Ah, Family! What a blessing, in whatever form we share with those in our innermost circle. Families come in many forms around the world in various cultures or conditions. Universally, families serve vital functions: raising and caring for children, providing economic support for one another, providing a nurturing living environment.
In our post-modern condition, sometimes families are composed of social relations including but also extending beyond our genealogical connections; “families we choose”. In my own experience, though I have lived 1000’s of miles from my core family for most of my adult life, family is bedrock; those whom I return to every opportunity there is. Family carries a value of Acceptance which truly is deeper than blood. It is where unconditional love can be relied on, no matter what ‘outside’ conditions you might face. I also live with a home family of other-than-human animal companions; we share that same total reciprocity of unconditional love, acceptance and mutual caring as with siblings and mother (my father has passed).
My mother is in a nursing home now, 87 next month, suffering from late stage Parkinson’s and arthritis. Her children and grandchildren and sisters visit her at every opportunity, aiming to bring the best possible Better Endings her way. She deserves the best, too, as she gave of herself and continues to give of herself to all her relations, always. I dedicate this week of Better Endings blog posts to my Mom, Elizabeth, in upstate New York.
Better Endings in my life have often come through family ties. Whether it was my mother always somehow knowing exactly when I might need a phone call from Buffalo to Phoenix, AZ, or catching up with all the activity in my brother and sisters’ busy lives and families of their own, family time is an uplifting balm for the Soul.
One quick memory to share of Family Better Endings in tribute to my mother; I would not be alive today—nor most of my siblings—had this not occurred. Cincinnati, Ohio, circa 1961. (I was 6.) We had a swimming pool in our back yard and my brother, sister Lee and I were swimming. Mom was in the screened in back porch, attending. Very quickly, gray clouds amassed. Suddenly, my mother came out and yelled urgently at us all: “Get OUT of the pool, NOW!” We did, not knowing what was wrong. We all scurried with Mom into the porch area, and no sooner had we reached the porch when, WHAM! A huge bolt of lightning struck the water!
We have asked her for years, “Mom, how did you know?” All she can answer is, “A Mother just knows.”
My Mom, with my sister Lee, her daughter, Daughter-in-law, and grandchild (by Lee Ireland)
I invite your stories and insights, in any form (e.g. poetry, photos, or prose) about Family and Better Endings. I’m sure we all have plenty to tell!
P.S.: Thank You to everyone reading this blog, either regularly or for your first visit! What a new world we live in where we can all share like this!