Sunday, November 6, 2011

Who Is Your Family?

I'm blessed to still have both my parents, and loving siblings.
I've lived far from them most of my adult life, and miss them.
As a young mother without close family,
I came to value their phone calls, visits, and gifts sent in the mail.
I needed that contact. It fed my soul.
It still does.

Family support is essential.

Because of distance, I was forced to look around me for the hugs and love I missed.
In-laws took over for the dearth of my own family.
Friends, organizations, critique groups, book clubs, co-workers,
and neighbors have all filled some of that need for unconditional acceptance.

As humans, we need to connect to others.
It's part of our make-up.
Primates live in communities, not alone.
Community keeps us alive and well.

In the 1980's, a study was done in a small Pennsylvania town.
These people maintained their bacon, sausage, and high fat consumption,
verses a group outside the town restricting their diets.
The purpose of the study was to prove how limitting fat can prolong your life.

It was a dismal failure.

At the end of ten years, those stuffing themselves with brats and beer had less heart disease,
fewer heart attacks, and when they did succumb to a cardiac episode, they recovered faster.
Years later, more of the gravy munchers were still alive.

Why? It went against all the science.

The researchers decided to study this small town.
What was different?


They found a close knit community.
They took care of each other and supported through illness.
They talked often, hugged, loved and cried together.

They were family.

The conclusion asstounded the pencile pushing intellects.
People need love and support of others more than a pill.
A doctor prescribes three hugs and a good laugh with friends as your cure.

If you don't have the unconditional love of close family,
follow the precepts of the Pennsylvania town and make everyone your family.
You have ample brothers, sisters, parents when you open your eyes and heart.
There is love to be shared everywhere,
and I've yet to meet anyone who refused a hug when offered.
I  hug.

Talk to people, share your hurts and joys and connect.
Be open and honest.

Be family.

The holidays bring family to mind.
Relationship is the healer, connection the balm to our souls.
This week, take a look at who you call family and add to that list.
If you lack a mother, befriend someone.
Think of the movie, Fried Green Tomatoes.

Family is there when we're willing to open our circle and love.
Give at least one hug every day.
Tell someone they matter.
Do some kindness.
Call someone to say you miss them.
Laugh over dinner with friends.

Connect and be whole.
Be one as your family grows with that love and unity.

Tell people in your life that you love them while you can.
Love and family transform us.

Please comment and share your experience.


  1. Wonderfully written, Sandy.

    I can identify with those who move away from home and, through no fault of my own, have surrogate family members. I'm one of the recipients who doesn't refuse one of their hugs...


  2. So true, Sandy! I'm blessed to have my family nearby, but after I published, I saw how important my other "families" are when I received an incredibly outpouring of support from my writing friends, my coworkers, and even my car enthusiast friends! Thanks for the reminder.

  3. I was fascinated by that study too. I remember reading about it (from a Gladwell book maybe?). Connection is definitely important. I am lucky to live fairly close to family, but my friends and church have been a huge source of support as well. In addition, social media has allowed me to reconnect with old friends and make new ones. Great post, Sandy!

  4. Great post! I am very fortunate to have a close knit family and most are close by. My parents moved about 3 hours away 15 years ago, but thank goodness are trying to get moved back here. But, there are others that are family too and are very important even though no blood relation. Family is what you make of it.

  5. Beautiful post, Sandy. As one who has long lived away from my family, it had special meaning for me. This one is a keeper. Thank you.

  6. Superb post, Sandy, and thank you for that. There are six girls in my family and the three older ones don't speak to the three younger ones. It's sad but won't be changing. Instead we three older ones have bonded closer than we would have and I have my husband's family to talk with as well. And, as you said, people don't have to be "blood" relatives to be our family.

  7. Thanks for that wonderful post, Sandy! I just returned from a vacation where I was surrounded by family-- my husband, kids, their spouses and my sister. It was so wonderful and then so hard to see them go again.

  8. Your comment about people not refusing a hug is very true. There are some who aren't comfortable with hugs, I was one of those people once, but became friends with someone who hugged all the time. I got use to it, looked for it and needed it after time. And found myself hugging others and my own relatives more than I had before. Yes, so much better than a pill. Great post.