Wednesday, April 22, 2009
A place on earth
All my life, ever since I was onl enough to hear my father's stories of survival, I've had a thrist quenching desire to know more about my wider family relations. As the years passed I was exposed to fewer and fewer of my father's stories. It's unfortunate that he felt the need to block it out and not share it. When I was old enough to 'talk back' he'd ask me why on earth I'd want to hear about the bombings (how he lost his hearing), or the DP camps. I guess my answers were never good enough because he wouldn't chare more history. I would scoff it off to not knowing - that things were just so unclear during that time. I get that his childhood was not pleasant. I get that there's so much trauma there. I will never know what it's like to live through that. I suppose that's why I feel so guilty sometimes for being traumatized by medical proceedures during my childhood - it's nothing compared to what he went through.
Despite the decrease in family history being shared I still had an interst in finding any survivors, any connect, anything. At times it felt like a desperate search, a way to understand the man that raised me, the man I have such a rocky relationship at the best of times. He doesn't express himself in the way I need and I've never been able to accept the way that he is able to express his love for me. Ok, cerebrally, I accept how he expresses it, but the child in me is still left standing alone at the crib bars wanting more.
So in my desperation to understand him, I started searching for answers whereever I could find them and believe you me, that is a very difficult thing when you speak neither Croatian, German (it's been 17 years since I've used the grade 2 level German I knew so that's not reliable). Ever since I've been using the internet, back in the "freenet" days (1994!) I've been searching for our family. It doesn't help that I didn't have many names to go on - really nothing at all. My aunt would give me additional names from time to time as her memory was a little more clear (that and she's the older sister).
I describe my search for living relatives in my h'art writings because the lack of connection to anything beyond my grandmother's generation had always left me feeling a little orphaned. Friends around me would know where they came from but beyond knowing that I came from a grandmother with Chutzpah that would spit at the SS, I know almost nothing (althoug, I've been sewing lately and that's where I realize that I have much of what both grandma and grandmaman gave me). I teach students about the importance of story-telling, or, knowing and listening to stories in trauma, recovery from trauma, etc. and here I am looking for my own bigger story.
I have this theory, it's a strange one but it's mine. I've always believed that the point to life is about getting to know the self and living at your highest vibration/potential. To further that theory, I've also believed that the close your get to fulfilling your life's purpose, the closer to then end you are. (This life purpose isn't about success or a great job: it's about a combination of the circustances in which you are born. It sounds sad but it's about coming full circle: the place where we are born we are in our pure souls - we know all and are completely and totally connected to the source. We go through life learning about all this man-made stuff (that inherently takes us away from the spirit self) but our goal is to come back to that essence. In the process we get a great ride (great food, great people, and the best of all: love). So where this whole thing about wanting to know about my ancesters comes into place is that I've recently finally had contact with living relatives in Croatia. Some of my life questions are finally being answered. There are still big black holes for the the "Austrian" side but the big questions are diminishing. It feels like a "finally!" moment. Full- circle.
Some people call it synchronicity.
I've had quite a few of those moments the past few months. It's a great feeling to have things settled - but it's also a very sad feeling because of what it represents to me: coming closer to the light/the higher self/the end.
I know that doesn't have to mean that - but because this is my hard held belief, this is what it means for me.
For now, I feel like I come from somewhere - not just plopped here in North America with no connection to anything before the war. (Was there even life before the war? According to my searches, no!)