I was reading an article in a magazine a minute ago about someone who is missing her dead mother. She said every time she feels bad and hurting, she wish she could go home and be with her parents again; to be able to talk to her mother, to sleep in her own bed, to have someone tell her that everything will be alright, to be comforted by family, she yearns for that unconditional love only parents could provide.

But her father is now remarried and having a second family, her older brother is living on the other side of town with his girlfriend and the other sibling moved just recently to England.  I slowly put the gazette down… a lot of different thoughts crossed my mind simultaneously. I stare out the window for a long while thinking: I understand where she’s coming from but isn’t she supposed to be thankful that she had a normal youth? That she experienced how it was to be a family? That at least she knows where her roots lie? Why she’s crying her heart out?

I thought about my own childhood, my parents, my family and my roots. The first I never had. I was brought up in a situation that one had no choice but to grow up fast or else…

My parents are both dead now but I cannot remember one single time that I come to any of them for moral support, guidance or advice for my problems and whatever I was going through at the moment. How could I when I could be beaten up for asking simple things like assistance with my homework. In our family, it was prohibited to bother anyone for trivial matters. It was considered selfish to dwell on troubles that don’t involve life and death situations. And even then, try to solve it on your own first and if you can’t, just shut up.  Life lessons were always learned the hard way. I can guarantee you that.

But I never hold it against them. I understand they were busy with other things, like survival and their own troubles that’s why perhaps being open or sharing was never encouraged in our family, compliments were unheard of and warmth was alien to us all.  But they were both religious beings, my parents. I remember being tied around the foot of a table for not being able to recite “Our Father” prayer in English. We did the rosary too, every evening at six till they decided to change their faith and move on to another religion. They have done this at least couple of times in the course of their lives. something I will never understand. In the end, I am the only Catholic left in our family. How strange is that?

To each his own is our family creed except when it comes to my money and properties, then it’s theirs and they think theirs alone.  Houses, businesses and lands were sold without my knowledge. I didn’t have the courage to confront them with the deeds. I know it will only damage no one but me. Emotionally I mean.

Relatives… that’s another thing. They are more alien to me than the occasional neighbours we sometimes had. Some of them I’ve met when I’m already here earning money, suddenly elevating my status on their prejudiced eyes and apparently good reason enough to start talking to us. Before we were outcasts, no one acknowledges our existence. My mother married beneath her and that was practically it.  Others I saw occasionally by accident whenever I’m on vacation.  I will encounter them while shopping for food or walking and that’s the start of my never-ending regrets having close relatives because they think we can bridge the years of alienation by me giving them everything they can think of since I am the oh so lucky one who got away. What that means? I don’t even want to think the possibilities. With my family, you never know…

How about my roots? Well, they were everywhere and nowhere. My parents were nomads (my father mostly and my mother had no choice but to tag along) out of necessity and roots had been pulled out before they can even have a chance to settle and get hold. We never had a contingency to grow and flourish in a familiar soil. And that’s the sad and regrettable truth…