Saturday, August 27, 2005

From Dust to Dust

Ruth Sophie Harryman, February 19, 1930 - August 24, 2005.

Losing two family members in a single summer is sobering. To be the last member of my family still living and only be 38 years old feels strange. There is no one left to share the memories of my early life. There is no one left who has known me my whole life.

I haven't been close to my family for years. I always felt like an alien among them, that maybe I had been switched at birth. I sometimes think that someplace there may be another 38 year old man who feels the same way and would have been right at home in my family. But we are born into our families for a reason, even if we seldom discover what that reason may have been.

I had nothing in common with anyone in my family. For that reason, I grew up independent, thinking for myself from a very early age. (As a twelve year old, I argued with my father about the impending 1980 election, favoring Carter while my father favored Reagan.) Because I was an outsider in my family, I have often felt like an outsider in my culture, especially while growing up in a redneck portion of southern Oregon.

But that experience has made who I am today. As rough as it was, I would not trade it for anything else. I like who I have become, as conceited as that may sound.

Though I seldom liked my family, I am grateful for their influence on my life -- both good and bad. With the recent passing of my mother, I am the last one standing. From ashes to ashes, dust to dust . . . .

May all of them enjoy their next incarnations and experience far less suffering than they knew in their last lifetimes.

No comments: