Dedicated to my siblings who helped me weave together every memory of my childhood.
Sweethearts, nothing could ever replace the memories of us growing up together and the magic of the many trips we took to the fetch water, and how we lined up balancing jerry cans on our heads, oblivious of what tomorrow holds, and those many nights where we sat down and made silent wishes on how we wished the future would form.
In this post today, I will attempt to define family, and I am well aware that family is the hardest thing to define, because it is as broad as it is thin. So, I will get straight to it and give it the basest definition I could find.
Family is a history; it is a group of people who have shared a womb, who have shared a past, a belief, an upbringing. Family is a creation of memories, woven together, with one day merging into the other, then the next one, into years…it is to let a person be, to accept who they are, to nudge them towards the direction of their dreams, to stand on the lane and cheer them on as they take a leap in life, to shape them and point out when they go off the track. Family is people who have an experience that is etched so deep inside them that not even time can erase them. Family is INDELIBLE.
Family is a people with a secret, with an experience that cannot be spilled out of the comfort of a confined home. It is to know someone’s stained past, areas where they went really off the mark, it is protecting a sibling, a parent…it is acknowledging that people mess up. It is messing up and being sure that the people around you will not drag your name in filth, it is going so much off course and knowing that when you return, there will be people to welcome you. Family is the knowledge that there is someone who cares so deeply about you, that they are willing to give you their blood if need be. That there is someone who will fall on her knees and pray for you when cancer enters your body and threatens to cut out your breath, it is lighting up a candle and surrendering on your knees when one of you is too sick to function. It is a hug, an embrace, a word of consolation, a text when the darkness descends on the other. It is a people who have gone through difficult times together, held onto each other, and crossed over together…it is people who have shed tears for the same reason, for the death of a member, for the illness of another, for the misery of the other…it is a people who have congregated to celebrate the success of another, a graduation, a wedding, a birthday…family is UNITY.
Family is people with the same gene, sometimes the same defect. It apology. It is returning home to your mother, it is returning home to your father after wandering around seeking for something you aren’t even sure of. It is telling them that you are sorry for the pains that you caused them when you were growing up, it is taming your rebellion and realizing that the pain that you have caused your family is greater than the hedonism that you are in pursuit of. It is remembering where you came from and always going back to your roots. It is growing up, but never taking off. Family is IMMORTAL.
Family is the people who will take you back when the whole world rejects you. It is they that will visit you in prison when you are paying for the wages of your actions. It is the people who will line up for a test when you need a kidney transplant. Family is they that will dig into their pockets and sacrifice a bigger part of their savings to ensure that you get treatment. They are the ones who will stay at your bedside and hold your hand when uncertainty looms over you. They are the ones who will stay with you from dawn till dusk to see and watch every breath that you take. Family is the one that welcomes you home and tries to integrate you when things start to get shaky, when your marriage is not working, when the job has ended, when life has happened…family is a RESPONSIBILITY.
Family is the one that carries your casket and lay down your coffin into the monstrous hole when your time on this earth is done, when your walk here is finished. It is family that carries you to that place even when friends or those you thought were friends abandon you. Family will be there. At least I know that my family will be…
And I know that I will be there for my family, because I cannot explain in words – ahhhh no words are adequate in explaining what family means.