Holiday Reading: Afterthoughts

education of augie merasty coverBIG WEBBefore I left for the holidays, I chose “The Education of Augie Merasty” as my holiday reading pick.
I finally had the chance to finish the book, and I was amazed.
Dave Carpenter wrote an introduction about working with Augie off and on throughout the years. It was saddening to read about the cycle of alcohol addiction that plays on a person and how Augie was struggling to keep his head above water. But what amazed me was how Dave did not give up on Augie and his book.
Recently, I read an article in The Leader Post where Augie’s daughter, Arlene Merasty, was interviewed and said “People weren’t talking about (residential schools) at all. It wasn’t out in the open and that’s kind of when he started writing the book….I didn’t even know he went to residential school. He never really talked about it.”
I felt a personal connection to her statement.
I grew up with both of my parents struggling with alcohol addictions which tore my family a part. My siblings and I were separated and put into different family foster homes when we were young. At that age, I never knew or understood why we were all separated until I learned years ago when the talks of residential schools came out in the open.
Noted in the article, Dave was quoted, “I thought this was just one man’s story.” Back then, I thought my family was the only one facing this situation until I heard similar stories afterwards and it brought a sense of relief that we weren’t alone.
My parents never spoke to us about their experiences at the residential schools but it was enough to understand that their consumption of alcohol was used to conceal wounds that have not healed.
The article states that Arlene has forgiven her father as she said, “In my own sense, I had to heal. For myself I had to forgive him.”
About 10 years ago, that’s exactly what I did. I forgave my parents so I could heal and grow.
The effects of residential schools still linger within Indigenous communities nationwide but like Augie’s memoir; talking about it is a step in moving forward.

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