My personal Prodigal Son

Thoughts to Ponder

 “’Look, dear son,’ his father said to him, ‘you and I are very close, and everything I have is yours. But it is right to celebrate. For he is your brother ….’”

Luke 15:31-32*

An event happened recently that focused my awareness on what has and is happening in my own family. Perhaps it is happening in yours as well.

Dan was my first born. He had an outgoing personality, an intelligence that focused on math and science. He was also ADHD. He required much parental and educator attention.

Eighteen months later my identical twin daughters, Linda and Sarah, were born. They were quiet, well-behaved and tended to entertain each other. To me they were a gift that allowed me to spend more time trying to keep their brother under control.

When Dan left home at 18 to become a U.S. Marine I wrote an essay that was printed in the Chicago Tribune. When Linda and Sarah left home the following year to serve in the U.S. Army I did not write an essay. A few years later they asked why I didn’t write anything about them. My response was that the essays would have been nearly identical because my emotions were the same. They dropped the issue and I naively assumed that the situation was settled.

This pattern has continued throughout their lives. Their brother spent his energy visiting other relatives and friends rather than his sisters. He visited me from time to time and his sisters when obligated. He was a spiritual seeker and one of my teachers and advisors. Shortly before Dan transitioned of a heart attack at age 45, I asked him why he chose to ignore his sisters and their families. He said he didn’t know. I don’t know if that was an honest answer or if he had a reason for his actions. Since his passing he’s been my angelic guardian.

The girls have always remained close to me. They welcome me to their family events, balance my checking account, go to doctor appoints with me, do minor repairs at my house and much, much more. They are also my teachers and advisors. I frequently brag about them to my coworkers and friends, but probably don’t tell Linda and Sarah as often as I should.

Their situation hit me full force this week. A friend forwarded an internet posting by Maureen St. Germain, Dan’s spiritual advisor, in which she said that Dan had been her incarnate guardian. I’d always been curious about their relationship, but was astounded to read what she had to say. I shared this information with Linda and Sarah and was underwhelmed by their responses and wondered why.

A couple days later I shared St. Germain’s post and a few stories about some of Dan’s spiritual experiences with my meditation group. They encouraged me to write a book about him. I was flattered that they thought he was worthy of that much attention and that I have enough talent to share his story. I replied that I would consider it but something didn’t feel quite right.

As the conversation shifted to another topic, four words flashed into my mind, “The Prodigal Son’s brother.” I realized that Linda and Sarah feel like the Prodigal Son’s brother felt when his father welcomed his wayward son with gifts and a huge party. I had been doing the same. I always made a big fuss when Dan came to visit because it rarely happened and bragged about his accomplishments. Now, 4 ½ years after Dan’s passing, I was once again effusive about his uniqueness. I made a vow to more frequently express my gratitude for Linda and Sarah’s many kindnesses and to write more about how wonderful they are.

Spirit, Thank you for making me aware that I have not been giving my daughters the gratitude they deserve and for showing me how it affects them. I’m grateful that I have time to rectify the situation. I ask that you continue to remind me to express my appreciation of them and the many other people who have taught and supported me over the years.

*The Living Bible, 1971, Tyndale House Publishers

© by Sharon D. Dillon, August 2, 2016

Sharon D. Dillon,, “Laugh your way to peace, love and joy” Author of Echoes of your Choices, 2016, available as an e-book or paperback at Amazon, Barnes and Noble and other online sites.

Chesapeake Bay Writers, Erma Bombeck Writers Workshop, Southern Humorists, National Society of Newspaper Columnists, Voices of Williamsburg Toastmasters Club.


14 thoughts on “My personal Prodigal Son

    1. Thank you, Dave. A lot of people are suggesting I turn this into a book. Not sure I have that many words to say about Dan and his sisters or if they would be of interest to anyone but our family. I’ll keep this in the back of my mind. Oops, just had a typo, wrote “minds.” A not so subtle reminder that my mind wanders around on its own path rather than following my wishes?

  1. An emotionally powerful post, Sharon. I have heard you speak very admiringly of your daughters on numerous occasions, and always you expressed your gratitude for their help. You have a nice family. I think what you write about in this post is something that many of us can relate to when thinking about our family relationships. Well done!

  2. Your Dan passed at the same age as my Meredith. She was my prodigal child as well. Strange how you get closer to them because they consume so much energy. Glad that you are giving your girls their due while there is still time.

    1. Thank you so much, Sheila. I can see that you understand what’s happening here. I know you miss Meredith as much as I miss Dan. Even so, I know they are both taking care of us from their side.

      1. Dan helped everyone except his sisters. Is that a common trait among those prodigal children? If I remember the story correctly the Prodigal Son spent a good portion of his money buying gifts for others.

      2. I though he spent it on drink and revelous living, but I’m not sure. I know that he got so low his father’s lowest slaves lived better. My other kids didn’t realize how sick she was thought she was taking advantage of me.

      3. He did, but part of that was giving his money to others to make them happy. So sad about your daughter. My daughters resented Dan but now realize he was on a different path that didn’t include them.

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