Long Term Consequences

Long Term Consequences

While doing some family history research, I ran across some poems written by one of my distant cousins. I was interested to find out more of his background, since I had never met him.  I found that Billy had died a few years before after spending the last years of his life totally alone, as a hopeless alcoholic.  Although his father had served faithfully in Church assignments Billy rebelled as a teenager and began to associate with those who didn't share the standards he’d grown up with.  He began to drink and steal and then dropped out of school at a young age. He became interested in boxing and eventually spent time as a professional in this sport.  He married, but his lifestyle produced a strain on the relationship.  The birth of a daughter brought new hope to live a better life.  I discovered a poem that he wrote after her birth.

           The Gift From Heaven
      A precious thing was born last night
      To gladden a home and make it bright.
      It was sent for me to hold and love
      Approved by the angels up above.

      A gift that made the angels cry
      The day they kissed it and said goodbye.
      Though it saddened their hearts, they let it go
      To live in the wicked world below.

      They knew they were bringing someone cheer,
      That was the reason they sent it here.
      To help make someone see the way
      And I thank my God for that blessed day.

      This gift has a soul as pure as a pearl
      It's a tiny precious baby girl.
      A tiny tot who makes life dear
      And I pray to God, I can keep it here.
                                             Billy Markham

For awhile this baby girl helped Billy straighten his life out.  But, the pressures of life were more than he could handle and his drinking continued.  Jobs were scarce, especially for someone with no training or skills and a consistent alcohol problem.  After a time, his wife left taking their precious baby girl with her.

Billy’s life was a very lonely one from that day forward.  He lived his later years in a small apartment with no friends and with no one to take care of him.  He continued to drink and finally died from health problems related to his alcoholism. Recently I found a poem he wrote to his daughter during the last years of his life.  It's a pitiful reminder of the consequences of dangerous addictions.

                             I Remember You
      It was a long time ago when I kissed you goodbye
      Yes, I let you go, but I'll never know why.
      You waved a farewell as you went through the door
      And I never once dreamed that I'd see you no more.

      Your sweet baby picture is all that I own
      To remind me that maybe someday, you'll come home.
      The little pink pillow that cradled your head
      And your little rag that sat on your bed,
      Have been carefully wrapped and placed softly away
      Just waiting for you to come home to someday.

      How I miss your gay laughter and your sweet baby touch.
      If I only had known that I'd miss you so much
      Things might have been different in more ways than one.
      I'm the person who knows what your leaving has done.

      Your picture has faded, through the years it has worn
      Like this rum sodden heart that's all tattered and torn.
      But I gaze at it still, with a tear in my eye
      For it's all that I have to remember you by.
                                                                        Billy Markham
Slick advertisers have a way of making things appear very different than what they actually are.  Many in our society fall for vices because of the enticing way they are presented.  All of us should be very careful not to bring anything into our life that may bring less than promised results. The key is to look at those who have followed the path being advertised and see if what is being sold brings the promised happiness. Real happiness in life comes from good relationships with our family. We should not be involved with anything that damages family relationships.
Arthur Gordon: “When I was around thirteen and my brother was ten, Father promised to take us to the circus. But at lunch there was a phone call. Some urgent business required his attention downtown. My brother and I braced ourselves for the disappointment. Then we heard him say, ‘No, I won’t be down. I will have to wait.” When he came back to the table, Mother smiled and said, ‘The circus keeps coming back, you know.’ ‘I know,’ said Father, ‘but childhood doesn’t.” (Illustrations Unlimited, p. 66.)



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