A fine state of affairs

It is tough getting through a day and even tougher if one watches the news. Evil and sadness are everywhere. Wars and chaos and political insanity seems to be the rule of the day. It is such that I have difficulty mustering up the energy to write, these day. I have spent much time on genealogy and actually have managed, I think, to find my great great grandparents’ names. It is in doing this genealogy that I have thought of two wonderful personalities in my youth.

I like using this vehicle to communicate about lost relatives. In this blogpost, I am centering on two of the nicest people I came across in my life and one of them is the woman to whom I owe my life and I am not talking about my mom. My mom always told me, « Rick, you are living on borrowed time. » What she meant was that when I was an infant, she had found me blue in the face from a cold or virus,  screamed, and my aunt who either lived in the same house or next door came immediately and provided me with artificial respiration as they took me to the hospital. I am forever indebted to her.

Above, she is with my Uncle Steve and my oldest maternal-side cousin, Jack. They were all wonderful people and all alcoholics. I remember learning in a high school seminar for teachers that if one parent is an alcoholic, you have a 50 % chance of being one; two means. 75%. Jack didn’t have a chance. He had more luck, however, in keeping the beast at bay. He lived to 70 and his parents only 60.

Alcoholism strikes and its malignancy affects everyone. Throughout the ages, it has been at issue and we still have great difficulty with it. The person affected is only cured by wanting to do so, extraneous influences are helpful but no guarantee of cure. There really is no cure, in the end. It can be kept at bay, though.

Those affected are often in the maelstrom and chaos of those who walk a slippery tightrope that can easily fall into enabling. I realize now that those who judge the enabling of others should cease to do so as there is no way to judge that unless one is wearing the shoes of someone in the experience.

I lost my aunt and uncle when they were about sixty, as mentioned, but they were truly not their complete selves during most of my lifetime. Each was a wonderful, generous personality, warm and caring. Together they created a strange toxicity together that I remember to this day. It was a sadness within our family that I have never forgotten.

Luckily, they never got to the point of creating chaos within our family but the wound that their collective illness caused was omnipresent and rarely spoken of…

I miss Aunt Helen, Uncle Steve, and Jack, and wonder so much how different all of our lives might have been had they not been affected by that strange disease.

About Richard Koerner

Seventy something, father, papi, educator, organizer, Francophile, traveler, amateur photographer, gardener, cyclist, kayaker, calligrapher, cinephile, reader, and overall renaissance type human being.
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