I have had the good fortune and honor to write the Foreword to the recently released book Bono vs. Bono, a Battle Royal by Frances Erickson. The author tells her family’s true story of Italian immigrants, childhood ideals, ordinariness, celebrity in the sixties, marriages, children, divorces, marriages, rifts, grifters who scam lonely old people out of their life’s savings, dueling lawyers, court dates, scheduled and re-scheduled, and rescheduled, justice compromised, and the precious gifts of grandchildren, and more. Available now in e-book and paperback. Check it out.
A special credit to The House of Lit (http://houseoflit.com) for its fine work on this project.
Family stories are the heart of the human story.
Shakespeare knew this. So did Walt Disney.
Authors throughout history have written family stories,
including scribes of the world’s most ancient Holy texts.
There are even family stories carved into the stones of
In twenty years as a professional counselor and
another ten of intense study and writing, some things
stand out. One is the many people who told me that as
children they would rather have been hit than ignored.
That is how deeply we need the attention of our
As children we absorb what our parents and family
members say, do not say, what they do, and what they
do not do. Everything comes together in our core beliefs
of self, family, and the world.
Some children are more vulnerable than others to
the flaws parents bring to this family drama. It is easy
for the adult to unwittingly blame the child for their
own failings. It is natural for the child to accept the
blame and sense of shame that comes with it.
Family is the crucible where we begin to learn
where we fit in our clan, tribe, race, and religion. Family
is also where we grow old.
My most profound experiences of aging are largely
through those as a caregiver to my wife of twenty-seven
years. She is the most intellectually astute person I have
ever known. She has two Masters Degrees and a
quarter-century of professional accomplishments in her
field. Her brain functioning is changing.
In some ways she has become more childlike. She is
more easily confused. She is weaker and less mobile
and needs more help getting dressed, going to the
bathroom, and washing her hair. She depends on me for
food, medicine, doctor appointments, shelter, and a
peace in which to pursue her own pleasures.
I have seen professionals, friends and relatives,
intentionally and unintentionally, manipulate my wife. I
am ashamed to confess have done it myself. I shudder
to think of my beloved partner at the mercy of people
with hidden harmful agendas.
It would be a horrifying scenario perpetrated by a
spiritual and financial predator. A psychological and
monetary parasite. By whatever name, it is sick and
wrong and I can bear witness to how battling such
people is monstrously complex. It can be full of legal
loopholes and landmines, with a heartbreak around
A good family story lays bare strengths and
weaknesses, nobility and flaws, failures and successes.
A good family story describes heroic efforts for justice
and saving lives. A good family story helps us learn
how to protect our own families and find acceptance in
our passages through grief.
My heart goes out to those families who suffer for
the “sins of others.” My heart is emboldened by the
families that fight to right the wrong. My heart is
warmed by the survivors who go on to live, love, laugh,
pray, and make a joyful sound.
May we all gracefully benefit from the Bono
family’s journey of courage and commitment.
* * *
Professional Caregiver & Author