We were six.
My mom and dad. My mom’s sister, who’s 90. My mom’s brother, in his mid-eighties. My cousin (one of them), and me.
A re-union of sorts. My mom is the youngest of six siblings. Two have passed away, one – a dear sister, just last fall. And, both my aunt and uncle have lost their spouses. My uncle lost his wife, three days before his sister died, last year. It has been a difficult few months.
And, so, for the first time in fourteen years, it was time for a re-union. Three of the remaining four siblings (one can’t travel anymore) came together to spend a week in Mexico. And, it was magical.
Just like you’d expect it to be. Stories told and shared from years gone by. Like 80-plus years gone by. Stories told from each of their perspectives. Stories told that the rest of us hadn’t heard before. Tender stories. Growing up stories. Stories of life during the depression. Stories of growing up in a big family. Stories of growing up a minority – Catholic – in Orangetown Toronto…back in the day. Stories of first jobs, and mis-understandings, of hidden forts, and secrets kept for a really long time. Like, what (or who!) really caused that little fire?! (Luckily, it was only a little fire!)
I’m a radio-gal from way back – started my career in broadcasting making radio. So, of course, I recorded as much as I could. Hearing their voices, hearing their laughter. Hearing them remember. There’s something about the sound of a voice that adds so much to what the words convey.
My cousin and I listened in…sometimes like two flies on a wall, listening and watching as they went back in time…remembering, and conjuring another era, another time in their lives, like it was yesterday.
We were in the mountains of Mexico for this. Blue skies, warm sun, fragrant flowers. Birds flitting about, horses clip-clopping by on the cobblestone streets just outside the walls of the hacienda. Abundant life.
We’d sit on the ‘loggia’ as it’s called, like a veranda only facing inward, towards the garden. It would be warm and sunny, and the afternoon light splashed across the tiled floor. This was usually the time when the stories would start to flow. But it wasn’t all about the past. They were getting to know each other anew. Catching up. Discovering strengths they didn’t know each other had…like dealing with loss, and with getting old..while staying young in spirit. (I’d like to add that I also watched my mom and her sister navigate those cobblestone streets with low heels. Incredible!)
And, so it was..with feet firmly planted in the present (even if a cane was required) that they re-connected and remembered, and created memories anew. All the while, handing down to the next generation (and beyond) a few hints about how to live, and how to age…leading, with grace, by example.
And, so, that’s how it was for a few days up in the mountains, and under the Mexican sun. Kind of magical.
Joining the wonderful community of women over here at Vision and Verb.