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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

A Curse?

Do you suppose it's a curse? Bad luck? Just the way things go? Or even just part of life's cycles? My cousin's daughter died overnight. At close to age 40 with numerous children left behind. Of a drug overdose. It's one of her two children. My cousin is just slightly older than I am (and I remind her of that often). And her children are slightly younger than me. The girl has struggled for years. Children, boyfriends, a husband, all sorts of trouble. And, today, this. I can't imagine having one of your children die. Let alone in this insane way.

Our family is not perfect by any stretch. I think that the two biggest issues to befall our family are Multiple Sclerosis (five or six people have it) and alcoholism. Alcoholism has screwed up the lives of nearly every single one of our family members to some degree. We have folks in our family who have died from none other than alcohol-related issues....no other health issues whatsoever. We've had many parents outliving their children. Suicide, Lou Gehrig's Disease, cancers, heart attacks. They've all been a part of our lives.

I don't think it's unusual for families to have to face a myriad of issues. But the drugs and alcohol really seem to have a grip. I can count probably ten people right off the bat who struggle with it in my family. That's why I'm more pleased than punch to count my sister as my friend. Her story is long, sorted, belabored. But beautiful. And she's still alive and around to talk about it. And she will.

So, today, I wonder -- are there curses? Are there genetics that dictate the alcoholism and drug abuse? DNA evidence to support it? Is it geography or food or soil or weather than drive any of it? I hate these sorts of things. My sister was just saying to me that she's sort of nervous -- that my brother, she, and I are the only group of cousins in the family to not have befallen serious health issues. Are we fortunate? Or blessed? Or just drew the longest straw? I am thankful today. But these sorts of things always cast a strange glow across the face of our family.

14 comments:

S said...

Maybe it's just the destiny of that individual.

R. said...

I'm so sorry to hear the news Arnie. Condolences to your cousin and her family.

I don't believe in curses, but I do believe that we have the ability to make the best from what we've got... This lifetime.

Cubby said...

I'm very sorry to read about your cousin's daughter and the rest of your family's misfortunes. But let me assure you, your family is by no means unusual. Just take it in stride.

Rob Inukshuk said...

I'm sorry for your families loss - my sincere condolences. Answers to your question evade me. I just don't know.

Kelly said...

Sorry about your cousin... My family is kinda of in the same boat... you just have to live life... Auntie Mame..Live Live Live, life is a banquet... be glad of what you have everyday and learn from others mistakes... and then some day give me the same advice... my thoughts are with you

annie said...

look to the person on your left. look to the person on your right. now in front and behind. only one of you will make it out. or go around the room and number off 1-2-3. all the 2s and 3s leave the room. you didn't make it out.

yes, alcoholism can be passed down genetically. it may also depend on factors such as learned behavor and social norms.

there is a solution, there is a way out. you don't ever have to use or drink again, even if you want to.

a very dear friend chose not to follow the rules of sobriety and the State, and is now institutionalized. WHINING ALL THE WAY! and this cousin, she knew the rules but couldn't/wouldn't follow them. first nature is for us to use. the miracle lies in us NOT using each day.

i know my rules. i know my triggers. i know my alcoholism and my daughter's predisposition to it. i teach her, visit with her, let her in on my recovery, and pray. if she chooses to not follow the "rules", she may have to learn the hard way.

i said some more REALLY GOOD stuff but accidentally deleted it. so thanks for bringing this to the attention of the world, brother. addiction is real sh*t. AND there's another way.....

Lemuel said...

I agree with annie's comment that one of the factors of alcoholism is related to body chemistry. I would not doubt that such is influenced by genetics.
I am sorry to hear of such a tragedy and I offer my condolences.

RAD said...

sorry to hear...Condolences to your cousin...I try not to believe in curses...scary....lets not even go there and think about it...

FlipFlopsBoy said...

This is the fifth case of this I have heard of in just two weeks...it's sad...not a curse, but there is something out there that is affecting people in such a negative way...fear, confusion...but, like Rob, I just don't know...sorry for your loss, my friend.

Birdie said...

Oh, honey, I'm so sorry. Please accept my prayers for your family's eventual peace.

Annie used the word that I talk about in my family: "predisposition." We are not cursed with alcoholism—although my uncle and my father were, both suicides—but those of us related to them may be predisposed to addictive behavior. That is defined as behavior that one continues in spite of negative consequences. I've seen it exhibited in playing video games, computer use, habitual anything that is destructive. We must be vigilant to the pattern and use it to form good behaviors when we can.

Christopher said...

Not a believer of curses myself...anyway, just want to echo everyone else's sentiments regarding your family's loss.

((Hugs!))

pdxbator said...

Sorry Arnie about your loss! So sad....

Who knew that being an adult would mean exposure to all these things? Growing up I wasn't really taught about any of these "real life" issues and it's tough when these things pop up. My family has had alcoholism, drug addiction, obesity, cancers, to name a few.

The best you can do for yourself is stay healthy with a positive attitude.

christopherc said...

Condolences to the family for a tragic loss.

Having more of a medical/science background, I tend to fall into the "genetic predisposition activated by an environmental trigger" camp.

As for curses, luck, and such... I tend to observe they only have as much merit as one gives them in their life. I'll take my chances with science and plausibility most days.

-C

Bridgeout said...

I'm so sorry for the loss of your cousin! It is a life long mystery... nurture...? nature...? a combination of fate, choices, trials, DNA... all I know is I am grateful to be alive and battling my own crap... so very grateful you and your siblings are alive and thriving! I tell people every day "we're all in recovery from something"...