The Ties that Bind.

Often, losing someone can make us stop and appreciate those who remain and many times those relationships become enriched.  This isn’t true in all cases, but for the most part, I don’t think it’s much of a stretch to make this generalization.

I was raised in a family with 4 children – 3 sisters and a brother.  We, like every family, have our unique personalities and differences of opinion.  My sisters and I live within a few blocks of each other and are raising our children in a tight knit community where they always have each other close by.

This is the same neighbourhood (rarely touched by even petty crime) where Stefanie was murdered.  There was much discussion at first about moving, but thanks to Ian’s insistence and our concern for his emotional well being, we stayed.

Privately and out of ear shot of the children, James and I feared that because it was now very public knowledge that two police officers lived in our house and at our address, there would be far too many ne’er-do-wells more than happy to inflict a little hardship of their own into our lives.

We applied some extra security  measures into our daily routines, but decided that the emotional benefit of family far outweighed the fears that would now forever be part of our lives – regardless of our address.

My brother, who is brilliant and fantastically funny, lives about an hour away.  We have tried to convince him to move closer to us, but due to circumstances beyond his control, that’s not likely to happen.

Perhaps due to distance, being the youngest , or being the only male child, he was never as close to us as we might have liked. That’s not to say he wasn’t always present at family gatherings, birthdays and celebrations, but aside from that, we might go months without speaking to him.  But from Stefanie’s death, I think  – and I may be putting words in his mouth – he regrets not knowing her better and now isn’t missing a chance to be closer to his remaining nieces and nephews and the rest of us.   Just one more positive that came out of something so negative.

We, as a family, just had a knee replacement.  No, we weren’t all in the operating room, but each one of us was sure our parents didn’t have to face my Dad’s surgery, and then some very scary heart complications alone.   Our spouses carried our burdens, allowing us to gather as a family and support each other  – my brother now taking the reigns and being the one we relied on most heavily.

A supportive family is a beautiful gift and not something everyone has.  It is too often taken for granted until the time comes to weather a storm and then there aren’t nearly enough ways to appreciate having each other.

I am so grateful for my family.  This time the support was for my parents, last time for me and next time who knows.  All I know is that the proof is in the pudding and I know we can all count on each other.   What a blessing!

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