Dear Extended Family,
Here is what you didn't know, the reason I don't make it home very often is because the angry kid in me still carries a great deal of resentment that no body noticed that my home life was really bad.
My parents were alcoholics.
I wasn't supposed to let anyone know. Something bad might happen if people knew. My Dad could lose his job if they knew. I couldn't be the reason that his whole career could end.
I remember my Dad telling me that when he went to visit my Mom in rehab the first time she went, that she "got him locked up too." The grown up part of me knows that is not how it happens, but as a kid hearing that I worried that they would lock me up too. You see, by that time (I was twelve) I was drinking and my parents knew. I didn't want to get locked up too.
I couldn't ask for help. I couldn't be the reason my parents would get in trouble. I worried that if other people got involved we might be taken from our parents and that seemed way scarier than just keeping my mouth shut.
And yet in every way my young unconscious could, it screamed for your help. I am not certain I could have gotten in any more trouble than I did and it all just went unnoticed.
You would think that after growing up and starting my own life I would not feel compelled to keep family secrets, but the difficult thing about growing up in a world with secrets is you grow up not knowing who to trust.
It's not even so much who you trust, but you learn to not look outside for help. You grow tired of waiting to be saved.
Then by the time that you've grown up, there doesn't seem much sense in showing the ugly side to those who chose not to see it. You figure if they cared, they would have cared back then.
Growing up with secrets keeps you alone and separate. That was never what I wanted. I wanted to be a part of the huge family that took up several pews at our church. I wanted to be seen and loved.
I am doing my best to forgive all of you for not seeing me. I am doing my best to forgive you for not knowing what you could have done to fix any of it. I am doing my best to forgive myself for choosing to carry this anger for as long as I have.
Heading home next week is bringing so much stuff to the surface. I am ready to let go of my hurt.
I am ready to move back into the flow of my life where I don't have to re-feel all of these wounds. I am ready to get my dad buried and stop reliving so many sad yesterdays.