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I am a healer, not a broom and therefore not obligated to clean up a mess, especially one that I did not create.

Healers beware. We attract unsolicited wounded people, many of who appear normal but are not, and perhaps this attraction has a genetic component.

Sometime in the 1940s, my late mother, a single woman, was minding her own business on a Sunday afternoon, frying chicken. Her future husband, a total stranger with a Jamaican accent, boldly knocked on her door, begging to sample a piece of her cuisine. She had a kind heart, said yes, and subsequently inherited an imperfect human being who sent her on a roller coaster ride of emotions until his untimely death thirty years later.

This curse found its way to her daughter thirty years later.  On a Sunday morning, I opened my door to find a man I met on a blind date, asking if he could come in to “visit.” I was not aware at the time that his father had summarily evicted him because two kings could not occupy the same throne, and at age 39, his father deemed him quite capable of living on his own. My instincts warned me not to open the door, but against my better judgment, I did and experienced a mistake in judgment of Biblical proportions.

The deeds of a superhero are endless: cleaning up alcoholism and cocaine addiction of others; bailing other people’s children from out of state jails in the name of “family,” ordering urine toxicology drug tests to see if the independent results matched the one from an employee assistance program, making eleventh-hour mortgage payments to avoid foreclosures for a person you barely knew at the time, navigating complex bureaucracies to negotiate a recipient receiving benefits and healing souls left empty from absent fathers and generational ignorance. These were not acts of charity but complex interventions based on preventable, avoidable problems culminating from poor decisions and unintended consequences.

Recently, I faced this challenge again. My two heartbeats have returned home from college as strangers with their lives in a hot mess. Had I been made aware of the challenges that occurred throughout the year, the outcome might have been different. And please do not assume that I didn’t try to monitor their progress because I did. Zoom calls. Weekly check-ins filled with misrepresentations and omissions of truth; however, what occurs in the dark eventually emerges into the light.  Deceitful and willful parental alienation breeds dire consequences.

I have retired my superhero cape and am taking a well-deserved rest. Had I known then what I know now, I would never have put it on. I realize that I cannot save people who do not want to be helped in the first place. The only person that I can ever save Is me.