11/21/10

A Family in Crisis, Alberta Sequeira, Author, Speaker, Survivor, writes of Richie and Lori.



Photo's- Author Alberta Sequeira, and her daughter Lori Lopes.

Richie Lopes was born on January 2, 1937. He had been born into a family fighting alcoholism, a disease that had been past down from generations of family members. His mother and sister battled their addiction leaving Richie and his sibblings with little security or happy times in his young growing years. By the time I had met Richie, I was at eighteen, and he was already drinking. Being a young girl coming from a happy family life, I had no knowledge, education or awareness on what alcohol abuse was all about or what it could do to a person. It wasn't until we got married and had two daughters, Debbie and Lori, that I came to see how alcoholics can't stop at one drink. They drink until they slurr their words, get into arguements, and can't remember a thing the next day. Slowly, I became an enabler without realizing it. In the late sixties and up, I kept silent to our problems with our families. Small arguments turned into abusive moments with the girls witnesses things they shouldn't have in their lives. I should have protected them more than Richie. Our once happy, family life turned to fear, confusion and abuse. While I thought I was protecting our children and foolishly thinking they needed their father, I innocently damaged our daughter's emotionally. Instead, I brought fear into Lori's life that continued up until her death. It took a lot of strength for me to open up about our lives that I had kept behind closed door for over seventeen years to write Someone Stop This Merry-Go-Round; An Alcoholic Family in Crisis (2009). I watched a loving husband and father turn into someone I didn't know. This man who hated his family for drinking and the life he swore never to bring into our family became the same person with abusive behavior.After many times of suffering physical abuse and being lucky not to have been killed, I left a man that I once loved to survive. By then, my daughters had seen too much and lived without knowing love in a family. The horrible, sufficating disease passed down to Lori. My memoir shows how we all get on the merry-go-round to keep the abusive action going within the family. Making demands without breaking down would have stopped years of our family's mental and physical suffering.Feburay 10, 1985 at forty-five years of age, Richie died from this awful disease. Now I waited to see if my daughers would abuse alcohol.

Lori Lopes (Cahill) was born July 29, 1967 at Morton Hospital in Taunton, MA. She was my second daughter coming into the world four years after the birth of her sister, Debbie Lopes (Dutra) on May 14, 1963. I had lived in North Dighton, MA for over thirty years. Lori had a personality once she started to walk and discovered the world and the people in it. By two years old, she delighted in any comical gesture of hers to make people laugh. She continued this wonderful habit throughout her life. Our house filled with her friends since Lori seemed to be the leader of the pack. I enjoyed each moment my daughter's girlfriends, and at times the boys in the gang, come over to our house. I knew where they were and loved all the neighborhood kids.On the outside, Lori made everyone around her think that she was delighted with life and the friends she had. But, she hid her pain deep down inside her including away from me, her mother. At the age of seventeen, Lori and Debbie at the age of twenty-one lost their father when he was only forty-five years of age from cirrhosis of the liver. It wasn't until Lori's last two years that the family came to realize that she had been following the same path as her father. She had deeper problems that kept her frightened all her life, making her lose confidence in herself, and turned to alcohol abuse, and I think drugs played a part in her silent suffering. How does a parent miss the signs, especailly after losing a husband nineteen years earlier? Easily. Lori never came and told me she was hurting or had been mentally upset with past trumas in her life. It had been the physical, and mental health breakdowns that opened the door to her illness, including being bulemic. Her second marriage fell apart, and I blamed the weight loss to the stress she had been under.On November 22, 2006 after three alcoholic rehabilitation stays, Lori died at thirty-nine years of age at the Charlton Memoiral Hospital in Fall River, MA. She was laid to rest with her father at the St. Patrick Cemetery in Somerset, MA.God gave me a loving, happy, beautiful daughter who filled all our lives with joy. She left us her two children, Joe and Meagan. Debbie and her husband, Brian, took Lori's children to live with them and their children Kerri and Michael. Meagan became the nurse Lori had hoped to be and Joe became a Marine December 18, 2009. I see her each time I look in their eyes. Please, God, Not Two; This Killer Called Alcoholism (2010) is the sequel after self-publishing Someone Stop This Merry-Go-Round; An Alcoholic Family in Crisis (2009). It's a very honest, painful and emotional story of losing a child to a demon that became her killer. People say authors write to heal. I haven't healed. Every parent losing a child in any way, has to go on living. It's how we live that counts. I turned my life to speaking engagements on "The Effect of Alcoholism on the Whole Famliy." For a shy girl, who couldn't talk in public, I'm now reaching out to other families of abusers and the abusers themselves. God has a way of putting a path in front of us. We have to decide if we want to travel down it. If we open our hearts to Him, the decision is easy. My trust and love in God has me taking this dark journey along with other sufferers hoping to find a light at the end of visiting each location to give a speaking engagement. Like the alcoholics state; "It's one day at a Time." But, I know He leads me. If I stumble, I just get up and keep going. Seeing the faces of lost souls controlled by this killer, gives me peace when they hug and kiss me while thanking me for coming to talk to them.

Alberta Sequeira: http://albertasequeira.com/ Copyright 2009 All Rights Reserved

1 comment:

Ed Sousa, Sr. said...

Alcoholism is a nationwide pandemic, often affecting the family just as intensely as the drinker. After former Dighton resident Alberta Sequeira lost two family members to the disease, she was determined to find a way to fight it. So she documented her experiences in the published memoirs: “Someone Stop This Merry-Go-Round” and “Please God, Not Two.”