Monday, 9 March 2015

Death of a Family

All dynasties die ... maybe that’s why they're called that. The word itself infers the decay of some ancient aristocracy with no relevance in our real world. But what if it's OUR family or OUR perceived dynasty that died? Because we only experience it once, and most likely not yet, it's a prospect that we never entertain until it strikes us. We may die - but family is immortal. Right? Wrong. Every dynasty dies - remember?
Family death is not necessarily a bad thing because nothing lasts forever. Evolution uses death as a tool for change so the next generation of families are made better, as in stronger and more likely to survive, more supportive or more supported perhaps. Less fickle and more robust either way.

Family is very different for every member of it and as such, is a very personal experience. Members die but if someone is expelled, then that's evidence of a structural deficiency that has already doomed it. To the surviving members, it morphs into various transitional forms, but entropy has taken too huge a bite. There is no such thing as the last family member because no man is an island and it had to be dead long before. Death is the culmination of life. It happens all the time and is the inevitable fate of everything we will ever touch.

Take it from me, we don't always see it coming. Suddenly a brother or two become insensitive and a sister or two are cold. Whispers follow tepid welcomes. They are not the same people for whom you automatically do things simply because they ask. That was the perennial and assumed reciprocity that has been broken. To them, you have become an opportunity to extract a quick buck. We're not talking big bucks but we are talking principle. They become quite abusive when you protest and you try to make sense of what comes out of their mouths but they now talk greedish. You no longer know these people and are appalled. No longer siblings but total strangers and even enemies, but the only one surprised is you, or in my case me.

Of course the apple never falls far from the tree, or so I was told, by a wise head on young but observant shoulders. That means I possibly share some blame. So I cool down enough to recall that I spent a lot of time working abroad and just assumed the same people would be there when I got back. The annual holiday at home became bi-annual and then I missed a critical wedding or whatever. Time away from family is interpreted by some as letting that membership expire.

In my experience, previously close knit families are automatically drawn to the unelected 'Committee' style of governance to fill the vacuum left when the natural order of 'Parents' has passed on. The problem with secret committees is that they may never post the minutes of the meeting in which your membership was finally and fully revoked.

A brother knew you had no membership when he played the part of the abusive landlord and the other the same while playing his lawyer. Always within earshot, the committee prepared the next 'Private' agenda.

The solution is to apologize unconditionally for expecting to be treated like family and for being outraged when you weren't. You then walk away from the dead thing, but don't forget to take the lesson painfully learned.

Seeds can't survive in the shadow of a plant that has grown too big for it's roots. It must find its own space and use the nutrients of what grew there before. Families have a lot in common with extinct empires.

As the definition of one crumbles and falls, I think it's best not to cling to it. Let it go and look away. Nearby, vibrant new families are pushing their shoots into the sun. They will surely benefit from the space you willingly vacate and from those gems of hard lessons learned. Evolution demands that we either apply them, pass them on, or lose them forever.

Regardless of how difficult they were to ingest, we should be thankful for all lessons. So, I assured my previous family of reciprocated civilities should our paths cross. Sounds sterile but no man is an island. Destiny gave us common roots which might yet produce a great purpose.

This human tragedy is nothing to those who have yet to experience it, but it shakes the foundations of our worlds when it happens to us. It might carry no significance for those born into the Ochre Worlds because they are surely very different from us - right? But - All Dynasties Die. To use a nautical term - my new book (Ochre) has built up a real head of steam and nothing can stop it now.

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