My mom has always tried to keep our extended family close together however; my dad’s side of the family basically remains a mystery to me. My dad’s father and he had a falling out after my dad’s stepmom basically took him away from us. My dad’s mom died of Alzheimer’s disease when I was still in middle school and my dad’s step dad never wanted to pay for any of her care and now it seemed that he needed similar care. My dad had two siblings: my aunt Paula and my uncle Reuben. The ties on that side of the family are so bad my dad only learned my grandfather died through an obituary found online. This brought my dad and his sister somewhat closer together but not his brother.
After weeks of not answering his phone I was put in charge of trying to track him down through the Internet. While we never became close my uncle and I, I was shocked just how completely he fell off the grid and was nowhere to be found. I scoured the internet for hours, trying to find a recent scrap of information about him. I knew he owned property at one point in Sag Harbor and also in North Carolina. That’s really all I knew though. I tried calling countless numbers online from the Yellow Pages, Yellow Book and other people search engines. I exhaustively searched Google for anything that might point me to where he might be. I even look at Ancestry.com. All I did was waste several hours because when it was all said and done I found no more information. My parents even had the cops begin looking for any signs of him.
I was shocked. I thought with the power of the Internet it was impossible to hide everything about one self. I was also shocked that my uncle would have taken off and let nobody know about it. It was another member of my dad’s side of the family we lost. Like I explained earlier, we were never close with my dad’s side of the family but we are very close with my mom’s side of the family and since I barely knew him it didn’t affect me as much immediately as it should of. However, as time goes on I sat and thought more and more about it. To this day I still search to see if we can find him, but I know the chances are slim. This experience has taught me the importance of family and how I should never let go of my siblings, cousins, aunts and uncles for nothing. We may not always agree but to think I could very easily lose a family member forever is frightening to me and I hope that never ever happens.