The first part of this begins right after my mother's death. I remember that, on the first satsang I went to following my mother's death, there was a sense of disconnect. In a sense, that is probably a normal part of a grief process, but it brought up feelings that, not only was I losing members of my biological family (my grandmother had died while I was at an Amma retreat a couple of years previously), but that I was also in the process of losing confidence in the reality and durability of my connection with my (pseudo-) spiritual (pseudo-) family as well.
It has taken me years to begin to move beyond blame--self-blame and blame of others--and to just consider the possibility that the Amma "family" may have been a temporary holding place for me while I adjusted to the loss of my grandmother and mother, the passing away of my younger years, the diminishment of my confidence that relationships have anything to do with "happiness" (whatever that is), and the strain of the contemporary academic profession (with all of its associated disappointments and frustrations).
One thing that I did appreciate from the time following my mother's death, however, was that the satsang leader and her husband suggested that I accompany them to the local Hindu temple in order to sponsor an abhishekam to Ganesha for the benefit of my mother's station in the afterlife (or in-between-life). After the abhishekam, as we were walking through the temple in order to acknowledge the deities, the satsang leader explained to me that, traditionally, the sponsoring of the abhishekam for a parent is a duty that falls to the oldest son (which, of course, I am).
That took place in Janaury of 2008. A couple of years later, I felt a need to visit the columbarium where my mother's ashes are held. My partner joined me on a weekend journey to Pennsylvania in order to do that. While we were there, we visited the small local Hindu-Jain-Sikh temple. No one else was there when we arrived, so we just meditated for a short time and left as more people started to arrive.
Earlier this month, I finally visited my father at his condo in Florida (for the first time since he moved there after my mother's death). Among the first excursions we took was a trip to rather grand Hindu temple in Tampa.
Gradually, it is starting to seem to me that these temple visits are not just the result of random curiosity, but rather may have something to do with coming to terms with family of origin, a desire to loosen karmic ties with family, etc.
Om Kreem Kalyai Namaha,