Only child tries to learn trust lessons

Mom and Dad together

I’ve learned that trust is elusive and well, not to be trusted. I’m not sure where the exact origin of this is but I know that finding out the hard way that my Dad had cancer had a lot to do with it. In my memoir I write:

Two months after his 59th birthday, Dad goes for his annual chest x-ray. A few weeks later I hear my parents whispering outside the closed doors of my bedroom and the hallway.

“Your Dad has tuberculosis,” mother tells me the next day. “He has to go into the hospital, probably for an operation. But he’ll be fine. TB is curable.”

She’s my mother, so I believe her…

“He’ll be ok,” Mom says. “They removed half a lung.”

“The good news,” Dad later says as he recuperates in the hospital, “is I can still drink. The bad news is I can’t smoke anymore.”

But bad news spreads like locusts, especially inaccurate stories told to me by my mother and which comfort me, only to be crushed by the Bully. Soon after Dad returns home and to work, the Bully chases me out of the schoolyard.

“Your Dad has cancer.” She taunts me between huffs and puffs. She waddles onto the sidewalk and tries to catch up to me.

“No, it was TB. You’re lying.” I glance at her over my shoulder, then my feet pick up the pace.

“Nah, your parents lied. My Mom said your Dad has cancer.”

She’s lying. She’s got to be lying. She seems closer to my back, so I detour into Holy Cross Church for solace.

“My mother said it was TB. My mother doesn’t lie. Please God.” I kneel on the wood-hard kneelers and hang onto the pew in front of me. “Please God. He had TB. My mother said so.”

My pleading does not carve consolation into my heart. Instead, betrayal is born, and it grows up as offshoots that make no sense to anyone at the time.

(Excerpted from You Can Go Home, Part 1, copyright 2010 Sharon Crawford)

When the second round of cancer occurred two years later, Mom didn’t hide anything. But there are other mitigating factors.

I mentioned in my previous post about friends not being supportive. Of course, not every friend is like that and some of the non-supporters aren’t that way consistently. We all have issues and problems to deal with and I try to consider this – but not always, not when I seem to be boxed in a corner with a dilemma. The phrase from the old Ghosbuster movie comes to mind. “Who do you call?”

Maybe I need a problem-buster.

Then there’s this God-religion thing. Perhaps some of it has to do with being brainwashed growing up Catholic back in the 1950s and 1960s when the Baltimore Catechism reigned supreme (pun intended) and everything was in black and white.   Then reality hit and from my late teens I started questioning things. And continue to do so. But now I have more opinions.

Although no longer a Catholic, I make a point of daily giving gratitude for my blessings and also mentioning what has happened that I’m not grateful for (some of my illnesses come under this heading). I also still pray to God, but I seem to be stuck in “ask and you shall receive.” I don’t expect to get everything I ask for, but some things are very important and when things get messed up here, I get upset. A friend has an explanation for this type of scenario. She says “God is busy with other things.”


So, I keep relearning that it is me I have to trust and count on. That’s where it starts. How can you trust others if you can’t trust yourself?

What do others say?



Only child writes


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Filed under Betrayal, Maturity, Only child, Parenting, Prayer, Siblings and friends, Trust

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