Ha, I've been trying to hash out what "family is" for a few days now. With every single day and every single familial encounter it changes.
Family is ups and downs. Family is pain and love. Family is complicated.
"This is the long legacy of trauma — how such violation and abandonment
hacks away at the parts of us that do intimacy, and how long it can take
to heal those tendons and muscles."
allowed Emma and I to be accepted into a number of deeply loving
families, and to build lifelong bonds, I guess it's safe to say that
some amount of healing has taken place within myself concerning what
family is, and can be. Still, there are scars. Surprising scars.
Society would have you to believe that since my father resided behind
bars for the majority of my lifetime, and probably his own, that my
deepest scars would have been formed by his frequent, repeated absence.
Society would probably also have you to believe that my father's
absence is linked to the absence of a man in my household - that's
another post for another day. No, my deepest familial scars aren't
paternal, but instead maternal.
I don't think I could
ever accurately explain the level of pain/damage/stunted growth/loss
that came to me after my mother's death. Really, how does an 8 year old
girl process the death of her mother, especially if she never got the
tools from the surviving members of her family. How does an 8 year old
process death period? I think I've ridden in more limousines and
followed more hearses than any young person should ever have to. My
mother died in 1992, and by 1994, I was again, in a limousine, following
the hearse that transported my cousin's body - a cousin whose head had
been riddled with bullets. How does a 10 year old process horrific and
life changing death? Probably much the same way my 10 year old self
processed the news from my father that I had a 14 year old sister. With
some kind of misguided maturity that does not allow for questions, just
Do I really wanna write this today? Do I really wanna "go there" today? I should.
Scarred maternally by death, and by coming of age in a household with a
head who was two generations ahead of me. Scarred by non-existent
relationships with aunts and great distance between granddaughter of
first born and grandmother. Just, plain old scarred.
"Can we heal what family means?"