What I Found in My Closet


There is something about a closet that makes a skeleton terribly restless”~ Wilson Misner

Maybe it’s because these restless skeletons of ours really want to dance.

For a long time, I believed that skeletons were passed on from one generation to the next as an unwanted family inheritance.  The less one spoke of a skeleton the better, and if one did, one only did so in a hushed whisper.  The thing is, most families have skeletons and each skeleton has an important story to tell.

In the Moriarty / Hahn closet you’ll find:

–  Great Uncle Mike ~ an Irish immigrant who never found his way but did find a bottle

–  Grandpa Jack ~ a broken-hearted dad who lost a son and was (allegedly) found dead in an irrigation ditch

–  Great Grandfather Albert ~ a man who abandoned his family for another woman and ~ another family

Sometimes closeted skeletons can wreck a family as they continue to inflict wounds from one generation to the next.  In Deuteronomy, 24:16, it says: “The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, neither shall the children be put to death for the fathers: every man shall be put to death for his own sin.”

Closets can get to be pretty crowded places.

And how often have the sins of the father been a source of a continued punishment?

If someone in the family does not pass on absolution to the skeleton, then punishment is what is passed on from one generation to the next.  Forgiveness is the only vehicle powerful enough dispel the ghostly presence of unwanted skeletons.

Do you have a Ghost Buster in your family?

We did ~ my departed brother Kevin.

Kevin was the absolution dispenser for our family.  It was Kevin who dug through the stories of Crazy Uncle Mike to get at the truth, and of course when he did, a different story emerged that allowed “Old Mike” to leave the closet and be buried alongside grandma and grandpa.

With respect to Grandpa Jack, Kevin removed him from the closet and placed him center stage ~ and I mean that quite literally.  Kevin wrote a play and mounted the production as part of the Irish Heritage festivities around St. Patrick’s Day in Seattle in 2014.

The un-closeting of this family skeleton transformed what our family formerly experienced as a story of abandonment and loss into a story of reconciliation and renewal.

What possessed Kevin to make this great effort, I cannot say.  What I can say is that the life of my grandfather will never be seen in the same skeletal light as it was before.  This man who’d been relegated to the closet for over 50 years now truly rests in peace.

I share with you Kevin’s play, A Rose for Danny.

Let me leave you with this lesson that Kevin left for my family.

Skeletons ought be neither feared nor hidden, for the story of any family is told in the voices of both the savory and not so savory.  Brother Kevin helped me understand that by removing the skeleton of Grandpa Jack from our family closet, we would be introduced to a lovable and enduring character.

One would think it would be most unwise in a man to be afraid of a skeleton, since Nature has set curious and quite insuperable obstacles to his running away from it.” ― G.K. Chesterton, The Defendant

Just a thought …


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