I was in the air. My phone was on airplane mode. The flight was delayed by a hour, and I just couldn’t make it to say goodbye. There were things that I wanted to tell her before she passed, sorry that I wasn’t a better son, I wish I would have tried harder to have a relationship. I guess in the end she got something she wanted, her three kids together.
A family member of mine, whom I was meeting for the first time, said that she felt that my mother heard and knew that I was coming. This family member also said that she felt my mother tried to hold out to the last minute, yet I landed forty-three minutes late. Sorry that I couldn’t be there for you, mom. I’m sorry that I wasn’t ready to have a relationship with this side of the family. This happened Friday night, October twenty-third. The night I lost the person I had only really known as the woman who had given me birth. She was the mother to a half-brother and half-sister I didn’t really know.
The happened when I got here to Mechanicsburg, PA on Oct. 23, 2020. The following is about my time here being present with family:
When I got here, I was picked up by my brother’s ex, and baby mama, Jessica. I hope that if, and when she reads this, that she’ll know that she’s an amazing woman, and I will always be grateful for the kindness shown, and the character that she has towards me, who’s a bit of a stranger, and towards my brother, who honestly needs someone like her to be there for a support and want for him to succeed.
It was close to midnight when I had gone to the front of the airport, and saw her. She told me about my mother’s passing. She had said that she didn’t know how or when would have been the right time to tell me. The thing that stuck out was that I told her that she was taller than I expected. Don’t get me wrong, I was saddened by the news of my mother’s passing, but I guess that I wasn’t surprised, and if I was to be honest, we’ve already had built a friendship over text, and I was glad it was her to tell me this news.
As we got to her house, her oldest daughter, Abby was still awake, and seemed like she wanted to meet me. She’s no blood relation to my family, but I had considered her my niece, and I was glad to meet her. The thing about Abby is that she was putting a Stevie Nicks vibe to me and I had mentioned that to her. She got a loving and kind personality who has a passion for gymnastics. Now I bet you’re wondering why I would talk about people other than my mother, I promise that I’ll get to everything in a minute.
Abby had volunteered to give up her mattress to bring it down to the living room so that I would have a comfortable place to sleep. I was appreciative to this eleven-year-olds generous heart. I even took her to get a treat because she became my buddy. She’s a child that I see will be successful wherever she decides to go in live.
Not to be out done by that, the next morning I got to meet my niece Elena. She six, red hair, and a feisty attitude to built. She comes out and pretends to be shy and gives me a card. She says that she loves me and wants me to move in. This girl is too cute, but also a vicious attitude to boot. Before the end of the day, I’ve already named her my saccharine valkyrie. I think she’s going to be an intense fire as she gets older. Plus she’s cute, and that’s a dangerous combination.
I was fortunate to meet my brother Dave for the first time. Dave and I have similar interests, and I also know that we’ve not always seen eye-to-eye, but I was glad to meet him. He’s as loving to those two girls as anyone I’ve ever seen be dedicated to a small human. It makes me proud to see him be a good father, even though life hasn’t been easy for him. I attest that his love is a reflection of how our mother was as a parent. I had found humor and enjoyment of watching him interact with Abby and Elena.
I think the humor came in the form of how much those little girls have “daddy” wrapped around their fingers. Elena’s fiery spirit is as Dave tells me, much like how our sister Barby was at that age(I’ll be discussing her soon). Through my brother, I can see how the girls will always be taken care of and protected by him.
Out of all of my actually family members, Dave was the one that I spent the most time with. We got to enjoy each others company, and we got to do little projects with the girls. Our time was family time, and a way that we could connect with each other and as well as the ladies who run his life.
We went over to my mother’s house for a sort of get together, and I met an aunt and some cousins, as well as my half-brother, and my half-sister(which I actually have much to say about her). It was nice to meet them and hear the stories of my mother and her love of life. It was nice to meet a few cousin’s that I had only talked too through Facebook. It was nice to know how much she meant to so many people. I had the distinct disadvantage of not really having any of those root connections to my mother, and I felt like I stood out like a sore thumb.
I was afraid that people were going to have issues with me being there, as I was the child who was never around, or seemed to make any effort to actually get closer to the family. I was pleasantly surprised that I was welcomed without drama, and that Dave wasn’t having any of those negative vibes going on that day. I also started to get things filled in for me that I never knew, and I walked away from that experience feeling a bit better about going.
I know that as I had left the airport the day before, that my stomach became queasy and that I was starting to feel a bit nervous about this encounter, but the initial meeting was better than expected.
Now, I need to talk about that other important person, and the one I felt that I learned the most about how much I was important to my mother, that would be my little sister Barbra. She four-years younger, and one of the most free-spirits that I’ve ever known. She’s the one that I’ve video chatted the most and honestly connected the most with. In part with a strange and special connection that I’ve not felt before.
Jessica, Dave, and I had got to Milfinburg, to pick her up and take her with us to do the funeral arrangements, on Monday, but it was that hug on Saturday that was what was special. I never had been hugged so tightly by anyone in the world like that. It was that hug that said, “I love you big brother”. She’s interesting with her views on life, and mom’s death hit her the hardest, however, she was staying strong, and I’m glad that she’s done well with keeping herself together. Mom was her best friend, so she felt the loss the hardest.
Monday after we had finished with what errands that us kids needed to do, I had decided to stay back at mom’s place and spend the night getting to know my sister. I don’t exactly know how to explain what the connection was, but Barby and I just seem to connect on a different level than anyone I’ve ever been around. I was glad that she would share her experiences with me, and tell me how much mom loved me. She even showed me writings where mom would talk about how much she missed and loved me.
I don’t know if I deserved that love, or if she deserved the way I ended up keeping my distance from that side of the family. What I do know is that regardless of what may have gone down in the past, I feel a bit more complete, and I think that it’s the next chapter in my life, where I’m not just the only-child anymore. I have a younger brother, and sister with whom I care about. They matter to me, and now we have that connection.
I know that we’re planing on doing something next year, where there’s like a family reunion, only doing it as a post celebration-of-life thing in remembrance of mom. It’s going to be a way off because I’ve got my own herd to take across the country, and well it does cost money, but it will give us a chance to actually get things organized and ample time to provide for everybody in the family to come as well.
Will it run smooth? Will there be drama? I would hope not, but like most family ordeals, those things tend to happen to some extent. I just hope that all things will be done with the remembrance of who my mom was, and the impact that she seemed to have on the family as a hole.
This is the director, and as I say that’s a wrap, I find that there are new things developing for me, and I find that the last five-days in Pennsylvania has somehow altered the course of my life.