Family….. family is one of the most important items in my life but its has also become one of my greatest regrets. My words are contradictory I know, how can it be the most important yet house my biggest regrets? Because I’ve taken too long to connect with family that have always been there, waiting for me.
Last year I was contacted by a grand uncle and auntie Marapao, actually they would be considered my Lolo and Lola (grandparents) in my culture. The contact was unexpected; I had not seen or talked with them since I was a young boy. It was because of their contact I suddenly realized that outside of my immediate family (my kids and Janet’s family) and my cousin Leizel, I had no clue how the rest of my family in the U.S. was and in some cases where they were. I knew more about my family in the Philippines then I did of those in the U.S.
This led me on a journey to pull out what little family tree data I had and start adding to it. Though this and with the help of my cousin Leizel I was able to contact my aunties, uncles and cousins. These connected me to others and as Janet and I drove out to meet each of them, I left each time feeling so much love and over whelming connection. I also shoulder so much regret. I regret that I had not been connected and in touch with them, of all the hours, days and years I have missed not having these wonderful family members in the lives of my immediate family and me.
We were not miles away while growing, most of the time I was living within blocks; I don’t know why we were not together, this still confuses me. All the days I felt alone I had family; aunties, uncles and cousins within walking distance. I think how different my life would have been with them in it when I was growing up. I doubt I would have lived on the street as a homeless teen.
This past two months have been especially regretful, like an ember blown by a breeze into a flame; for we have lost two of our family in these two months; Uncle Ernie in March and yesterday Uncle Olympio .
And though I regret I didn’t have more time with both, I’m thankful for the time I did, the connection to family and the unconditional love they gave. They both will forever remain a part of me until I meet and hold them again in heaven.
To all my uncles, aunties and cousins; I’m sorry for your loss and thank you for letting me share in your love.