Thursday, September 22, 2011

Alcohol Has Ruined Cousin Shirley's Life

Saturday January 11, 1992

Up late, messing around, the day gets away from me. I experience chest pain on the left side under my breast. It persists for 15 minutes. I walk down and up the stairs and it comes back. I'm worried but not ready for another hospital experience, thank you. I forgot to try the glycerin the doctor gave me. Next time. By the time I'm dressed and cleaned up, I have no more pain.

I hear from Marc Ray. He has bad news. Cousin Shirley has lost her driver's license for not showing up for an AA class. She's been drunk for several days and Marc can't reason with her. She wants to die. I try to console him but we both know there is little we can do. She admits that alcohol has ruined her life. I feel so bad for her.

We go square dancing with friends. Turners drive us.

Mom's cousin Shirley lived outside Sacramento in Citrus Heights. Her son Marc lived nearby in Roseville. Mom told me that Shirley would often call her late at night in a drunken stupor. She complained that her life was hard. I don't know who her father was, but her mother Ila was the sister of Mom's father Gerald. Shirley is shown on the left in the photo above; Aunt Ila is in the middle. Shirley's son Ray is in the back with his wife and two girls. How awful that must have been for him to see his mother kill herself with alcohol. His father had already died of alcoholism many years earlier. Shirley's sister Norma committed suicide in her 30s. Perhaps Shirley's father was an alcoholic too, as was Mom's father Gerald. Mom would patiently listen while Shirley complained about her life, and then she would encourage her to get help for her alcoholism. Shirley made a few attempts, but never conquered her disease. After Mom passed away Shirley drank herself to death soon after, just as her husband had years before. So sad!

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