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The Grandfather Chronicles(tm)
This is society's quintessential question. Can you answer,
"What Would You Tell the Next Generation?"
Anne-Marguerite, Broadway near Chamber
Larry, Hagerstown, MD, 1998
Loneliness is something you can experience in many ways. I grew up in a large family and was often surrounded by people, but I felt alone. Most of my childhood was spent growing up in a dysfunctional family. My parents separated when I was very young and both remarried, my father more than once. I have eight sisters and three brothers. My youngest sister lived only a year before losing her battle with medical problems. I grew up being tossed from one home to another saying good bye so many times that it seemed to lose all meaning.
Today I'm still pretty much a loner due to my father's constant berating and lack of love, genuine love that is. It seems I could never do anything right no matter how hard I tried. He only saw the things I did wrong but never the things I did right. He also lied to me all my life. I remember wanting to get a dirt bike and asked him if I could. He told me we couldn't afford it, so I said I would make the money doing odd jobs. He said that if I could make the money myself I could buy the bike. When I had the money he changed his mind and said NO. This type of treatment taught me you should never trust anyone completely and to keep everyone at arm's length. This makes for a very lonely life.
I'm a father myself now. I have three wonderful sons. I am always telling them that I love them and how proud I am of them. I hope they never have to face the kind of life I led, but at times I know that I distance myself even from them and I'm not sure why I do it. It makes me feel lonely again and then I remind myself that the boys need me and they need to feel loved and wanted. When I see sadness in their eyes because I don't have the time to do something that they asked me to do with them, I have to wonder why we parents often put so many other things ahead of our children. It is very difficult to raise children these days and I don't imagine it will be easier for future generations. I get the courage and motivation to get closer to my children because I remember how I felt never having a father pick me up just to hold me and to say "I love you, Son."
I know my life wasn't as difficult as a lot of others, because I've seen many who have had it worse. I can however see the difference in my children because I have made a conscious effort to show them how truly special they are to me and that I love them very much. I hope all future parents will remember how they felt when they received (or didn't receive) the love, support and affection they needed from their parents. Don't blame your parents for your life, change the pattern if need be, and make a difference now, so you can enhance the lives of your children and their children. Loneliness is something we can all live without. And when you don't feel love life is very lonely indeed.
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© 1999, Peter Lance Segall