Grand Slam

It was my sister, but come on, it’s been over a week.

Today, I gave my wife, Brenda, permission to give a me a Cher-like slap to the face saying, “Snap out of it.”

I have buried two parents. My wife lost a brother. We’ve been down the road before, so why has this loss hit me so significantly.

It’s a grand slam. First, it’s my little sister. Second, I’m the last one standing in the family. Third, she didn’t have a husband or local family, other than me. And fourth, sliding into home (literally), is the the PTSD around alcohol and my family that has existed my whole life.

First Base. As a big brother, you have this birthright responsibility to protect your younger siblings. I wasn’t able to do so here. What did I know? Should I have seen warning signs? How could I have helped? Was I enough of an advocate? For the most part, I feel like the “Yes’s” and the “No’s” align to the appropriate question, but those queries still bounce around in my head.

Rachelle’s health had been a struggle for years, according to her bedside doctors. The few signs I saw this spring, would not have made a difference. We had seen Rachelle monthly for haircuts, but during the pandemic, she was not comfortable coming over. That loss of regular connection resulted in not seeing any signs. Intermittent visits left intermittent excuses.

Rachelle cutting our daughter’s hair for her wedding.

Second Base. From my family dinner table, I’m the last one standing. That just feels odd. We didn’t have a close extended family. I have an aunt and a couple cousins in California but most family have passed. Fortunately, I have married into a very large and well-connected family. All the while, I have felt “orphanish” since my last parent passed in 2004 and that feeling is only heightened in this season.

Third Base. Rachelle lived with a man for many years, but was not married. Her one daughter is young and lives out of state. I’ve been the arbiter between boyfriend and family, everyone and hospital, and am now figuring out how to wrap everything up and honor Rachelle well. I have received the emotional texts and phone calls, absorbed the tears, figured out the finances and tried to lift it all up to the Lord.

And sadly, Home. Everyone from my childhood dinner table had issues with addiction. I have co-journeyed through those addictions. My dad was the temper-filled drinker of my childhood. My poor mother, could never shake the demon that was alcoholism. I remember her drinking as a toddler and I certainly remember the upheaval of her drinking in my early adult years. These are not happy memories.

With our family journey, certainly neither me or my sister would have issues with alcohol. It’s too obvious. It’s full of negative energy. Co-dependency is a bear.

Who am I to complain? Life is hard. Death is real. Thank God for the health in me and my family. Thank God for the opportunity to experience Jesus in new ways. Thank God for the journey that I am on.

Dad passed in 1997 at 63. Mom passed in 2004 at 62. And my sister just died at 54. Bam, bam and boom.

Rounding the bases this time has been hard. There is no celebrating this grand slam.


4 thoughts on “Grand Slam

  1. John Haddad


    Your honesty is empowering. Thanks for being humble and transparent.

    Your friend,

    John Haddad U.S. East Field Director MCYM/Club Beyond 719 381-1802


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  2. Kimberly Steele

    I love this expression of your truth. You are brave, courageous and wise. I want to first say that I would very much like to be a light in your life, Your pain is real feel it. Do not be hard on yourself. When you feel it’s time to bounce back you will. There is no text book way to grieve such loss. Substance abuse & Alcoholisim are so complicated and overwhelming, it’s hard to find answers. The love of Jesus will lead your light. Follow his lead and trust in faith not fear. Cherish those who bring you peace. Welcome peace into your heart. Your healing will come. The loss is experienced in rare moments and rae times. As you learn coping strategies it will be less of a blow. I just see that smiley bouncy sassy blonde girl and she brings me joy. Choose your snap shots, choose with intent. Let her bring you nothing but peace for the rest of your life. This takes discipline and traning our brain to not feel the pain, the hurt the confusion of addiction. God Bless you Mason and your family. Protect your heart, be open to peace. Focus on the love to lift you up.

    My prayers are with you and your family.


  3. Sandi MacCalla

    Mason, my heart just aches to hear your story which has similar chords to mine! Thank God we have Him to hang onto! And we are not orphans! Not even your sister! We are His and He alone holds each of us close! Thank you so much for sharing your heart and your story! Much love and gratitude that He works through you!


  4. Katie Christine Rhodes

    It’s so good to be able to place this in the light. So many can relate, in all or in part. Broken world. Redeeming underway. Thank you, Mason; bless you.


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