As most of you who know me know, I come from a big family. I have three siblings, Claytie has two sisters and we have our four boys. There are plenty of cousins and aunts and uncles in our world as well. There are always people in and out of our house and the grapevine is very alive in terms of everyone knowing the big stuff in each other’s life. I love it! I love having these amazing people in our world, and I love that I can rely on all of them without question!

The other day I was listening to the radio, and one of the announcers made a comment that had me thinking again about how lucky I am. She mentioned almost in passing that members of her late husbands family have not been supportive of her and her children since he died. This same kind of commentary happens a lot in the support groups that I am in. For a whole lot of people almost as soon as their loved ones funeral has taken place the family is divided and in some cases all contact is stopped. There is often nasty fighting about money and possessions and hard, hard words get spoken.

I can’t imagine that loss on top of the grief that you’re already feeling. Not once has it occurred to me that my relationship with Clayties family would ever change, and I am so incredibly happy and lucky that it hasn’t! My in-laws are just as much a part of our world as they ever were. The boys will call their grandfather for advice about all sorts of things, and at least once a year usually Father’s Day, they go out for a beer together. Grandmothers get phone calls to check in on them and family BBQs are just as fun as ever. I couldn’t imagine not having Clayties sisters to talk to and spend time with, and I see my parents in law just about weekly.

I’m also incredibly lucky to have some amazing friends that in my world count as family! Some have been friends forever – at least 20 years or more, others were friends in a more peripheral way and are now integral to our world, and then there are new friends that feel like forever friends. There is always someone around for a chat, laugh or cry – or to come to Karaoke with me, and I love them all for it! They more than make up for those that have chosen to distance themselves from us since Claytie died, another common thing that seems to happen.

I’m super excited this week, because my Aunt and Uncle are coming over from Germany. I haven’t seen them since Covid hit and Claytie died. It’s times like these that make you realise that although the world is small in so many ways… when you’re far apart, it’s really really far! It will be so lovely to have them here, but it will also be strange . It will be another first without Claytie and that hurts. On the upside, I have been able to use the impending visit to get the boys into the garden to do a big tidy up, and hopefully their rooms will follow! – wish me luck!

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