User blog:ZeroTigress/Broken Pillar

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A recent trip to reunite with family in California initiated some progress with deep-rooted problems in my extended family, namely with the elders. I was the last grandchild my grandfather got to see before he passed away 2 weeks after I was born so I never got to know him personally. From what I hear of him he was the inherent leader of our clan, having used some government connection to fly his family out of Vietnam at the onset of war. My grandmother, mother, aunts, and uncle all looked to him to uphold order in the clan. But when he passed away, the family descended into chaos. My grandmother could not command the respect that her husband upheld when he was alive and so fights broke out often amongst her and her children. My cousins, sisters, and I grew up hearing nothing but accusations and anger from the elders whenever the family got together and didn't really understood why we were able to get along fine but they couldn't.

My youngest aunt and uncle have always been the voice of reason in the entire clan and have been playing the part of mediator whenever fights broke out between their older siblings and mother nowadays. Basically the problems in my clan have boiled down to one person: my grandfather. Everyone was not only dependent on him to manage the family emotionally, but also financially. Because of that, the elders have never really learned how to properly manage money and many issues in the family stems from that mismanagement. Aside from my youngest aunt and uncle, every one of their siblings became selfish when it came to helping each other out and it has ruined any sense of relationships they've had with one another. For most of my life, the elders of the clan have been living in the past because the shock of my grandfather's passing kept them from moving forward.

Until now.

My youngest aunt and her husband sat down with us first generation American members of the clan to understand the problems in our family and how we were the key to stopping that senseless cycle of distrust and hate. Unlike our parents, we ourselves have the knowledge and education to know better and to move forward from the past. Although my mother and aunts have started making some progress in salvaging what relationship they have, the elders still have a long way to go. For others in the clan, progress may never happen. So it's up to us kids to lead the clan to a better future.

Visiting my grandfather's grave with my relatives felt as if I was getting to know him for the first time and saying goodbye all at once. Although I thank him for getting my mother and my aunts, uncle, and grandmother out of Vietnam before things went bad, at the same time, he did a disservice to them by making them reliant on him for everything. A family isn't about the head but everyone as a whole. Us first generation members of the clan have bonded closely together growing up and it is that bond that will keep us together as a family moving forward.


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