A few nights ago, I stumbled across old episodes of John Edwards, the medium, on TV. I used to love his show. In fact, in 2012, I actually attended one of his in-person events here in Virginia. I”m absolutely a believer that some of us can talk to folks on the other side. I talk to one of my late grandmothers all the time, and yes, sometimes she responds. It’s kind of like in my head but almost like a whisper outside of my head–it’s hard to explain, but I sometimes hear her. I sometimes hear my paternal grandmother as well, not as often. And I sense my grandfathers’ energies as well.
It’s been this way since each of them passed on. It’s not limited to them–certainly I had other episodes with family that have passed on as well. I can’t do it for others, but it’s been a wonderful comfort for me over the years.
Anyway, back to the show. I was posted up in bed one night, bingeing the show when Hope popped in. Sometimes she loves to hear stories of my childhood and family. I told her about this weird thing that happened when my great Aunt died–her spirit jacked up my GPS just to make me drive past one of her favorite places after the funeral. I was just telling her story after story; I could feel myself getting animated. I love my family, and we’ve had some good times. And then…
“Gosh you know so much of your family. All those people…” Hope said.
My mouth hung open. I snapped it shut, and I stilled. I felt horrible. Here I am chattering along about my ancestors, people I have been so privileged to grow up with, to know, some to still feel. And for Hope, there are just gaps, big huge gaps. While we do have a relationship with some members of her family of origin, it’s often strained. It’s complicated for Hope; there are still a lot of big feelings, and I’m not sure what resolution will look like for her.
I apologized for making her uncomfortable. She waved me off dismissively. But this is sitting with me. I want to share with her that this is what family is, can be, maybe should be. I am so fortunate to have the family I have, to know so many members of my family, to claim and be claimed, to know my generational connections. I want that for Hope.
I have make it clear that I will support her relationships with family always, unless they seem unhealthy, but even then I’ll support her and be there for her. I have no idea what the future holds in that space for her. I also know that as much as we love one another and my family of origin, we may not fill any of the gaps left over. We’ll try. We will always try, but I worry that there will always be limitations.
When I resumed my chattering, I pivoted to talk about how Hope will talk about me to my grandchildren and to her grandchildren, and what they will tell their grandchildren about us. I told her to imagine visiting my mom with her own kids and how wild that will be. I told her that we would create our own dynasty.
I know it may not fill the gaps from her biological inheritance of memories, stories, beliefs, and more, but I promise to pass on everything I can and everything I have. I want so much for her to feel, believe, and know that she is anchored with me and all that I have inherited.