Today a family member is dying. She is lovely, just lovely. She's my birth-mother's husband's mother, so introducing her as my family is challenging (birth-step-gandmother?). Like most of the people who are part of me, part of my extended family, it is the simplicity of just calling her by her name, Annie, that encapsulates who she is to me. It may not explain our relationship to someone on the outside, but there's no doubt in my heart that she's family.
Sometimes reunion feels like a maze when I'm describing my relationships: a straight line, then veer off to the right, then ahead, back, and around. In a lot of ways, the process of reunion was like going through a maze. It was scary and I felt lost when I first set off. The feelings it brought up were dark and disturbing...the Minotaur lurking around every corner. It made me wonder if the challenge of reunion with all the pain, the doubt, the guilt, anger, confusion, was worth it.
Had I not gone through the maze, I would have never met my Annie and my life would have been at such a loss for it. Not only would I have not known my birth families, but I wouldn't have had this other family. That seems unfathomable to me.
While I feel like I have well-worth the paths of my birthmother's family and my adoptive family, I feel like I am just starting to explore the paths of my birth-father's family. Although I met my birth-father many years ago, and I've met some of his family, I feel like I still don't fully understand my connection and I'll need to go deeper into the maze to get there.
Maybe there's no end to the maze. Maybe instead of fighting the Minotaur, we just have to lay down our swords and accept the labyrinth as our home. We are half of one, half of another, unique and frightening to some. We are here to explore the maze, and in the process come to terms with all the parts that make us who we are.