When Your Family Is No Longer Yours


It went down the drain long before I was a thought in the universe. Bonds that were supposed to be unbreakable proved weaker than string, love that was meant to be unconditional dissipated in the face of disagreements of morality, and long standing grudges buried in shallow dirt. The cracks in the foundation of what was once a family soon became too wide to bridge the gap.

A person who grows up without the quintessentially warm grandparents hovering in the background, the henpecking aunts and fun uncles, the more-like-siblings-than-cousins around, feels the empty space. The space is illuminated on birthdays, at Christmas time, during graduation ceremonies. While there is much to be occupied with your immediate family, you may always wonder, “what if?”

What if people managed to successfully move on from the past, were able to see through the obvious flaws of someone’s stubborn facade, and allowed themselves to be vulnerable to the possibility of being loved? What if they could look that person in the eye, and say, “I love you no matter what, always” and simply forgive?

Troubles of the past could be reconciled, misgivings forgotten. The sharp presence of judgment in the room would be softened, with understanding and empathy in its place. We are all imperfect; we recognize that we are not our mistakes. We are not defined by the choices we have made, only by our character, our ability to respond to our feelings and how we treat those around us. How we handle our errors and move forward breaks through the wall that we put up to shield ourselves from heartache.

Sometimes the intent has no bearing at all. Perhaps there are things best left unsaid, and which ought to be stored away in that dark corner of the mind where it will remain quietly until our last breaths.

It isn’t even sad, there is no cause for tears. Maybe this is the way things were meant to be; maybe there really isn’t enough love to go around, not even in families. The picture could be far worse, there could be violence and disappearance and death. But there isn’t.

There is only space.

It glitters invitingly to be explored, invites us to tear down the boundaries and remember that at one point, love was present there. Before contempt, blame, and fear poured in, love was ruling, love was prominent. Laughter bounced off the walls of canyons, acceptance grew in the fields. Happiness bloomed in trees, while pleasure washed down the creek.

Our roses have thorns, yes, but we are still roses from the same bush.

One day, perhaps we will all be together again. Flawed as before, grayer than we were, more tired than we have ever been. But at least we will be there.