as  i have been battling lately with depresion and disconnection for some time now, i made a conscious decision to take some steps towards walking out of the “darkness” we can sometimes fall into. i started with a trip to new york city. after all, though i was born in santo domingo, dominican republic it was new york city that raised me and taught me about coming out of “darkness.”

that weekend i decided i would only visit family. i started at my cousin’s place. just me and him and the x-box. we caught up. he showed me the new sneakers he got for his son. we laughed hard as we watched a comedy show. he had to go, had a date with his wife and didn’t want to be late. i kissed and hugged him goodbye and he reminded me, “yo, yajaira remember we more than cousins. fo’ real. you my sister, ma.”

i smiled all the way to my other cousin’s house. she always has a bed for me, she says. and so bailey and i showed up, there we were met with the Love and laughter of Familia (it makes me happy that to them my canine companion is family as well and they always expect us both). we started with cafe bustelo and pan con mantequilla. it’s the perfect beginning to some of the most amazing conversations.

i saw my cousin’s granddaughter. who is wise beyond her years. though i was not surprised shem being the off-spring of my cousin. i laughed with her kids and learned about police academy and nursing. my cousin now has a part-time job with the mets to make extra income. and then my aunt showed up and the second cup of bustelo was poured.

because i have been writing my book (who is taking me on an amazing ride), i decided to ask my aunt some questions. i asked, a bit nervous to hear the response but ready because i have been wanting some answers. fully aware that some of the things i might learn will change my life forever. we talked. and she shared. and the more i knew, the more i wanted to know. i started to understand myself in a different light. i started to make connections to patterns, and behaviors and my heart started feeling lighter. and while we didn’t get to everything. we got to enough to give me time to digest and process.

then my cousin and i decided to visit more family. off we went. and we walked into our cousins’ new apartment (real estate in new york is fortune) and i felt pride. because well, we are making life better for ourselves slowly but surely. my other aunt was there and there we laughed and laughed some more and caught up on life. the good, the bad and the ugly.

the following day we went to visit another cousin. and there we did more laughing. shared some intimate stories that connected us deeper. we ate. we drank. we cried. we shared youtube videos. we laughed ’til our jaws hurt.

i drove back to ct with new york city in my rearview mirror. and said thank you to my Home. no matter how long i go without coming back, the Familia loves me like city lights love time square.

that weekend something was going on back in ct. my cousin was sick. and i headed to her place. i had never seen her like this. we were all on edge and felt helpless. nothing could be done. it needed to “ride out.” so we waited. held her hand. and trusted in each other to take care of the necessary things. we are Family.

this weekend i decided to disconnect entirely from the “matrix” (no phone. no FB. no email -with the disclaimer that my mother new where i was if she needed to find me).  i have spent time with my cousin. talked about a lot. made her laugh in the emergency room. and then we came Home. clear broth and gatorade. and i served it up with extra Love for healing. as many times as she has healed me, this pales in comparison.

she is my strength. she has been my anchor. she is Home.

Familia is Home.

returning Home is where we replenish the Soul. i am thankful to have this space and time with them. it is the perfect way to begin to walk out of the “darkness.” surrounding your Self with Familia and Love.