I was reflecting on events of the weekend when around 70 friends and family gathered to celebrate my Dad’s 70th birthday (it wasn’t deliberate with the numbers, just turned out that way!) and thinking about how important it is to be with family, marking these important milestones. Into my head came the phrase …for richer, for poorer… Oh hang on, I thought, that’s not what I mean, that’s the wedding vows. But the more I thought about it the more I realise that the wedding vows are very apt for family:
For better, for worse
For richer, for poorer
In sickness and in health
To love and to cherish
Till death do us part
Our families are places where we grow and become adults, we don’t get to choose who these people are so we are part of this unit: for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health…
Hopefully for most of us our family experiences have definitely been for the better, and even those things which have hurt us or caused pain in the family have been resolved. Of course there are people for whom their family have been catastrophic, sometimes through sheer inability to look after young ones, sometimes out of something much more sinister and deliberate. However we’ve been brought up and by whoever, we all need to feel part of a unit, or community who function like this: unconditional love and affection even in the face of negative circumstances. We all need to feel loved and cherished, dare I say that perhaps things would become a little easier in your family if you showed more love and cherishment for other members?
They may not be the people we would choose to spend our time with, they might be people who are especially difficult to deal with but family connections don’t just disappear and it’s worth investing love and affection in whatever form that may take*. One day it will be too late.
*I’m not suggesting that anyone return to an abusive situation. If this has been your experience and you’ve escaped then it is up to you whether to attempt to mend bridges or not. I have known people for whom their family is destructive and best left behind.