Friday, October 14, 2011


'Grub Up!' photo (c) 2011, Mark Robinson - license: today I started thinking about the concept of family.  What truly is a family?  Even though I taught a Sociology class for a couple of years, I needed to remind myself of what I already know.  So when I arrived home I looked the word family up in the dictionary.  The American Heritage Dictionary defines "Family" as:

  1. A fundamental social group in society consisting esp. of a man and woman and their offspring.
  2. A group of persons sharing a common ancestry.
  3. Lineage, esp. distinguished lineage.
  4. All the members of a household under one roof.
  5. A group of like things; class.
The definition and individuals interpretations, expectations, and perceptions can be quite different.  Our "ideas" of what we want our family to be like and how it really is can be complex.  Every individual in a family brings their own set of ideas, expectations and perceptions to the table.    One individual may want a close relationship while another likes to stand alone.  These differences can cause hurt feelings.  Circumstances, actions, and family history can leave lasting scars that are hard to overcome.  Families are not perfect! 

While teaching Sociology the one thing I would always say is this:  "Don't get hung up on the definition of family, family can be however you define it."  In our modern world the family has evolved and the word "family" may mean different things to different people.  So, if your current definition of family is not working out how you would like, maybe you should think about changing your definition.  To me, family are the people around you who love and support you regardless of our flaws, they will defend you when nobody else will, and they can look past the bad to see the good.  To me, a family is NOT one that belittles you, talks about you behind your back, and manipulates your life.  When you change how you look at family, you can change your life.  In the end you have to be happy with you!!! 

Monday, October 10, 2011

Happy Birthday

'Balloons' photo (c) 2006, Crystal - license: Erica would have turned 35.  Last year her birthday fell on 10/10/2010.  To celebrate she entered a half marathon in Joplin, MO.  My parents and her daughters made the trip to Joplin with her to watch her run the race.  Erica felt that birthday was significant since the dates only fall that way every one hundred years.  If only we knew how significant that birthday was. 

So today as I reflect and remember my sister, I wish her a Happy Birthday.  I'm reminded how fleeting and precious life is.  Sometimes the significance of the events in our lives are seen much too late.  Seize the moments in your life that matter and cherish the ones you love.  Today we celebrate the life Erica lived and the memories made.  Happy Birthday Erica! 

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Seven Months

Yesterday was the 8th of October, seven months since Erica passed away.  Our family has reached another milestone in grieving Erica.  As each month passes by the reality that Erica is gone sinks in further.  Time may ease the pain, however time also reinforces the reality of her death.  With each passing month comes a sense of emptiness.  The emptiness that Erica's absence leaves a hole in our family.  The hole in our hearts and lives that Erica once filled.  Seven months have gone by but the emptiness remains.   

Quote: "To live in hearts we leave behind
Is not to die."
~Thomas Campbell, Hallowed Ground