What Is Family: My Known Known

“… there are known knowns; there are things we know that we know.
There are known unknowns; that is to say, there are things that we now know we don’t know.
But there are also unknown unknowns – there are things we do not know we don’t know.”

-Donald Rumsfeld, US Secretary of Defense (2002)

My grandpa (mom’s dad) passed away on Friday, January 10th.

I don’t know where to begin with this though. I don’t want to get too in depth with this since it is a personal matter after all. But let’s just say this:

My grandpa was never really someone who made an effort to be a part of my life.  I mean, I always knew I had grandpa, but that’s all I really knew about him—that he was alive. I never knew his whereabouts, how old he was, what he sounded like, or what he even looked like. All I knew was that he left my grandma for another woman, leaving her to financially and emotionally care for five children by herself. After that, he never really bothered to keep in touch with anyone, not to celebrate any holidays or wish a happy birthday or even just to call and say hi.

I’ve only met him once, five or six years ago (around the time we all looked like this),


at a big family dinner. And that was it. It was the first and last time I ever saw him. If I talked to him, I don’t remember it at all. I honestly don’t know how to feel about any of this, I suppose the only thing I can say is that I truly hope he Rests in Paradise.

My grandpa’s passing allowed me to learn more about my mom’s past and really see things from her point of view. She was clearly upset about this situation, torn whether to feel sad because her father is gone or to feel angry because of the feelings of abandonment she held throughout her life. It was at this point when I decided I couldn’t care less about what I knew about this issue or what unknowns remained for me to find out; I just wanted to support my mom and let her know that I would be there for her because I love her and that’s what family is for..

What is family?

Dictionary.com defines family as “any group of persons closely related by blood,” which is true to the literal extent. Being related by blood is one thing but being bonded emotionally, loving each other, and caring for one another is another thing. Being labeled as a “dad” or “mom” or “son” or “daughter” or “cousin” can only mean so much if there isn’t any emotion in the atmosphere…

To me, family is all about the emotional connection, the constant warm feeling of being loved and appreciated. There are so many levels to family where it comes to the point that blood relationships have little significance. (I hope that makes sense..) Haven’t you ever had a friend with whom you clicked instantly and truly cared about? That right there is what I’m talking about. Sharing the same blood is not the only factor to what it takes to be family. I think family is the people who bring you sincere happiness, the people whose tears and sadness make you want to beat the heck out of anyone who dares to make them feel that way, whose joy and laughter seem wildly contagious to you, whose simple presence will help brighten your day…

This whole situation just really opened my eyes and reminded me to be grateful for everyone who’s in my life. It helped me realize that everyone I hold dearest to me are people who have made the conscious decision to stay by my side and continuously shower me with their love and support, and I appreciate that so much.

There are so many things to come my way in the unknown future, but the one known I will always have is the undeniable knowledge of being surrounded by those I love:


Thanks for reading


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