Thirty-nine years ago today my father failed to pull out of the final plunge of his decades-long death spiral. Like today it was the eve of the designated day for giving thanks. I was eleven, the third of five children. We all witnessed both his descent and it’s fatal culmination because we had no choice.
My youngest daughter’s life at eleven is vastly different from the frozen hell of death and despair that was my reality then. There is no abuse in her life. Meals are regular, love abounds and ghosts have no place here. She has never witnessed me hitting my wife nor my wife reciprocating in kind. Screams never shatter her sleep, bloody whelps never scar her skin. She never has and never will see me in an alcoholic blackout bathed in my own piss and vomit.
While far from perfect hers is a life of plenty. There is no alcohol. The bills are (for the most part) paid. She has no real hunger, no want, no lack. Life is not marred by violence or the permanence of memories best left buried. Love and laughter abound. Thanksgiving is for her a time, a state of mind, an acknowledgement of the good life that everyone in this family enjoys.
It has not always been easy and has frequently been a process of three forward and two back but I am a proud husband and father with a family well cared for. Finally the past has passed as the Lord continues to bless me and mine. We all give thanks.