I always missed my mom who died when I was four but I don't think I ever stopped to think bout how difficult it must have been for my big brother Hank who was probably 12 at the time or for my sister Jane who was probably nine at the time. I didn't know what was happening but they did. It must have been very difficult for them. My brother was losing his mom who took care of him and kept him close. My sister Jane was probably even more devastated. Her role model, the lady who taught her how to be a lady. Having lost my first wife after 15 months of marriage, I am sure my dad was probably devastated.
A lot of times, we get caught up in our own thoughts and problems and never think about how other people are affected by the same action. Can you imagine the lost a daughter experiences as she is just beginning to enter adulthood. A girl who is beginning menstruation and experience the emotions of dealing with people -- especially boys who are going through a similar maturation process with hormones raging.. Girls who may be jealous and boys who are not really interested in you but what they can get from you. Wow! Being a male, I can't begin to imagine all of the things a 9-10 year old girl would go through -- especially if she doesn't have any aunts or grandmothers close by to caution and guide her. I'm also sure that having a bratty little brother under foot wasn't very helpful. Probably a significant portion of the responsibility for looking after me fell to her.
It was probably a little less emotional and traumatic for my brother because he had my dad to come to in times of discovery and questions. Being as young as I was, I don't really know how receptive and willing my dad would have been to discuss the situation -- especially immediately after losing his wife. I'm inclined to believe that there are some things that only a mother can caution and give advice on -- even to little boys. I'm sure one of the things that he would have needed advice on was interaction with girls and social skills.
My dad's sister and aunt lived in Pittsburgh, about 180 miles west of Carlisle. So while they may have been able to provide some comfort via the telephone, I can't imagine that they would be that handy or helpful. As I remember, my mother's family weren't that close. I don't know why but I just don't remember them being there for us but at the same time, what does a 4-5 year old boy understand abut these things. The more I think back on it, the more questions