Friday, June 27, 2008

I met you, Mark, at Teen and Family when your Jessica and my son were in out-patient treatment. They kept telling the parents "if you want to help, go to Al-anon", and so, for once in our adult lives, we both followed directions and did. We went every single day that we weren't at Teen and Family; we do love our children so. We wanted them all to have healthy, happy, contented lives. We each shared from our hearts, and I learned of your sad family of origin history. I shed many tears over the terrible hurts you had to endure as a child---alone. We each became part of the Westlake recovery family-- to listen and empathize and celebrate and sometimes pat each other on the back.

I remember your sadness when Rachel moved to Georgia with her mom to have a new and different life. I remember your understanding that it was the right thing for her, and you were glad for her that she followed her heart. I remember you telling about phone conversations with Rachel and how dear she was to you.

I remember your stories about your birds and your self-effacing sense of humor about your humanity; we all understood. We all cared. I remember the swells of anger you would be ambushed by--often at work; we all understood why. We all cared. I remember your angst as you watched your Jessica careening through her teenager-ism and early twenties; we all understood. We did all care. I remember your pure joy when she began to stop; she stood and looked about, deciding she would claim her own life after all. Of course, we as parents don't agree with every decision our young adults make, but you knew your little girl was safe and had confidence that she will indeed stay free and can choose her own healthy path. We all understood and shared your joy about this. We all cared still.

Lately your and my meetings haven't overlapped much. Now they tell me you were struggling so. Trying so hard to hang on. Trying so hard to do the next right thing. Trying to stay here for your daughters.

I wish I could have told you how much all of us loved you, Mark, and how we understood. We would have stood by you--if there was a way to do that. You were not alone, and there are solutions. I know you did the very best that you could. Last night when I found out what had happened I cried and cried. I cried for all the childhood pain I know you endured. And I cried for your beautiful daughters. And I cried for the loss of one of my family.

I will miss you, Mark. We won't forget you. You are right; today your girls are safe. I hope Jessica will stay secure within our Westlake home for years and years. You were a good dad. You loved your daughers with your whole heart. They are safe from the kind of pain that you endured because you protected them. You were a good dad. Thank you for being part of my family. I do so wish you could have found relief in this life, AND I am glad to know you are at peace---at last--now.

Your sister in recovery,
Julie B.

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