To me, family means those who uplift you, those who add joy and love to your life, those who are there for you when you need them. Family does not forsake you. Family does not beat you emotionally until you crumble, bloody and broken. Family does not kick you when you’re down. Family does not unapologetically treat you badly, and expect you to carry on the relationship as though nothing happened.
So with this new definition, I had just one family member left—my sister. She was the only one who supported me when my 87 year old mother (who I believe has advancing dementia) started treating me like she hated me this summer. The meanness inflicted by the one who brought me into this world was incredibly difficult to bear, but the complete lack of empathy of my so-called family magnified that emotional pain a thousand-fold. At least I had my sister. Or so I thought.
When she was done with her diatribe, she said “You know, you do have family who care about you.” I pointed to my three cats and said “I know I do. One, two, three.” This enraged her and she stormed out. But as I looked at my precious, sweet and loving earth angels with fur, I realized it was the truth. Annabelle, Mickey and Rocky are my only family.