The bond that links your true family is not one of blood, but of respect and joy in each other's life. Rarely do members of one family grow up under the same roof. - Richard Bach
I feel like I have become the Crazy Uncle of my family.
The timing is about right. My Crazy Uncle passed away about seven years ago, around the time I moved to Seattle, and about that time it was starting to be clear to most of my family that I wasn't Mormon anymore, and wasn't ever going to be again. My strange family has always tended toward estrangement. We were always too busy with our own activities, or caught taking sides in a who-hurt-whose-feelings war. But after that, whatever distance was already there just grew and grew.
My Crazy Uncle was weird because he took myth too far, with his conspiracy theories and demons and conspiracy theories about demons. He would call my mom every few months to talk her into buying gold or silver, or to invest in garnet mines or whatever scheme he'd gotten into his head. Because the economy was about to collapse, any minute, he'd say. Edgar Casey was right, he'd say. Mt. Rainier is going to blow up so you guys need to move to where it's safer, in Ohio. He'd had a vision, he'd say, and plead with my mom to take this action or that.
And now and then, she'd even be convinced by him, just a little. I remember the time we bought silver at $4.25 an ounce, and waited for it to shoot up in price like he said it would. We waited for the world to end so it would be worth something. But there it stayed at $4.25 an ounce for years.
I grew up in a system of thought that was waiting for the world to end anyway,