Standing Tall: The Heartfelt Saga of My 'Big Galoot' - A Personal Family Chronicle

Standing Tall: The Heartfelt Saga of My 'Big Galoot' - A Personal Family Chronicle

Years ago, as I transitioned to single parenthood with two young kids, our home was a haven for family and friends, embodying the chaos and warmth of a large, interconnected family, -- and a lot of alcohol.  We were a close-knit bunch, constantly hosting gatherings for family and friends, and it wasn't unusual for me to take care of others' kids in the aftermath for days, after what was meant to be a sleepover. It wasn't uncommon; I have always had that role. My sister, already a mother to two from two tumultuous relationships, brought vibrancy and complexity to our lives. Her journey, in the face of adversity, intertwined with mine as we navigated the challenges of life's unpredictability. Her circle included a range of characters, one of whom was a drug dealer who introduced me to cocaine, marking the beginning of a tumultuous period in my life.

Amidst this backdrop, a figure emerged who would become central to our story: the big galoot. A 17-year-old with a gentle soul, he quickly became an integral part of our family, bridging the gap between the innocence of youth and the complexities of adult responsibilities, my sister being a few years his elder, and having many more life seasons. My father, ever the optimist, saw in him a son, unaware of the shadow of drug use that loomed over us.

The big galoot's relationship with my sister deepened, fueled by shared struggles and a mutual dependency on prescription drugs. Yet, it was his unwavering commitment to family that stood out. Despite their challenges, he stepped into the role of a father figure, not only to his and my sister's child but to all her children, embodying a sense of responsibility that was both admirable and heart-wrenching.

As their lives became increasingly entangled with addiction, the big galoot's dedication to family never wavered. He was the backbone, working tirelessly to support the family while my sister sought treatment, a journey of recovery that he never had the chance to undertake for himself. His sacrifice was a testament to his character, prioritizing their well-being over his own, a choice that speaks volumes about his love and commitment.

The narrative of our family is one of love, loss, and the relentless grip of addiction. The big galoot, as our father affectionately nicknamed him, embodies the heart of this story. His life, marked by the desire to protect and provide, was dramatically altered by a series of tragic losses. The deaths of key family members not only robbed him of his support system but also of the recognition for the role he played in keeping our family together. In this, he shares our collective trauma, a bond forged in the depths of despair and loss.

His story is a stark reminder of the challenges faced by those who, in the face of personal demons and societal judgment, strive to do right by those they love. The big galoot's recent actions, born out of a need to protect himself, cannot be separated from the context of his life's journey—a journey characterized by sacrifice, love, and an often thankless role as a caretaker and provider. Abandoned by the systems meant to support him and grieving the loss of his family, his actions are a reflection of a broader narrative of survival and the human instinct to protect one's own.

As we consider his story, it's crucial to remember the complexity of human life and the capacity for love and resilience in the face of insurmountable odds. The big galoot's dedication to family, his unwavering support for my sister through her rehabilitation, and his role as a father figure to all her children underscore a narrative not of failure, but of profound love and commitment. His story is one of shared trauma, loss, and the enduring strength of the human spirit.

"I love ya, ya big galoot."- Ken Buckingham

Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.