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Q03

Think about a major milestone that happened with your family in 2009. How has this affected you?

Mom's death, of course. It has affected me in more ways than I can say. And strangely, and very unpredictably, I feel my siblings and I are getting closer, even though there would be plenty of legitimate reasons for me to be angry at them, and for us to become alienated from one another.

The balance and distribution of power in my complex family has shifted, and that has been both difficult and freeing.

My older sister gave birth to a baby girl. It's the first grandchild on our side of the family and we absolutely love our new addition! I have noticed already that this baby has brought us closer.

My father was taken into hospital for treatment on his worsening prostate. Visiting him every day there for a week or so, until he was released after his operation, made me more aware of his fragility and mortality. I considered what it would be like for him to die.

My ex and the father of my children had to go to rehab as a cocaine addict; and convicted felon for drug possession. It affected every part of my kids’ lives; so ultimately mine.

I was able to, with aid from a very special friend, pay down serious debt and am now realigning my priorities. I am downsizing and being a great deal more circumspect going into the future.

Due to a health issue my wife had, we decided not to have any more children. I think it helped us refocus on the life we have, not the one we could have.

We finally painted the house and it is a beauty. It feels like you are coming to your house, and you can enjoy all your hard work!

We had to put my Grandma in a home a couple years ago. At first she seemed okay and she would talk to us, read her books and be able to still go out with us. Now, it’s becoming worse. She isn't able to go out anymore, doesn't remember a lot and cries all the time. It's very hard and I am afraid we are losing her.

My husband and I finalized our divorce, which has been difficult for both of our families. My parents are very worried about my future plans and well-being.

I got married! That really shaped so much of the year and is still shaping me. I am learning more about it and how to decide things and the impact of that every day.

My son's Bar Mitzvah was a true family affair and touched all of our lives in many ways. It took all of us to make it happen and brought us together in a very special way. It was a time I will never forget.

Both my parents and my in-laws are dealing with more and more age-related problems. My husband and I are worried about their wellbeing and what the future holds. I think this has made us both focus on being closer to the four parents/in-laws. To some extent it has muted conflicts that we have had in the past. But it makes us worry about the future.

My second son is now independent. The nest is growing emptier.

After landing my dream job in Indonesia one of my twin daughters was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Two surgeries later, a move back to the US and leaving the dream job and starting her on chemotherapy -- I'm struggling with who I am and what I believe more than ever.

Land that was given to us in community was lost as a friend declared bankruptcy.

I almost lost my apartment and the economy sucks. I work hard every day but why?

My boyfriend became an integral part of the family this year. While I'm studying abroad he has maintained a close relationship with my parents. They had to put our poodle of 15 years down this month. This weekend he is bringing his dog up to stay with them for the weekend.

The major milestone is I left my sister and her troubled world behind. My children are growing and changing beautifully. I'm saddened by my sister's irreversible depression. She's gone too far and she will never come back. It's like death while my children are life, hope and possibility. Am I a bad person?

The first thing that comes to mind is my uncle being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis a few months ago. It's a very debilitating disease, though luckily right now it's at a beginning stage and he's doing okay. This news came at a time when my cousin was being treated for depression, and soon afterword my aunt had surgery to remove a cancerous growth. I hope they all know that I care a lot about them and hope that their lives get easier soon.

My parents celebrated their 45th wedding anniversary. I kind of can't believe they made it. I wanted them to get divorced when I was about ten.

The death of our daughter has rocked us to the core. Thank goodness that we have two healthy boys and that our relationship has such a strong foundation. It affects me every day in different ways and will continue to the rest of my life.

My sister got pregnant. I feel like life is moving on with or without me.

My brother has finally made it to the fire academy. He has been working on this for 10 years. The downside is that he is stressed and is taking it out on everyone in the family.

My divorce from my wife became final. It gave me an opportunity to close the legal process and spend all my time on the emotional closure.

Divorce - affected myself, my ex, and my two children. The boys are dealing with it well, although not liking the idea that Daddy has a girlfriend that's NOT their mom.

My cousin tried to commit suicide. It made me think a lot about what my family will look like 30 years from now-- and reminded me that my choice of spouse will be very significant.

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