The journey up to and inclusive of my daughter's wedding in November was a time of sadness for me, as well as joy.
There was something missing, you see - my parents.
My father passed away in January 2003 - and in the days soon after this loss, I also lost my mother - but not to death.
My Aunty Dorothy - my father's sister
was with me at my daughter's wedding.
It is a very long story, of which I am weary of telling and choose not to go into here. But the short story is I chose to sever contact with my mother and have not spoken with her since. In fact, it is several years since I have seen her and I have no idea of her whereabouts, or even if she is still alive. I cannot find out from other family members, as she is no longer in contact with any of them - children, grandchildren, siblings, nieces or nephews (just in case you thought it was just me!)
From the moment the engagement was announced, there was a missing piece. It is not that I lack family - indeed I have made an active effort to reconnect with cousins and aunts over these years. It was more the awareness that someone who should be there to celebrate was not - as a consequence of her own choices and actions.
On the actual wedding day, a candle was lit during the ceremony to remember those who were not there - specifically for the lost grandfathers of both bride and groom. But that moment was also one when I reflected once more that we were not the ones who had lost, rather my mother had lost so much. While we all still had each other, she had chosen to have no family in her life.
Scars may heal, but they do not disappear. However, they are part of the whole that make a life. A scar is a sign of recovery. And scars fade over time.
(If my mother happens to read this, please know you are missed.)