Thursday, October 9, 2008

A death in the family

i've been thinking a lot today about family and friends and at which point the two begin to become one. my dad's stepmother Mae Jewel (who i called Maw Maw Jewel) died early this morning. she had a heart attack. we kind of expected this, but the finality of it is only beginning to sink in on me. all day today, just at the most unexpected times, ive found myself thinking "wow. maw maw jewel is gone. gone. just... gone."

i called my dad to see how he was doing. he said he was okay, just worried about his daddy. i told him i was worried for him too and before we could get much talking done, tallulah swallowed air and i had to get off the phone before she screamed.

i remember when we decided on a name for our baby. Tallulah Mae. my mom called maw maw jewel and papa boe and told them about the name. at that time, my due date was June 7, which was also maw maw jewel's birthday. she was tickled pink when she found out that, not only was my baby due on her birthday, but we were naming our baby after her as well. lol! we actually weren't but we never told them otherwise because it made them so happy. :)

but that said, i'm not very close to that side of my family. i never have been. i don't think its anyone's fault, its just that we always lived closer to one side of the family than the other so we had more opportunities to get to know one side more thoroughly. but even through that, there was always this thing in the back of my mind: maw maw jewel and papa boe are in alabama. they're there and they love us and they will always be there. i hadn't realized that i had these ideas and how much it really meant to me until today.

so i started thinking about it. my dad is not biologically my dad. he married my mom when i was 6 months old and adopted me a couple of months later. he changed my name and made me his own and he is the only father ive ever had or wanted to have. he is family that chose me and i chose to accept him as well.

my dad never had a good relationship with his mother. she's really never been a part of our lives (and when she was, it certainly was not welcomed), but many years ago, my papa boe married maw maw jewel. my dad chose to accept her as his step-mother and she chose to acknowledge me as my dad's daughter. for many years, i thought they didnt love me. i felt like an outsider, more or less, because i wasn't blood. it wasnt until the last couple of years or so that i realized that they *do* love me and they *do* care for me, perhaps moreso than they care for my brother and sister *because* i'm not blood, and yet they chose to accept me as part of their family. lesser people (my bio-dad's family, for example) would not have chosen to accept me, but maw maw jewel and papa boe did.

people say you cannot choose your family, but i can tell you for a fact that is not true. i chose michael and he chose me. my dad chose me and my mom. maw maw jewel and papa boe chose me, too. we have friends who have been around for so long, they are like family to us and we just wouldnt function the same without them. we're not a perfect family, but, for whatever reason, we've chosen each other, and we're all better for it.