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So Many Opportunities Lost

Hers was a complete change of personality, moods, and friends
Her joyful happy self, turned rapidly sarcastic, mean, and secretive
Her eating habits changed; she did not need food any more.
Stopped eating with the family, painted her room black.

Threw her flute into the garbage. She had outgrown it.
Scoffed that she had ever been a cheerleader, calling them names.
Her friends stopped coming. She made new ones, they were in and out.
None stayed long.  Just a few minutes.

Her family saw glimpses of her unhappiness as she ran in and out
Of her room, slamming doors, playing music, not doing her homework.
Her A’s and B’s nosedived into D’s and F’s, and she laughed about it.
Rapid distrust toward her siblings. Name-calling, which had never happened.

Stopped going to school until it was nigh onto impossible to keep up.
Sneaked out of the house at night; they never knew where she would be.
Left in cars with people she did not know.  Parents blamed her friends.
It was their fault, not hers. She was their princess. She was perfect.

Secrecy became the norm. Her laughter became loud and ugly.
Her prettiness was gone; her hair was dingy. She stopped wearing deodorant.
Grandparents wondered where she was at Thanksgiving and Christmas.
They were given many lies from parents and her siblings. Everyone covering.

Not my child! They said when the possible truths were pointed out.
That does not happen in our neighborhood. 
We are not that kind of parent.
Our child would never be an alcoholic or a drug addict. 
The entire family circled the wagons, 
refusing to join neighborhood barbeques.
The children were taught that the people at church 
were do-gooders, and look-downers.

The children were taught that the neighbors 
they once adored were now the enemy.
They were protecting the princess, 
who seldom came home, sneaking in and out, 
When they were asleep. Not in our family! They said. Not in our family!

The do-gooders and down-lookers were prominent at her funeral.
They had raised children also who had been lured into
the terrifying swallow-up world of drugs and alcohol.
They had so many stories; horrifying real life stories 
they had never shared even though they had innumerable 
opportunities at church functions and bar-b-ques.

Copyright © | Year Posted 2019

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Date: 2/8/2019 7:58:00 AM
That's the teacher in you. Full of such (alas sad) experiences. Never happened when I was a young teacher. It was another time, another place. Well written Caren.
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Caren Krutsinger
Date: 2/8/2019 8:57:00 AM
Thank you Victor. When I was a student, back in 1970, I had a classmate who kept falling out of his chair, entertaining us greatly. I thought it was hilarious at the time, as did the rest of the class. I had no idea that it was not voluntary. Thought he was a cut-up. He was an alcoholic that killed himself when he was 19.
Date: 2/8/2019 12:49:00 AM
Brings up powerful emotions for me because it hits too close to home. You’ve relayed the message so well indeed.
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Caren Krutsinger
Date: 2/8/2019 5:25:00 AM
Thank you Berteena. I appreciate it. I wanted to wake people up a bit. Never think "never" for there is always the sad possibility. It is important to look for the signs you do not want to see.
Date: 2/7/2019 11:11:00 PM
There are things in this world that should never happen to children; sadly, they happen a lot. If people were only kinder and a bit more patient with their children, we might see a kinder, gentler society. There's a right and wrong way to deal with everything. Well penned.
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Caren Krutsinger
Date: 2/8/2019 5:26:00 AM
Thank you M.L. In my world, in my job, I frankly see more parents under the influence than children, but it makes them selfish, self-centered, and all about themselves. The children are fending for themselves, and sometimes in a mean dog-eat-dog way.
Date: 2/7/2019 6:59:00 PM
Very sad poem this is Caren. We see so much of this kind of stuff around our way. you told it just how it is. great write Caren....Peter
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Caren Krutsinger
Date: 2/7/2019 10:01:00 PM
Thank you Peter. I know so many who have lost their way, children losing their parents as well as parents losing their children.