I am glad to be back contributing to my blog. It’s been a while since I’ve even written anything. I suffered the loss of my only remaining sibling and I have to admit, there’s something missing. I’m not even sure if I was aware of how much my sister Saundra meant to my creative process. We would speak a few times each week and not really about what I was working on, but more about her art and writing. Saundra  was a creative person who lived to express herself. She often drew and painted and wrote poetry. She is the reason I went to the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. I was always wanting to be like my big sister. We were nine years apart, but because we lost our Mother so young(I was 15, she was 24) she just kinda became more of a parental figure than just an older sibling.

I am the youngest of five children. There was Mary Katherine, my eldest sister, Charles Edward, my eldest brother, William my other brother and Saundra Renee, aka
“Nay Nay”. Technically, my brother William is still alive, but he’s been estranged from the family since the 80’s. I’m not really sure why and because I never really knew him, I don’t really care. Family has always been about who decided to be there for you, so as a result, I have an abundance of “brothers and sisters” who share no DNA with me, but love me and I love them.

I would always say in defense of being a “family” person that “biology is overrated”. It doesn’t take common blood for a person to be there for you. It’s really about a choice. My dilemma now, though, is the fact that Nay Nay was the “family” person. She stayed in touch with cousins I’ve never met and did things with our family without me. She knew the importance of keeping in touch and she accepted from me the notion that it didn’t exactly matter to me. That is probably a direct result of my suffering so much loss in my life. My Mom, my older siblings and finally my father passing lead to an even greater withdrawal from “my people”. I think subconsciously it seemed like everyone that was important to me was being taken, so my defense mechanism was the distance I safely kept between me and those related to me outside of my children and my sister’s children. Now I’m in the position of being the “uniter” between my nieces, nephew and sons and the vast landscape of blood relatives that I’ve all but ignored my entire life. I have, by way of my sister’s passing, become the catalyst to stifle the random diaspora of Sanfords related to me. I have to bring us all back to the table and encourage the continuation of our conversation of getting to know each other. I’m not sure I have it in me, but for Nay Nay, I’ll give it my best.

Pray my strength…