Monday, January 28, 2013

Family Is...

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.

Jen writes:

"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."

Since I've 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 acceptance.

Do I really wanna write this today?  Do I really wanna "go there" today?  I should.  

Scarred.  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.

Jen asks:

"Can we heal what family means?"


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