Accepting What Is

We muse and reflect,
this sister and I
and kick around
the hows and
whys of what
we’ve become. 

He was a boozer,
a selfish, narcissistic
disconnected man…
and when children are
raised with an uninterested,
absentee parent, they
become fearful and burdened
with insecurities.  We never
knew what we were coming
home to each often
caught off balance.  Both
of them were miserable
and hadn’t the skills,
care, nor effort required
for parenting all of us,
each with needs and wants
unique from the other.

I felt alone.
I felt afraid.
I felt shame. 

I feel so sorry
for the frightened,
worried child
that you were.

They didn’t see us.
They were oblivious
to the pain they were
creating and then
heaped with more and
more layers of stress and
years ahead of therapy,
struggles, tears.

Chaos…children don’t do
well in chaotic conditions
and when they feel
they aren’t valued
they become
worried…depressed, incensed.

Anger grips and won’t
let go..bubbling up at inopportune
times…when the situation doesn’t
merit the outrage expressed.
We’re pissed, we’re fucking
pissed that both of them
chose to think of themselves
before us.  Now we’re left with
the anxiety, depression…
the accepting of what is.

dVerse Poets offers Translucent Poetics–Writing the Spoken Word presented by Ami Mattison:

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  1. Intense, straight-forward punch. Nice job! Thanks for sharing.


  2. ah… sad how life follows us


    • Yes. Even when you think you’ve come a long way and put so much behind you…it rears its head again…more opportunity for growth. Thanks, Patricia.


  3. Coming from a background of many, many state run and private family foster homes, I can relate to this family dysfunction so well. Not easy growing up in that type of environment and it takes a whole lot of soul searching to understand the why’s and the wherefores of our parents failings. It also needs forgiveness on our parts too.
    Heart-felt in this,


    • Well, I feel deeply for your experience too, Bren…it can leave pain and scars throughout our entire life. I don’t know how I would be able to cope without the support of my siblings and our deep spirituality. The forgiveness seems to be difficult for me to sustain…it comes and goes…but that’s part of my path’s work…I accept it.


  4. This punched me in the gut b/c it sounds much like my childhood.


  5. Ah the damage we wreak on each other,intentional or otherwise…sad!


  6. Yet, this drug called alcohol is freely sold in quantities that stun and amaze. Court houses, hospitals and jails are full of the consequences.

    I am amazed how children manage to pull themselves through this knot of dysfunction and still care enough to become contributing citizens.

    Gayle, you are one of them. You cannot hide that incredibly beautiful soul!


    • I really believe that alcohol is one of the ugliest drugs and yet it is as damaging as many illegal ones and yet is legal and accepted…boggles my mind. Its abuse costs our society billions.

      I’m amazed too at how I and my five siblings escaped being drug abusers or worse…truly a miracle… and have instead chosen a much different path than our parents did.

      I am very grateful for your kind compliment, Amy…it means a lot to me. Thank you.


  7. can def. feel this as my dad used to drink – luckily my mom saw us and did her best to create some normality…still there are wounds that heal slowly and still fighting with some of the symptoms.. think forgiving is a key though not an easy one..


    • Too many children grow up with alcohol or other drug abuse…it’s especially hard when both parents are vacant…emotionally and/or physically. Takes a lot of fortitude to come to terms with the hurt and forgiveness is a very important component…still working on it. Thanks for sharing, Claudia.


  8. Intense and painfully honest. Gayle, so sorry that anyone would have to go through what you describe in your poem.



    • Thank you, Jamie…I’m sorry too. My brothers and sisters and I have an incredible support system in each other…such a blessing.


  9. Can’t say I enjoyed this, though normally I say one should not allow the content to affect the appreciation of the writing. Here is different. Here I just wanted it to end some way I knew it wasn’t going to. Which is in itself a compliment to the quality of the writing.


    • Sorry this was difficult for you but I do appreciate your compliment of my writing about this very personal and challenging issue that still grabs my attention and causes pain. Actually, acceptance is an important condition to healing…so didn’t end all bad.


  10. A painful read here, but well written….and I felt it right in the gut. This should be required reading for those considering becoming parents or alcoholics who already HAVE children. The scars of childhood last forever


    • Well, that’s a very strong compliment, Mary…I appreciate that. Sadly, I think most people realize when they’re in trouble…there’s so much information out there about drug abuse…they make a choice to continue on and wreak others lives…and of course their own.


  11. this is work for me…a story i see replayed in so many families….the not knowing how to parent or handle…and the damage done without noticing…and you nail it in this…


    • I know it is, Brian…I can’t imagine what stories you hear and witnessing tragic lives in so much pain. I’ve done therapy and treasure good counselors…I commend you for being there for us.


  12. When i think about these kids i feel immense pain. it really is horrible to see children suffer like that. poor babies, the worst thing is there are so many of them that suffer because of callousness of their parents.


    • I feel it very strongly too…and even witness it in other family members…it’s so hard to watch…especially because children are involved there too.


  13. Wonderful write, such a sad but true reality that some kiss face.


  14. Androgoth

     /  March 2, 2012

    There is nothing quite like
    Driving the Dagger Home…
    But I mean metaphorically
    speaking of course…

    A truly great offering Gayle 🙂

    Androgoth XXx


    • Sometimes you have to use some particular language to get your message across…if you know what I mean. Thanks for your support and coming by, Androgoth…I appreciate it. 🙂


  15. Well-written memoir of pain that rings with authenticity and poignancy – I can hear your frustration throughout … I think this kind of agony needs to be written and re-written and applaud your courage at being able to do it


    • Well thanks for a meaningful comment here, Sharon…I do appreciate you sharing with me. It is cathartic to write about it…for a long time I was quite mute on the subject and filled with shame.


  16. It is easy enough to pontificate,’ Forget and forgive.’. You have endured enough, from a couple who were locked in a loveless relationship. But for your own sake , just shrug and move on. Be thankful for them, just for havig brought forth you and your sibling into this womderful world.There is a whole lot of beauty all around you. And you have the enduring support of your empathetic sibling. All the best.


    • Oh, yes very easy to say those words…but doing it can be far more difficult. I am very grateful for the support I have and realize how blessed we siblings have been. Thanks for a positive, affirmative message here.


  17. This is a direct hit to the solar plexus…really well done, and sad that I must say so for your pain is acute. Thank you for your honesty, and for being able to translate all of this into poetry. Not easy.


  18. I couldn’t possibly add more than everyone else has already said, so let my offering be a very sincere *HUG* instead. 🙂


  19. I think if my father had lived, I’d have written a poem (or at least felt the way your poem made me feel) like this. This was tough to read, Gayle…


    • Maybe so, Lorna. The tools and knowledge that I have has helped a lot in coming to terms with the “still rearing its head pain”…but I still struggle with despair.


  20. May I echo you, Gayle?
    ‘I really believe that alcohol is one of the ugliest drugs and yet it is as damaging as many illegal ones and yet is legal and accepted…boggles my mind.’

    I don’t understand it either. I have been watching someone in a position of authority (at least in the sense that others’ livelihoods are dependent on their actions and decisions, etc.) spiral into alcoholism. I often wonder how this is affecting (his/her) family.

    Thank you for your honesty and courage! Blessings for healing as you and your sister continue on a path to a better way.


    • Yes, you may! Thanks for doing so and sharing your experience. You can almost be certain that the person you speak of is having problems in his family. I’m watching a nephew struggle with this too…he’s floundering and trying to to be a husband and a father to a new baby…I’m almost afraid to witness what I am almost sure is coming.

      Thanks for your wishes for healing also…it means a lot.



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