good to have someone who can remind you from time to time to make sure you are actually following through on this.