There’s a saying that ‘blood is thicker than water’ which means that family bonds are supposedly stronger than those of friends and I’ve been giving this some thought lately.

A while a go I wrote a blog called ‘3 reasons why I can’t die’ which explains my emotional reasons for fearing death and leaving my vulnerable autistic son behind. From that blog, I was contacted by radio 5 live and invited onto their afternoon show to discuss the question ‘what will happen to my disabled son when I die?’ I got some great advice from both professionals and other people in similar positions and decided to consider the question in more detail.

First, I am looking to ensure that Harry has some financial protection when I die and once that’s sorted I will be looking into the options for his practical care but it’s got me thinking. As much as I am sure that Oliver will be happy to look after Harry when me and their Dad are gone, at the same time I don’t want him to feel burdened by the responsibility. I don’t want him to feel that he can’t have the adventures of travelling or moving away from our local area if that’s what he wants to do. I am torn between wanting to know that he will be here for Harry but also that he can live a life without compromise.

blood thicker than water - oliver gives harry a kiss on the cheek

I have no other children to help Oliver with the care of Harry but my partner has two children who are wonderful with him. We are getting married in the next few years and so my boys will have official step siblings and I do wonder whether they will be happy to help Oliver in the years following my death.

blood is thicker than water - our gang hugging it out

Is it really true – Is blood thicker than water? Will step siblings feel the same responsibility for Harrys care as Oliver will? Does being a blood relation even guarantee loyalty?  I know many people who count on friends much more than they do their own family.

Aby ~ I don’t even speak to my sister, but my best friends are like family. I would do anything for them

Candace Mantle When I was very ill last year and in a coma, it was friends who were by my bedside not family

Lisa ~ When my fiancé died suddenly in 2014, it was my friends who kept me and my girls going. The texts at 11pm to check if I’d remembered to eat that day, the impromptu visits well after the funeral and such. Four years on, life is better than I could have imagined it would be. Lots of people who we thought were friends/family are now a distant memory and the ones who supported us through the very darkest days are still around.

Natasha  About 12 years ago I joined the bounty forums and got chatting to some like minded Mums. We set up a little group just for us to be able to stay in touch more easily and we did. Fast forward to Christmas 2016 I was really depressed. I was having serious doubts about my relationship, about my capabilities as a Mum and just generally felt like I was in a very deep hole. The day before my birthday a big box arrived from these women (most of whom I had never met) with a card telling me how much they love me and a whole load of gifts which were perfect and it meant everything to me.

I would do the same for them too. We are a funny bunch, but it works and I am lucky to have them and yet I still haven’t met some of them! They are my extended family but I’m lucky to call my brother and 2 sister’s my best friends. We have no choice about being family but we choose to be very much in each other’s lives as friends and to raise our children to be close too and that is very special to me, in my experience it’s not a given.

Liberty ~ Oh I feel this, I live far from my family so this means a lot to me! I have one particular dear friend who has gone above what I have asked of her and I know she would sacrifice so much for my sake. She has taught me how to go beyond myself to love others well too. If I had my family close by, I don’t think I would have realised how caring friends can be!

My quick (and not at all official) twitter pole revealed that 74% of people felt that the phrase was rubbish (it was called other things but I’m generally family friendly and I am sure you can imagine what words were used)

Is it a fact that blood is thicker than water or is it just that its’ easier to get out of a relationship where blood isn’t a factor? If you stop being friends you can simply disappear from each other’s lives. If you argue with relatives there are external factors which can add pressure – special family occasions and gatherings, guilt and pressure from other family members, shared responsibilities. Surely the reason why so many people have said that this old saying isn’t true is because it is more empowering and rewarding to be around people we share common ground with regardless of whether they are related to us or not. Is it MORE powerful to have a deep love for the friends we choose rather than the relatives we are allocated (and if people are lucky enough to have both, as I am, then that’s amazing)

I’m not sure whether I believe that blood is thicker than water but I do know that my step children are fantastic with Harry, particularly my step daughter Bea who has a natural gift for entertaining and calming him. He adores her too and when I watch them together it gives me a real sense of comfort and pride. Harry has a magical way of making people fall in love with him. Some are more susceptible to his spell than others and its incredible when I see a bond he has formed because it’s so rare for him to develop those special relationships.

blood thicker than water- Harry and Bea on the sand blood thicker than water - harry and Bea have a hug

Which leads me to this conclusion. There are no guarantees in life. Friendships evolve, people move on, relatives fall out and I can’t predict the future but what I do know is that Harry is loved more than he will ever know not only by his blood family but by the family we have chosen too. When I am not here any more I know that that love will remain and it actually doesn’t matter whether its friends or family who are there for him as long as he knows that the love, time and best intentions for him didn’t die with his Mother.


The answer as to whether blood is thicker than water varies from person to person but one universal truth is that love is always stronger than fear. So, on that note, I’m going to try not to worry about it right now, cut myself a chunk of cheddar and pour a gin! Regardless of the question, that’s pretty much always a great answer for me!

Chat soon

Charlie xxx

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