" 'Ohana' means 'Family', and Family means no one ever gets left behind... "
- Lilo & StitchFamily has been on my mind for a little while now. We lost someone far, far too young, someone I never had the privilege of meeting, someone who meant the world to a person I love, have loved, dearly.
Family has meant different things to me at different times, has comprised of different people, even. My observations of others has convinced me that this is true of almost everyone around me; although the composition of a "family" may differ between people and cultures, the expectations of responsibility and devotion among the individuals within that unit seem to remain the same. We value a sense of togetherness, of common love for and support of each other. Whether that's in reference to your blood ties, your close friends, perhaps even your team-mates, the substance of the relationship remains the same.
And yet, for all of the opportunity we all find at every step in our life's journey to create, join, and build family, there is, nevertheless, no end to the amount of broken families, broken relationships, hurt, disappointed, unhappy people...
Just as there is no one person without their own issues, a subject for another time, there are also no families devoid of conflict and tension. It seems to me that the most successful families, and here I define success as a continuation of the family unit as a happy, supportive and functioning unit, are those where the individuals are able to deal with conflict in a manner in which they are able to continue enjoying the benefits of "family".
We get angry at each other, we find faults in each other, we encounter conflict and dissent and disappointment and frustration. That's not just family, that's people. Yet the anger and hurt have never been able to stop the incredible good and happiness that continues to go on around us. Those negative emotions only serve to impede our ability to see them, rather than actually cease the positivity still out there in the world.
Families and people drift apart. That's a part of life.
I drifted away from a family member, and in the process never met Devin, a young man with whom I shared blood, a young boy born of a family member I love.
In the last decade alone I have been so fortunate to have met so many incredible people, many of whom I proudly and humbly call my family. I have shared momentous occasions with them, celebrated victories and suffered defeats, shared time and experience and love with them, been there to support and in turn been supported in moments and on occasions where we would have faltered had we been alone.
I've been lucky enough to find family in so many places, yet I failed to maintain the family I already had; I know I'm not alone, and certainly not the last to do so... a fact steeped in sadness rather than comfort.
Some families need no maintenance to continue unimpeded and successful; my brothers never seem to miss a beat when we reunite after years and continents apart... other families require constant upkeep, blood ties especially...
My conclusion from these jumbled thoughts and ramblings is resolutely and absolutely that the outcome is worth the effort.
I never met you, dear Devin. So why do I feel so hurt, so very lost since I heard you had passed?
We're family. No amount of distance or time can change that...
No matter the conflict, no matter the issue, no matter the pain, there just never seems to be a good enough reason to cast away the people who you once felt were family. There's a reason they earned that right in the first place; they will always be worth fighting for.
I used to tell someone I care for deeply that no matter how poorly they felt towards their family, we would never stop trying, never stop talking, never stop caring for that family. Conflict should never mean shutting people out...
Life goes on. Let's not miss out on all of the happiness and joy it holds merely for the sake of feeding our discontent.
" This is my family. I found it, all on my own. Is little, and broken, but still good. Ya. Still good. " - Lilo & Stitch