Family is who we count on.  We all have our blood family and our people we choose as family.  I think that a winning combination of both types of family are the best for me.

I believe that your birth order and how you interpret family helps to define your personality.  I was born the only girl and a middle child.  Being the only girl I was expected to care for my elderly parents until their dying day.  I looked after both of them for years and years until I was fifty-right years old.

My mother’s health started to decline when I was twenty-one years old.  She just passed away four months ago at the age of eight-six.  My mother was a dynamic woman who had a fighting spirit.   She was on hospice three times before she finally passed away.  She had been in and out of rehabs and on a feeding tube.  Family is everything to me and I took looking after her very seriously for a very long time–thirty seven years!

My father died two years ago and he was relatively healthy for most of his life.  He was very athletic and it broke my heart that at the end of his life, he lost his left leg due to kidney and diabetes complications.

I was with my Mom and Dad as we all three navigated the medical highway of healthcare in the 21st century. Old age is definitely not for the faint of heart.  I have found that having a healthcare advocate go with you to your Doctor’s appointments is very beneficial.

It doesn’t have to be an actual blood relative who helps you navigate life as you age.  I mean everyday we age a little, don’t we?  Leaning on others to help as we conquer life’s pitfalls is a way of building your family.

It certainly might be a sister, an aunt or uncle or parent who helps you out and defines your family.  I believe that your family is who you feel most comfortable being around.  This may be a blood relative or a chosen family member.  Don’t limit yourself to blood only relatives.  Yes, definitely, count them as your tribe; however, add friends to your family tree.

Open your heart to friends and relatives that seem to have a need to connect.  I believe that this is what we can count on as we age–family.  Whether it’s the family that we were born into or the family we create, everyone of us needs a Family to Count on!