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Posts Tagged ‘going home’

I grew up on a little island with a couple of small stores and one country school. The nearest mall was two ferry rides away.

I left Cortes Island twelve years ago, but it stays with me. Its landscapes and familiar places are often in my dreams. I don’t think I’ll ever move back there, but I’ll always be an island girl at heart.

My grandfather came to Cortes sixty years ago to do some work and he stayed. He married a local schoolteacher—my grandmother.

They built a home together. My mother was born in that house down a road lined with blackberry bushes. The “Old Folks Home” is gone now. It was a shed where the elderly ducks and chickens lived in leisure once they were past laying. The sheep ran from us kids when we got too close. We ran from the geese when they strutted towards us and hissed menacingly. So many memories.

We went back recently to attend my grandfather’s funeral. There were tears and laughter as we reconnected with family and reminisced together.

I got to rub my beautiful sister’s pregnant belly. My brother and I laughed while we remembered our friendship and feuding over the years. Family. A huge part of who I’ve become.

At the funeral, I visited with one of my favourite school teachers, friends of my mom’s from before I was born, extended family that I was meeting for the first time, people I hadn’t seen for a decade or two, and the woman who taught me horseback riding when I was eleven. I shook hands with a great-uncle that looked so much like my grandpa that I had to fight tears. There is something very powerful about grieving together. It joined us.

“Mom,” said Myra on the evening of the funeral, “we’re just now meeting family that we didn’t even know existed, and we’ll probably never see them again.”

It’s true. Some of the people that we hugged and shared meals with and cried with—we’ll never see again. But I’m thankful for the time we had together. I’m glad we went home.

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On the ferry

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