Tuesday, October 25, 2016
It wasn't always like this though.
I remember getting a text message that my niece was born. I was living in New York City at the time and working at a restaurant. During the days, I attended college, in the later afternoons and evenings I worked, and even later in the evenings and into the early hours, I prowled the City with my eccentric and electric crew of friends in search of the next best party. Before the text message, it had been months since I heard from her, and even then it was information passed via our parents.
At that point, my brother had been missing for ten years. (We would not reunite for another twelve.) My other sister, Sheila had moved to Thailand a few months prior and from the sounds of her emails, it sounded rather indefinite. We were all arrows, pointing in different directions. We were all moving at different speeds towards different destinations and different destinies. We were all refugees, fleeing from family traumas, trying to find home where we could and heal in our own ways. We were the walking wounded, carrying holes in our hearts... always looking for ways to fill the vacancy.
In another world and in another life, we would still be wandering. Another path would have us still estranged from one another... but then there was a little miracle. A girl child was born and that was more than enough to fill the void. When Azalea was born, Sheila traveled back across the world and I woke up. I woke up to the realization that even though there was this old hurt within me, it didn't mean that I was cursed and that everything I touched would fall apart. I had a chance to help fill another's life with so much love that they never knew the pain of loss and the hurt of wondering. If each of us gave her our hearts, maybe her heart would be whole and untouched by sadness.
Azalea's birth prompted a healing within our family and we all gathered to her side, drawn to her little life like a brilliant star. And from there, we got to know one another again. We were strangers at first. Old sibling rivalries and ancient points of contention crept into our conversations, but for the first time, there was something bigger than each of us and something we were ALL committed to.
As we got to know each other, these adult incarnations of our former selves, we started to find the common ground. Eerily, our interests overlapped greatly and we found that once the paths were cleared, there was a deeper form of communication. Perhaps for the first time in a long time, we could see ourselves in each other and what we saw wasn't so different after all.
When I think about those times before Azalea, it seems strange and foreign, almost as if they were days that belonged to another person. Nowadays we are constantly in each other's lives and our hearts are swollen with abundance. We are constantly making and creating and dreaming up dreams. We found the path of love and have discovered that it is a path best traveled when shared.