Wednesday, January 6, 2010


This post is dedicated with love to my nephew, Lee.

Today is my nephew's 17th birthday!

Because of an unresolved family estrangement, I have only seen him once since the day after my father died on St. Patrick's Day in 2003.

"Most of us primarily find the sacred within the circle of those we love and find holy ground in our own backyard. Remember the Buddhist monks who go on a three-month retreat during the rainy season? It must be dramatic for them when the retreat ends. For a long time they have been confined to a temple, with strict instructions to destroy no new life. They carefully watch where they put their feet lest they trample a sprout of grass pushing through the cold earth. Then comes the day the retreat ends and they leave. They are given new robes. At the gate they take their final step out of the temple and their first step into a sunny meadow. It is the same step.

In our own backyards, the leaves may be gone and the tree limbs bare. But tiny new buds are beginning to swell. A time will come soon to step between two seasons. Just as with the monks, it is one step. From holy ground to holy ground."

From A Winter Walk
Copyright 2006 by Tolbert McCarroll

Today is also the 12th day of Christmas -- the day of the 12 drummers drumming and, in Christian tradition, the visit of the Three Wise Men from Persia.

Happy Birthday, Lee!

Love always,
Aunt Amanda


gleaner said...

I relate to your post because within my own family there is an unresolved estrangement since my mother died in 2001 so that I have only seen my nephew once since then...its like an ongoing grief that wont go away and resolution seems impossible.

I have sometimes wondered whether I could re-concile with my nephew via the internet, like you are doing...Do you know whether your nephew reads your blog?

BTW - I have stopped blogging indefinitely for the moment, not sure if its a permanent blog breakdown or what, but I'm still visiting and reading blogs.

The Solitary Walker said...

'From Holy Ground to Holy Ground'... Yes, I love that.

Do you know the Clancy Brothers' 'Holy Ground'? But, for a less rumbunctious, altogether more 'holy' alternative, there's Christy Moore's 'Smoke and Strong Whiskey'... with its 'holy ground' in the chorus.

Anonymous said...

mary black treats the holy ground as well. kjm

am said...

gleaner -- Good to hear from you! I was wondering what had happened to your blog.

I'm sad to hear that your family has estrangements, too. One of my recurring dreams is that of family reconciliation.

I don't know if my nephew reads my blog. It is my hope that if he does find my blog, he will understand that I care about him and am open to family reconciliation.

As you wrote, it is an ongoing grief. There is a history of serious estrangements in my extended family, going back through several generations that I know of.

For instance, I have a great-grandfather on my mother's side who "disappeared" when my grandfather was about 10 years old (just as I "disappeared" from my nephew's life when he was 10 years old). My great-grandmother's death certificate indicated that she was married, rather than widowed or divorced. It's a mystery as to what happened to my great-grandfather.

I'd like to see that multi-generational pattern change.

Kind wishes to you, gleaner!

am said...

Solitary Walker and kjm -- The Holy Ground is vast and mysterious, isn't it?

gleaner said...

Am, the day before reading your post I was trying to think of ways to reconcile with my nephew or to send a message to say I care and I had thought giving him the message via Dylan's song "Forever Young" - it covers everything I would want my nephew to know.

I too think of how characteristics travel through generations and like you, have multi-generational history that I always wanted to change...but I'm only realising now that I cannot change some things and that the genetic influences are an equally strong force. Since I was little I always wondered why aunts/uncles played such a distant role - and how easy it was for members on both sides of my family to disappear from their lives...I set about to always play the auntie that was there and who cared but in the last few years the very thing I tried hard to avoid has happened. In buddhist style I have finally decided to "let-go" of dreams in this matter.

Your great-grandfather's disappearance is something worth investigating...I love genealogical research, again, because it can uncover these characteristics and learned behaviours that have travelled along the family tree (I love genealogical research).

Lol, word verification is relesion !!