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First Christmas as head of the family.

(31 Posts)
HUNTERF Sat 08-Dec-12 23:37:25

My father passed away earlier this year which means I am the oldest at 64 and a pensioner. We were all very upset when he passed away even though he was nearly 90 including my 3 granddaughters.
They only called my father grandad and I was Uncle Frank and their their other Grandad was Uncle Peter until he passed away and I am now being called Grandad Frank.
Up till my fathers death I did not really regard myself as a grandad even though this was the case.
Today one of my daughters said I am now the head of the family. Grandad Peter is 3 months younger.
She is probably correct. I must however say I am finding this difficult to come to terms with.
I am now thinking it may be more difficult accept that I am the oldest in the family at my age than by somebody who has lost both parents when they are in their 40's or early 50's.
Does anybody agree with this?.


Granny23 Sun 09-Dec-12 00:11:07

I think I understand your feelings Frank. Are you worried that 'Head of the Family' responsibilities have landed on your shoulders when you are past your prime? Have you suddenly realised that the next death in the family will probably be yours? It does take a bit of getting used to, but when you think about it, as your father's carer in his latter years, you were already taking over his responsibilities and whilst respecting his wishes, you were the one carrying them out. 'Head of the family' is just an honourary title for the oldest member of the family. There are no onerous duties required of you. In your position, I think I might want to keep a watchful eye on the wellbeing of the rest of the family and act as a mediator if any dispute arose between them but you do not HAVE to do that.

My Parents and Grandparents all died in their 60's and 70's so I am aware that I probably do not have the longevity gene, whereas on the basis of your Father reaching 92 you may well have another 30+ years to live. Do not waste them by worrying about the future. You have been a good son, a loving husband and father, now the time has come for you to complete the set by being the world's best Grandad, maybe even a GreatGrandad some day. smile

Jodi Sun 09-Dec-12 00:56:19

Suffering from insomnia in an unfamiliar bed so cruising GN for company.

Hunter don't you have any older females in your family. You write of 'uncle' this and 'granddad' that, but never a mention of 'aunt' or 'grandmother' ...???????

Granny23 Sun 09-Dec-12 02:19:20

Jodie I don't think there are any older females in Frank's family. I do know that his Mother and Wife both died some time ago. sad

Jodi Sun 09-Dec-12 08:16:50

It's the other way round in our family. Older men short on the ground as they've either passed on or are mentally confused, whereas the woman go on forever.

FlicketyB Sun 09-Dec-12 08:18:29

HunterF, When my father died at the age of 92, I was 64 and it came as a shock to me as well.

As the eldest child, and the only one with children and grandchildren. I suddenly realised that while my father was alive - and he was fit in mind and body until his last short illness - he stood like a buttress between me and mortality. I was quite aware of the total irrationality of this attitude because my younger sister died in her 40s, predeceasing both her parents.

For some reason I have always been very conscious of the move between generations, the death of my grandparents, the birth of my children and then, five years ago the death of my father. It is not that I think my end is imminent, my health is good and I come from a long-lived family but one is suddenly made aware of the inevitable progression of life and that now there is no-one in front, one can only look back to those that follow

HUNTERF Sun 09-Dec-12 08:26:33

Hi Granny23

As far as we are aware I am not a blood relative to anybody older.
I am an only child.
Their other grandparents are 2 weeks younger than me. They were born the same day. Their grandmother was however born in the morning and their grandfather was born in the evening so their grandmother is probably deputy head of the family.

There are some uncles on that side of the family who are all younger.
I agree uncle was not really my correct title but for some reason my granddaughters decided to call me that as they did not like calling my father great grandad.


JessM Sun 09-Dec-12 08:37:49

I think this is only worrying when the title is bestowed on some unfortunate young man - e,g, my DH when his father died, when DH was 17.
So brace up Hunter this is patriarchal / Victorian nonsense isn't it, calling someone head of the family. Adult family members take responsibilities in a wide variety of ways according to their abilities, health and resources.Not age.

HUNTERF Sun 09-Dec-12 08:49:09

Hi again Granny23 and FlicketyB

My father was OK in the mind. His problems were more physical for the last 2 years of his life.
He helped with the garden until months before his death.
I think my daughters regarded him as the head of the family because of this. If he got dementia the situation would have been different.
Dad's biggest dread was having to go into care but this never happened.
He did visit several friends in various care homes and sometimes he asked me to call into a pub on the way home to recover his sanity.
This did in some way surprise me as Dad did not normally go into pubs.
He was more a fan of coffee shops.
He liked about 2 bottles of wine a week at home at about 9.30 in the evening when he was not going out driving.
He did not drive for the last 4 years of his life because of his sight but old habbits die hard.His sight only just about met the road traffic acts with glasses.
He kept his driving licence till he passed away.


