This week’s post has been a difficult one for me to put together because the subject matter deals with a good friend losing a close family member. I feel it’s an important exercise in life to look for the lesson, even in the hardest of situations, and in doing that I was reminded of what it means to be part of an adopted or Milk Family. I think you might feel the same.
My friend lost his dad last week after a two and a half week hospital stay and complications with Parkinson’s disease. After many years of attending kid’s birthday parties and other special occasions, I came to know both of my friend’s parents pretty well and one thing that will always stood out to me is that they are both the very best of people. They are very accepting of everyone they come into contact with. You see, my friend is an only child, but that never limited the size of his family. Growing up, all of his friends were looked at as extra kids to his parents and treated like one of the family.
Blended families are pretty common nowadays and when my friend married his first wife she had a child from a previous relationship. This child was never treated any differently from the two additional children that came to their family. Because in everyone’s eyes that was the right thing to do. There were never favorites. Even after my friend divorced, relationships with the kids were top priority with everyone.
Then my friend met and married another beautiful woman who had two girls of her own. Again, I watched as these two girls were added to the mix of the family and treated the same as the other three. Because as my friend puts it, “blood makes you related, loyalty makes you family.”
That’s how there came to be a line of pictures of children in my friend’s father’s casket, even though he only had two blood grandchildren. I believe that is an amazing tribute to the love and acceptance of truly good people. I feel very lucky to know them.
Three of the girls have graduated from high school and are now moving on to the next phases of their lives. I’ve known them for a large chunk, if not all, of their lives and it was eye opening for me to sit with them at the funeral home during the viewing. They are my nieces and I am their ‘auntie’ and they are starting to understand the unique family unit they belong to. They are now old enough to ask questions they never cared about before. How did we all meet, this crazy circle of siblings, pseudo-aunts/grandparents, family and friends that make up whom they have come to rely on and trust. It was the biggest of blessings for me to talk with them. To share stories with them and see them for the adults they are becoming. Even though it makes me feel old!
My friend didn’t know that I intended to write this post, but I definitely wanted his approval before putting it out there. I sent him a rough draft and during our conversation about it, he brought up the fact that so many of our extended circle of ‘friends-family’ hold the same values as we do. That was a point that I hadn’t yet come to as I was writing, but he is very right. We’ve been friends for years and when you look at the friends who have come into our lives and stayed, we all hold the same ideals. Be a good person. Love your neighbor. Be understanding. And all those other life lessons we want to pass along to our children.
It made me think of the Hermetic Principle of Like Attracts Like that I learned years ago and I realized a new depth of truth about it. I don’t have children myself, but if I did, I’m confident that if for some reason I couldn’t teach them myself, they would learn what they needed to succeed in life from those I have surround myself with.
That makes me thankful in so many ways. I hope that I’ve sparked some thought in you and if you would like to comment I encourage you to do so. Thank you for walking along this path with me for a while and until next time… Blessed Be!
by Linda Ellis
I read of a man who stood to speak
At the funeral of a friend
He referred to the dates on her tombstone
From the beginning to the end
He noted that first came her date of her birth
And spoke the following date with tears,
But he said what mattered most of all
Was the dash between those years
For that dash represents all the time
That she spent alive on earth.
And now only those who loved her
Know what that little line is worth.
For it matters not how much we own;
The cars, the house, the cash,
What matters is how we live and love
And how we spend our dash.
So think about this long and hard.
Are there things you’d like to change?
For you never know how much time is left,
That can still be rearranged.
If we could just slow down enough
To consider what’s true and real
And always try to understand
The way other people feel.
And be less quick to anger,
And show appreciation more
And love the people in our lives
Like we’ve never loved before.
If we treat each other with respect,
And more often wear a smile
Remembering that this special dash
Might only last a little while.
So, when your eulogy is being read
With your life’s actions to rehash
Would you be proud of the things they say
About how you spent your dash?
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