In Mumdrah’s world, there is nothing simple about Family.
Convoluted and complex, the warm care and comfort of our family comes with a deep pain hidden in its folds. Love – for us – walks hand in hand with a hurt that haunts.
On paper we are just one woman and one girl, but in truth we are Legion.
Around our kitchen table sit people shaped holes. We do not know their smells, their feel, or how they like their tea in the morning because our knowledge of them is more illusion than real. But they still belong with us, like a backbone. And we favour giving them a presence in our everyday over the mistaken pretence of leaving them behind.
There is no competition, nor rivalry.
The strength of CHTs feeling for each of us is separate and contained, though it may sometimes chafe or collide, ebb or flow. Accepting the dynamics of this love – far from alienating or undermining us – builds bridges and bonds us closer. The love she has for her mother presents no threat; for her to feel unfaithful would be the measure of my own deep failure.
This is our family, this is our circumstance.
Why hide? Embrace and explore family ties with honesty, whatever the consequence; in spite of it. There is no sanctuary from it’s shape, from its history, from its pain; but there is danger in the exile of any one of its parts. Challenging though it may be, discovering and questioning the reality of her life story helps find a way through the pain.
Turning away from the truth leaves unanswered secrets.
Longing left unanswered becomes backfilled with fantasy. These children come to us young, but will not always be so. Questions left unanswered now will return – in a year, ten, twenty – swollen and festered with yet more questions about complicity, deception, and time wasted. Missed opportunities.
Our family may be formed like no other, but it is real; and we embrace it as it is.