Families are built day by day, year by year with actions, words and inevitably with memories. In the beginning, as babies then as children, teens and young adults in many ways we are formed and molded by our home lives. Our parents, friends and environment all have an impact on us.
No one has a perfect life and many come from horrible situations and manage to overcome them. We all know stories of people who have risen from nothing to be successful or brilliant.
While I understand I have been very fortunate, in the home in which I was raised, to the opportunities for education, and the support I always received, whether I deserved it or not, I have battled many issues in my life.
This month marks 14 years since I separated from my now ex-husband. We are both better off without the other. My children perhaps would have been better off in a two-parent home but I could not give that to them. As a single mother, I have raised three girls, now 30, 24 and 19 years of age. I don’t know who had it the worst, the oldest one who had some great memories of two supportive parents, the middle child who had some solid years as a part of a family or my youngest who has little memory of ever having a ‘real’ family. Is it better to have known a family and lose it or never to have known it at all? I know there were/are disadvantages to the lives of all my children.
Life is a funny thing. While the years are moving along, we accept the status quo and complain about the weather, our job or politics. Retrospectively, it is easy to compartmentalize certain periods of our lives, like when the kids were little, or when we lived in this house or that city.
Please forgive my ramblings. I continue to try to make sense of the Alzheimer world my mother lives in now. I have been forced into introspection about what is family, who supports whom, what are the roles, how do we manage when the roles change.
In an instant, with an unintended action, bad memories can flood us. We are returned to a time when we were all different people. It is so easy to allow fighting to hurt one of our family members senselessly. It is hard to regain the ground we took years to level. A place where we all are safe and secure in the love of one another.
Families are like that, you know, built of feathers and molded without cement. They can blown apart by strong north wind. But I hope each time the wind settles, the family will come back again, stronger. The rain will stop and hopefully what is left is shiny and new and not too badly eroded away.
I hope my family continues to build with our new roles and love to strengthen our ties.