Louis Reil Day in Manitoba, referred to by some provinces as Family Day is coming up. Many people will have a day to lounge around the house with their kids, visit their parents, connect with people who are important to them. In today's society, family isn't necessarily only those to whom we are biologically connected.
A guest of Oak Table went to a funeral for a family member last week. He said he felt he should go, so he headed up to the reserve for the weekend. When he came back he said he didn't know many of the people who were there, and didn't remember people who said they were his auntie, cousin or uncle. He was expected to hug them because they were family and yet he was uncomfortable. He said he felt like an outsider, like he "didn't fit or belong". His next comment was very telling, "I didn't feel anything for those people because they don't know me, and I don't know them. This is where my family is now", he said, sweeping his arm across the room. "This is where people know me, where they care about me. This is where I feel comfortable and at home."
Family isn't always the one we've been born into. For many, it's the people circumstances have put in their path. Sometimes family violence, mental health issues, distance, etc. can mean people other than biological family hold an important place in your life. Family can be wherever one finds community, with whomever they feel they belong, where they feel known, accepted and cared about." At the Oak Table, we are humbled to be called family.