The following represents a sequel of sorts to an article that I wrote in 2014 for the HuffPost blog titled Destined to Remember. I was recently driven to review the content of this article and the observations and reflections that I had at that time. During the last 8 years of my life I have discovered the value of our past as a teacher to us in the present. My desire to look back at these events described below, revealed that there was more left to discover.
In November of 2014, I was nudged by my good friend Patty Furino ,who was visiting me from Long Island at the time ,to take her to see my childhood home.
I wasn’t sure what the benefits of this visit would be, other than giving a good friend an introduction to my roots. After I got married in 1982, I moved from the only home that I knew. I had lived there with my late mother Sadie and my late Aunt Rose. My maternal grandmother Bridgett lived there as well, but she died when I was fourteen. My wife Cheri and our 2 children visited regularly, but once my aunt and mother moved, a few years after I did, there was no reason for me to go back.
However, I trusted Patty’s intuition enough to take the drive. She was responsible for my spiritual awakening ,approximately 8 years after my daughter Jeannine’s death. Jeannine was eighteen years old when she died in March of 2003 from cancer. Patty helped me embrace a more sacred perspective, and find peace with my daughter’s physical absence.
Upon returning to my childhood home we discovered a vacant lot. I was prepared to discover a home that was in slight disrepair and worn by the elements over the years, but not a vacant lot. My childhood home was the foundation for my hopes, dreams for the future and memories, both good and bad.
Following that discovery, I felt the urge to take Patty to a church that I frequented as a child and during my teenage years and a place where my mother and the rest of my extended family worshiped. My Aunt Rose sang in the church choir every Sunday. I looked up at the choir loft and an immediate wave of sadness and regret enveloped me.
My sadness and regret stemmed from the way that I treated my aunt when I was younger. Many days,I was rude and dismissive to my aunt because I saw her as a burden to my mother, who willingly took care of her. My aunt was intellectually disabled as a result of a childhood episode of scarlet fever. Regardless of how I treated her; she loved me unconditionally. In that moment, all I could think of was to ask my Aunt Rose for forgiveness.
Before we left church, I lit a candle and gave thanks for the teachings that were revealed to me as a result of my visit and thanked my Aunt Rose and the rest of my ancestors who predeceased me for their presence in my life.
My aunt was a convenient scapegoat for my own anger and resentment after my father left me and my mother, when I was five years old. Perhaps my aunt understood what she could not clearly articulate; that I was truly troubled by my father’s leaving . She didn’t love me any less because of my anger and resentment, if anything, she loved me more.
My visit to my childhood home in 2014 was a conduit to do some ancestral healing with my Aunt Rose and to acknowledge the legacies of my ancestors who now reside on the other side.
I discovered the importance of ancestral healing 2 years earlier. At that time, I made peace with my late father’s leaving through the realization that it was an act of love rather than an act of abandonment. The ancestral work that I did with my father served as the impetus for me to do the same with my aunt. It was all connected.
Here are some other final reflections and observations :