My parents did the best they could with the limited tools they had for dealing with life. They were teenagers when they married. Both products of the Great Depression and WWII. Fear guided their path. They came from generations of the blind leading the blind and this is what they brought to their children. The blind faith they had in their religious leaders left them bereft of independent thought. All decisions had been made for them, and as a result, life could be measured strictly in black and white. 

They were heirs to a genetic predilection toward alcoholism and mental illness. Codependence was the accepted norm in their world. It was of utmost importance to go to any lengths for the world outside our door to see our family in the best light. Woe be unto thee who thought of this as anything but a priority of the highest order. 

There are often times now as I enter my eighth decade on this earth that I want to cry for these two children who went on to have a boatload of kids. They provided us with regimented discipline, but not guidance. With clean clothes and regular meals, but infrequent affection. With religion, but not spirituality. I understand now they didn’t have it to give us.

There are other times when I have wanted to shake them because they settled for this—for being led like lambs to slaughter, rather than thinking for themselves. But they were limited and not to blame.


Richmond, VA

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