This is my 100th post. I'd been trying to think of something witty to write to mark this occasion like I did for the 50th, but I couldn't think of anything. Surprisingly, some things have changed in my life recently that gave me some material.
An elderly relative died recently and I had to go to my hometown for the funeral. It's always weird going there because I'm surrounded by a bunch of relatives who I either don't remember or they mistake me for my mother or one of my aunts. As expected, this happened several times at the funeral. And while I was there, I was able to see some relatives that I remembered very well, but for reasons that I won't go into here, I vowed never to speak to them again. True to my word, I hadn't had any contact with them in seven years.
It was very weird to spend half the day trying not to look at the side of the room where said relatives sat. I did what they did and didn't speak; I tried my best to get through the service without looking in their direction. When I did try to make eye contact, they didn't (or wouldn't) meet my eyes. I was so angry and hurt by the situation that I gave myself a fever and a pounding headache.
By the end of the post-service meal, I had enough. I went to their side of the room and greeted the people who were the source of my anger. We wound up hugging and crying, with them apologizing and me accepting their apologies. In the end, we looked like teenagers on the last day of school, scribbling our addresses down and programming phone numbers in our cell phones. I didn't realize how much I missed them until then. It didn't even occur to me that maybe they missed me as much as I missed them. Until that moment, I thought the concept of tears of joy was a myth. Now I tear up each time I replay that scene in my head. It's good to have my family back in one piece, even if I was the one who had to break the ice. My daddy would've been proud.
On my way out the door, one of my cousins grabbed me. "I saw what you did and you're a woman," she said. "You're a real strong woman, you hear me?" All I could do was nod. I knew that in a few minutes my self-inflicted fever would break and my headache would go away. Anger was tearing me up inside and it was time to let it go.