Tuesday, March 31, 2009


My younger brother and I usually ‘catch’ up with each other every Saturday or the weekend. We talk about anything and everything calmly and without concern for the time or the distance between us. Last time we spoke he was very happy and delighted that his very dear friend had voluntarily checked himself into a rehab center for drug and alcohol abuse. This condition he pointed was a mask for a very troubled childhood and a life of pain and anguish his friend has. Despite these issues this friend was a very productive and decent family man and citizen. My brother and I thought that it was a very good move on his friends’ part and we hoped that he would get the help he need to move forward with his life. My brother also told his friends’ wife to lean on him as much as she needed to help her through a bumpy ride. She said she would and she too was hoping for a good result.

Today my brother told me that he lost his friend. I was shocked. “Who”, I said hurriedly? I yelled, “No”. I gasped and was befuddled. “What? What happened?” I said. He told me that his friend tried to kill himself after attempting to confront his family members he accused for his anguish. Oh my goodness. What a shame! I am so sad for this whole family. There are so many questions and emotions swirling around in my head about this.
What happened? Did something go wrong with the process or the system?
Did this man open the proverbial can of worms with inadequate preparation and support to handle it?

Was he a renegade who went off because he didn’t want to deal or pretend to deal anymore?
How do you come to grips with this and try to understand or strengthen a system.
Is there a blame and to whom or where do we assign it, or do we even assign it. Is it him for attempting to heal him self and lost control in the process? Did the system pull a lever and not put enough safe guards to be on the lookout and activate reconnaissance? Is this just a tragedy, a sad case where so much is lost because of the failings of motherhood and family?

What are the answers; who knows or will ever know? What do we do now or say to others with a similar situation; go get help to heal? As a society this is what we say to our folks who need help in this regard. Do we say that with trepidation or assurances? How do we address the parenting issue or the issue of child abuse or child endangerment and the victims? As I write this piece I can’t help think about Rocky, the movie. I think of all those scenes of flashbacks of pain and suffering. Different set of circumstances, yes, but similar effect. How can you heal that hurt so it doesn’t continue to cause harm?

This is such a sad and painful situation. So many lives affected in the past and the present. What will be the impact in the future? The situation is this. Parenthood doesn’t come with a manual or training guide. Sometimes it doesn’t even come with a mentor or good guidance or experience to draw from. Raising a child is not an easy task. I always say, you have to become self-less when you have kids. You have to be extra careful, sensitive, and instructive and nurturing, always placing their best interest first. Maintaining composure, consistently meter out commands and emotions and reactions and consequences to make the point, affirm and acknowledge and ‘hear’ them so that they hear you. It’s a delicate balance that must be achieved and maintained through out the years with cognizance. When we fail to do this or unleash our wrath of disappointments, frustration, unprepared-ness for the task, and other unresolved personal issues on the child, well, we can create monsters. I am not calling this dear man a monster but we will influence monstrous behaviors from their experience.

The other thing her is this; did the mental health system that welcomed him helped or failed him and his family, and the rest of us. I don’t know this answer either and I will not speculate. I was told that this guy was in a residential program for about 3 weeks. I don’t know what the discharge plan was or his follow through. I don’t know what his extended family situation – his external support system was. I have to say however his efforts didn’t seem to give him the expected result. Maybe it was just too late.

Would things have been different today had he kept up his self treatment – alcohol and drug uses. This situation was a ticking time bomb, which he realized and wanted to change before it got the better of him. Unfortunately it did. I have to say getting clean or learning how to cope with life issues in the natural is still the best course of action. We however hope for good results and perhaps it is the case more often than not. This is a very, very sad outcome.

What do we say to a little girl who suddenly lost her beloved daddy; her Daddy who was trying to make his/their lives better and now he is gone?

Take heart dear child, we pray for your safety and your peace. I am sorry for your loss. May God bless you and grant you and your family peace.
Bro, stay close they will need your support more than ever. You can count on me.

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