Family is forever
Recently, I took a trip to Poland to visit my family. On our way from the airport to my family’s house, Gia screamed: Mommy, I’m home! It was kind of bitter-sweet to hear her say this: on one hand, I was so happy to see her excitement at meeting her grandparents, uncles and aunts but, on the other hand, I also realized that, in just two weeks, I will have to tell her that it is time to go back to our home and I will have to watch her say her ‘goodbyes’ to them once more.
I guess I had been in a rut prior to our trip: I love California and I know I am meant to be here, but, despite the fact that I have so many wonderful and supportive friends, who are always there for me, for the first time since that fateful night, I had begun to feel tired of the routine we had here. I have been feeling tired of everything that has been going on and it felt like I just needed a break from our “everyday” life. The time we spent in Poland with my family was a wonderful and healing time and, for the first time ever, I was almost hesitant to return to our home in California. Nevertheless, when we came back, I felt refreshed and everything looked easier, simpler and, once again, things began to flow beautifully.
For most of our marriage, my late husband seemed to both like and respect my family. When we still lived in Europe, we used to travel to Poland often, frequently taking my family on vacations and spending quality time with them. Once in a while, he would make a comment regarding one of my closest relatives; however, for the most part, things were always pleasant and easy. It was not until about a year after Sebastian was born when the negative comments regarding my family became more common as well as more aggressive. On some occasions, I confronted him about it and chose to ignore it on others. However, his persistence at making those remark paid off and he finally managed to plant seeds of doubt it my mind. After listening to the same arguments against my family, time and time again, I began to question my own
judgments, which ultimately resulted in me becoming more distrustful and distant from my relatives. It wasn’t until almost the very end, when I landed in the ‘enemy zone’ myself that I finally began to realize how wrong it was to allow him to say the things he was saying, not only about my family but his as well. His disappointments and insecurities caused him to hurt those closest to his heart, those he used to care for the most.
It is ironic since my family did actually like my late husband. I wish he would have realized then how wrong he was with his perceptions. At least he knows now…
After Sebastian’s funeral, visiting my family was truly eye-opening. I will forever cherish the night when my sister, one of my brothers, and I went to a café in the Old Town. When we sat down and began talking, there was so much love, support and acceptance coming from them. I realized how lucky I was to have such supportive siblings and such a supportive family… One that continued embracing and loving me despite what had happened; despite the fact that I distanced myself from them; and despite the fact that I did not talk to them about my problems and what was going on in our house and lives.
It almost felt like God reminding me: Remember that even when everything vanishes, no matter what, your family will always be your family; they will always be there for you, no matter where you are and what happens.
I spent most of my life being away from my family: I moved away to the other side of the world when I was still just a teenager. Even before then, as a child and as a teenager, I was always very independent and never relied on my family’s help. On the contrary, I wanted to help and support them in any way I could. But something changed after that fatal night: it felt like God was telling me that now it was my turn to allow my family to help me.
Regardless of the fact that my family lives so far away and neither Gia nor I get to see them as often as we would both like, I am so grateful to have such a loving and supporting family that accepts, supports, and loves us without any judgements or questions. Most of all though, I am so glad to see Gia surrounded by so much love from her aunts, uncles and grandparents. Seeing her smile and her happiness means the world to me. Part of me, however, also wishes that Sebastian would have had the opportunity to get to know his family better. He often asked about his grandparents, uncles and aunts, especially when he heard other kids talk about their families or even while watching relatable cartoons. Unfortunately, I don’t think he was even able to understand that he had his own grandparents, uncles and aunts on both sides of our family who loved him more that he could ever imagine. At least it brings me comfort to know that now he knows all his family and sees how much they loved him then and love him still.