but just for a week this time, up to my own Bayberry Island. On the way I’ll visit my mother, who probably won’t remember me, an aunt who certainly will, perhaps a cousin or two. Once I’m on my island I’ll have my sister and my nephew, my brother-in-law and his daughter and her twins.
My family has stretched in a different direction, away from my father’s side, most of whom are gone, and the rest far away. My partner’s family is on the West Coast and I haven’t seen them in years. On my mother’s side I have family, but illness and proximity have kept me from really getting to know the cousins and their children. My foster child and my grandchild live seven hours away, an impossible drive for me. They have their own lives; ones that I’m not really a part of now. And that’s okay, I was there when they needed me to be there.
And so, by virtue of my time on the island my family has stretched into my sister and her husband’s. It’s funny in a way, because for more than twenty years I ran away from family. I lived alone, traveled alone, and spent as much time as possible with strangers. When I needed family I made my own. Now as I grow older and more frail I am slowly reconnecting with the very people I distanced myself from. Now I can’t really remember why I ran in the first place, although at the time it seemed the only way I could live my life.
Times change, people change. Isn’t that the way the saying goes? And I do believe that. I believe people can change. Because I know I have changed.
I don't need to hide away on an island 14 miles from the mainland any longer. When I go there I go to reconnect. with people I know, and those I have yet to meet. I go to reconnect with the past that was a vital part of shaping who I am now. And with my nephew, with my sister's grandchildren I can begin to experience a future I would never have imagined in my youth, but which feels like home now.