When we think of family we think of the people bound to us by blood ties. On the whole, the concept of “family” gives us a sense of love, warmth, caring, sharing, and everything that evokes comfort and belonging. It is in celebration of this sense of belonging that we mark Family Day, a day to show appreciation and say “I love you” to those we instinctively turn to for first-line support when we hit a rough patch in our daily struggles.
One of the lessons we learn as we journey through life is that blood ties is not the defining component for the concept of “family” in the broad sense of the term. Many are the blood ties that do not evoke warmth and belonging, and still more are the non-blood ties that bring colleagues, acquaintances and friends together in a way that embodies the very definition of “family”. And it is in this sense and spirit that we at Aftermath Association celebrate Family Day.
Each and every one of us belongs to a family in the strict, traditional sense of the word. However, we members and volunteers of Aftermath Association take great pride and satisfaction in the fact that our work towards the realization of the vision and aims of our Association has given us –formerly mere friends, acquaintances or total strangers– a sense of togetherness and belonging that only a family can give.
And nowhere was this sense of “family” brought home stronger than during the recent Orientation Trip of some 15 Aftermath Association members and volunteers to Costa Rica to dry-run the itinerary developed for future participants suffering from PTSD at Camp Aftermath. Some members of the group were total strangers and had never seen each other before, but by the time they emerged from their common experiences of doing volunteer work in the slums of La Carpio, witnessing and participating in the healing rituals of the Boruca tribe, and spending time with local schoolchildren in Golfito, they had formed bonds of mutual trust, respect and reliance that can only exist between family members.
It is this feeling of togetherness and belonging that we celebrate on this Family Day, not only with our traditional families but with the larger family of Aftermath Association members, volunteers, supporters, donors and future participants of Camp Aftermath, and perhaps other projects our Association will undertake in the future. The successes we have achieved up until now (and they are remarkable!), we attribute to nothing but this sense and spirit of family that we have been able to cultivate. And it is this sense and spirit that gives us the reassurance of many further successes to come.
Join us, share our successes, and savour the sense and satisfaction of warmth, togetherness and belonging that bind us in the Aftermath Association family. Happy Family Day!