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Posted September 15, 2009
I laughed as much as I cried...
I am extremely proud of my son and the book he has written. From its inception it has been the source of a profound healing in our family. I am grateful for his courage in recounting his journey, as difficult as it was for him to revisit all these painful moments in his experience in growing up into the incredible man of integrity he has become.
While the book does cover a lot of bizarre and painful moments in Oran's life, it is written well and it is written with an amazing amount of humor. I definitely laughed out loud as many times as I cried. He has a real talent for writing in a way that keeps you turning the pages-wanting to know what happens next.
I hope you'll read this book and that it will help you see where you too can confront your own inner demons. I hope it will inspire you to get out of denial and into telling the truth to and listening to the truth from the people you care about in your life-especially your children.
It was two years ago when my son Oran told me he was writing a memoir about his childhood-growing up with an absentee father, an unconventional mother, travelling with a circus when he was nine years old, going to middle school in Berkeley during the eighties, being educated in an alternative high school in Sedona, Arizona, his long, slow descent into the drug culture ending up with a heroin addiction, and his rocky (but eventually successful) road to recovery.
Over time, as Oran began to trust that I really was in support of his writing the book, he finally agreed to show me some of the chapters he had written. Reading the chapters he sent was very difficult. My reactions were all over the map. There were places where I felt like Oran had totally misread me and misinterpreted my intentions. I felt like the person I was and the person who was being portrayed in his book were not the same person. In fact, I remember that about a week after he had sent the chapters for me to read, my wife asked me to call Oran and talk to him, and I yelled something like, "Why would I want to talk to someone who hates me!"
But as I reread those chapters and later the complete manuscript, I began to realize how, through the eyes of his experience, he could have perceived things the way he did. My compassion for the pain of his childhood, the isolation and loneliness he experienced, the fear that often overpowered him, the distrust, the cynicism, and the protective mechanisms that he had developed all made perfect sense to me. How could it have been otherwise? Having now read the book in its entirety, I am truly amazed that Oran survived his childhood as well as he did. He is one very strong and resilient individual, and I respect him for that.
As painful as it has been to confront the psychological damage created by my divorce from Oran's mother and the years of separation caused by my own fears and lack of awareness at some crucial times in Oran's growing up, the writing of his book has become a catalyst for my own growth and healing. Together, we have been to several family retreats and broken through many of the past barriers of distrust, fear and separation. We have engaged in open, undefended and emotionally honest communication and have come to understand and appreciate each other at much deeper levels.
While we both still have a lot of growing to do, I know we are on the path. And for now that is enough.
As Oran likes to say, the only way out is through.
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Posted January 3, 2011
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