Parents should never lost a child. And even though Erik Kramer, is a former Bears QB (Go Pack Go!), I cried when I read the interview with him in the Chicago Tribune about the death of his teenage son last October. Seriously sat at my laptop and cried when I read it. And then there’s the aspect of drug abuse and addiction that pulled at every inch of my soul.
As a teen I had a healthy fear of the unknown and that included drugs well that and my Mom. But according to this article things have changed a ton since I was a kid and that is not only scary but disheartening since it was pretty dang easy to get our grubby mits on a variety of paraphernalia.
Having had personal and continued experience with an addict whose behavior hasn’t seemed to change sober or not this quote hit home hard: “I have been in Al-Anon now for a couple of years. I have gone through the drug-treatment center where Griffen was. I continue to be a part of that culture. And to me, drug addiction is a self-absorbed disease. It’s also a disease of non-accountability. And parents do enable by never allowing their kids to be accountable and responsible.”
This genuinely sums it up. Totally. I did Al-Anon for years and years and still keep in touch with some friends. But after my relationship ended so did my desire to attend meetings weekly. Side-by-side I stood with my Sober Man and felt like the damage the was done came at a time before I was even in this man’s life and that until it was addressed with all parties involved no change would come. And it didn’t. It hasn’t. I don’t know if it ever will.
I love that as a parent, Kramer realizes his part as a parent instead of simply blaming his son for messing up like I’ve had the unfortunate experience to witness from some parents I’ve encountered. Whether we like it or not our kids learn from our behavior. Every day I see more and more of my own folks coming out as I parent the Monkey through tough times and that’s just life. Not to say that Kramer taught his son to use drugs, but he addresses how he sees what he could’ve have done differently and while it’s too late to save his son, I commend him for admitting it. Very brave.
Losing a child should never happen but it does and I appreciate the way that Kramer is being realistic about his tragic loss. It’s so sad. It should never have happened but it did. And the rest of us can learn from this Dad’s truly sad and bewildering experience. No one wants to admit that their child is flawed and yet, the sooner we do understand our own flaws and address them, then the sooner we can help our own littles realize their potential as individuals. Not as shadows of our former selves.
Monkey has been having tough times on and off at school and reading this interview made my heart skip beats all around town. I can’t expect him to just get it and I can’t expect him to succeed without some guidance away from the rough road. I simply adore that Kramer is calling for parents to be accountable and step up for the good of their children. As a single parent, it’s tough to see the forest for the trees when things in your child’s life start to be difficult and when it feels like there is nothing you can do but there is no one else who is going to take your child’s hand and teach them.
Yes, I cried with a Bear. Don’t know if I will do it again but in the end no matter what team we root for we’re all parents. Well, except for during football season then I’m a Mama who watches Bears fans cry while the Pack kicks their ass. Damn it. I wasn’t going to go there.
Anyway, hug your kids. Love your kids. But most important teach your kids.