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30+ Day Challenge, part four

Day 4: Your Parents

My parents died three years apart and both before I graduated from high school.

I feel like I never really got to get to know them.

I think when you’re young, all you can really do is observe your parents.

You know what they look like.

My father was tall and quite handsome1, my mother was petite and wiry.

You know what they like.

My momma loved Sprite and playing softball. My daddy liked pool and Hustler magazine.

But, as a kid, you don’t have the life experience to know and understand them.

I only know them, looking back through the eyes of an adult, from what I can remember of them.

From what I can remember,  my momma and daddy were probably the two most in love people who never should have been.

I remember how Sundays at Granny’s, some of the most joyful times of my youth, often turned less joyful and abruptly ended with Momma blindly and ferociously defending my father to my grandparents2.

I remember the day he searched through the neighborhood to find me and my brother to tell us our momma was dead.  Even through his alcoholism, or maybe because of it, the torture and loss read on his face.

My mother, who’s health was always delicate, I remember her working herself to the bone3 to try to make up for all the jobs my father was never able to hold down.  But, at the same time, I remember my mother was emotionally tough and demanding, and I she may have emasculated him in ways that at least contributed to his alcoholism.

Or maybe she helped him keep his drinking somewhat in check.  Because once she was gone, the addiction became worse and grew to include the drug addiction that killed him three years later.

So, I remember there being a love between them.

Even if they ultimately may have been bad for each other.

{ fin }

  1. While I got his height, my brother got his height and looks.  I look like my grandfather. []
  2. Who never wanted her to marry him. []
  3. at jobs and at home []
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11 Comments

  1. I’m sorry for your loss at such an early age.
    Do you still have contact with your brother, or is it just you and Granny as the sole survivors.

  2. I am sorry for your loss. Children of parent alcoholics have a particularly tough road. I had some rough times with that myself. It is good that you remember the love. Thanks for sharing that part of your story.

  3. Maybe they weren’t really bad for each other. Maybe they are what made each other – good or bad.

    What you remember is love between them. Maybe that’s enough.

  4. My father was an alcoholic, too, and it killed him when I was 18 and he took his own life. Yet I remember him as one of the gentlest people I’ve ever known; and all of us kids were sure of his love.

    Addictions steal the soul and eventually the body. I grieve for your loss, Tony, and I understand how important is the love you have from Granny and The Attorney. It is a basic need we all have. Thank you for sharing yours so eloquently here.

  5. brian brian

    You may not have all the answers about your parents, but without them, no you.
    As mentioned before, your voice is unique.
    They would and should be proud of what you have become.

  6. I think you’re right to celebrate their love and remember the positive with shades of all the rest mingled in. The saturation of that love is what turned you into such a loving force for us to admire and appreciate.

    Peace and warm thoughts for you today!
    -C

  7. I think I’m fairly convinced that we need parents more as adults than we do as children. Nearly convinced. I miss my dad so much.

  8. john john

    My mother lived well into her 90’s and my children got to know her as adults. What a privilege for them. What a learning experience

  9. Mark Mark

    I understand the story….. the typing skills, tired or intoxicated…….. I hated losing my parents. I hated losing their imperfections and their gifts. They died on the same day, one year after the other. I don’t think you ever get over it……

  10. Wow, Tony your post really made me think about my parents – both of whom are still alive and I love dearly.

  11. David David

    That was thoughtful, honest, raw and brave.

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