Journey Learning #6: Family

This journey has led me to think a lot about family.

My Family Is Not

My family has not been my sister, Linda, from whom I’ve heard word zero for months, despite my email updates and her easy access to this blog.

My family has not been my brother, David, who popped into my life briefly following my diagnosis, who is, apparently, able to send me good vibes but has not bothered to follow this blog or to correspond.

My family is not my parents, Keith and Josie, whose only reaction to my journey has been self-pity, blame, hostility and poison.

My family has not been Mark’s sister, Barb, whose correspondence has been a total of two terse email responses to two of my email updates in the early days of this journey.

My Family Is

My family is Mark, Lucy, Bayla, Mark’s parents, Rhoda and Bert, my cousin Kelly and her family, my Aunt Barb and Uncle Wilf, our dear friends near and far, those of you out there with whom we’ve shared friendship, support, laughs, ups and downs before and during this challenge, and those with whom warm friendships have recently started to sprout.

And with whom we’ll continue to share friendship, support, laughs, ups and downs for years to come.

It’s been a painful learning but I am grateful for the realization and the healing which I hope will follow it.

And I am grateful for my family.

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About Andrea

Andrea Ross was diagnosed with breast cancer October 6, 2009 and intends to survive and thrive. You can read more from Andrea here.

  • I used to think “You pick your friends, not your family”.. my eyes opening through my father's illness and passing made me realize “You pick your family, you don't pick people who happen to have the same last name.”

    I love how you are unapologetic about this. I am much the same way. When someone's an ass, it doesn't matter what gene pool is shared, they're still an ass.

    Cheers on the last chemo, keep kicking cancer's (and life's) ass.

  • I will miss my relatives forever. Do you think that keeps me from living fully without them? I don't know. I admire what you have found.

  • Thanks, Bob.

  • Thank you, Elizabeth. I have mourned and anguished and therapied and cried over my supposed family for years and years and years. Definitely robbing myself of life and life force. I desperately want to lovingly forgive and release all the past (hurts I've caused. Hurts I've felt) to accept the situation ad sad and confusing as it is. To release my consuming obsession with not being able to even SLIGHTLY understand the individual perspectives that could lead to such a mess of hurts and loneliness frustration dispair and waste

    I work on this daily

    and keep hoping for healing

    And I will hope for healing for you

  • Frustration, despair, pain and mess,
    Held me pinned by their views to distress,
    Til I chose to be me,
    Live, give, love and be free,
    Of the need to jump hoops and impress.

  • Christine Tripp

    I tell my husband all the time, “those people” are your relatives, WE are your family. Family can be any number of people that you love and that love you right back (I learned this on Sesame Street 🙂
    Andrea, the “bell” video had me in tears… of joy!!! You looked beautiful, radiant ringing that bell (YEAH, It should be WAY louder, they need a new and bigger bell and a few big screen TV's wouldn't hurt:)
    luv you guys!


  • Thank you, Christine.

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  • AmyT

    Andrea: don't fret a bit about types whose cowardice and insecurities prevent them from responding to your genuine openings or this chance to start again. If this is their response, David, Linda, Josie, Keith and Barb are clearly deeply damaged individuals strangled and incapacitated by their own fears and feelings of inferiority. They need massive amounts of your pity only. Extreme smallness is their own pain and burden. If they're lucky, they will learn by your example. — Just Rock on!!

    Envy shoots at others and wounds itself.

  • Thank you, Amy.

  • wendywahan

    Oh Andrea and Mark – I am sickened and shocked reading what has happened. Thank god you have true support, and your daughters have too. My best wishes for health and peace,

  • Thank you, Wendy.

    Wishing you healing on this the anniversary of your own Andrea's fall to breast cancer.

    Be well and be happy,

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  • Anonymous

    Hi to you fellow breast cancer survivor, I finished my treatment on 3/3/2010. I had to go through chemotherpahy and raditatiom. My hair is about 1 inch now. I have a burning desire to HELP in the fear aspect of this disease and it’s treatment. I am glad you are doing well. I am going to be running an emporuim and one day soon my own boutique. I have lots of ideas that flood my mind. I am making a collection of women’s breast cancer stories and would like to know if you would sent me yours to put into a binder that I will have to inspiring and empower another scared woman with these disease, so she can read what MIGHT happen to her and know that she can survive. Thank you very much.

  • I know exactly what you're talking about. The family that should be there for you, supporting you and loving you while you go through one of the hardest things imaginable in your life suddenly steps back and does nothing much to comfort you nor your family.
    The ones there for you replace them instead.

  • I know exactly what you’re talking about. The family that should be there for you, supporting you and loving you while you go through one of the hardest things imaginable in your life suddenly steps back and does nothing much to comfort you nor your family.nThe ones there for you replace them instead.

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