When My Normal Came Crashing Down

I think its funny. All the things that you go through in life, the way you were raised, the quirks of your family members, the lessons that stick out to you, and the ideals that you come to see as your own. At some point in time they seem like they are the only way. Until you learn and grow into a person with awareness the patterns that hold you in the place that you are seem comfortable.


I spent a lot of time blinded by my experience growing up. I was raised in a 3 bedroom farm house that still stands and has lived through over one hundred summers. I grew up with many of my family members in my immediate living space. We shared 5 acres between 3 families.


My grandmother, the prominent matriarch of our family raised me while my teenage mother spent a good portion of her time working and doing her best to provide what she could for us. My grandfather had lived a very adventurous life and was immortalized in our family as an amazing musician and a story teller. A worldly man of many other talents.


I don't remember a lot about my childhood in vivid memories or pictures, but I do remember most things in the form of feelings. I remember the joy of spending time with my grandfather at KFC ( his favorite place to go), always going to the park afterwards. I remember the warmth of his lap and the comfort of his big hairy arms around me.


I remember all of the little lessons my grandmother tried to instill in me. I remember the warmth of her smile and the way her hands could heal almost any wound.


I lived on this farm until I was 13 years old. This place had changed a lot by then. My grandfather had passed away. I remember the ache in my heart and the wailing that I did that I thought would bring him back, having no concept of death or grief. I remember the stillness in the house and the silent-ness without the echo if his laughter. It felt like someone had sucked the air out of our lives when he left this earth.


Playing out the same pattern that he experienced with the absence of his own father.

My grandmother had remarried not longer after his death. I remember staring beams of hatred into this new man. He would not replace my grandfather. NEVER. He was only supposed to stick around for a short while, but in the absence of my grandfather he somehow carved himself a space.


My mother, not long after her fathers passing found and fell in love with my step-father. Some how he seemed like the super hero in our story. Here to save us from whatever we may come up against. He was 19 and ready to have a family. She was 20 and thrust into the trappings of motherhood.


My biological father was a US marine. I love the connotation that follows that statement. My mother had met him in the late 80's. By then he had already fathered one child and separated from her. He would go on to abandon me and my younger sister from another woman. Playing out the same pattern that he experienced with the absence of his own father.


I always wondered what he looked like, did I look like him? I hoped so, because it was hard to see my face or the shape of my body in the family that I grew up with. I never saw myself. I was always trying to look like my blonde five foot three petite mother. I thought it was wrong for children to grow up and become bigger than their parents. Parents are always supposed to be big, aren't they?


When we moved into the suburbs of Aldergrove, a very small town in Metro-Vancouver life seemed to become more exciting. I was going to high-school and meeting new people from the neighboring towns. I could walk across the street to a friends houses and walk down to the 7-11 if I wanted to. There was a sort of naivety that hung around me after leaving the farm. I felt like a girl of the city now, part of something big.


To be continued......


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