WERE YOU FRIENDS WITH YOUR LOVED ONES? May 27, 2005 5:49 AM
Despite your relationship with your deceased loved ones, where you also friends? Whether you were grieving for your parents, siblings, spouses, etc., were you grieving because you lost a very special friend too?
In my case, for instance, I still miss my mother and we loved each other very much (she passed on about 11 years ago), however, we shared few things... She had a strong personality and was an extrovert. But we weren't friends... I'm very sensitive and loving, more like Dad... but he could also be harsh, which I didn't like... ("half" a friend?) My Tony and I, instead, were best friends! We had always fun together (even though he was more intellectual)... We were simply made for each other.
oh yes...Jenny was my best friend. I think that is why my grief is still so overwhelming. I have other friends, a few women that know most of my heart, but none are Jenny, none can hold the place that she had. The complete knowing of my being. the loss of her will never be filled.
My major loss was my only daughter, and I hope that she considered me a friend as well as her Dad...but, if only one was possible, I had to take the parental role to help her grow and learn. With my Dad, he was indeed a friend with whom I could share many things...but I don't think we really became friends until I was grown, out of the house, and independent so we could develop our friendship. For me, there are relatives and family - relatives are those to whom I am connected by blood or marriage, but don't fit my definition of family. Family can be either relatives or friends, but who are there for you no matter what or when. I am definitely friends with all of my family, past and present.
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I've lost most of my family, but I didn't feel friendship with them. We were connected by blood but for some unknown reason I didn't have the trust and respect that I consider goes with a friendship, for family. My biggest hurt had to be my daughter's suicide and there I felt more of a responsibility in the form of love, not friendship. For me it had been important to earn her trust and be there for her where as a friendship is something I sort of think we'd of been there for each other. I couldn't see her as being there for me because of the way her life was going. I do have a letter from her that states she considered her sister and I, her best friends. I consider that important, which to me meant I didn't want to ever let her down.
What I find interesting is that your definition of "family" fits exactly the concept I have of it! In fact, I often say that you "cannot choose your relatives and co-workers", but it's different with friends, who, eventually, become the "family" you belong to! I think that is true, even though not everybody is aware of it.
My awakening to my definition of family came during my Grandmother's Alzheimer descent to death. My mother took care of her every day, while my aunt - who lived less than one block away - never did anything. When my Grandmother was hospitalized, my Mom, Dad, sister and I took 12-hour "shifts" sitting with her, even though she didn't recognize us. Again, my aunt and her family never showed up, even though they lived less than a mile from the hospital. One Saturday morning, they all showed up and made a big fuss over my Grandmother, putting on quite a show and empasizing how we had all helped take care of her. I looked at them and thought "family doesn't act or lie like this." Hence, if I truly believed that and they acted like that, they weren't family. That's when I made my distinction between family and relatives. I'm glad we have the same perspective...
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