At fifty-six years old, I feel like my life has come full circle. In my youth, I struggled continuously with one lesson after another, some of them beautiful, a lot of them painful.
Mine was not a cookie-cutter childhood by any stretch of the word. My parent’s marriage was doomed from its inception and as often is the case, it took its toll on my brother, sister and I. Even as bad as it was, I do believe that I chose them to be my parents.
My father was very self absorbed and extremely greed driven. My mother—though she was present in our lives—spent her time raising a mentally challenged child, which absorbed her every waking moment.
When I was seven, my younger sister, was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy and a rare form of Epilepsy. Soon after, my mother turned our home into a physical therapy center. A continuous revolving door in which people came and went all hours of the day and night doing therapy with my sister. There were blackboards covering the walls of what had been our dining room, with schedules, notes and other information crucial to Susie’s well-being.
I was old enough to realize that no matter how drastic these changes will be, they are necessary for Susie’s health. And although I loved my sister immensely, the situation created a deep sadness in me. I probably didn’t entirely understand my sister’s illness. That sadness and my parents deep hatred towards each other, left me with an undiagnosed case of clinical depression and a profound sense of loneliness.
As a teenager, I jumped into a pool of experimental drugs and drinking that soon became a full fledged addiction. An addiction which carried on well into my twenties.
I was dating a man name Rick and we partied together. In 1988, I had enough and joined AA.
Rick had joined four months earlier. I was twenty-six years old and not only felt like I had lived a thousand lifetimes, I was still lost.
Rick and I married in 1989. Today, Rick and I have nearly thirty years of sobriety. Living life sober and going in a positive direction, was instrumental in me finding myself. It hasn’t always been easy. One of the misnomers about sobriety is that people think that all you have to do is stay off drugs and alcohol. What people don’t say is that once that’s accomplished, you are back at square one and still have the problems people who don’t use have. Often more problems with the damage you creating while using. Even still, there’s nothing like a clean honest life.
At thirty-one, I gave birth to a beautiful baby boy, Jordan. When he was three years old, he was diagnosed with Autism. I was so angry at God, I cried all day long. I felt cheated. I had already lived this life, with my sister. What could I have ever done to deserve this?
A day later, like my mother, I got to work. After fifteen years of investing my time and energy into my child’s therapy, he has recovered.
I know that’s something you rarely hear when it comes to Autism. Perhaps, it was a miracle. What I do know is that because of watching mother and her mission to insure that my sister lived her life to the fullest, I was prepared to take on anything I needed to do to insure my son had the best life possible. Early in Jordan’s life, I realized that all the anger and bitterness and loneliness I had towards my sister’s therapy was all worth while to prepare me for my own child. He’s a grown man now but there are times when I look at him that my eyes well up thinking about it.
During this Jordan’s childhood, I met some pretty awesome people—many of them children—who are still a part of my life.
I’m not religious, but have always believed there is a higher power and one of my greatest gifts is that of a Guru I met in a yoga class. Her name is Hersh and is the daughter of an enlightened guru in India. She ran an Ashram, where she lectured on Sunday’s after yoga class. I stayed and attended her classes. She is a great friend and, among many other things, she taught me the Vedic Knowledge.
Intuitively, I knew this was priceless information and I was extremely fortunate to be there. I eventually asked her to teach me one to one. She did and eventually I became her first white woman disciple.
These situations have helped propel me on my path to awakening.
Twenty-two years later, these lessons have put me more in touch and better able to understand my clients and people in general, as well as assisting me in giving other people hope, support and compassion. But most of all, love.
By: Rhonda Brunett