07 November 2014

Family And Separation

Family And Separation

When I was a child, we moved from avery small town, to a huge city. We had lived in Williamson, WV … and had moved to Washington, DC. I was entering the 2nd grade. Looking back on it now, it must’ve been devastating to my grandmother, my Dad’s Mom. She was staying behind in WV, while we all moved on to DC. My grandfather had passed away before I was one year old so she was left there alone. And there she stayed, alone, for the next almost 40 years until she passed away at 93 in a nursing home … alone. Imagine, almost 40 years alone and away from your child and grandchild … 600 miles aways.

On the other side, my Mom’s parents lived in Roanoke, VA. This was about 250 miles away from where we were in Williamson, WV and about the same distance from Washington, DC. My grandfather passed when I was 12. He was 73. My grandmother stayed in Roanoke for the next 20 years or so until her Alzheimers was so bad, my folks took her in to help keep watch. My Mom helped her as best she could for a couple of years, until things got so bad they had no choice but to set her up in a care home. She lived in that home, with complete Alzheimers, for more than 13 years until she passed away at 103. I don’t even recall my grandmother so much as having a cold, and here so many years were spent locked in the prison of her body with an organ that wouldn’t function in cooperation with what was clearly stored in her consciousness.

For such a small family, we were scattered so far apart. I am an only child of two only children. I have no Aunts, no Uncles, and all my grandparents have now passed on and retuned home. My parents re both in their 80’s and living in Williamsburg, VA while my wife Maria and I are in Orlando, FL. My son Tino, is in New York, and my daughter Alenah, along with her husband and child Sofiah are in VA. We’re on another generation, and still spread out across the map as far as 1200 miles.

When I was younger, I swore that this would never happen. I witnessed my grandparents grow old and die essentially on their own and I made a promise not to keep our small family so far apart as we had in the early years. So what did I do? I moved. I took a job offer and ended up in Orlando … twice. Where as of this writing, I still am. What I never wanted to do, I have done anyway. Our small little family is entirely spread out and the clock keeps ticking away. Day after day, year after year, decade after decade.

On August 9th, 2014, on the night of the Super Moon, our first biological grandchild Sofiah was born out of the world and into the family. I got to see her for a day or two before we had to drive back to Orlando. Not a minute goes by that I don’t think about her. Her picture’s and videos are on my iPhone and iPad and I look at them constantly. Once again, I have made a promise to myself to draw this family nearer, before anymore of us drop out of this physical plane.

This month, my parents are selling their house in Williamsburg, VA and are going to return to Northern VA where Alenah, Grant, and Sofiah live. Maria and I will be buying a home with them so that we can go back and forth as frequently as we wish. My son Tino will only be 300 miles away instead of 1200. We’ll see him more often. And as for the rest of the family and friends, they already line in the Northern VA area. Maria and I are here alone, with our dogs Ringo and Pebbles. I bought an RV, and we can hit the road as soon as the plan comes together hopefully in the next quarter. We’ll see each other more, vacate more, and appreciate each other more … when we come back together rather than being so far apart.

Although none of us knows how much time any of us has left, far too many years have been spent apart. As with any family, there are members who choose to not remain in contact with the others, but it’s ok. They’re on their own journey with lessons to be learned by us all. I’ve already been warned. On December 28th, 2012 I died in the back of an ambulance on the way to the hospital when my main pacemaker lead fractured inside me. I was revived, had emergency surgery, and another procedure on March 1st, 2013. After a total of 15 days in ICU, horrible pain and recovery time, and still not anywhere near how I once was, I was given another chance at this incarnation. Any one of us could go back to our original spiritual home at any time. Every moment we can spend together is a precious moment captured in time.

Even at the time of this writing, I am suffering from anxiety, PTSD, and occasional panic attacks. Probably an overflow of junk from my unconscious mind banks after years of surgeries, car accidents, falls and injuries, emotional experiences, working too hard, and just being flat out tired and worn out. I’ve never dealt with this before so it is new to me, but I can tell you, it is debilitating at times, and I have a vast amount of sympathy on compassion for those who suffer from these conditions. All of dis-ease and illness manifest from within as either too much of one thing, or not enough of another. Some illnesses are from the outside in, but them again … what is the “outside?” We are all WITHIN this gigantic organism called the universe, so there really is nowhere else. No outside. Everything moves from the inside out. Ever growing, ever evolving, involving, revolving, and devolving.

Make the best of your time together. And remember, in so many ways we are the Family of Man. One point of origin, one mono gene, one blood, one life. There are only two foundational emotions, fear and love. Let us all learn to live with love, to spread love, to give and to receive love. Awaken and take time to stop and smell the flowers, before the get sent to your wake.

Just a thought …

~Justin Taylor, ORDM., OCP., DM.