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Lesson 16: Always Take Care of Your Family

Reuniting with family for Thanksgiving reminds me of how strong we are when we’re together. We may not seem this way, in our current state, but we are. My mom always taught me to accept help when I needed it, but to offer help when I was able. This sense of unity is truly a central foundation of my family and how we respond in moments of crisis.

I have always had a sense of confidence when I’m with my sisters and have often thought that alone I may not be much, but with them we are unstoppable. Over the past few years, I’ve found myself in many difficult situations. Moving out and needing furniture, have my car break down and needing a loaner, or simply dinner and a good cry on someone’s shoulder. I would always tell my mom that I felt so guilty all the time. I would come into town in a hurry, sometimes with very little, and my mom would have a bed ready for me, dinner waiting, and a big hug and kiss. I could never thank her enough for healing me in times of great turmoil, and she’d simply say “That is what we do, baby. When you need me, I will be here for you, always. One day I’ll need you, and you will do the same for me.” This thought fueled me. During her diagnosis and then eventual time in hospice, my family kept telling me they were so proud of me. So proud that I was there for my mom and I would think… where else could I have been? This is what she would have done for her parents, for my aunts and uncles, for my sisters and me. This is why we do this. We are not all strong all the time. But when I’m strong, I will pick you up and carry you until we can walk side-by-side, hand-in-hand. I will always be your pillar when you need me and I will be happy to be, because that is what my mom taught me.

This is especially true about my Dad right now. He and my mom have sacrificed a lot for me. Countless hours of love and attention, sleepless nights, and dollars to give me the things I loved. When my mom needed me, I wanted to give my health, heart and soul for her and watched my Dad do the same. I know she was the love of his lifetime, and I can’t heal his heart, but I will hug it tightly like a bandage as long as he needs me to.

I love you, family.

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