The Invaluable Family Tie


The older I get the less I know for sure. But what I do know, I’m sure about. Like family. If you are lucky enough to be born into a loving family, it needs to be the most important part of your life. Not next week or next month. Today and every day.

I know this because my family of origin all passed away in a 4-year period, so the family remaining and those who share love, respect and unconditional love like family members aren’t ever taken for granted. Not in a nano-second nor a million years would I guess I’d have no mom, dad, sister or brother by the age of 43. And I once thought that was old. It isn’t. You still need your mom and dad and siblings then, and you need to trust me on this because the only other way to know about it is because it happens to you, and I wouldn’t wish that even on that sect of the GOP to the right of Attila the Hun.

Sure many, like me, marry and have children. And OF COURSE you love them and hopefully that love is returned. But nobody can replace the endless confidence and comfort of knowing mom is a phone call away, dad will come save you from a bad situation and not say anything, your siblings will share your feelings about every day of your life as each stack up, and combined these moments make you the man or woman you become. But—there’s always a but isn’t there? And this is a big one. But, like knowing your pillow is under the blanket, the sun will rise in the east, summer in Chicago really is beautiful—those people can be taken from you unexpectedly and no matter how much you love them, there isn’t a thing you can do to bring them back.

I could spend a lifetime trying to make my family understand what it’s like not to have a mom, dad, sister or brother. The whole caboodle gone. They don’t get it. I’m sure they’re tired of hearing about it.  But if I could just find a way for them to empathize without learning the hard way, what a difference it would make. Not just for me. They could recognize the value of family, unconditional love and kindred thoughts in real time. And what a joy that would be for them.

Like living each day as your last, but not morbidly.

Living each day knowing one day you’ll miss your mom bugging you about your dirty room, your dad going over the top about something, your sibling mortifying you in front of someone you like. Yet it not being so terrible. Living through the ups and downs of the days and weeks with the invisible family strand threading through each of your hearts and holding you together, tight and safe, without a word needing to be said. Strong enough to support you through tough times, nimble enough to allow you to wander into new experiences still safe because of that imperceptible but incredulously strong bond holding you together. And appreciating it in those moments!

We come into this world so perfect and achieve greater perfections as well as tally up imperfections. And no one will love you more despite any of that than your mom, dad, sister and brother. And when you don’t have one of them to call after the best or worst moment of your day or your life, have you thought of what you will do? Who you will call? What will fill the holes?

Not having to think about that is worth understanding the value of your family of origin every day. Oh how I wish you would just trust me on this one.