Family

True family doesn’t have to be blood-related. 

 

John and Doris were my neighbors before I moved. They have been more family to me than my own. They were there for me anytime I needed them, and for anything at all. I very rarely asked them for anything, though. Just knowing they were there if I needed them gave me so much. 

When things got really bad with my mother and stepfather, John and Doris were there to listen and understand. They let me cry and vent, they encouraged me and they supported me. They acknowledged that my parents weren’t the wonderful, perfect people everyone else thought they were, and that I wasn’t the terrible daughter that so many thought I was. 

If I ran out of cat food and had no way to get to a store, John and Doris gave me cans of cat food. I never asked them for anything else, but they would sometimes stop by randomly to give me a carton of cigarettes. I would never ask someone for cigarettes, and they knew that, but they also knew addiction and stress and instead of ridiculing me for not being able to kick the habit, they understood. I know a lot of people will think it’s bad and say they contributed to my demise, but please try to understand with an open mind. They didn’t do it to hurt me; they did it because they knew how bad I would be going through withdrawal and they knew being forced to quit simply by running out wouldn’t actually be beneficial to me. I have that one vice, and sadly it is how I cope with my anxiety right now, as bad as that is. I have more options here, but I didn’t before I moved. 

John and Doris would periodically hire me to pet-sit (even if they were only going to be out for the day), and they would overpay me so that I could save my money to move. They never missed a holiday or birthday. They gave me loving cards with cash inside. They would take me out to eat and invite me over to visit. They made me feel like family. They loved me. And they still do. 

John and Doris had the choice to visit their son or me. They had just visited their son a couple weeks ago, so they chose to come see me instead. That made me feel so special.

They arrived yesterday and we spent the day together. They took me out to eat and we “played tourist” around the town. We rode the trolley and explored a couple museums. I got them a great deal on their hotel room because I work there and we get the “friends and family discount.” They gave me money, claiming that I did so much for them that I deserve it. That’s not true. All I did was talk to my manager. Another perk with the hotel is that I could free passes to the trolley and museums. Again, not my doing. They are just too sweet. 

We spent today together, too. They took me out to eat and we went sightseeing. We picked up my roommate from work, too. They paid for both of our lunches. 

John is in his seventies and his health isn’t the best. He walks a bit slower and breathes a bit harder. It breaks my heart to think that he may not be around much longer. I spent this time cherishing every moment with them both. Life is far too short and precious. I love John and Doris so much. They are my family, as far as I’m concerned. 

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