Thank you Shakespeare for providing part of the motivation for this blog….I am not as happy about the reason I am so inspired to write on this one.  Since April, there have been 11 deaths of wonderful and giving people, I have a relationship with each person affected by these deaths…to watch them journey through that has been a learning experience for me.  Last night, the last death came the closest to my own home and family.  Oddly enough, each person who has passed, has been male…weird.

The last person was a wonderful man….a director and artist, a mentor and teacher.  He gave me a safe place to wander during study halls and lunch, spewed sound advice and good humor, and challenged my voice my senior year.  I remember the moment he called me out specifically.  I was auditioning  for my last high school play and it was a musical…”The Cotton Patch Gospel”  I was terrified to sing, I loved to sing, but i had received such ridicule from my classmates early in my hs career that to open my mouth to sing for others inspired gut wrenching illness.  Comments of how bad I was banged through my mind as I recall classmates chanting how terrible I was and how I did not belong in choir..”who is the worst of them all, cindy is.”  I can still hear them.  I remember my choir teacher telling me I would never be a vocalist, never carry the beautiful tone that so many of my classmates did…I fulfilled her prophecy by scoring at 1+ on my senior solo at contest…BOO YAH!  The night that I auditioned, the vocal portion came and I simply opened my mouth and sang.  This man, a director I had known as a friend for years looked at me in amazement…and said “where has this voice been hiding all these years.  how come no one told me you could sing, with a natural vibrato most girls would kill to have.  you have a beautiful voice, cindy.”  He called me by name, he asked, and then he complimented.  He gave me the chance to sing my senior year…a soprano..a first soprano allowed to to sing in my last production.  I fought him and the rest of the cast who also had solos during that production.  I sang with his son….and my best friend and his son’s girlfriend.  I loved him for that compliment, and I have never forgotten it.  He was good to me.

His passing makes me think tonight.  I know each of his family members and they reflected his set of values and connections.  I watched and listened to him talk of his children and I was jealous of how he spoke of them with such pride.  Although his sons were vastly different people, he treated them with grace and compassion and let them be individuals.  I like that.    His sons remain connected today…that is the mark of a good father.  Well done, my friend,

This latest event has me thinking of my own family.  They are not without their shortcomings and assets.  I wish so much for them, so much that I will never be able to say to them.  Most of the time I wish I could zap them into something they can never be.  I wish we were so much more to one another….I am not sure we will ever be.  The last couple months I have watched the families wracked with loss pull together and support one another…I have also heard the heart cries over family dynamics.  I fear what will happen when one of my parents passes.

We are not connected…I know what it is like to go decades without speaking to a member of my family.  I know what it is to spew words of hate and anger and hurt and hear them spewed back at me.  I know what it feels like to have a connection with a member of the family and then to lose it and try even harder to repair the damage…to no avail.  I look at other families and hear of their escapades, their love for one another…it tears my heart out each time.  It has been years since I celebrated a holiday with my family, years since we have sat at one table and talked with one another.  Years since I have talked to my niece…years since I have looked in the face of brothers that I have and seen them as people, much less my brothers.  I want to scream at them….I want to rant and rail and wave my arms at them, to make them see.  I cannot.  I cannot force them into a mold in which they cannot conceive.  I cannot force them to like me, I cannot force them to love me.    I wish i could.

I wish I could tell them how much I miss them, how much I wish it were different, how sorry I am for what we have done to one another.  I can’t, the damage has been done.  Angry words, violent tempers, fear, and stubbornness have driven wedges between us that even close friends can’t overcome.  I wish I could tell them how much I need them.  I want a mother who is proud of me, who would hang with me even if she were not related to me.  I yearn for a dad…a daddy who would talk with me, tell me that no matter what, he is proud of the woman I have become and that there is a part of me that will always be his daughter.  I wish my brothers and I could talk to each other and knew what we were doing apart from the snippets of conversation we overhear.  I do not know them anymore, except what I may read on a blog, see on tv, or hear from someone else.  Likewise, they do not know me.    In my gut, I shoulder much of the blame, feel most responsible for the discord, this I must let go.  I fear the time we have to plan for a funeral, the thought keeps me awake at night–knowing we will likely tear each other apart–irreperably.  We have done a disservice to each other and our children.  Would that I could repair that.  I cannot.

So many people have told me to let them go, move on, get over what cannot be and be content with what is–to make my own family and my own traditions.  Would that I knew how to do that, I don’t.  What is more, I am terrified to try.  I do not know what it means to plan a vacation and go on it.  I do not know how to plan a family gathering and have people actually show up to it.  I do not know what it looks like to partner with my brothers and their families and do something together, or to take their kids with me and my boys to do something fun.  We are nothing more than strangers that happened to live under one roof at one time.  What have we done?  How do I fix this?  I don’t.

What’s more, I have no idea how to do it differently and it scares the dickens out of me.  What does that mean, anyway..to scare the Dickens?  I know I must do it differently, that I owe it to my children and their children, but at the end of the day, I owe it to myself.  I owe myself the chance to embrace an alternate reality–now how in the world do I do that?  I have no clue.  Family systems theory calls each person to a self-differentiation–an understanding of oneself apart from the system or the status quo.  I know in my mind and in my gut what needs to happen, I have no idea how to accomplish it.  I know I want something different and that may be the biggest admission of all.  For the first time in my life, I want something different–I want more than stunted conversation, past regrets, and anger.  I want a family.  I deserve a family and they deserve me–plain and simple.

This has gone on longer than I intended and I have a big day tomorrow…I have interviews and meetings and opportunities to expand my training and education.  I must needs be present to that.  My redefinition of family will have to wait another night….Unless of course, you have input….I welcome it, more than you know.

Shalom dear ones….



2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Sara
    Jun 24, 2012 @ 23:22:11

    Cindy, this s great! Very heartfelt and real 🙂


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