Sunday, March 20, 2016

Family Matters...

I rarely write about my family here, though over the years I've discussed them very generally in birthday and other posts. My parents, who were a real mixed bag and not the easiest people, are gone and have been for years, as have the maternal grands (the only grandparents I had) who helped raise me and with whom I had a special bond. My mother's siblings I saw only intermittently and the same was true for my first cousins and those belonging to my mother, largely because we were overseas. My stepfather had no siblings and to my knowledge, only kept in touch with one cousin, now also dead.

My mother remained on good terms with her siblings but did not maintain strong ties with cousins, aunts or uncles, so there are cousins I've not met south of me who would be years older. My first cousins and I have never been close and I am much more comfortable with my grandfather's two aged sisters, his niece and the cousins who are closer to me in age, though we rarely see one another.

One of the two aged aunts turned 102 yesterday and is slowly shutting down at home as she prepares for the end of what she once termed, "an enchanted life." She and her husband had no children but amassed considerable wealth, both materially and in numbers of friends and acquaintances, many of whom prize her. She is known throughout her city as a social icon, philanthropist and friend of the arts and has contributed to wide ranging community events, causes and organizations throughout her adult life as well as helping her parents and some of the cousins and their children.

I have fond memories of spending parts of early childhood summers in her home, playing with the cousin to whom she was almost a second mother on the stairs or in the sitting room. Beyond the back garden, at river's edge, I held my first fishing pole and while I'll never claim to be a fisherwoman, the smell of the cut grass and the feel of the sun on my face were the first memories to emerge when I visited the house two years ago. Because we lived overseas, visits were infrequent. Apart from geography, issues of family dynamics and some festering resentment on the part of my mother, kept her aunts at arms length though they sent me regular bounty of books and clothing into my early teens. Though some of these were second-hand to me, they were always appreciated. It wasn't until my my mother passed away that I, with the help of my grandfather, re-established ties with his sisters and some of the cousins. I once asked the aunt who is dying what she remembered of my mother. The response of, "She was always petulant," was as startling as it was enigmatic. Neither of us knew why.

As I sit here today awaiting word of this aunt's departure, I will be sad to see her go. I regret that I am not with her today, that I cannot hold her hand or offer visible comfort to her sister or niece. The waiting alone is difficult. I hope, as the years tick by, that there is something of she and her sister in me and that I become the woman I was meant to be as I too grow old.

Rest in peace, dear Berne.

Bernese B. Davis 19 March 1914-21 March 2016

Until Next Time...

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Is Home Where the Heart Is?

I seem to have hit a wall writing-wise these last weeks. I'd open an empty page full of anticipation only to find myself staring at a sea of white and wondering why I was suddenly wordless. For those that know me, you also know that this conundrum rarely occurs. When it does, it is as though I am somehow set adrift, no bearings, no destination and no fixed point on which to focus. I'm wondering if this is due to under stimulation, lack of sleep since I only seem to slumber in short bursts these days or something else.

I am also curious about this phenomenon. How many of you have experienced this and what if anything did you do about it? Life is so topsy-turvy sometimes. It is worth remembering to laugh...

So, the last three weeks...

Just for kicks one day I took a bus ride and ended up having to call a friend to come and pick me up...Our bus system has always been bad and this brief trip confirmed my fears that things are not improving. While on the bus, however, another rider asked me about my chair. When things segued into the personal and I said I was effectively retired, this was met with, "Well, then, you have no reason to be anywhere."

I found this a rather strange response and pulled out a beat up paperback for the remainder of the trip, thus avoiding further interaction. Do any of us need reasons to be where we are? Friends, community, pets, family, partners?

When I landed in this area courtesy of my parents and my pursuit of post secondary education in the late seventies, I'd always pictured myself eventually leaving to start my adult life somewhere else. While I've attempted to escape for jobs in other cities, friends in need or short visits elsewhere, this has become some strange version of home with which I've never quite attained contentment. I wonder now if I ever will or if I am destined, like some I've encountered, to never find my hearts' home?

Until Next Time...