Life and Death
Words keep swimming in my head today as I am not sure where to start. Yesterday the father of 3 of my children a man I once was married to and loved with all my heart died at 54 years old from addiction. Honestly I am not sure how I am supposed to feel, numb, sad, pity. God put it on my heart today to write so here I am with a message and it’s not about the pain and heartache that my family has been through the years. Yes there was plenty of that with the kids growing up without a dad because of his illness. It’s about many other things like forgiveness, unconditional love, Gods grace, education, strength, and ethics, doing the right thing, family and healing.
Quite a statement I know! Recently we received a call that there was not much time and he would soon be gone. We have not seen this man in well over a decade, and the question became what to do? The answer came rather quickly, we go to New Mexico and we forgive and heal so there are no regrets later in life. We drove to New Mexico from WI with very few stops and through the laughter and the tears we began a journey together not knowing exactly what to feel. Steve was dying of alcohol addiction and was being kept alive by many machines when we arrived. He could not talk as he had a breathing tube. He knew we were there and when the sedation was lifted could open his eyes. When he heard the words Papa Bear from his oldest Nicole he was very aware of them being there.
I cannot stress enough the importance of teaching your children!! Tell them about addiction, if it is in your family tell them, give them a fighting chance should they come face to face with it someday. My children went to recovery meetings with me most of their grade school years. They have seen by example a mom who beat addiction, they have seen a mom not afraid to take a stand, and do the right thing, they have a seen a mom who loved them enough for a mom and a dad. I saw the pain of not having a dad on parent’s night, on homecoming, at concerts, I was horrible at making a derby car at Boy Scouts, I walked my baby girl down the aisle at her wedding. I felt their pain and could not help. I cried many nights because being a single parent was not the way it was supposed to be, I had no one to back me up when I needed strength. Somehow it did not matter anymore when we saw him lying there. It was a time for forgiveness, compassion and love. How my children handled this was truly amazing! Although it broke my heart, it was incredible, especially when we held hands and prayed over him. I truly believe he found forgiveness and he is now resting in our fathers arms. I believe he found favor with God and I told him to go ahead and with God he can prepare a place for his children in eternity.
The lessons here have been amazing, I was privileged to see my children forgive and love unconditionally. Staying by his bedside for hours telling stories praying, holding his hand, letting him know he was not alone. They know their dad never stopped loving them; he could never get away from the horrible grip of addiction. I was able to forgive and be there for our children, gone was any resentment from the past and what was new was hope. Hope that he could find a place with our Lord after all the suffering on earth.
Please do not think that addiction is a moral issue because it is not. It is a horrible illness that is socially unacceptable because most think they can choose to not use. In the beginning maybe however in advanced stages people die!! Moms and dads, children and friends, no one is exempt. If you can reach out to someone, just do it, let them know someone cares, pray for them, don’t enable them but be there for them, and learn what resources are available in your area. I did not mean to sound like a commercial but if we can save just one life it will be worth it.
May the peace and joy of our Lord be with you today and always