To be “family-less” means different things to people, and I’ve had a very interesting time coming to that realization, as well as understanding how a traditional family does matter!
After the recent holidays I had to pick myself up, once again, and dust myself off. I was covered in the illusion that holidays are a time when families gather around the dining room table, have a delicious turkey dinner, then settle around the Christmas tree with desert and open presents. That’s the way I remember it, with a few variations.
When that picture finally faded, I traveled back in my mind to a story I’d recently written about “Where are my People” because I realized they sure weren’t at my house on Christmas. I’d been trying to describe my people for some time as I was acutely aware that if I couldn’t define them, I’d have a heck of a time finding them.
The good news is that I think I know who to look for, but my first attempt at finding them has so far not been successful. I’ve discovered the reason for that. People don’t view being family-less in the same ways.
Last week I decided to post an inquiry with the Santa Rosa Connection online networking group. My post simply stated:
“Are you “family-less”? I’m interested in connecting with people who are. We are a unique group of people, and I want to know you.”
I also attempted to express what that means to me, and that I would love to connect with others who relate to my circumstances.
To date I’ve received responses from three men and six women, all of whom found this topic of interest, and that thrilled me. As I read their comments, I was very enthusiastic about connecting with them, so I responded to each post, and provided my contact information. Within minutes I received a call from one of the gals, and after a nice conversation we decided to meet for breakfast.
It was a pensive few days as I checked them off. It felt reminiscent of going on a long delayed date with someone I couldn’t wait to meet. Finally Sunday arrived. I sat outside on a bench as I’d arrived early to reserve a table. After about 15 minutes a dark haired woman approached me, “Shari, it’s so good to meet you.” I had no idea who she was, but I was glad to meet her too. The woman I intended to meet was blond. After a short chat I discovered that Donna had been invited by the blond lady, much to my surprise. Shortly thereafter Linda did arrive, and we were all seated in the lovely cottage café.
The conversation among us was so enjoyable. We exchanged all of the pleasantries that come with meeting new people. After a half hour of general conversation I discovered that Linda has a son, and Donna a daughter. This information confused me. Children are considered family, right? I didn’t comment, but it did make me curious about why they wanted to connect with someone who had no family.
This morning I decided to re-read all of the posted comments. Maybe I had given the wrong impression, or maybe the word family has a different connotation for people. After scanning the comments more closely I noticed that two women made no mention of family (but each have a child), one lady is wondering what it will be like not to have family, another mentioned having a child, and one fellow has experienced a disconnect from his family members.
What are these folks telling me? What does the word “family” mean to them? I can only guess that mom, dad and siblings have transitioned, or are they are not in the picture for some reason? It also occurred to me that they may be partner-less, or their spouses are no longer a member of their household.
What I do know, based on this rather limited and brief exposure to the matter at hand, is that “family” to these folks, has a very different meaning than it does to me.
This is a very important understanding for me, and of course it has brought other considerations to bear. It doesn’t relinquish my original intent, which is to find my people, and they would be any folks who have no family, based upon what that means to me.
Family-less, for me, means that I have no living blood relatives, with the exception of a few distant cousins. I have no children, and I’m not married, or partnered with anyone.
had to pause and consider that all of the people who left comments for me are making their own unique statements. They are saying to me that they are missing their own equivalent of family, and I really do appreciate their reaching out to me.
Where do we go from here knowing what we do? What resonates with me is that I need to continue to search for my family-less people, but I’m pleased that these people have contacted me. I feel their empty places, and I would love to be there as a source of inspiration in ways that I can. I think the notion of family is very powerful, and even though we may not have totally realistic views of what that should or shouldn’t be, we would all love to have the sense of family that feels right for us.
I’ve written several personal stories that you may be interested in taking a look at while you’re here. They will give you more of a sense about what being family-less really means to me, and how it’s impacted my life. The more seasoned we are the greater the possibility is that we will encounter this way of being in life, and maybe my stories will help you or a loved one. My journey has been about learning how to live in grace, and to embrace the aloneness that I encounter, but it isn’t always easy, which is why I’m reaching out.
If you happen upon any family-less people, as I experience that, send them my way. I know that we will be kindred spirits, or as close to that as possible.
And please check out these stories. I’d love to receive your feedback!
http://insidevu.net/gratitude/ (parts 1, 2 & 3)
Oh, and happy networking!!
© Shari Adams
About the author shari2845