Merriam Webster defines the word family as a group of individual living under one roof and usually under one head. It goes on to say that it can also be a group of people united by certain convictions or a comment affiliation.
My struggles with family over the last year have been crazy. A year ago January my mother ended up moving in with me for five or six months. It was HORRIBLE. I did what I could to get her together, bills squared away and all her medical needs met. I cooked for her three times a day plus snacks as well as cleaning up after her and doing her laundry. She was here 24 hours a day 7 days a week. I had little or no support at all from my siblings who claimed to love her. I finally was able to get her approved for disability and get her accepted into an assisted living facility when all hell broke loose. One of my sisters decided that she had not been in on the discussions the entire time about getting her into a home and started telling everyone that I stole my mother’s social security. She even went so far as to attack my mental disorder AND my religion. She sent me repeated text messages to the point that I had to go to the phone company and block her from sending me any messages at all.
During this time I saw a change in my friends in social media. Some I have known for years and years, others only a few months. These folks rallied together and came to my defense. The stood up to other’s who would attack me on Facebook. And one took me under her wing and adopted me outright. I've known her for years. She and I worked together at a BBS called Cupid’s Playpen. We spent nights hosting bowling events and picnics as well as playing MUDs together. Today I am her sister.
I have family that is related to me by blood. I’m not really that close to most of them. I have cousins and nieces. I rarely talk to any of them and usually just post the random happy birthday messages on Facebook. I get invited to events and reunions and sometimes even hear the “I love you” from them. I wonder though, do they really know what love or family is? I've not been around them. They don’t know me. They don’t know about my panic attacks or my days trapped in the house from fear. I don’t even really know for sure who my father is. Yet I have people from his side of the family tell me they love me and stuff. I guess I should be happy about it, but it just makes me uncomfortable. They know that he kidnapped me and raped me but they invited me to groups honoring him. It all so confusing sometimes because even on my mother’s side, I want to hold her accountable for what happened yet everyone tells me I need to let go.
Of all the things in my life that have hurt me, the majority of the pain has come from people that called themselves my family. My birth family that is.
I have found a new family. My pagan family, my online family. This year on my birthday I had over 100 people wish me a happy birthday. Three of them were birth family. My sister that blocked me and was so vile to me managed to send me a happy birthday text 3 minutes before midnight on my birthday. My adopted family continued to amaze me with wonderful flowers and gifts. Instead of having a birth DAY I had a birth WEEK.
Family comes in all shapes and sizes. It can be people who are related by blood or people who CHOOSE to come together and share love and kindness to each other. I've found that this family, is the best family every.
Namaste & Blessed Be