Another update for the evening... a few thoughts about connections.
I took a nap after my last post and was awakened by a call from the one cousin on my dad's side who makes an effort to stay in touch with me.
We are several years apart in age -- he's 68 and I'm 52. Hard for me to believe there's that big a spread in years. But the fact that he tries so hard to stay in touch means the world to me.
I hadn't yet told him that I had moved -- he got a number for me when he called my old house phone number. So I caught him up on that, and he caught me up on his job, and told me his wife had gastric bypass surgery and had lost 89 pounds, I think he said. She's a tiny thing now, I know that much.
I last saw him at our last aunt's funeral toward the end of October or in early November last year. We didn't have much time to visit then -- he's the kind of guy who has to walk off his grief alone, without talking about it.
And then he told me about our cousin Darla, the daughter of this aunt. Sometime since the funeral, she and her husband of 20-ish years broke up, amicably.
Darla had cared for her mother for many years -- Aunt Geneva had Alzheimer's and Darla had moved her to a nursing home near where they lived.
I suspect that once her role as caretaker was finished, Darla had the time to look around at her own life and realized it wasn't the life she had wanted, that somehow the marriage had emptied itself out over the years when she couldn't give it the attention it needed.
This happens, as we all know, far too often. It happens with marriages and friendships and jobs and all manner of human connection.
And then we all spin off into little cocoons, wrapped up in our own loneliness and pain and misery, feeling as though we could spin off into space unnoticed.
Sometimes, as Cousin Jim said, a person can spin off with someone else, before they even realize it's happening.
The ideal is to see the spin starting and stop it before it tears us apart. More often, though, we can't see the spin until it's turned into a tornado and flung us far away from where we thought we would be, always standing safely in the same place.
Change is hard, and often painful. Standing still, though, has its own pain.
We may not know what or who is waiting for us to show up, finally. We don't know who may be at our next stop, waiting to say "You've finally gotten here!"
We don't know if we'll ever hear that or not.
Sometimes being spun out of our spot tears us out by the roots and we can never be fully transplanted. We get torn out of the garden we know, hoping we'll wind up in a nicer garden. Instead, we may wind up dumped on the compost heap.
All I know is that we have to try to hold on to what is good and helps us grow to be all we can be. If we're blessed, we make that trip to or with someone who can help us grow, and whom we can help grow.
Some of us wind up going through a heavy pruning along the way, feeling like the shears have taken more than we can bear to lose. Eventually, though, we may glimpse a new root sprouting, if our conditions are right.
After talking with my cousin, I found a little tiny root taking shape on my own pruned branch. I got an e-mail from someone who had rediscovered my blog and a particular story I had written about a historic ranch that had a huge impact on this area. And this is a woman who happens to live not far from me now.
Her note helped root me in my history again. Oddly, she was remembering a piece I had written about the ranch, which I am now writing about for a state Centennial project. Her note, from out of the blue, pointed me right back to some information I had forgotten having, which I need right now for this new project!
I don't know how it happens, this phenomenon of coincidence and the universe working together to bring us what we need, most of the time. I just know that for a couple of moments tonight, I felt like I had roots forming again, and I felt tended to and loved, hearing from my cousin.
My connections may be thin sometimes, but as long as I have my Jim, I will know there is someone out there who loves me and makes it his job to stay in touch with me and remind me that we have the same roots.