With Plural living everything is bigger. Families are bigger and therefore everything connected with “Family” is bigger. Connections are broader, more expansive, more far reaching, more complicated because of multiple relationships…relationships that need constant nurturing. Living is more work, constant pressure and stress to provide for family, educate and parent children, and keep up with the plethora of interpersonal issues and feelings that develop on a regular basis that stem from living together. However, there’s also more love, support, family connections, and people who touch your life, are concerned about you, who need you, who are there to reach out a helping hand, and who, in the end, leave huge imprints on you as you experience life in all it’s kaleidoscopic events and apprehensions. I’m still mourning for my Mother Nee Nee..and will for a long time. I miss her. There are so many ways she’s touched my life, I can’t begin to list them all. She’s the “first” to go…but I have ALL my parents that I will most likely experience leaving this life. So, it’s BIG. I don’t have just TWO parents…but many. I know many people wonder why someone would want this life for the very reason that it is so big. But there’s not one mother, brother or sister that I don’t love and have a connection with and that I wouldn’t want to have as family. That’s amazing to me when I really stop to think about it. In leu of how family relations can get so complicated and sometimes nasty. The bottom line, I can’t help coming to each time I think it all through, is love. The challenges that beset an individual that lives with so many people require the development of patience, long suffering, understanding, brotherly kindness, forgiveness, and a constant giving of oneself. Giving until it hurts, often enough. So, in essence, it requires Love. And because of the larger number of people, life happens at an accelerated rate. Circumstances are always giving something you have to be dealing with. So, in other words, it works the hell right out of you. 😉 And I wouldn’t have life any other way.
Nee Nee passed away Tuesday evening. I can’t seem to absorb it! I feel like a piece of my heart has been ripped away. 😦
I grew up in a plural family where the mothers had in common certain ideals, perspectives, and principles by which they tried to live by. I was one of those kids who was very sensitive to the conflicts that arise from plural living. At an early age, I came to the conclusion that even though there were difficulties I was not going to allow them to have bearing on me forging relationships with my other mothers. I decided that the bottom line was that I loved them and that’s what was important. And so, I built and nurtured relationships with my other mothers and became very close to them and in turn, they nurtured, loved, and mentored me. This was especially important for me going through my teenage years when I had a lot of conflict with my own mother. And so, the motivation for this post is to acknowledge the women who have mothered me, including my mother, but more specifically, Nee Nee. Nee Nee is what we called the second wife of my father. All us kids called her that, including her own.
The past week, Nee Nee has been hospitalized. A few days ago I went to visit her in the hospital. I was overcome with a myriad of emotions when I saw her there in her hospital bed. She hugged me to her tight…and her love for me was reaffirmed. I was embarrassed because I couldn’t keep back the tears..but these experiences carry great magnitude in the lives of all the children of our family. Nee Nee has been a constant fixture in my life. She’s helped me through some really rough, fearful experiences and been a sounding board for me when I’ve needed to just talk…or to verbalize my thoughts and emotions. She’s been a steady support to my mother. She’s loved Mother and been an honest, firm rooted friend, sister and companion. It’s this relationship between Nee Nee and my own mother that has given me a foundation of love for plural marriage. When a child sees two, three or more women work together, laugh together, cry together, have conflict with one another and still love and support one another, raise their children together, love the same man and share these emotions like two sisters would… it’s a powerful vision of what plural marriage can be.
..I got the word yesterday that Nee Nee’s condition is terminal. It’s highly disconcerting and emotional. And my heart is overflowing with love for her.. But also, I’m unsettled with the impending loss her going will be to our family. My mother has lost her mother not quite a year ago..and then my grandmother (my dad’s mother) passed away earlier this year in March which was also a huge loss not only to my mother but all of us, especially my dad…and now this. It wrings my heart…