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Flesh and blood: Why families are complicated things

Past hurts, present slights. Families are complicated things, which is why I stay above the fray

Published on Apr 13, 2014 7:20 PM

When I was in my 30s, unmarried and broody, my niece was the centre of my life.

I was thrilled when she was born and insisted that my sister use the name I had for her, which is why the poor girl ended up with three first names on her birth certificate.

I wrote columns about her, we spoke on the phone every day and I kept photographs of the milestones of her life.

From the time she was a baby till she was nine, I visited her almost every year in the United States. It was my favourite time and hers too.

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