Today marks the 10 year anniversary of my brother’s death. Ten years is a long time yet it still feels like yesterday, I was enjoying a fabulous morning sunrise training my golden retriever, Sonny in the field. I went to my car to get us some water and noticed I had a bazillion missed calls on my phone. I called home asking what was up and I will never forget Alan’s words,” Its Richard.” He didn’t have to say another word, I knew he was gone. I could hear it in his voice and I felt it deep in my soul, my little brother was gone.
At that moment, my life and the lives of my family changed forever. Mom and Dad lost a son, my sister and I lost a brother, my daughter’s, nieces and nephew lost an uncle and the world lost a wonderful person. I would never again hear Richard call me “Lis”, hear his laugh or see his amazing smile and I knew I would forever miss him.
Alcoholism changes everything; life never goes back to the days prior to alcoholism. My family never gets to erase the memories of watching their son, brother, uncle go from a hard working responsible adult who loved the great outdoors, fishing, photography and his family to someone who ended up losing everything and eventually his life due to the strong hold of alcohol.
Alcoholism does not just affect the alcoholic, so much remains in the minds of an alcoholic’s family, all the daily struggles, the begging to please get help, hearing a loved one’s voice fill with fear and worry, the long never ending rollercoaster of emotions does not leave, it’s forever embedded in the minds of an alcoholic’s family.
When I look at family photos of my childhood I see two siblings with a bright future. I don’t see a future alcoholic and his sister or a mother and father filled with worry and sleepless nights; I see a happy family with a bright future and blue skies ahead. Alcoholism changes everything, especially bright futures.
Alcoholism changed our family forever, the morning of March 28, 2004.