If you read my essays, you know that I started with an essay a day and then got distracted by life and now, COVID19. It has been a virus I was two steps ahead of all winter as I visited some of the hot spots in the EU before I returned to the States. For the most part, I have been uniquely isolated since I landed. I had two weeks of plans in place until the lockdown of borders made me cancel my flight to return to Malta. I want to return. But like any god-touched, I have lessons to learn/re-learn.
I remember a time in my teens when I made a conscious effort to reach out to all my family members as a New Years' resolution. All the numbers in my cell phone received a phone call once a month. It did not last for long. There is only so much strained silence a teenage mind could take and I was never a fan of small talk. These actions did not prompt a returned call from anyone. After a few months of getting no closer to anyone but a lot more call avoidance, I stopped doing it. It made me think about people who make the effort to talk to me and who I do the same thing.
I love my family mostly. But with the ideals of their society, they don’t know how to nurture what being a family means. As a collective, we neglect our emotional needs. It is painful for me. As I am writing this, a family member is sick. Not with the virus, but in general. And I am scared about losing her. The loss of her in the family would take out my connection to an entire line of my genetics.
It made me think of the movie, Soul Food, and how the family fell apart when the grandmother died. Like without her there was no reason to come together and collectively lie to each other. In that family, what were they trying to hide I wondered? Not sure as it is a movie but it put me on pause about other family dinner rituals that came to an end once the children left the house.
Take my best friend’s family dinners for example.
My best friend remained my best friend even when I knew she would dump me for the people she resonated with. Why did I play along? It was Sunday dinners with her family and seeing people and sharing a meal with them. In my family, these events would occur during Thanksgiving and Christmas. We would talk about doing it more often but would not want to put in the effort to do more than talk.
Those Sunday dinners were nice enough until we children went to college and the whole family shifted into the tribes of the members they liked more. I was invited a few more times to their celebrations as the help. It really soured the thought of those Sundays for me. I was found valuable to my best friend’s family because I could clean. It crushed what I thought was a family ritual for me. Once they were adults and the children were raised, the connection was deemed not necessary. And now, I don’t even have their numbers saved.
So I am sitting vigil until my battery dies because I can. I don’t want the connection with this family member to end. Her place in my life has meaning and I don’t want to lose it.