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November 23, 2007

The Family Intervention

For two hours yesterday afternoon, in a commandeered upstairs bedroom of a relative’s home with the convivial sounds of Thanksgiving drifting up from the dining room below, I was reminded of the cunning, powerful and baffling nature of the disease of addiction as I listened to and watched a lovely young women weave a complex web of lies and self denial about her substance abuse before her parents.  Remarkably, Mom and Dad sat calmly despite the rambling, twisted, angry and sometimes alarming revelations of past and current drug use.  Their cool detachment borne not out of serenity but rather from the debilitating weariness and numbness which results from repeated lies and broken promises by a loved one struggling with addiction. The denial parents experience when their child is an addict is second only to the denial the addict exepriences his/herself.  Our unconditional love for children which binds us forever to them, often helps blind parents from the bad choices they make...and in the end unwittingly enables them as they continue down the path of drug use and abuse.

As the daughter rambled on in a voice that at times was angrily defiant and at others was weepingly anguished it brought back memories of conversations years before with Dave when we had confronted him about his substance abuse.  I didn’t know then what I know now…I couldn’t tell the lies from the truth….I didn’t know the signs of serious drug use…I miss read the signs of relapse, I was ashamed that some how I had failed him…and then, in an instant,  he was gone

But yesterday (Thanksgiving Day 2007) as this family’s tale of suffering and torment unfolded before me I found myself grateful for what I had learned from David’s struggle with addiction and thankful for the opportunity share a bit of his and my own struggle.  And maybe…just maybe assuage their fear and offer a bit of hope for things to come.

Only time will tell.

November 23, 2007 at 08:33 PM in The Odyssey | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

November 04, 2007

Changing of the Seasons

The frost painted the lawn with a silvery glaze clinging to each blade of grass as the dawn slowly chased the long shadows of night across the backyard.  The red, golden and orange leaves cling determinedly to their branches as the winds of fall lashed the trees this early November morn leaving me to my chill and lonely thoughts as I go about preparing the backyard for winter.  I dig up my precious rosemary plants and re-pot them so they might winter over in a sunny window of our garage. I bring in the bench that we bought after our son died, the one that was meant to be the center piece of the garden we created in his memory. I collect the wind chimes that played a soft flowing melody when caressed by the gentle breezes of spring and summer… and the sundial my friends gave to me in David’s memory that tracks the relentless rise and fall of the sun in the natural rhythm I hated so much in those first days, weeks and months after his loss.

I have come to expect the twinge of sorrow or the sharp pain of grief when a holiday or a day that holds special or heartrending memories approaches, but for some reason the change of the seasons always catches me unawares.  The cold wind today seems to send the clouds and leaves skittering across the sky and with it my reminiscences…fragile glimpses of what was, what could have been and what will never be. 

I cross the yard to the tree line, the ground soft and moist under my step and pick up the birdhouse that David and I build together not long after we moved into this house.  And as I head for the garage I recall that he and I fashioned it out of scrap pieces of wood that the carpenters had cast aside as they built our home, finishing it off with a discarded shingle for its little roof.   Every year since his death I have set the birdhouse out in the spring and take it in when the weather turns cold.  It 's not much to look at and I don’t think any self respecting avian has ever made a nest within its rough interior.  But what does reside inside is a memory...a memory that lives and never fails to bring a trace of a smile and an ache of the heart each year with the changing of the seasons.    

November 4, 2007 at 10:35 PM in The Odyssey | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack