Wednesday, February 3, 2010


I've been thinking a lot about the definition of family. Sure most people consider 'family' limited among those with whom they share DNA. I do not. Of course many of the people to whom I was born are considered family but there are many more that I have no shared genes with at all. I think when you go through a crisis, as horrible as it is, it is also a microscope for your life. You can examine who was there and who was not. When we got the phone call that Ian's dad died it was ten o'clock on a Saturday night. What followed was four hours on the phone with various airlines trying to make flight arrangements for the following morning. More phone calls to schedule the unexpected pick up of my son who was 100 miles away. But there is one phone call that stands out. I knew that we would have to leave the following morning and no vets would be open to kennel our myriad of animals. I called my step mother, Ruth, and I told her what was going on and that we needed her to take care of our pets. She asked if she should come over (by this time is was close to 11pm and I told her no, she could just come over in the morning and I'd go over the dogs and cats' routines.) About 20 minutes later, she knocked on my door and proceeded to stay with us until we had our airline tickets and a plan. It was 2am when she left. She didn't have to come but she wanted to. And truthfully I needed her here. For 8 days she cared for our animals coming to our house 4 times a day to feed them and let them out. She also took down our Christmas decorations since we weren't coming home until well after Christmas and she wanted to make it as easy as possible for us when we got home after a 13 hour travel day. Also, waiting in the fridge was a week's worth of prepared meals. The day after we got home my brother and his wife brought over a meal. Ian's work sent a beautiful plant to his dad's funeral and many people called to check on us and offered to help in any way in the weeks that have followed. We have recieved beautiful symphathy cards from our family...none of them related to me by blood...but all my family. The second day we were home our plumbing backed up and we had raw sewage in our bathtubs, once again Ruth had us come to her house for the night and my brother called a friend of his and found a reliable plumber for the following day. This past Saturday night we spent the evening with much of my "family" and I realized just how lucky we are. It was loud and joyful and we felt very accepted and loved. It's easy to think when your parents are gone and you don't have many connections with the people left behind that you are alone, an orphan, so to speak. But we are not. I have been blessed with an amazing son (who literally saved my life) and given the gift of two brothers and a sister who I love very much. I inherited a wonderful family when my father married after my mother's death and I inherited a wonderful family when I met Ian and we have great friends who, even though they don't have to be, are there when it counts. Family has very little to do with your blood and everything to do with your heart.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Death Dates

So, I was sitting here today wondering how to work through all of the stuff that has gone on. Yesterday was extremely stressful (thankfully, we got good news during Brandon's dr. appointment). Today I woke up with a headache (which is usual after days of extreme stress) and realized that yesterday was also the three year 'anniversary' (for lack of a better word) of my Grandmother's death. From October until January, it seems like all Ian and I do is observe the 'death dates' of our families. Both of our mothers died in October. My father died in November. His father died December 26, 2009. And my beloved Grandmother died in January. My brother lost his baby in November of this year as well. It just seems like no matter where we look there is loss. Of course we have much to be thankful for but it is all getting a little old. The death and destruction of lives and families seems unfairly tilted in our direction. Call this a pity party if you will, I don't care.I don't want to think about my parents in the past tense. I don't want to talk about having a baby with the man I love and on the heels of it have to consider that our child will have no grandparents because all of our parents are dead. I want to have what other people have...a mother and a father and a grandparent for my children and memories that aren't filled with death and pain. I want to be able to grieve and move on...not start to grieve...then lose someone else and start to grieve...and never completely get over the first loss before there is another. I want to be able to celebrate a holiday without it being connected to a death. So maybe this is a blog...or maybe it's a prayer. I just want a break from death for a while. That is all. Amen.