I wasn't close to Bert (the stepfather), even though it's broadly thought that he's a closet case, but it's still weird to hear he's in this state and I didn't hear about it. If it were one of her grandparents, I'd (still, at this point) be peeved not to have been clued in. I mean, it took a while, as few in her family were terribly accepting of her having girlfriends at all---let alone a fat, bra-less, grey-haired one ten years her senior---but, unless I read it completely wrong, most of them seemed to have come to consider me part of the extended family. And, more to the point, I had come to think of them, if only fairly recently, as my family too.
When it comes right down to it, I'm not sorry that my heart hangs on to love. There's a decided down side, but ultimately I'd rather be at least a little this way instead of the other way. It hurts sometimes. Sometimes a lot. But the other thing would be worse.