I believe in beneficial tragedies, a term my uncle used many times. Personal tragedies verses personal strengths tested over and over again. This I believe. My sister’s funeral was early November. She joined five family members, my parents and three brothers. There are now six gravesites in a row. I am the eldest sister in a family of seven children. Now I have two siblings left. Chronic alcoholism dwindled my family, as we became adult children. I am 50 years old this month and I have survived my alcoholic family thus far. Through my own struggles and recovery, I have resolved to end this generational alcoholism for the sake of my sanity and four children. This I believe.
My sister was 42 years old and she was my only sister. From 1985 to the present, two older brothers, one younger, a father and now a sister cut their lives short because of this crippling addiction. Two of my siblings never made it to 35; two never made past 55 and my father was only 57. The cause was alcoholic cirrhosis, a deadly disease that renders one mentally incapable of coming to grips with this ugly reality. My mother died in her sleep due to an aneurysm but I also believe it was of a broken heart. I can’t imagine burying one’s children and husband. I’m grateful she wasn’t here to see my sister slowly slip away in the ICU during an intense and painful month.
During my years in recovery and battling depression, a sponsor told me, “Holly, I think somewhere during all this chaos and uncertainty the Heavenly Father opened a door and dared you to step through, for I believe He intended to help you with these challenges.” This I believe. I prayed for guidance and strength, and I learned that I had to do this on my own. I eventually became the mother my children deserved. My children, ages 13 to 23, are drug and alcohol free. In my darkest times, my uncle, the rock I leaned on, always told me that I was stronger that I thought myself to be. He recently told me that having come this far; God must have a specific plan for me. This I believe.
My sister left three children and I feel morally obligated to them. Their only chance of having a home life without alcohol is to be part of my family. Every family requires a strong mother. This is my primary goal. Yes, my husband and I are college educated, but any career I have trained for outside the home is secondary. My husband has provided us a comfortable life and my kids are in safe environment. Not a day goes by that I don’t think about my parents, my brothers, my only sister. I’ll work on getting past the anger and being resentful but instead be thankful that I have the chance to have a family that I originally started out in, a family of seven children. This I believe.
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