My Experience As A Youth Of Family Members With Severe Illnesses

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My experience as a youth of family members with severe illnesses have been profound and life shaping. Although they are not experiences that are rare, they do not parallel with the experiences of others. As shown here, they are unique and mirror multiple identities developed in a child’s young life. My story began years ago when I was sitting in the living room cuddled up under my soft, worn-out, bear blankie on a brisk fall day when the phone rang. Upon interrupting my Spongebob marathon, I answered the phone. “Hello?” Immediately my mom picks the phone up in the other room, “Sam, hang up the phone, I need to talk to Aunt Sandy.” Resuming my Nickelodeon marathon, the house became uncomfortably quiet. Aunt Sandy called to tell our family…show more content…
I particularly struggled in understanding what mental illness was. My mother explained it as “Paul didn’t want to live on earth anymore, he wanted to be in heaven.” Little did I realize at the time that Paul was a severe alcoholic and drug abuser. My mom would tell me that “he wanted to make himself feel better on the inside.” Paul was a father and desperately wanted to change for his family and took the steps to get help. Upon his many attempts of getting clean, each and every time failed and his relapse became worse. I bothered my mom for days before the funeral wanting to know more about what happened but she was too upset to tell me. I came to terms with my curiosity about Paul and let it go until after the funeral. A black and white polka-dot dress that puffed out when I twirled was what my mother dressed me in for the funeral. I remember the silence of the funeral home with many whispers in the background. “Its so sad how he died…” “I can’t believe he would do something like that.” “But he was doing so well…” Repeated phrases commonly noted when listening in on some adults conversations. My curiosity arose again on what really happened. And why was Paul wearing a turtleneck shirt in his casket? Paul hated turtleneck shirts… So on the car ride home I pestered my mom into telling me more. My mother tried to explain to me that Paul was in a rehabilitation center trying to get clean and to only take medications in the
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