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It has been a particularly difficult month. I am overwhelmed, but realize life isn’t going to be a County Fair all the time. Besides my husband getting sick, and the possibility of crippling debt, I feel very alone. 

I am fortunate in the fact that my husband’s family have been a great support throughout my life, their friendship keeps me going most of the time.

I have a family that is fragmented, distant, and seems unconcerned. Unless it’s good news my family doesn’t want to discuss it.

I have yet to receive even a phone call checking in to see how we are. In all fairness though, I rarely received phone calls from anyone in my family with the exception of my mother, who I care for because of her mental and physical disabilities.

My grandmother’s death was essentially the end of my family. I know deep down they care for me, I have received monetary support at times, but I think I just come from a family that is unable, maybe incapable of being emotionally present, and I understand this considering the history of our lives. It hurts though. I am alone navigating through life with no advice or support from the people I admire the most.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about family. I know, for example that people who come from a close knit family tend to be physically, emotionally, and mentally healthier. I also understand that my continued attempts to create relationships in my family when there is no interest is unhealthy. My personal search for validation and love has nothing to do with them, it is my own needs I am trying to fulfill. Continuing a pattern of desperation and rejection is not only hurting me, but puts pressure on the people I love.

I need a new pattern. I need a new definition of family. Throughout the last month or so I have received support and concern from the most unexpected places. A virtual stranger showed up to purchase paintings in order to contribute to our medical bills, friends brought me food so I had less to worry about, I have received many messages online of concern and support from roller derby friends, car club members, and people whom I only interact with online, my closest friend spent hours helping me understand the inside and outside of creating a resume. I am humbled. I am grateful.

What exactly is family? Well, it’s the people who show up when shits rough. It is the people who love you even when you’re unlovable. It’s the others that participate in your life for no reason or reward other than love. I am not angry at my family, I love them, my expectations are the problem. 

I need to love my family for who they are, and accept what they are willing to give. I need to draw close the people who want to be in my life instead of demanding it from people who lack the ability to participate. I need to quit blaming myself and squash the self talk that continually berates me for not being good enough. 

Things are looking up. My husband is healing, we are working with the hospital on financial matters, we are selling off things we don’t need to widdle debt down, and we are learning to lean on people who love us. It’s a small blip in a blessed life, and reminding Ourselves that others have problems that far outweigh ours is a good place to sit in humility. 

In the meantime I am learning to breathe, I am learning to redefine family, I am learning… continually learning.