As anyone with a friend or loved one who has struggled with addiction can testify, perhaps even more painful than watching the terrific beating that alcohol and drugs administer to the user is the damage that the disease inflicts on those closest to them.
Parents, spouses and siblings are all swept into the fray, often forced to make difficult choices to protect themselves and to provide for the most innocent of the sufferers, the children.
“I am the mother of a drug-addicted daughter,” a woman from a community north of Boston wrote in a letter to Globe Santa. “Not an hour goes by without me wondering about her safety and praying for her recovery.
“I am also the grandmother and guardian of my grandson,” she wrote. “He is 2 years old and an absolute joy.”
The woman is a teacher and provides a safe and nurturing home for her grandson, she wrote. State assistance helps pay for some of the boy’s day care.
‘I am the mother of a drug-addicted daughter. . . . I am also the grandmother and guardian of my grandson. He is 2 years old and an absolute joy.’
She has always been a bargain shopper, she added, and clips coupons to help offset the high cost of heating an old, drafty house during the “cold New England winter.”
Her diligence has allowed the two of them to live peacefully, but the turmoil of her daughter’s life is never far from her mind, and she knows that soon, her grandson will outgrow his blissful ignorance.
This will be their second Christmas together, because the boy’s mother is incarcerated and his father is homeless, she wrote. Last Christmas, the couple was living in their car.
“Unfortunately, drug addiction distorts priorities of what is important, often resulting in the loss of irreplaceable precious moments in life with loved ones, especially one’s own child’s eyes on Christmas morning,” she wrote.
Despite her heartache, the grandmother stays strong for her grandson and carries on with the hope that one day her daughter will get well. In the meantime, she takes comfort in knowing that the child is in a stable environment.
Of course, she would also like him to enjoy a visit from Santa Claus.
“He is loved, happy, and innocently naive to the fact that his parents simply aren’t able to care for him at this time,” she said in her letter. “I guess what I am asking is, will you help me make his Christmas special? I don’t have much, but I do the best I can.”
This young boy will be among the tens of thousands of children who receive gifts from Globe Santa this season.
For nearly 60 years, the Globe Santa campaign has delivered toys, books, stocking stuffers, games and candy to families across Eastern Massachusetts that celebrate Christmas in the Santa Claus tradition but cannot afford presents for their children.
Thanks to thousands of individuals, groups, businesses, and others who donate to the campaign, including some people who remember receiving Globe Santa gifts when they were young, some $1.3 million was raised last year and more than 49,000 children in 28,000 families received a visit from Globe Santa.
Every dollar donated to Globe Santa is used to buy and deliver presents to children.