Yesterday I posted this photo on facebook for #throwbackthursday. This is mini-me with my grandma Helen, my mother is center, and my Aunt Laura in yellow. I think my mother was 19 or 20, and my aunt was still in high school.
The photo got a lot of happy comments. So beautiful! Precious! Love it! Things of that sort.
It’s one of those picture-perfect photos. But what no one knew is that my grandmother, just years later, would die of cancer. That my grandfather was a violent alcoholic who used to beat her. That my father, at this time, had just gone to prison. That there was incest, violence, alcoholism and drug abuse in this family. That years later the family would be shattered. That to this day we are estranged.
These are the characters in my first memoir which I will most likely never publish.
For those of you who are writers, this is a great writing prompt. Look at a family photo, and write (imagine) the story. I guarantee you it is ten times deeper than what you see.
On the lighter side, I am grateful for my life. Everything I have experienced has grown my soul, and helped me to have empathy for others. I love my crazy, damaged family even though I don’t see them.
Just a reminder that every person you see walking down the street has a rich and complicated story. We are so much more than what we appear to be.