Longtime readers know that I am estranged from my mother. We haven’t spoken for years. My mother is also estranged from her family and as I traveled to Pennsylvania I worried that her absence would loom over the reunion. My worries turned out to be all for naught. A couple of family members inquired about my mother. I explained that we have not been in contact and why. They understood, having encountered her rage when they tried to contact her themselves. For the most part everyone took the opportunity to be together rather than fret over those who weren’t in attendance.
But it’s impossible to be around my aunts without thinking of my mother. They all look alike…have the same mannerisms and expressions…and I see a lot of her reflected in them.
So, this reunion was somewhat bittersweet.
I saw what might have been…how my mother could be, but for her anger and verbal abuse of others.
And I was reminded that I can’t live her life…I can’t fix what’s wrong…I can only be me.
I listened to a thousand stories this weekend…had fantabulous chats and debates with my cousins, who are truly amazing people doing amazing things. I got up to speed on my aunts’ lives and quickly realized that they are living happy and challenging lives. I met my cousins’ children…again…they are growing up so fast!
On the flight back home I found myself reflecting on our family. My maternal Grandmother was our matriarch and a force of nature…glamorous, feisty, quirky, difficult, loving, and ambitious. Her life spanned a history of radical change in America…from the Great Depression to WWII to the Civil Rights Movement and beyond.
My Grandmother valued education, hard work, and family.
She passed away years ago but her legacy lives on.
Many thanks to everyone who worked so hard to pull this amazing reunion together!