My life was better than living with “Ozzie and Harriet” until I was 25 when it dissolved into a nightmare.
I was raised by 4 grown ups, an Irish housekeeper and her husband (the gardener), my father, a cancer research doctor and my mother who worked with my father as a scientist. At age 25, I was married and just moved to Moscow, Idaho where my husband was starting law school and I was looking for a job as I just graduated with an MBA from Boston University.
I called my parents every week on Sunday. They lived in Buffalo, New York, out in the country, in an isolated house in the woods and beside a large creek. My mother called me in early September. She was frantic and said my father was missing.
They had had a BIG fight. My father left and checked into a motel. He took a lot of pills and killed himself. My mother went over the deep end and I tried to hold it together. Have you ever tried to hold Jell-O in your hand? It just can’t work. I could not do it. I was too young, I did not have the expertise, I did not have any tools, I did not have the resources, and I did not know where to turn or who could help me. When I asked for help I received little or none. It ended up a disaster that was bad for my mother and bad for me. It split my family apart.
That experience was the beginning for me of learning how to deal with such awful times. I did not realize it but it was the first of many post-graduate “real life” courses I have had in my life that taught me the pain, despair and confusion which occurs when someone dies or becomes unable to care for themselves.
Decades later, after life lessons and lots of study, I now have the experience, tools, and resources to help individuals and families when everything falls apart due to a death, sudden illness or gradual decline.