Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Letter to My Family of Choice Back Home

I am in Ohio. Location of my family since just before the Trail of Tears in 1836. I find myself looking around and merging with any number of times, 1980, 1974, 1995, all of them. I see things that have been here for nearly 30 years (the sign outside a Baptist Church) and things that are new (The Panera Bread place I am at now). Makes me wonder what year it is sometimes. (I will splaine more sometime but not now...)

As you all know (if ya didn't I apologize) my Grandmother (Father's Mother) was not doing so well. Tuesday evening they weren't expecting her to make it through the night. She did make it and is now doing a bit better. She ate something this morning for the first time in a week. She woke up for a bit when I was just there a little while ago and we talked a bit. She has an oxygen mask on so it is a bit hard to understand her. She lost a LOT of weight so she is not the large, loud, wonderful woman that I remember. She is thin, and frail, and looks like if you looked at her too hard she would break. Still one tough bitch though! :-) I can see it in her spirit even if I can't see it in her body.

I have spent time with my grandfather as well. He has changed so much in the last 10 years. Perhaps the throat cancer has him thinking about his mortality and what went on in the past, I don't know. I do know that he is MUCH quieter (not just verbally, but emotionally as well). Less demanding and less needing of being the center of attention. Perhaps it is just the fact that as tumultious as his marrage has been to Grandma, this is his wife of more than 60 years who may be transitioning, and he does love her. This is the first time I have ever seen it.

I have spent a good amount of time with one of my dad's sisters (Nancy) and ran into one of his brothers (Brucie) at the hospital. I am still wanting to see his other brothers (Terry and Eddie) and sisters (Connie and Cathy). Those reunions should be interesting... They are all pissed at my dad (Teddy) for not coming up and as his "unofficial representative" I am getting a lot of the "Why didn't your dad come up?" kinda thing. What do I say? I just say that he isn't doing so good these days cause he is drinking too much and try to leave it at that. What the hell, why not tell them that his drinking is out of control. Interesting thing is everyones's drinking up here is pretty much out of control too. Irony is my middle name these days....

At last count I had 26 first cousins. This is a bit of an advantage given that I cannot remember people's names. There are too fucking many of us to keep track of so it is ok for me to ask what someone's name is. I am trying to start the trend of introducing ourselves to each other by saying something like "I'm Aimee. I belong to Teddy." just to give an idea where we come from. LOL I mentioned that to my dad this morning when I was giving him an update on Grandma and my Aunt Nancy about shot her coffee all over the place cause she was laughing. Good to keep the sense of humor when ya are completely overwhelmed. She by losing her mom (dad too soon cause of the cancer), me cause I haven't seen these people in 10 years and the mental/emotional whiplash is...

On my way up, I was very nervious about coming here. I am sure that I have told stories about some of my experiences with this side of the family. Spirit and I had a good conversation while I was driving. Spirit asked me to take everything from the past and set it aside and approach my grandparents, aunts and uncles from the perspective of today. I agreed to do that with a little caviat. Just as long as it did not compromise my safety or sobriety. I did this and wow. I can't wrap my head around some of this... I can't wrap my head around the fact that I feel like I have come home. That I am welcome, that I am family. I have never had that feeling with my Mother's side. I arrived here, after not speaking to anyone here for 10 years and I am welcomed with open arms. Not one person asked me why I haven't been back in 10 years. They just keep saying come back again sooner than ten years from now. Fucking wierd not to be judged or critisized in any way.

One of my Cousins (Cathy's daughter Alicia) was at the hospital last night. I remember when her mom got married (back in 1980 I think) I kept looking at her and saying in my head "I remember your mom's wedding... Damn that was a while ago wasn't it" considering this person I was hanging out with is like in her early 20's. She and I had good, honest and frank conversations. Talking about the family, ourselves, how we are doing, where we are headed type of thing. It was neat. None of the hiding information that I am accustomed to from my Mothers side of the family.

So, I am in Canton, Ohio, visiting with relatives that I haven't spoken to in 10 years. my mind is blown and I find myself asking a lot of questions about belonging, judgement, redemption, acceptance and forgiveness.

I find myself asking another question over and over.... Where are all the Black people????? Since I got here I have seen three. What the fuck?? :-) (Yeah I do keep asking myself that but I also needed the humor too....)

More soon. Love to all of you.

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