Wednesday, September 14, 2005

So many fronts ... so little time ... how does one cope?

Having come from such a long lineage, and having only accounted for one branch of this huge family -- what on earth comes next?

I can imagine how hard it must be for all those who have been displaced by Katrina to figure out next moves. Looked around my apartment after slipping out of my shoes before stepping onto the white carpeting I spent the weekend cleaning. Felt the dry sobs that rise in my throat so often these days. Such a contrast with those who are returning home to filthy water rising to the ceiling. Looked around and wondered what I would save -- if the water were rising fast? What would I do if all I had left at the end of the day were the clothes on my back and the ring on my finger? Suppose there was nothing left to prove my existence at all? And, most important, how could I reach those kinfolk who live far beyond the waters -- about whom I know little, but who might be in a position to help ... .

I'm in that position. I wait for I know not whom -- a phone call from some relative who doesn't know of my concerns, or of my willingness to share my life. I haunt the lists online not knowing whether the names I see are those for whom I'm looking. The women have changed names through marriage, maybe more than once. Do I adhere to the known family names (Allen, Breaux, Charbonnet) and forget about all else? Been doing that, but coming up empty, except for rumors.

I'm hating the fact that we're so scattered, so out of touch. Would love to be able to knit us all back into some kind of whole -- and if possible -- I'd never allow that kind of separation to ever happen again. I worry so about the children ... .

Find myself worrying even about those from whom I've been alienated for a variety of reasons over many years ... Wondering what could have been important enough to make for such deep cleavages in our lives ... and how can the healing begin?

..and will there be enough time?

Photo: Grandfather Louis Charbonnet's business card that I've treasured for all these years. Also have notebooks in which he computed his worker's pay and estimates of construction. His leatherbound engineering books sit on my bookshelf in the hallway. How comforting to know that they're dry and not lost to the waters of Katrina ... .

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