Saturday, October 07, 2006

Every Button of Hope Pushed

Last night, at TGIF’s, I watched Jake sit in between Walter and [reference removed upon request]. Jake was in heaven. Two big men on either side, he had them both playing silly games and laughing.

The whole family was there. We were all laughing and talking and eating and drinking ... Ashley and Jena messed with my boys, their cousins. Walter and Allan did the Uncle/out of town family member questions to Ashley and Jena about what they are doing, how school was... My sister in law and I laughed when Ashley asked if she could have friends at spring break go to the condo in Amelia Island with the two of us as chaperones.

Why would we want you and your friends there? We both laughed…

For a moment, I could see the future of the family around that table.

My heart ached. I want this so much. I want the comfort of having family so much. To have a family of origin who loves, celebrates and appreciates me. What will I trade for it?

My dignity?

My soul?

My sister called me after we were all settled in our hotel rooms.

I asked [person] if he would come out to Arizona and rent some cabins at Christmas time in the mountains. I asked Walter and Allan, too. It's time to heal this family, she said to me. Will you come?

I'm crying as I write this. I want this family to be something it never was. Desperately. Do I pretend nothing ever happened? Do I hold everything in and have it eat me inside out, like my mother’s shame did?

I could so easily become her. Rotted from the inside out. Her pain a cirrhotic liver, stomach cancer, bleeding uncontrollably, the outside smile and grace never questioned.

Do I go?

I have to try. Embrace the gray. Take out the stained sheet and open it to the breeze, the fresh air replacing the stink of so many years kept hidden.

I want a family. So much it replaces my caution, my history.

I buried my mother today.

I still hold the hope of what could be.


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