January 2008.... still catching up
Now that my parents are becoming really old, I have to face the fact that one day neither of them will be around – the first real sign of my own mortality. My husband says you only finally grow up when you lose both parents. In the post yesterday came a delightful Christmas card and letter posted in Australia from a cousin on my father’s side whom I hardly know. Well, I haven’t seen him since 1968 when he first emigrated to Canada but we have connected in the last year or so via e-mail when his mother passed away. I had been very fond of her: she was the one who kept tabs on the extended family and wrote to all of us on our birthdays, lovely long newsy letters about what everyone was doing and where they were. I am finding that M has inherited many of her genes, including the writing one. He is a few years older than me and I detect in his character, as he writes, a lot of the characteristics I admire in my dad. He looks a lot like him too. It was a similar thing when I had a letter out of the blue from another cousin who now lives in Perth. She was coming to SA for the first time with her fiancé and wanted to look me up: I had last seen her when she was a little girl: she is 10 years younger than me. There was a déjà vue moment when we met: she is the image of her mother, my dad’s youngest sister who used always to bring me books. It made me catch my breath. We found so many common interests. It’s like finding part of yourself, a puzzle piece that fits. It helps to define one’s place on the planet and in the scheme of things. As a family, we share genetically connected journeys through life, often we have loved and lost the same people. It’s very comforting. I realise I am grateful for my family, the whole darn lot, even when we sometimes don’t get on.