Tuesday, December 27, 2011

We Are Family

It started out like any other family, for lack of better word, feud. There were no Hatfield and McCoy shootings, just a common agreement that certain members of the family did not get along and therefore stopped speaking. The problem was the dispute, as with most quarrels, had innocent victims.

This is my story.

My Grandmother was a strong willed person who liked controlling situations. No one knows the whole story, but she and my Aunt had a falling out that would never be rectified in this lifetime. Members of the family were forced to choose sides and in the end my mother lost her sister.

Over the years when I came home I would ask where my cousins were. I was told they had moved out of state and no one in the family knew where. I take responsibility for not pursuing their whereabouts, but I was raising kids and on our trips to Ohio attempting to juggle the parent and In-law visits with equal time.

But I missed my cousin. He was one of my best friends growing up. He was an usher at my wedding. He was a big burly football player from the neighboring city, but one of the sweetest men I ever met.

For years, I felt the hole left in my heart from his absence.

Then last year I was cruising some social networks and found his wife’s page. I contacted them and we caught up, as much as one can, on Facebook. Then we realized we were going to be in Ohio at the same time. Plans were made.

I was like a kid waiting for Christmas morning. I was to meet them at five at a favorite pizza place. Life happened and they were held up. I had to pick my Mom up at seven so our time was limited. I began to worry that I’d miss seeing them. Then the call came. We’d meet at a Starbucks between the two cities.

I sat waiting in anticipation. Wondering, hoping that the reunion would be all I expected. He walked through the doors and I started crying. I grabbed him and hugged, not the least bit embarrassed as other patrons looked on. I met his kids. I embraced his wife. We sat and talked. Neither of us understood the dispute, what had caused it, what had kept it going all these years.

All I knew is that because of a quarrel that was completely out of our control, we had missed being a part of each other’s lives.

I don’t see him or talk to him every day. But there is something there, some small part in my heart that has been opened. And it feels wonderful.

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