My mother was the central root of my family “tree”. She kept a strong link between us all, and allowed the family “tree” to stand tall and secure in the ground. When she was alive we were all gathered together. We knew what was happening to each of us at almost all times. Every celebration was a large family affair and maintained traditional customs that dated back generations. We always felt a connection with our childhood home in the New Jersey woods. She was our childhood home, and when she lived, that “home” was a living thriving being. It was rare that any one of us (her children, spouse, parents, siblings, in-laws, cousins, friends) ever felt neglected or alone. There was a constant closeness and interconnection to each member root of the family and beyond because of our link to her.
About 12 years ago my mother was taken from us suddenly and brutally. It was a shock to us all. The absence of that central “root” of our family left just thinner weaker roots in place. But slowly over time with every storm these weakened roots got pulled and maybe propagated elsewhere. The connections between the remaining roots disappeared to a large degree. Others just stayed, but weakened the strength of the remaining family “tree”. Some were uprooted and lay somewhere on the side tumbled away by a storm.
None of these weakened or separated roots was to blame, it’s just that unfortunately no one root thickened more than the rest and took over as the central root of support. Or if they did, they did so only for their own propagated roots separate from the ones of the initial tree.
Now I have only memories of the family “tree” I once knew. I am one of the weaker roots and have difficulty finding the others. Perhaps the others feel the same way, or are just too busy strengthening their own in their new locations. We now only gather occasionally, and usually not all at once, like in the past. I hold on to my husband tightly. I’ve wrapped my root around his.
It is possible that my husband and I might move to Europe in the future. My husband is a European. Since marrying him we have adopted many of his family’s traditions and few of mine. I guess that’s partly my fault. I am and probably will become part of a whole new kind of tree, rooted in a different land than my own.