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What does family look like to us now?

Monday, November 20, 2017
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What does family look like to us now?


Family takes on a whole new meaning to me now.  Its definition has broadened.  I have had to come to terms with that definition as time has marched on.  It’s a process, isn’t it?


When my late husband died 9 years ago, both sides of the family came here to Illinois for the funeral.  My kids and I were glad and grateful that they came and helped us celebrate his life.  They reached out in the subsequent months to see how we were doing.  As time went on, we heard from some of them not as often.  I will admit that I didn’t reach out as often as I could have.  Our main tie, Dick, was gone, and in the midst of mourning, there was pain.  For me, time has stretched that pain out.  Time brings with it its own agenda, and lives move on, to the best of my knowledge.  I am blessed to still be in touch with a couple of my in-laws because we have both made that effort.  It does take effort to be a part of a family, especially when you are 1000 miles away, and your link to them is gone.  I will always wish all of them well.  They gave me 24 years of a connection to a family.  That alone stands for something.


My relationship with my own family has evolved as well.  My sister and I were always close, but we got even closer when Dick died.  She has been a big part of my children’s lives, and I am proud to share that she attended all of their big events, including my daughter’s college graduation this year.  I have a brother whom I love dearly, but I don’t hear from him as much.   I reach out and call, and I occasionally hear from him.  Time is changing my relationship with him as well, and I’m trying to go with the flow with him.    


I am now part of a new family with my boyfriend Tim’s family.  We have hosted several holiday gatherings, and they are a wonderful group of people.  They have taken me into their hearts or at least I hope they have done that!  Tim’s father, Allen, is 90, and I love hearing his stories about their family.  Both of my parents are deceased, so I cherish this newly- found time I have with his dad.  It makes me appreciate the time I did have with my parents.  But as I get older, I realize that it was a very short amount of time with them.


I believe family is really what you put into it.  I know there are relationships that I have grown into and grown out of .  That’s ok.  I also know my very close friends have been my family when I felt out of sorts with life.  That’s ok too.  I have been blessed with all of these combinations at some point in my life. 


I hope all of you are with someone that you love on Thanksgiving.  It can be family or not.  I just hope that you feel love on a day where we are all finding something to be grateful for.



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