One of the benefits that I have been given over the past ten years, is the ability to really get to know my family and to appreciate who they are....the good and the bad. I think in a lot of ways, having a serious illness allows you the opportunity to separate the bs from what really matters. I remember before I got ill I hardly knew my siblings other than in the way you know them as family. Now I know them as people and in some instances as friends. I spent time with my brother yesterday and I realized that the conversations and interactions were of two adults who have just also happen to have known each other for their entire life. I felt so relaxed and even took the time to notice that he was a middle aged man who is quite soft spoken and with whom I enjoy spending time. I actually can say that I enjoy different things about each one of them and have come to see them as individuals with their own needs, issues, desires and lives. It may not be exactly as I would have things but it is nonetheless important to them and that is all that matters. I am not talking tolerance, a word I am not fond of, but rather acceptance of who they are.
Families give us this amazing chance to meet people with whom we may never have connected with except that we are family, and to learn the importance of moving outside our own world and into one that is similar but at the same time so different. In any other situation we might not even take the time to meet and get to know these people, let alone become friends! We can do this with family, if we get rid of the 'old tapes', and look at them with new eyes. Eyes that at first must pretend we know nothing about them and let them just evolve in front of us. As I quoted in an earlier blog "you cannot know that which you first have not loved".....we must love them and come to know them as they are and not as we wish they were......I have been allowed the time to do that and I am so grateful. Also...I have been allowed to see my own daughter grow into a beautiful woman and appreciate her uniqueness as well.....she is still my daughter but she is also a grown person with her own ideas, issues, needs and wants.....that is what I think I love the most and to have lived to see it is the greatest blessing of all......Open your eyes and see those family members as they really are....and love them anyways!!!!!