About a year and a half ago, my friend Brad told me that he knew someone who was interested in tarot. She owned a restaurant at the time across the street from his shop, and encouraged me to pop over and meet her some time. I put it off for a while, then finally did go over to met Missy and talk about tarot. We made friends quickly, and found we had a lot in common- more than either of us realized at the time.
One day, while my ex and I were there having a bite, she says to me “I think we’re related”. And I’m thinking “yeah, yeah, in the grand scheme of things we’re all connected somehow.” Then she asks “do you know Gail Brown?”. Of course I knew Gail! She was my aunt! I hadn’t seen her since she moved out west many years ago. But I remember going to her beach house and learning from her how to knit intarsia as a child. Gail is Missy’s grandmother! We used to play together at the beach in Ipperwash! This new friend was my… what… 1st cousin twice removed? Something like that. I remember her being a bit of a snob back then, but she’s absolutely one of the kindest, most charismatic, friendly, empathetic person I’ve ever met- and a damned good cook to boot!
I started to learn so much about that side of the family. My mom’s siblings were the product of several marriages and divorces, and were scattered all over the continent. I knew my dad’s side of the family slightly better, but my dad’s sisters were all much older than he is, and my father is extremely introverted, so I was never really close with any of my cousins. I heard my peers talk about growing up with their cousins, and I always felt like I missed out. And now, I don’t have to. Missy has a daughter about the same age as my daughter, and a sister, Jennifer, as well as other siblings I have yet to meet.
I have green eyes. Both my parents have blue eyes. All three of my siblings were born with blue eyes. There were childhood jokes about how I was the juice man’s daughter (we had juice delivered weekly to the house, I’ll blog on that issue at some point). Missy looked in my eyes once and saw her niece. She showed me photos of her niece, and another cousin, and for the first time ever, I saw my eyes in another person and I looked like family.
I’ve learned a lot about family histories and family patterns. I have no contact with my mother because, well, she’s a sociopath. Everything to do with my mom was rejected by my sisters and I because we wanted so much to be nothing like her. It turns out that Missy had an unfortunate run in with my mother when she tried to buy a used bed that was not in the condition that it was purported to be in. Missy was nervous that I was going to be like my mom. Luckily, I inherited my work ethic and morals from my dad. Unfortunately, I also inherited his luck with dating. My parents split when I was 18, and though my dad dated a bit on and off, My mom went from boyfriend to boyfriend, husband to husband, without skipping a beat, often with much overlap between the two. I went 8 years between Ryan and Will without a serious relationship. Turns out, this is kind of a pattern with that side of the family- not the chronic lying and cheating performed by my mother, but the never being single part. Missy says that my aunt was always seeing someone new. Missy has said that this is one of the first times in her life that she’s actually been single. I’ve never really been able to hear anything about that side of the family. I always wondered where my intuition came from, and it turns out, my maternal grandmother had gifts and an interest in tarot. She was also an artist- something I have always felt alone in my family about. My daughter has inherited this gift of art, too, and though she won’t admit it, the intuitive gift as well.
Some other patterns have been noted in that side of the family besides dating, art and tarot. There’s a history of alcohol abuse, mental illness and suicide- issues that I have battled myself in the past. Being aware of a genetic link makes these easier to cope with and treat. I am no longer the depressed outcast of the family who requires medication. I am not alone. I belong.
There is another pattern that I’ve had a closer look at. As previously mentioned, I have no relationship with my mother. My maternal grandmother died when my mom was young. My relationship with my own daughter is hanging by a thread. When trying to find out about the wellbeing of family on that side that lives in Florida in the impending arrival of Hurricane Irma, I found out that Jennifer has no relationship with her grandmother, my aunt. There are at least four generations of women disconnected from their mothers. I have no idea how far back this goes, but I have decided that it stops here. My daughter and I have discussed it, and we are going to start counselling together.
All that from a shared interest in a deck of cards.