I guess this is kind of my finale in the family series of blogs that I have been doing. The topic of my opinion on family and my journey to understand the meaning of the word. In this final post on the topic I must look back. In a year I have dealt with the death of two close family members and the fallout from their deaths. Dealing with these people, these family members, has been enlightening to say the least.
Ask me to define the word Family and all I can say is what books say. What I have read on Wikipedia and saw on “The Brady Bunch”. Those ideologies of Atomic Families are such an after thought these days. Some sort of thing we all try to achieve but most find it far from our grasp but that is what I thought…until recently.
Have you ever heard of bloodletting?
I like the older practice of it. Today’s common illness symptoms were misinterpreted and viewed as your humors being out of wack and so, as in common practice, leeches would be attached to a person and blood would be sucked out of the ailing individual. This bloodletting was thought to help rid the body of toxins and other misconceptions of common illnesses.
I watched the body of my family crumble due to some of these creatures that were in the midst and now I look at what is left. Fractures lay in our foundation and I believe they are unable to be repaired. I saw the squabbling of people over money and I came to detest it. When asked what I wanted, I declined everything except a brown blanket that my grandmother made years ago. It was because of all this that I reevaluated it all. I couldn’t watch as all of these people sneered at one another. I watched some show their grief in front of others on a grandiose scale and then act like nothing was wrong behind closed doors. I understand grief is different for everyone but this was not grief. This was a performance.
So, I stepped out of the picture. My mother filled people in on what was going on in my life but I wanted to get a wider view of it all.
Statistically, the most common family in America is the blended family. That family in which individuals bring in children from past relationships and get married.
I needed to get out of town a week or so ago. I went up north and visited my brother, who is now my roommate. I will move back in a little less than a month but he was alone; I knew it would be a good time to just hang out. We saw “World War Z” and decided that “Man of Steel” should be on the table as well but there was a two hour gap between the two. To kill time, we went and grabbed dinner at a local Mexican restaurant. It was funny. We sat there and devoured our burritos, mine being vegetarian and his being hamburger. This was the first time in a long time where there was no television or video games on. It was he and I and a couple massive burritos. We talked for a while about how great the movie was and about how excited we were for “Man of Steel”.
Then we played a game called, “Top 5”. We talked about the top 5 things that we loved. Movies, songs and the like.
This was a lot of fun because it was hilarious to hear each others’ “guilty pleasure” movies. His was “Maid In Manhattan” and mine was “Little Shop of Horrors” (the musical starring Rick Moranis). Laugh, but it is still a great film!
We saw the movie and took the bus home but it stuck with me. As well as my father’s visit to bring him an air conditioner. I had never seen him so jovial and animated…and surprisingly funny!
I came home and was happy because I finally got it. I finally understood the definition of Family.
Here’s mine: Your family is the one you choose.
Even though you may have blood coursing through your veins that has a genetic code similar to another does not mean they are family. I was in that funeral parlor and looked around at these people and I felt no connection to them. They were just people. They weren’t family at all. My brother is my brother and I love the little dude but we don’t know each other that well. That’s why I loved that mini-vacation, because we got closer. We talked about a lot of things in our past. We got talked about how our lives diverted before now; before this convergence.
My family are my two best friends from high school. They are my brothers. My mother. My best friend from where I worked before, my sister. They are the people whom I feel closer to than most of my relatives and, in the end, family isn’t about blood. It’s about closeness. It’s about being in another person’s gravity and feeling like it is home. Say anything and they don’t care. Family are the people whom you can truly be yourself around and accept you.
With this last post on my family, or at least my recent revelations about them, I let go. I let go of the anger that held on to me tighter than any embrace. I let go of all of those other feelings that corrupted my trust in people’s motivations.
I have been bled and watch the leeches fall.
My time of bloodletting is done.