To me, family means a connection, no matter what. My family and I are very close, my immediate family as well as all of the people on my mom’s side of the family. Within this side, there are many obstacles in the way of us spending time together; space, money, distance. But, despite these obstacles, we always make time to talk to each other. My Aunt Heidi lives in North Carolina with my two cousins, Anna and Lila, and it is almost impossible to talk to each other everyday, especially with our busy lives. But, on car rides to soccer practice or during a break in the day, my mom always finds a way to talk to her sister. For me, my cousin Anna is a junior in highschool. We are eighteen months apart, and she is the closest thing I have to a sister. Her and I are bees-extremely busy with day to day life, but with the technology of today, communication is an easy task. Unfortunately, my aunt’s best friend passed away recently from Stage Four ovarian cancer. Of course, my aunt was devastated, and seeing how my mom was so invested in helping her through the tragedy proved to me how important having a family is. Having a family is like having a shoulder to lean on during the toughest times, and having people who will always be on your side.
Extending further into my family, my mom has three cousins. Karen lives in Florida, and has two sons, Trevor and Sean. My older brother is one year apart from both of them, and whenever our whole family is together, he has an incredible time with them. Those three are the only young boys on the whole side of the family. The next cousin, Laura, lives in Arkansas. Her and her daughter Sam live a completely different lifestyle than the rest of the extended family. Her location has a big impact on her way of life, her southern state makes our lives so different, which has taught me something big. By having some sort of connection to the rest of the country outside of New Jersey, I have learned how every person lives life differently. Imagine, while I’m indoors watching television, my third cousin could be fishing. Our lives are so different, and by having this distant family I have been taught that each person’s situation is different, but different doesn’t mean bad. Finally, my mom’s cousin, Linda. She passed away four years ago due to suicide. The tragedy was heartbreaking, and was one of the greatest losses of my family. During this time of catastrophe, the family was justifiably a wreck. But, with the help of one another, and because they had no other option, every person continued on. Every person but one, my third cousin, Mady.
After her mom passed, Mady fell into a deep depression. Once she recovered, she was desperate to find an escape from her life, she was overweight and alone, so she temporarily moved to North Carolina. There, she stayed with my great uncle Louis and his wife Stefanie. With the help of my aunt, they pulled her out, and her quality of life drastically improved. Being a seven hour drive away, my immediate family and grandmother in Pennsylvania weren’t able to witness this. We gathered the story from my aunt, and once I heard the improvements that she had made, I was so impressed with my family. Together, they helped their niece out of her sadness, they helped her find new meaning in life and restored some of her happiness. To me, that proves the power of family.
Being apart of a family means having the ability to do anything with a support system. Being apart of a family means being able to feel connected with people no matter how far away you are. Being apart of a family has taught me strength and courage. It has opened my eyes, and taught me how to love. Family to me means a connection to the people you love, and being able to learn and live with them by your side.