Thursday, January 3, 2019

Defining Family.

grief, family, loss, divorce, relationships, connections, in-laws, spouses, extended family

When a couple has been together for a long long time - their families intertwine.

His family becomes her family.

Her family becomes his family.

I use his-her because that is the couple I was a part of.

But know that this applies for his-his relationships, and her-her relationships.

And yes. I know. It does not happen all the time.

Sometimes families remain divided. Separated. Distant.

But. Not always.


When family is good.


When family is open.


When family is real.

There's a love and respect that develop simultaneously.

A nature that leads to calling the family members of your partner by their familial titles.

Aunt so-and-so.

Uncle whatshisname.

Cousin 'yes-that-is-the-one-we-like'.

You can laugh. You know you do it, too.

But then. There are those who don't need description or definition.

Those who are just immediately family.

And when a couple dissolves it's so so very hard.

It can be so difficult to distinguish - maybe that's not the right word - but determine is wrong, too.

It's just so hard to define (there you have it) who remains family and who does not.

Because when spouses are no longer spouses, in-laws are not quite exactly in-laws.

Not anymore.

And yet.

[You'll notice this is one of my favorite phrases. I don't know why. It just is.]

After years.

After a decade and then some.

Family doesn't just leave the heart.

Family doesn't just fade away.

And family is still loved.

Even when - by the very definition of the word - they're no longer family.

No longer related.

No longer family by marriage.

No longer.

And yet.


The circle I once described as family recently lost one of their own.

Someone who was, in the very essence of the word, a member of my family.


So now I offer condolences to loved ones.

For this is not my pain to bear - this is not my loss.

And yet.


I weep.

My heart hurts.

I recognize the weight of this loss.

For the entire family.

And if you take a moment, after reading this, and want to offer your condolences, please consider - instead - a gesture in honor of someone who deserves to be remembered. Take a few moments to do something for someone. Whether someone in your life, or someone simply crossing your path. Bring a meal to a friend. Treat a stranger to coffee. Call that person you haven't spoken to in a while. You don't need a reason, just call to check in and see how they're doing. Do it in honor of someone who always treated me like family. Someone who is greatly missed. 


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