The greatest gift

The greatest gift


Even the word conjures joy, starlit skies and glittering streets, breath that dances in the air, sweet candy cane kisses.  A world in the best of moods.

But maybe not this year.

In these ominous December days, when the gift of health is probably the greatest of all, I am grateful that my family is well.

It wasn’t always so.

More than a decade ago when Jacob was actively using, he consumed my every waking thought and sleep-deprived nights.

At the time our married daughter lived in California.  One day she called during the day, somewhat alarming since she never called in the afternoon. Something had happened at work and she urgently needed my advice.

It hurts to remember that I told her I couldn’t talk. She had reached me during yet another crisis with her brother.  There was a missing check from my checkbook or a smashed car side-mirror or a visit by unfamiliar “friends” asking to see him… any of the episodes that make up the all-too-familiar story of a child’s addiction.

It doesn’t matter what the crisis was.  What matters is that I allowed addiction’s grip to deprive me of helping my daughter when she needed it most.

How often did the healthy people in my family suffer the effects of addiction along with me?  How often did I put my son’s “needs” ahead of theirs?

What’s worse, my obsession with Jacob not only wasn’t helping him, but actually was hurting him, and everyone else.

Not until I learned to turn the focus on myself did my family begin to heal.  Not until I let my son find his way back to sobriety did Jacob begin to heal.

Perhaps the greatest gift I can give my family this month – and every month – is to keep myself healthy and pray they will do the same for themselves.

And then, maybe only then, can I be available whenever they call.




2 Replies to “The greatest gift”

  1. You model transparency which is so healthy for U and your legions of followers, some of whom you know and those who are unknown but turn 2 you for guidance in their own crises. Blessings to the extended Hillman clan in Maryland & Florida.

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