Don: big smile, broken heart

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don grew up in a nice neighborhood.

His dad was a small-time TV celebrity whom he idolized. His parent’s marriage was troubled and they went through a messy, painful divorce when he was very young. He and his dad and younger brother ended up living together, ‘just the three of us’ until his father remarried when Don was in going into junior high. He enjoyed living with his father and resented his mother. He eventually grew to be suspicious of women in general.

Don graduated high-school and went to college. He was well-liked and easily made friends. He partied a lot with at his fraternity, but he also went to class and got his work done. Then one night his younger brother was coming home from a fraternity party. The driver drove off the road into a river and his brother drowned. Don was crushed, and in his grief began a drug addiction that would last him over a decade.

In his counseling Don knew right from the start what was tormenting him. The loss of his brother he had not been able to shake. As counseling progressed he realized too his mother’s divorce hurt almost as bad. He missed his brother very badly and he hated the woman who had driven the car into the river. He didn’t know what to do to make the pain go away. When he walked around he always had a smile a joke. People called him ‘the Mayor’. Inside he was always grieving. Putting away the smile and joke were hard. He feared people wouldn’t want to be around him if he didn’t make them feel good. He had been scared for a long time that his grief would be overwhelming. A turning point came when he felt people’s love in the midst of his grief. He made the decision to start forgiving his mother for leaving the family and the woman who drove the car into the river. He became much more himself in his friendships. Don was able to grieve the loss of his brother. Almost six months after he set his mind to it, he called his mom up on the phone, told her he forgave her, and reconciled with her.

Don is now a commercial painter. He is going to be married to a wonderful woman he is very much in love with this summer.