10 Years

Mar 28, 2014

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.

Richard, Gigi & Me

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.

Dad, Mom, Richard & Me

Family Christmas

Alcoholism changed our family forever, the morning of March 28, 2004.

Alcohol Abuse Treatment Facilities and Programs Near You.


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  • http://www.mycraftyadventures.com Stephenie Purl Hamen

    So sorry for you loss, but thank you so much for writing about it. You never cease to amaze me.

    • http://lisapace.com/ Lisa M. Pace

      Thank you, Stephenie. Just trying to keep it real. Alcoholism sucks and sadly affects so many.

  • CIm Allen

    I’m so sorry for your loss .. I totally get it. I lost my only sibling, my brother on April 21, 1996 .. a day before his birthday …. hard to think it’s almost 18 years !! Thank you for sharing.

    • http://lisapace.com/ Lisa M. Pace

      Thank you, I’m sorry and sad to hear of your brothers passing.

  • Hels Sheridan

    Lisa, sending you LOVE xxx

    • http://lisapace.com/ Lisa M. Pace

      Thanks, Hels. Hugs!

  • Rene Koehn

    Lisa, I’m so sorry for your loss. I cannot imagine what it would be like to lose a loved one. My heart aches for you. I am a mother of an addict and I live the life you described – the sleepless nights, the dreaded phone call, the endless fear – holding your breath…the waiting. Your post has touched my heart and brings me to tears. I would give anything to fight this battle for my daughter. I applaud your courage to share. More people need to share to increase awareness of addiction – so we feel as though we are not alone. Alcoholism DOES change everything!! Thank you Lisa.

    • http://lisapace.com/ Lisa M. Pace

      I’m so sorry Rene. It is a terrible thing to live through. I hope your daughter finds the strength for recovery.

    • mcastillod.tamhsc.edu

      I also have a younger brother who suffers from drug addiction. We are 13 years apart, but I have seen what this has done to my parents and my siblings also. Sad to say that my Dad passed away without seeing my brother recover this horrible addiction. Right now he seems to be doing okay, but we live in fear of when he will relapse. I pray everyday that he doesn’t. Lisa, so sorry for your loss.

  • Cheryl Wood Grigsby

    Lisa, I am so proud of you for being brave enough and compassionate enough to share your story. I am so sorry for your heartbreak. May someone hear and wake up and get help as a result.

    • http://lisapace.com/ Lisa M. Pace

      Thank you, Cheryl. If this blog posts helps just one person or opens the eyes of many I’ll be thrilled and feel accomplished.

  • Richard Spinney

    Thank you Lisa for finding the right words. You did a great job of telling like it is.

    • http://lisapace.com/ Lisa M. Pace

      Thanks, Dad.

  • Julie B

    I’m so sorry for your loss and fully understand what you went through as we are currently trying to help/understand my sister-in-law who is dealing with this terrible disease. Thank you for your open heart and sharing. Hugs to you! You still have the rest of your wonderful family.

    • http://lisapace.com/ Lisa M. Pace

      Thank you, Julie. I’m sorry to hear of your sister-in-law and hope she finds the strength to find sobriety. Hugs to you.

  • Anita Scroggins

    Lisa I am so sorry for your loss. Yes, alcoholism is horrible,, I lost a loved one 32 years ago this May to alcoholism. I never stop thinking about him or what we might have done if he hadn’t started on that last binge. Keep your brother in your heart and remember all the good times you had.

  • Peggy

    Thanks for sharing your sorry and I am deeply sorry for your loss. It feels so helpless – my ex husband is an alcoholic and you’re right, it affects everyone in the family. Hugs to you.

  • Theresa Grdina

    So sorry for you…losing a loved one, especially to alcoholism, is so terrible. Thank you for sharing your story. Maybe it will help someone who is struggling…..

  • Betsy

    Lisa, we have never met. I grew up with your Dad in Greenland…and I want to say thank you for your piece; I understand the pain of alcoholism and its effects on everyone around only too well…my brother, Peter, whom your Dad may remember, also died of ‘it’ in 1999. Your tribute is beautiful. I am sorry for the agony, the helplessness, the futility you and your family and so many others have been handed.

  • Patricia Taylor Hatcher

    Lisa, I’m sorry to hear that alcoholism has touched your life as it has mine. I lost my brother 25 yrs ago, due to alcoholism. I too, remember those fearful days of wondering just how far down the bottom was going to be. Unfortunatly, his bottom was death. I answered the phone at my mother’s house that day. I will never forget having to tell my mother. It changes everything, from the moment you realize that this disease has a stronghold on your loved one, and continues the ripple effect through generations. His 2 sons never got to know him, much less the families that they now have. Many family members lives were saved through his story, though. For that, I am enormously grateful. Thank you for sharing. Never stop!

  • Marianne B in AZ

    Lisa, I can feel your pain. My brother it’s forever 39 due to an addiction, which is no surprise, as our father and grandmother were both alcoholics. Growing up in that environment does forever change you as an adult as well. My dad and grandmother are gone now too, but there are still others in my family who are alcoholics and I always hate to think where their bottom might be.