Family ties that die
I did not grow up to be close or familiar with my extended family. I grew up without contemplating my familial relationships, accepting and unquestioning of their nature. Not long ago, the truth was illuminated to me by my father. I asked him why I felt so removed from his brother and his family. Little did I know the breadth of the situation. Dad starts with, “the story begins in 1973 in Manhattan. My brother, Jason, who is seven years older than me, had become smitten with a young woman named Julia. Jason had been swept off his feet and was deeply in love. Before their relationship blossomed into what it was, Jason introduced Julia to your grandparents. Things felt awkward for Julia, as well as your grandparents, because they were not fond of her. Jason had reached a crossroads, one leading to love and the other family. So he did what every good son does, and he asked his mother. Your Nana strongly persuaded Jason to not see Julia. Nevertheless, Jason grew closer to Julia and that eventually boiled over with your grandparents. Julia couldn’t take it anymore, and decided she would not be treated poorly by her in-laws. An ultimatum was established: leave your family, or leave me, she implored Jason.
So he left. He changed his name from Cohen to Carter, married Julia, and excluded my parents and me, for thirty years. It has created a rift in my life with my brother, and subsequently your relationship with my family.” I took a minute. “Dad, how could it be that Uncle Jason left his family because of one conversation?” “This story has different viewpoints, the breaking of ties and losing contact is all true. Just like Stories We Tell, we all have different viewpoints. If you were to ask your Uncle, his story would be different than mine because it is his life and his story. He has his beliefs, and I have mine.”