I didn’t know my grandpa was an alcoholic – not until I was a check out girl at Publix.
That sour stench, when we hugged Papa Ray “goodbye”, was the same stink that the men coming through my line put out – as they placed their 12-packs down.
Sour and strong - pores spewing alcohol – exactly what he smelled like – all the time I knew him.
Our dad never told us how bad it was for him as a kid – not the whole story.
His parents “did the best they could” – I guess that’s what we all do really.
But their “best” was destructive, abusive, and full of expectations that daily crushed his spirit.
The night after my dad passed away (age 54 of colon cancer), I read his autobiography. He’d been working on it almost a full year, knowing his health was at great risk.
He wrote his story. For us. For you.
His truth helped me know – there are roots of addiction and mental illness in my family.
Knowing more of my dad’s past, helped me know more of my potential future.
Every single time I drank (in college) I got drunk.
It was when I blacked out that at an Auburn/FSU football game that I figured – this may not be “my thing”.
The black out and the good friend that drove me home the next day - ”Really, is this what you want to do with your life?” – this helped me decide – I would never touch alcohol again.
My dad was bi-polar as well. I am confident both of his parents battled mental illness too. So, it’s no surprise, that my Dad’s kids would battle depressive disorders as well.
Depression. Anxiety. Anger beyond the norm. To the point I needed “treatment”.
As a mom, there are fears that could run deep – that the secrets could whisper very loudly – YOUR kids are next:
Your kids could be alcoholics.
Your kids will struggle with addiction.
Your kids will be mentally ill too.
Your kids are gonna mess up just like you did.
And I refuse to listen, and yet, in wisdom, I teach my kids, the parts I can for now. Their past – even from my grandpa – pieces of their life unfolded before they ever have to face them.
The secrets unburied are no longer secrets.
They are revelations that don’t have to become our realities.
They are information to learn from – history to hear about – and new stories to write.
I don’t live in fear. I live in the confidence, that HE who began the good work in me, will be faithful to complete it – and to do the same in each of my five children – and on, and on, and on.
I appreciate your COMMENTS:
What secrets are you willing to share with your kids (friends, yourself) today - to prevent potential destruction tomorrow?