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Finding gratitude

Finding gratitude

Ironic, isn’t it? It took a potentially fatal condition to introduce me to what’s now a popular phrase – a “gratitude list.” Pick up any self-help book or check any self-help blog and you see the term. Therapists recommend writing a “gratitude list” to reaffirm the positive in your life. It took many months of …

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Through their eyes

Through their eyes

When a parent loses a child, are there any words that can console? But when a parent loses a child to addiction, what then? With addiction comes unrelenting guilt, sometimes shame, remorse and isolation.  Does the unbearable anguish intensify? Today, tragedies unfold everywhere. Deaths from COVID that could be prevented. Afghan refugees and those left …

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When bones break

When bones break

A family member recently suffered an injury. Living through it, I am reminded how quickly life can be disrupted – and with no warning. But it also reminds me how different it is when a son or daughter or spouse suffers from addiction. The contrasts are stark. For the broken bone the path is clear. …

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A prayer for a friend

A prayer for a friend

I sit on a shaded bench on Rehoboth Avenue and watch people walk by. At this early-morning hour there are families with small children, an infant cradled in burly, tattooed arms, and a little girl skipping in a pink ballet skirt. Children are warned to hold hands crossing the street.  Couples are clasping coffee cups. …

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Elegy for a Friend

Elegy for a Friend

A friend died of Covid this year Her husband died, too, just days before. Recently, I was walking in her neighborhood and I found myself passing the street where she lived. Her house was empty, of course. A single tree lifted bright, crimson flowers above the tangled yard. Here once lived a woman who loved …

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It’s okay to feel joy

It’s okay to feel joy

“Weeping may tarry for the night But joy cometh in the morning.”   For a parent living with a son or daughter on drugs, it is impossible to feel joy. For years, I didn’t – or couldn’t.  When I tried to feel happy, thoughts of my son’s drug use erased all joy. Days were devoted …

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Can I drink around my son?

Can I drink around my son?

Often I am asked if I drink around my son. It’s a question that comes up frequently in support groups trying to help those with an addiction to alcohol. Professionals typically suggest cleaning out the house when a loved one comes home from rehab, or at least locking up any alcohol. But that doesn’t answer …

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Did the dog just remind me?

Did the dog just remind me?

My dog hates other dogs Normally this wouldn’t be a problem.  But we live in a town that is very dog- friendly. A three-year-old retired racing greyhound, Charlie turns into Godzilla at the sight of another canine Recently, an experienced trainer walked with us. Within seconds of our stepping outside, a medium-sized Rottweiler stared at …

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Tears

Tears

If tears could wash away all pain, this past year surely would have cleansed our world free of it. How deep is that well? Tears shed over the loss of loved ones from COVID, from crazed gunmen, from bombings, and – of course- from opioids.  The tragedies strain our hearts.  Sadness exhausts our sympathy. There …

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Where should I send my son?

Where should I send my son?

A mom asked me recently, “Where should I send my son?” Even to get the question, I knew we were in tough territory. The son, not quite 18, was still under his mother’s roof and under her skin. A recent inpatient stay hadn’t “fixed” him, as the mother had hoped – or worse – expected. …

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