I wrote this on Sunday in lieu of Father’s day but I wasn’t sure I wanted to share. But I think I need too :)
Today is Father’s Day and there are several people missing from my life this year. My cousin David, my grandfather and two of my uncles. The correlation between them all? Alcohol.
When I was in college I took a lot of flack from people because I didn’t drink, smoke or party. But no one ever considered the fact that there might be a story about why. Growing up my parents didn’t drink and I thought that was the way everyone lived. I don’t even think I saw a drunk person until I was a freshman in college..but the real reason hits deeper to home.
As a young child, I watched the horrible passing of my favorite uncle on my dad’s side. He was suffering from liver and lung cancer and paying the price for years of smoking and drinking. It was traumatic and I vowed at 12 years old that I would never touch a cigarette.
My freshman year of college, I lost my grandfather three months before school started. He was my rock, my best friend, the foundation of our family. He passed away from complications of a life of smoking and mild drinking. I relived the hell that mirrored the passing of my favorite uncle. It’s something you can never forget and I knew that I never wanted to die that way. That same year, my best guy friend would get expelled two weeks before he graduated from college due to alcohol (we attended a Christian University). Not being able to walk across the stage with your friends after 4 years of hard work and having to watch him endure that was heartbreaking.
My sophomore year of college, I received a telephone call on the way to class one morning. My cousin, in hysterical tears, told me that her brother, David, had been killed. David was on the way home with his girlfriend and best friend when their car ran out of gas. They were about 400 yards away from the gas station and David told them to help push. David’s best friend was quite small and he wasn’t strong enough to push the back so David told him to push the door and steer. David and his girlfriend were pushing the back when David noticed a car that wasn’t slowing down. David yelled and pushed his girlfriend out of the way. In that moment, my cousin made the ultimate sacrifice. He saved the girl he had planned to marry and by yelling saved his best friend, but he lost his life. Why? Because a guy who had been drinking and smoking illegal drugs decided he was “okay” to drive.
That night changed our lives forever. We lost a son, a brother, an uncle and a cousin. There is not a family dinner or holiday that goes by that we don’t miss David. The saddest part..the guy that killed him walked. He was never held accountable for killing David.
Fast forward to today, as I sat at my grandma’s house eating lunch I couldn’t help but be sad and angry. Today, one of my friends is currently in Georgia in rehab center. The price he paid for alcohol? His legs. He is now paralyzed from the waist down. The heartbreaking part? He wasn’t the only one in the car. He and another friend decided they would drive while under the influence. They were fortunate that no one died. However, one of them now has to live with the fact that he was driving and the other will never walk again. It makes me so angry! I’ll never be able to hug him the same, we’ll never be able to run around and goof off. His job and his life will never be the same. So many facets in our lives have changed because of their single decision.
I may take a lot of flack about not drinking but it’s my decision. Why would I want to? Alcohol has done nothing but ruin parts of my life. Whatever joy it brings is temporary and fleeting. It doesn’t make problems disappear, it usually creates more problems, and it leads to situations that change your life.
So please..the next time you think it’s ok to drive while buzzed..think about the fact that it might not end ok.
XoXo ~ A Sad Lemon