This I Believe

Francie - Fort Collins, Colorado
Entered on March 29, 2007
Age Group: 50 - 65
Themes: family

I believe that blood is thicker than water

Growing up I always wondered what that meant. What an odd saying. I remember when I was little I asked my mother what that meant and she told me that in a crisis you can always count on your family above all others to be there for you. Again, I thought this was odd, because isn’t that what families do? It wasn’t until many years later was I put to the test on this belief.

Two years ago, my sister-in-law who I’ve known since I was 16 and my best friend took her life. I’ve never had any encounter with suicide before this tragedy. The trying to discover why she did it is a never-ending circle that can send you into a downhill spiral. There are some questions in life that you just won’t have an answer for. And this was the one question for me that I had to surrender to because I had to focus on the family that was abandoned by her sudden death; my brother and his daughter. They were my focus. A few weeks after her funeral I needed to step in and support them. My brother who was the breadwinner had left all household finances to his wife and had no clue on the status of the household bills, insurance, bank statements and such. I would drive 1 ½ hours to my brother’s house every weekend to go through his bills and balance his check book. My husband would take him grocery shopping to stock him up for the week. This small bit seemed to keep him balanced in an unbalanced situation. I also spoke to my brother everyday maybe two or three times a day always reminding him how much he was loved. This was my big brother who I idolized and who now needed his baby sissy to love him.

My niece was a different story; she was in her mid-thirties with a husband and a six year old son. She is an only child and her mother was her best friend. She was devastated to say the least. Either before or after going to my brother’s I would go to my niece’s and spend the day with her. At the beginning it was just holding her, rocking her and brushing her hair with my hands telling her I’m sorry and how much I love her. What do you say? I surprised myself because I don’t have any children but now I have a niece who’s in need of a mother and I found myself stepping into that role with her. We both filled a part that was missing in each of our lives. I also spoke to my niece every day about three to five times.

Two years after the tragedy, my brother and his daughter and I have gotten through the worse part. We are still recovering but we are living a life with the pain becoming less and less. My friends asked me why did I drive over 3 hours every weekend to pay my brother’s bills, when I could have done them on line? Why did I go to my niece’s house every weekend, was that needed? I tell them and smile thinking of what my mother told me when I was little, “Blood is thicker than water”. I went to my brother’s house because he needed me. He needed to be reminded he was worth loving and he was a good man. I went to my niece’s house every weekend because the woman she had loved her whole life had abandoned her and I wanted her to know that woman don’t do that I was willing to step up to that and be the first to show her. I brought my cell phone with me into meetings and on business trips so I could be accessible to them when they were struggling with the pain. I prayed for them and myself everyday that we not only survive this but prove that we can face anything. I did this because I believe that blood is thicker than water and I will do anything for my family. Because that’s what families are for.