Those of you who have read my blog from the beginning know that I have no relationship with my family. Long story is for another post but the short version, it was not a healthy relationship prior and it fell completely apart after Ryan’s death. With that said, I struggled and some times I think I still do struggle with where I fit in regarding family and friends.
My in-laws have been extremely supportive and present since Ryan’s passing. It is almost like an Everybody Loves Raymond situation but truly in a good way. They live one street away from us. My kids can cross our little street and run through the neighbor’s yard and they will be at my in-law’s. I have fond memories of when I went into labor with Hunter, Ryan yelling from our driveway to his mom and watching Ella walk over for the first time by herself. So I am fortunate to have them so close but right from the start boundaries were set. Those same boundaries are still in place. We never did and I still do not rely on them to watch my children. I know they would love it if I did ask them to watch them more. I know without a doubt that I am family to them no matter what happens in the future. They view me as their daughter and the feeling is very much mutual. But I have my moments when I feel I am just the mother of their grandchildren. Not that they EVER make me feel that way~it is all me. It is quite the opposite. I think the insecurity for me is because of the fall out of my own family. I am beyond blessed with having them in my life and in my children’s lives.
Ryan was the glue to many of our friendships that involved his childhood friends. He had a handful of guys that he had been friends with since he was in elementary school. So naturally when Ryan died, they were there and included me and the kids in all functions. I know for the ones that live local it is extremely hard to walk into my house. Do we all still hang out like we used to? No. I see 2 of them on a regular basis because of school and my girls’ dance. I am not at many things as before but I do still go to our “traditional” events…annual tree trimming at Ryan’s best friend’s parents’ house and usually there is a summer “hogfest”. But the weekly or monthly get togethers just do not happen. I know they felt after my “year of shock” wore off that I was starting to pull away. Not the case at all. It’s the way life goes. Our children are older now. They all have their own interests, activities, and with that comes friends. Let’s face it, our kids usually have a better social life than we do. This would be the case even if Ryan was still here. However the guys would have still found a way to have their weekly beer after work. I know his friends would be there in a heartbeat if I needed anything. It is hard to be where “everything is the same” when you are still grieving but it is also comforting.
I feel like anyone in this type of situation questions where they fit in after the one person who connected everyone passes away. I know I am one of the rare occasions where I shouldn’t even have a doubt. But I am human. I hope for any of you in the same situation you are just as fortunate. If you are not, my wish is that you have a great support system and you are not struggling with Where do I fit in?