Introduction to the Miller Family
Sarah (40 yrs) and Joe Miller (43 yrs) are at the center of this family. [See the geneology maps (family
trees) for both Sarah and Joe below.] They are a middle aged couple, married 21 years with three
children. Their children are Lucy (20 yrs), Josh (17 yrs), and Abe (12 yrs). Lucy has had struggles with
substance abuse, along with having been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Josh has been sneaking away
with friends and smoking pot. Abe is a good student but has started to act out recently.
Sarah’s parents are Donna and Manny Maldonado. Manny is third generation Hispanic American from
Mexico. Donna has long suffered from her “moods” which is mostly frustrating to Manny. He says it’s
“brujeria” (related to witches and magic). He worries that someone puts spells on her. They both are
fluent in Spanish, Donna having learned as a result of being with Manny and around his family. Sarah is
their oldest daughter followed by her brother, Mike (36) and then sister Becky (33). Becky, divorced,
has one child, Elías (10 yrs old) who was recently diagnosed with Leukemia. Mike is alone, having
recently suffered the loss of his companion of many years to AIDS. He is secretly also concerned that he
might be HIV+.
Joe’s parents are Ella and John Miller. Ella is at the center of our story as she has been trying to heal
herself from breast cancer through the use of a variety of natural means. She was raised on a farm and
is not very trusting of “modern medicine.” Her husband, (Joe’s father) John is of American Indian origin.
He uses a variety of traditional methods for health and well being and as a means of banishing bad
spirits from their home. Ella’s mother passed away over ten years ago but her father is still alive. He is
often referred to as the “shakey grandpa” by the grandchildren and great grandchildren due to the
manifestation of some symptoms of his Parkinson’s disease.
Joe has a sister, Lila (45 yrs), who has diabetes and who has always struggled with her weight. She and
her husband have one child, Alisha (20), who’s currently in college. Joe’s older brother Sam (50 yrs), was
married and then divorced years ago, has one son from whom he is estranged. He is an alcoholic who
hasn’t been able to keep a job for years.
The family and extended family get along well for the most part though the many cultural traditions and
backgrounds do clash from time to time. Manny, for example, has been known to say, “They’re crazy!”
when the family discusses some of the health issues that are going on and how they are being handled.
At one time, for example, Ella’s skin turned orange due to the amount of carrot and other juices she was
consuming in order to get rid of her cancer.
Sarah has been married to Joe long enough to know her well and when her sister Becky’s son Elias was
recently diagnosed with Leukemia, Ella was hopeful that Sarah would encourage Becky to use natural
means for treating him. Sarah isn’t really too sure about how she feels about it.
Sara Miller’s family tree
Joe Miller’s family tree
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