Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The joy and heartbreak of family

Today my heart goes out to Karoline and her family, who have suffered a great loss. It was so sad waking up this morning to the sound of her crying. Somehow I knew what had happened. But that does not change how extremely sad it is.

I starting thinking about my own family. I'm extremely lucky to have not suffered the loss of a family member, though it is inevitable. My family, well my mum's side, is very close knit. We all live within 20 minutes of each other. Usually there is at least one family dinner per week. My brother and I are the only grandchildren so we had many sets of parents growing up. Now that I live in Vancouver, I miss out on so much that happens, and often times I worry that my desire to strike out on my own will result in a rift in the family. (I realize that sounds a bit selfish)

Last night I was at a friend's farewell party and I had a chance to catch up with many friends I haven't seen in while. Bee and I were talking about living far away from home. She said that she's often sad that she misses out on so much that happens at home. For example, she said many of her cousins she barely recognizes nowadays. Her words resonated with me. It's something that I often think about. Last year I was only in California for 7 days! And while I talk to my family regularly, I can't help but feel a bit sad that I'm not always there to be a part of their lives.

But at the same time, I've had the most incredible experiences in Canada that have truly shaped me. Although I would be love to be in closer proximity to my family, I think the distance was what I needed. My life was in need a lot of changes that I was in denial about. But a change in environment gave me what I needed to become my own person. Someone who is still very much a part of of the Chase/Verbaere clan, but who has been able to see what is beyond the boundaries of family. And today, I'm remembering that while my new found identity is wonderful, my family are the roots of my being. My Aunt once told me that once you leave home, it ceases to be 'home,' but family will always be there.

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