Ella46 Sun 09-Dec-12 08:50:03

Hunter I can understand how you are feeling. My mum died ten years ago and my dad died this year.
I'm 66 and an only child, and I was very conscious of being next!
I am the oldest one left, and I felt that I was next in line to die!

Then I came to my senses and just got on with living and enjoying the rest of my life!
sunshine Go for it! sunshine

glammanana Sun 09-Dec-12 09:20:33

Reading this thread has just made me realise that I am the head of the family with regard to my side, it certainly does not cause me any anxious feeling as regard to my mortality in fact I quite like to feel that at long last I have reached the top of the tree.

annodomini Sun 09-Dec-12 09:36:28

Head of the family? I suppose I have seniority by age in my immediate family, though I have older cousins on either side of the family, but I brought up my sons to be my equals and have no problem in treating them as such.

gracesmum Sun 09-Dec-12 09:40:28

HunterF you sound as if you are feeling your age -64 is nothing! If being Head of the Family counts for anything it should be 1) the comfiest armchair 2) being let off the washing up 3) a glass or two of port at regular intervals and 4) uninterrupted rapt attention to all your oldest jokes and most repeated stories.
Enjoy it! smile

Greatnan Sun 09-Dec-12 11:11:31

If wish I could be confident that both my children will outlive me but in the case of one of them I am not.
This thread reminds me of when salesmen use to ask for The Head of the House. They got short shrift from me.

glammanana Sun 09-Dec-12 11:28:14

greatnan that reminds me of when I went into the Audi Garage (you will know the one at 2Mills) I had decided what I was ordering and the salesman conducted the conversation to mr.glamma I waited until the chap asked for signiture and told the salesman he couldn't sign the order as it was my car,how his attitude changed was priceless.

Greatnan Sun 09-Dec-12 11:32:34

I bought a stereogram (remember them?) from Rumbelows in Neston. I wanted to have it on 'tick', i.e. monthly repayments and they said I would need my husband's permission. I was Head of the Remedial Service and earning more than my husband. I wrote to their head office telling them to drag themselves into the 20th century and got back a grovelling apology. I also got my stereogram, with my husband's permission.
It was quite common in the 1950's for wives to tell canvassers that they did not know how they were going to vote, as their husband had not yet decided.

HUNTERF Sun 09-Dec-12 12:08:21

Hi Gracemum

I do not think your last thread applies to me now.
All the lounge chairs are of an equal standard in mine and both my daughters house. I normally do something to help even if it is not the washing up. Neither my late father or myself like port and I am not really a good joke or story teller.
A lot of people are surprised when they find out I am a grandad as I still go to several keep fit classes and I have not joined any 50+ classes yet.
Normally if a bottle of wine is open I tend to have some of that to avoid opening more or if there are 2 I tend to go for the one which the least people want as I am very indifferent to most types of wine.


feetlebaum Sun 09-Dec-12 12:11:16

I have an uncle, who, at 90 is a whole fifteen years older than I am - and I always think of him as the HotF... or sometimes the Senior Man in the Billet, something ex-service people may remember.

feetlebaum Sun 09-Dec-12 12:12:34

HUNTERF - you don't like Port? Ooh... I'll have yours!

jeni Sun 09-Dec-12 12:28:56

No! I'll have it. I adooooore port

whenim64 Sun 09-Dec-12 12:45:46

As an aside (don't want to disrupt this thread) I read today that the latest student craze is to buy a bottle of port, stand outside the shop, and pour the whole bottle over your head (it was milk last week!)

Mad! I love port smile

gracesmum Sun 09-Dec-12 12:47:24

Any old port......, eh jeni? grin

jeni Sun 09-Dec-12 12:55:04

Preferably one with a good puggrin

jeni Sun 09-Dec-12 12:55:30

PUG? I typed PUB

gracesmum Sun 09-Dec-12 14:26:37

I thought it was some technical term known only to the cognoscenti. Good thing you put me right in time for Christmas!shock I'd have been savouring the port and commenting on the quality of the pug!!blush