Tuesday, January 18, 2011
The Isolation of the Single Emigrant
Familial isolation I talk about. Of a long term emigrant with family back in the old country or scattered in other global faraways.
I had a long chat with my sister who lives in Cork, Ireland, the other day. Very long. Catching up. Pondering travel to a nephew's marriage in April. In Argentina. Updates on family and politics but nothing too deep or serious and a few good laughs.
These familial threads are very slender indeed. Unless I put a lot of effort into them. i.e. be the emailer all the time, be the caller all the time instead of taking turns at these roles of emailee and callee. And I find as I age that the health and spark deplete a little until I don't have that kind of energy to throw into the black holes of no response anymore. I conserve it for those who do. For instance my daily emails to my lifelong friend in Dublin and hers to me. She knows more about me than any of my family does and I feel the love all those thousands of miles away. As I hope she does from me (Hi, H----!).
My friends in Toronto still call/email regularly and those ropes are very strong. I've thought for years that family is an illusion. We create our own families of love, trust and mutual support and admiration. And my family of choice is large.
I observe the blood families around me, see the emigrants from Newfoundland return regularly to land in their tribe of origin and dig right in. And weep when they leave.
And feel the loss of mine. And wonder if it was ever there to begin with.
And no, I'm not sad about this. At all. Just reflecting on what human connections sustain us. And mine are very rich indeed.
But there's always the what ifs of the fragile ties to loved siblings.