I find myself at a loss as for how to continue. It’s been ten years. An entire decade of living somehow parallel to this truth about myself without really engaging it – and now I suddenly want to confront it head on?
How does one do that?
I come from a big and very tight-knit family. I wasn’t just “raised” by my parents. I grew up with all four grandparents and dozens of aunts and uncles and cousins living so close to my home that by the age of eight I could ride my bike to visit them all on my own. And did frequently. Several times a week, usually.
I even remember spending summers with my great grandparents in their garden when the whole family would gather to help them pick cherries and apples and I don’t know how many other things from trees and bushes. They were in their ninties then and still maintained their own home, fed the chickens and kept the garden. Our family cook books are full of recipes on how to make jam, preserves and cakes because of my great grandmother.
Family, and all the traditions that come with it, has always been the core of my life. The cornerstone that everything else rests on. Even to this day my maternal grandmother remains the family matriach – the tie that connects us all, keeps us connected and in touch with the more distant parts of the “clan”.
I feel blessed to have grown up this way. With an entire “village” around me, all ages, all walks of life, to learn from, lean on and interact with.
I don’t feel burdened by the expectation of carrying on the blood line anymore. At least not as much as I used to in the past. It really weighted on me. Especially after the death of my brother five years ago. Now, it is more … a feeling of having something of value to give, and no one to give it to. If one cannot share what one has… some of its meaning and worth diminishes somehow.
It makes me feel somewhat adrift. Without purpose. I know that is a narrowly biased and not entirely healthy way of looking at things but I guess part of the human condition is learning how to alter perception according to circumstances, rather than trying to force life to be what we think it should be.
It’s hard, though. Giving up on dreams and intentions I wasn’t even really sure I had not that long ago. It’s hard to accept the presence of something so irrevocable. And hard to look around when we all gather in the embrace of time and tradition and shared bonds… to feel like the odd one out. The flawed and weak link.