Friday, October 16, 2015

GAME CHANGER

My daddy died just after I turned 14.  A man who was bigger than life-in my eyes---yet as all men are-he was a man with feet of clay.  As I recently listened to my brother's oral history done by the Bar Association here, it caused me to pause and think of the impact the loss of our father had on our lives.  It brought to mind the complicated relationship we had with my mother, which was intensified with the loss of our daddy.  I have hashed and rehashed all of this many times--so after a few turns around the mind track--I gave it a rest.




Fast forward to receiving this article from a dear friend today.  As I read through these profound words, I found myself once again thinking over the loss of a parent and how it affects the rest of your life.  While making these circles, I came to the conclusion that in many ways during the years of daddy's struggle with alcohol and his terminal illness which came on the cusp of his sobriety, momma left us emotionally.  With the weight of raising three children thrust upon her, she survived by becoming emotionally numb.  She went to work and performed well--the care of the home was left to the three of us.  Leaving lists and orders everyday of what we were expected to do to keep the house running, she came home every night exhausted-depressed--overwhelmed--and withdrew to the privacy of her bedroom--where she tried to regroup and refuel for the next day of the same.  And the next day--only brought more next days---and all to be faced alone.  So in some ways, we became orphans of a sort--left to our own devises--in some ways raising ourselves.  I never had curfews, never was asked about homework, never had many rules beyond keep the house clean and food in the pantry--was never questioned about school.  Whether she took it for granted that we would take care of our business or if she simply could not take on one more task--we had lost both parents in some ways when daddy died. 

I listened with great sadness when friends talked of family celebrations, dinners around the family table, and their normal family lives.  How I longed to be normal.  There was nothing normal about our family life--though from the outside it all appeared great---it was dysfunction at its finest on the inside.  When I finally reached adulthood and had a stable family of my own---I DAILY endeavored to find normal---and prayed my children would have that Mayberry Normal I so always wanted.  The great American dream of 2.3 kids, a house, two cars, dinner on the table, clean clothes in the closet, a neat and tidy house and two parents looking over your shoulder became my Utopia.

Fast forward---with God's provision and grace, we all survived and in the world's eyes have been successful.  She was proud of us--and bless her heart--she did the best she could under very difficult circumstances.  The loss of daddy and momma's withdrawal though had a lasting and profound effect on each of us.  

I often tell others, "When you loose you parents,  no matter the age, you become orphans."  A piece of who you are is removed and you are left with a gaping hole.  It is life altering and a permanent change of the world you know.  Good parent--bad parent---their loss is a game changer in the game of life.  The loss of a parent at a young age is especially a deep and profound influence upon the person you become.

There is redemption---there is a way to reconcile today with the past---there is a Great Counselor who can heal all hurts and pain.  Jesus is always the answer--the answer to all those intense and deep moments in time when life is changed--HE IS THE SAME!  Yesterday--today--tomorrow---Jesus never changes.


Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
Hebrews 13:8


10 comments:

  1. A wonderful, honest and touching article, Lulu. Thank you.

    As we grow up we see our parents as Mommy and Daddy. They are there for us, (for some of us), and sometimes they are good parents, and sometimes not; depending on our circumstances.

    What we do not see as we grow up is that our parents are people; like everyone else. They are men and women with their own hopes, fears, ambitions, (shattered) dreams, strengths and weaknesses. They are people; and sometimes, as people, they fail to live up to society's expectations, to our expectations of them, as our parents, and even to their own expectations.

    Yes, it is hard on children when these things happen and they suffer hardships and do not lead "normal" family lives. Please God that it doesn't happen too often to too many children.

    I am truly sorry and saddened that you had a difficult childhood, Lulu. But one thing I do see; it has made you into a wonderful person caring for your own children and grand-children. And that's a legacy to be proud of.

    I'll pray for you, your parents and your family.

    God bless.

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    1. In spite of it all, Victor, the beauty of redemption is I had a wonderful childhood in many ways. I lived in a simplistic time and the town I grew up in helped to raise me. And you are right, Friend, as an adult I have reconciled it all with the knowledge that Momma did the best she could--and in many ways that was more than enough. The three of us have turned out fine--and our children are fine--are our grands are beyond fine--so there is a legacy--of love and redemption.
      Bless You, Victor, for your kind words!

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  2. Yes, yes, Lulu. I hear you this afternoon ...

    I guess I don't have words right about now. Just listening quiet ...

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    1. I understand, sometimes--there is nothing left to say, Friend!
      Blessings!

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  3. I am deeply saddened that this happened to you too. You sure turned out good inspite of the hole in the heart. When my mother died I was 10. Dad tore up his parent card at the funeral (long story, won't bore everyone here). My father became, or possibly always was, violent, hateful and cruel. So, I understand how one must step back and look at the situation dispassionately through the eyes of an adult. I couldn't do that until I was 40. It helped to stop caring and stop trying to get him to love me. Hope you have that same redemption. Thankfully, the real healing will happen when we're with our Lord Jesus forever.
    BTW, I wrote down all my feelings on the subject too but didn't publish it. Too chicken (or still too angry), I guess. I was concerned the anger showed in my writing, which would have been unproductive, I guess.
    Thanks for sharing this. Sorry you've had nearly the same experience.
    Hope your day is blessed. ~:)

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    1. I am at peace, Sparky, with my childhood. It was difficult---but I firmly believe my mom did the best she could under very trying circumstances. I am sure she never dreamed--just as I didn't---she would be left alone. We both are who we are because of our past---and I am thankful for God's redemption of all things!
      Blessings, Friend!

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  4. What a touching letter....I don't want to sound mean, but I really don't think my parents would care --they certainty don't keep in touch etc...we hardly hear from them and it is painfully obv. they don't want a relationship, not even with their oldest grandson...it saddens me and pains me to say that...but God knows the truth...no matter how much pain we each (I say we as all of us our guilty on so many levels) inflict, HE knows. That is comforting to know. It is sad when parents and a child can not connect for whatever reason, perhaps that is why God allows us to have relationships with others who can give and show love? Other than our parents?

    Thank you Lulu...very heartwarming.

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    1. Reconciling our past is an everyday process, Friend. Sad your son has missed the joy of grandparents and sad they have not known the delight of their legacy! Yes--God gives us other relationships to fill that gap--and we are blessed by His tender care-but still heart-breaking to know one would deny the blessings given so freely.
      Bless You, Friend!

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  5. Thanks for your transparency and wisdom! I do not always comment but I do LOVE your posts. Keep 'em coming!
    We serve an awesome God!

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    1. Indeed we do, Sweet Friend! I struggle with how transparent I should be---this one was written after TWO promptings by Him. Perhaps a part of my calling is the Ministry of Empathy. Sharing what God has done---to redeem the difficult and reconcile my heart to His great love!
      Miss Your Sweet Spirit & Smiling Face!

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Your comments keep my writing and often cause me to think. A written form of a hug or a pat on the back and an occasional slap into reality---I treasure them all!