Yesterday, my lovely daughter, her amazing boyfriend and I barbecued on my deck and spent the afternoon with each other. I’m not sure how the subject came up, but my daughter’s boyfriend asked me about my family.
Pretty soon I found myself explaining why I was not in contact with any of my family of origin. As I described the details of the mentally ill institutionalized grandmother, the pedophile grandfather, the uncle who kissed me when I was 15, the aunt who I had a falling out with, I realized how little sanity existed in my upbringing.
I knew it was dysfunctional, but when you put words to it out loud, the impact, the truth of it is deafening.
From the parents who raised/neglected/abused/violated my parents, to my own parents who abused, or neglected me, to their own dysfunctional relationships with their siblings, to the dysfunction I then carried and entered into in some of my intimate relationships…it is a miracle I am who I am. It is a miracle that I am not crazy, or in an alley shooting up drugs, or an alcoholic, or just a messed up human being.
I carry a legacy of dysfunction and although this is not something I want to affirm, and not the story I want to tell, or to play out in my future…I can feel the threads of this legacy as if they were right behind me, like up close and personal…as if they happened yesterday.
And perhaps the fact that I am carrying it still is part of the next phase of the healing process in which I begin to let go of what was before me. It does not come easily when you still have deep sadness around it, when you still have guilt around what you yourself perpetuated. It does not come easy when these people you haven’t seen or spoken to in years, somehow keep cropping up.
Today I am feeling the grief over what was and what could have been. I don’t have to stay here long, but I think there is some value in honoring that grief. Knowing that it does not have to be the story of today and that I have in fact already RADICALLY shifted the legacy. There is great comfort in that because in doing so, I know I have raised a daughter who will continue to shift that legacy as well.
Our relationship is nothing like I have ever experienced or seen. We are living miracles. We have already built a completely different life from what we have known.
Today we are creating a NEW LEGACY of hope, love, truth, consciousness, compassion, and fearless determination to do better and be better.
I am deeply grateful.