That moment I became Wendy from Peter Pan…Grief does magical things when triggered.

So there’s this song, called Lost Boy by Ruth B. It sent my head spinning when I heard it the other day. I was driving and fortunately I was close enough to home to pull in the driveway and listen to the lyrics. A torrential downpour of tears quickly fell from my face down onto my lap. I guess I was surprised because there was no sadness in the forecast for that day.

Everything was great. Life is great. I’m living the dream. I’m sober, and I have an amazing job, and I’m pursuing my MA in Addictions Counseling. My marriage is awesome, and my kids blow my mind every single day with their growth and perspectives on life. Yet, here I was, sitting in the driveway of my gorgeous two story suburban dream home, in a vehicle worth more than my annual income, crying my eyes out to a song about Peter Pan.

I realize now after I’ve had time to process, that I was in the midst of a grief storm. It was three years ago this month that I received the call that my father passed away, and it was 17 years ago this month that I suffered a miscarriage. I shouldn’t be surprised at all that grief would sneak up on me. But alas, every year it hits me as quick as the last. I suppose it still hits me hard because I stillfind myself thinking “I should be over this by now.”

The infamous tick tock the crocodile from Peter Pan comes to mind. In dealing with death you quickly learn that time is not your friend. Someone’s always taken too soon, or not soon enough. You always think you have time with someone until time is no longer an option. The past, the present, and even the future are obsolete in dealing with death; none of it even exists anymore. Time is irrelevant, but it’s everything. Time heals all wounds is bullshit. Some wounds never heal; they just change year after year. Each year perspectives change and a little more gratitude is won on the never ending battlefield that is grief.

The truth is that this father wound is the biggest heartbreak I’ve faced. It has forced me to accept a truth about humanity and addiction I’ve tried to deny my whole life. Substance use disorders not only cost precious relationships, they sometimes cost you your life. Fortunately for me, my substance use disorder has become the cornerstone of which I have built my career, in mental health and in addictions counseling.

That being said, my heart still breaks for the boy inside my father. No amount of education, licensure or expertise will cure that. Deep down in my grief, I’m not grieving the loss of him as a family, because he was anything but. He wasn’t capable of being a father because he was a lost boy. I’m grieving the life he didn’t get to live because of the lost boy inside him.

He was abused, awfully so, by his family while growing up. The cycle didn’t stop for him, so he continued it. He was abusive because it’s what he knew families did to each other. He was an alcoholic probably because he hated himself for his twisted family values. He wasn’t able to stop the cycle of addiction and it eventually helped kill him. I imagine he was quite lonely as a child.


Then, I imagine he found his Peter Pan in the bottle.


The alcoholic in him chose to run from responsibility. He chose not to be a father. He chose to not have contact.


Soon enough, I became an adult and the false promises of his recovery were made. I wasn’t able to see past the illness, I was scared. I rejected him. I focused on my marriage and children instead.


I carried on about my business till that day he died. I assumed that there was time. Knowing what I know now, I would think that the lost boy in him has found his home. I like to think Heaven is his Neverland. Perhaps his Peter Pan is Jesus, and one day I might just be his Wendy Darling.


And there you have it. My moment of grief in the driveway turned into a fairytale story ending with me as Wendy. What I learned about grief is it comes and goes. If you try to control it, you’ll surely drown. If let go and you ride the wave, it’ll bring you to shore……but not before that turbulent rainstorm passes.



  1. Grief is an odd coming, and going. 35 years it has been for me on this past April 13th. I was only 9 years old, my mom so young at 30. I listened to the whole heart deflating phone converasarion between her, and my dad. They were separated at the time. My dad had issues with drugs, and alcohol. He saw no hope in his days after my mom left. She always said she knew they would be back together. That night though he got really drunk, and his desperation led finding himself at the end of a gun. While on the phone, and over 200 miles away he shot himself in front of his mom who sat behind him on the steps. That night was so crazy. My mom dropped the phone screaming, and running out of our apartment. When our neighbor took it upon themselves to help my mom make the dreaded call back, my grandfather answered and he was indeed gone. So I don’t think on this loss everyday by any means. This April 13th though I woke with a heavy heart. It is not a day marked on my calender. It was just there in me, and then it came to me. Wow, 35 years today. He was so young. To think had he found hope, and had he known time would heal the separation. 35 years, it comes with mixed emotions. One I now understand. He was selfish, but he was desperate. That was my life as alcoholic until God brought me out. Praise God! Another reason for the things we go through. Now I have an understanding of that kind of despair, and a compassion for people like no other. Thank you for sharing this today! Blessings as your writing today touched me.

      1. Thank you God gets all credit. I am just the messenger. Ashes to beauty! My story resides with the holiest of holies at the cross. Where every tear of my very shattered exsistence was soaked up with my Father’s unconditional love for me. A wretch like me, Amazing Grace! I was lost, but now am found. Keep writing, I love the reads you share. For we are all somewhat bruised, battered, and stained. Now I am a stainglassed window illuminating colors I have never known, for all to see Jesus resides with me. For I am NOTHING wothout Him. ❤☝🙏

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