When you look up the definition of family many different definitions come up with it. The first one defines a family as “a group consisting of parents and children living together in a household.” And although I can’t speak for anyone else, I find this definition to be extremely inaccurate.
See when I think of family sure I think of my mom, dad, sister and brothers. Sure they are my family. But they are only my immediate family. Not my only family.
It took be a bit of scrolling to find a definition that I actually could fully come to an agreement. This definition defined family as being “a person or people related to one another and so to be treated with a special loyalty and or intimacy.”
Someone doesn’t have to be your immediate family for them to still be family. So I interpret the “related” part of the definition as being related in something. Whether it be a hobby or common interest. Such as my teammates in my sports my whole life.
And then there’s my cousins. And my cousin’s kid’s. And spouse’s. And so on and so forth.
They are all my family one just as much as the other. I will always love them as if they are my immediate family, and I always will.
But when one of these family members is achieving greatness or hitting a low it effects me in a very different way now then it ever has.
You see lately there are so many great moments going on with them. With babies being born and more on the way. I grow up only witnessing it through videos. They live almost 8 hours away in Pittsburgh.
And as funny as it is that my 5 year old cousin sees pictures of us and sadly shakes her head saying “It’s a shame they’re all dead.” It really makes me feel like even more of an outsider when I get to see her.
I’m someone she’s not comfortable with. Someone that at some point or another was gone so long that she actually truly believed not just I but my whole immediate family was actually dead.
Missing those little things all throughout their youth just makes me feel terrible. I wish I could be there to help them with sports and go to their games or watch as they dance on stage with a grin from ear to ear.
But as much as these highs are hard to miss the lows are even harder.
There are some things that are so bad that the only reaction you can mutter out is how sorry you are. And as the words come out all I hear in my voice is something that I can’t stand. I can’t stand that although I feel awful that there is nothing that I can do to help.
I regret not being there when my grandpa passed away. I never got to see him all that often. And whenever I had the chance to go and see him I wouldn’t want to make the trip because of how annoyingly long it is.
The last time I actually saw my grandpa was one of those memories that when I watched ‘Inside Out’ made me realize is happy and sad all at the same time.
We went home for Thanksgiving. It also happened to be my grandpa’s 91st birthday. The day after we went to actually celebrate just his birthday and not Thanksgiving, at my aunts house. When food was ready I was obviously the first person up and at it to get food. After setting it down at a spot, I got up and went back to the kitchen to get a drink.
Upon coming back not even a minute later, I returned to no place where I had last placed mine. And as I sit looking at the blank spot in disbelief, wondering who took it, I turn around to a low laughing in the corner to see my grandpa sitting down with my plate of food to get my reaction.
And he gave it back along with a grin from ear to ear! Something that at that point in time was rare.
Shortly after I left for a hockey game. But I didn’t know that was the last time that I would see him.
The next day he went to the hospital where he passed away soon after. Almost like he held on knowing that we had been able to see him one last time.
Now it is happening again. I regret not being home to help out in hard times.
I got a text from my mom.
My cousin’s wife had just been diagnosed with cancer. And that’s all I’ve been told. Nothing more. Nothing less. Which in all honestly I’m not sure how to feel, hopeful or scared.
But the more and more I thought about it the more and more it hit me. My cousin who she’s married to, was born with kidney failure. Almost not making it when he was a newborn. Luckily they found a donor fast. He now needs a new kidney replacement every couple of years. And remains on the waiting list to receive one.
Everyone in our family is now getting tested to see if anyone is his perfect match. The one person who was and was planned on to give their kidney was ironically his wife. Who now can no longer do give her kidney as she needs to stay in the strongest shape possible to fight her upcoming battle.
Now instead of being afraid for just a surgery I am now afraid of much more. And the dark cloud that reigns over lately is not making me feel much better.
And all I can do is sit around and hope for the best.