I have often wondered whether others see their lives as a series of life cycles or whether it mostly pertains to people with illnesses? I don’t really know … but it often crosses my mind.
The notion of family has taken on many different meanings during the course of my life time.
Today i look back and it seems as though I was born into a group of people who I share some common memories with and similar DNA, but to whom I don’t seem to share many other things in common at all. We are strangers now. But strangers who wish each other well.
Growing up for me meant moving out and moving on as soon as I could.
A new family was made within the friends and connections I made over the years; some more lasting than others… Until the day I met my soulmate. Someone who wanted to stay and build a new family with me. Someone who never let go.
My husband and I have spent a great deal of time and effort to fill our lives with the types of things we both enjoy the character and qualities we both respect. Over the years time has revealed those qualities which we now prize and cherish.
With each new stage and each new family it is as though I have shed the skin of the past and we both moved on to the next us and our next family. The years seem to have distilled us and shaped us for the families we choose, which has been far different from the original family we were born to. In fact it is the polar opposite.
I realize that at this time of my life that biological family will eventually start to pass away. I will then be faced with some reminders of that person I once was, although that person has lived and died many, many times over in the time between then and now.
One day there will be little left of the original family except for some remaining memories. I quietly prepare myself for this happening whenever I see someone talking about their biological families or their happy childhood memories. I will cross that bridge when it comes and I hope I will do it with the necessary respect and contemplation.
Not having a close biological family does not mean that I don’t treasure my current family or the people I love now. Far from it. It has made me cherish them even more.
My understanding of love and my ability to love has continued to grow and mature and I am always amazed by how much it has deepened.
Sadly, there are many people who feel that they are not complete if they did not have the close love and affection of their biological family or if they still don’t have it. I felt this way for a long time until I realized I was sabotaging what I currently had and who I was becoming.
Today, living with illness and pain, I feel a strong connection to a greater and larger family of people who have all earned each other’s respect and acceptance by virtue of our greater struggles. A family who doesn’t judge me. A family who doesn’t look down upon or compete with me. A family that loves and cherishes me more than many others I have known.
Perhaps as a reader of this blog you understand?
Perhaps you too have your own chronic family made up of invisible and precious fellow fighters and advocates? Perhaps they are also all over the world but still deep in your heart? A family who has come to recognize and who understands what the true value of each other are, and what real strength and commitment means.
A truly amazing family indeed.