debbie dawe and family

1,000 Families Project:
Debbie and Family

When her husband came out of the closet, the marriage ended but the family did not.

We came into being after my first marriage ended, when my husband “came out.” Although the marriage ended the family did not. Today we are a fairly large blended family consisting of my husband and his son, daughter and son-in-law, myself and my son and his girlfriend, my two daughters and their husbands, my “wasband” and his husband, three granddaughters, seven dogs and one cat.
1000 families project debbie with kids partners and husbands

Geographically we are spread out across two countries, but connected to my home in Etobicoke. It is here where we gather for holidays, birthdays, weddings and family events and, as the Matriarch of this family, I wouldn’t have it any other way. Having come from a broken home myself, it was important that my children maintained the loving relationship they had with their father. What happened between he and I shouldn’t affect them. The same applied when I remarried. I never wanted to come between my husband and his children. I have worked hard at maintaining a good balance.

1000 families project debbie and husband

Our family today continues to evolve and change. Members have left and come back and left again. Some have come and stayed for the first time. They all know they are welcome anytime and I look forward to each and every moment.

I work in a family-centered care environment, and always allow clients to define who their families are themselves. Families don’t need to be blood-related. It is “life” that makes them so.

For me family is love, acceptance and tolerance for each other’s differences. It’s being there for each other. Family is what I do.

1000 families project debbie and family ex-husband and partner
(Photos, top to bottom: Debbie, husband, “wasband,” kids and grandkids at their daughter’s wedding; Debbie with kids, step-kids and partners; Debbie and her husband; Debbie’s ex (left) and his husband).

This is #1000families post number 57. Do you have a family story of your own to contribute to the 1,000 Families Project? Or do you know a family that might want to do so? Learn more about how the series got started and how to get involved here. You can find all of the #1000families posts here.

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Debbie Dawe

About Debbie Dawe

Debbie is a labour and delivery nurse in Toronto. When she is not busy playing with her grandchildren, she enjoys gardening, decorating, playing hockey and talking with neighbours. View all posts by

'1,000 Families Project:
Debbie and Family' have 5 comments

  1. Sara

    November 25, 2014 @ 12:11 pm Sara

    I think this is my favourite so far! Love your family!


  2. April 23, 2015 @ 8:12 pm jitka

    This is a wonderful family story. So much acceptance and love among so many people, too.


  3. February 1, 2016 @ 10:45 am The New Family / Podcast Episode 41: When Your Husband Comes Out to You - The New Family

    […] Debbie’s 1,000 Families story […]


  4. February 1, 2016 @ 10:45 am The New Family / Podcast Episode 41: When Your Husband Comes Out to You - The New Family

    […] Debbie’s 1,000 Families story […]


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    […] A woman whose husband came out to her but who has embraced him and his new husband in an extended family of sorts. Read more… […]


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