First of all, I had no intentions of ever writing a book. Honestly. It was when my father, Brigadier General, Albert Gramm, died of cancer that I wanted to leave a book to my family members and future generations about his military status. We seem to take our loved ones for granted while they are with us.
He had been one commanding officer of the 26th Yankee Division in the Army during WWII fighting in some of the famous battles of Lorraine, Metz and The Battle of the Bulge. I wrote to the Yankee Division Magazine and put an ad in to those who might have known my father. Slowly, the emails, letters and telephone calls came and I was sad to realize that I had let a great history go when Dad died in 1990.
He had been dying of cancer and he had hoped to go to Medjugorje in Bosnia to be in the presence of 6 visionaries having apparitions with The Blessed Mother since 1981 and still are to this day. He had hoped he would have been cured. Dad was too sick to make the trip.
I took care of him for his last 2 weeks with my family and saw a side of his faith that touched my heart. He held his rosary daily in his hands trying to say this blessed prayer every day while his concentration was leaving him. He had promised Our Lady that if she got him home safely to his family from the war, that he would say this prayer every day of his life, which he was struggling to do. This is when I learned in my forties for the very first time how to say this prayer. When he died in 1990, I was given his rosary and have said them faithfully.
Miracles happened to me after my father’s death, and I wanted to go to Medjugorje for his souls and A Spiritual Renewal: A Journey to Medjugorje had been published. I came to realize, I thought I had gone for him but went more so for myself to return to my faith after fighting a losing battle of Alcohol Abuse in our family with my husband, living in fear and confusion from his abuse with two daughters. I added his military life and my pilgrimage into this one book. It is a wonderful, warm story, with lots of photo about family, faith and miracles.
Once it went into print, I had come to realize how much I enjoyed writing. I struggled with the thought of writing my life story with Richie’s drinking and our life with our daughters, Debbie and Lori, behind closed doors. This is when Someone Stop This Merry-Go-Round: An Alcoholic Family in Crisis came into print. Richie died at forty-five years of age in 1985 at the VA Hospital in Providence, Rhode Island.
To my sadness, our family discovered my daughter, Lori, had been following the same path as her dad since her early teen years. We never knew until she was thirty-seven years old when she died in 2006 at thirty-nine from the same horrible, worldwide disease. I wrote with tears each day about her addiction that was so well hidden and the last 2 years battle for recovery in rehabs three times to not come through it.
I had buried her alongside of her father at the St. Patrick Cemetery in Somerset, Massachusetts. Lori left two wonderful grandchildren, Joe and Meagan. Our daughter, Debbie and her husband Brian, took them in to live as one family. Joe got out of the Marines two years ago, found a wonderful girl, and Meagan got married December of last year. The sequel, Please, God, Not Two: This Killed Called Alcoholism was born and published about Lori’s three alcoholic rehab stays to only lose her life at the Charlton Memorial Hospital in Fall River, Massachusetts.
I took my pain and became an author and speaker on Alcoholism. I felt there was a message to be shared with substance abusers, family members, counselors and doctors with what I had learned with their suffering. That is why I wrote the books.
I then wanted to know what I could have or should have done to help Richie and Lori and decided to put my first Narrative Non-Fiction together. Who else to get answers from than the person who is suffering from this disease…the alcoholic, drug user and prescription users. I wrote What is and isn’t Working for the Alcoholic and Drug Addict: In Their Own Words. Thirty-four contributors wrote their hearts out on who in the family drank, why, what age they started, why, how they recovered, what family can do to help them desire the help from professionals and how they recovered.
We all have reasons to write. Mine was to share my mistakes that I could have done differently with Richie and Lori. I was young with no education or knowledge on this disease. Could I have saved them? Maybe not, because I learned they have to want the help, but I would have lived more peacefully thinking I did the best I could at the time.