Of cousins and context
I know to some this seems strange to families whose lives are filled with annual reunions, but my mom was raised by a schizophrenic mother. Her seven siblings each scattered in search of a better life.
My mom's youngest brother joined the air force just out of high school and landed in California where he married and had two daughters.
My uncle never talked with his daughters much about his family in Texas, but he did discover Facebook and connected with some old friends making a decision to come to his 50th High School Reunion--a trip where he would bring his daughters with him so they could learn about that part of their lives.
As it turned out, my uncle didn't live to make that trip, but his daughters came anyway to try to learn something about their dad and where they came from. They had breakfast with my sister and I, and we went to visit my mom who shared a few stories about growing up. I heard some things I'd never heard before that were hard for me. My mom wasn't loved as a kid and while I knew that intellectually, it broke my heart to hear illustrations of it.
My cousins, sister and I did a quick internet search, and found an uncle. He was free so we met him for lunch. My uncle didn't share much. He's a quiet man. It was stunning to see the family resemblance between he and my mom which has become more pronounced with age.
In our conversations throughout the day, it was clear how much my cousins loved their dad and are grappling with his loss.
I'm very grateful they made the trip. We all have this longing in us to know how we fit. Why things are the way they are. We need context. Meaning.
I'm glad they came to Texas to look for some missing pieces because in doing so, they helped me find some of my own.