This post was written by the author of ‘Celestial Bean on planet earth’ which you may want to check out.
Note: This was originally penned 2 years ago, but still remains as relevant (and heartbreaking to read) as it was when I wrote it.
Losing a parent sucks. But trust me, losing a parent and feeling like it’s your fault is nothing short of brutal. It’s difficult to know where to start with this element of my story, as it is the most difficult part to come to terms with.
I have sat here for over half an hour, re-writing what I am trying to say over and over again. Starting from the beginning will take forever, so I’ll start from the end!
I have disowned most of my family on my dad’s side. I have contact with my half brother, half sister and their mum. And I love them dearly. As for the rest of them? They hurt me so deeply, and left such a deep wound in my heart, that I will never forgive them. I also don’t think I’ll ever really be able to forgive myself.
Dad was ill. Really ill. His disease was ripping me and the rest of the family apart. I hadn’t been to see him for a while as I just couldn’t bear any more of it. I had been abused verbally by him recently at the hospital, when I dared tell the consultant that he was an alcoholic. He had returned home after being told (unsurprisingly) that there was nothing they could do. Back to square one. I was angry that he was continuing to kill himself. I turned to my cousin for support…
“You don’t deserve your dad. You’re a shit daughter to him. If anything happens to him it’ll be on your shoulders”
That’s what I got. You may argue that I deserved it. I mean, there I was, feeling sorry for myself and getting all emotional, while my dad was sinking deeper into the bottle and depression. That’s what I thought at the time.
What made me angry, was that I WAS doing everything I could. To the detriment of my life (A life that I WANTED, unlike dad, who seemed quite determined to waste his). He was also suicidal on more than one occasion, and I would be the first one to hear about it. Ever had your dad on the end of the phone, steaming drunk, telling you he wants to kill himself? yeah… It’s not particularly pleasant.
So a year or so went by. Nothing changed. Multiple visits to see dad, to the rest of the family to try and arrange some kind of intervention. His condition worsened. Emotional blackmail started from dad. He was cold and lonely. He needed me. I’d respond and lose days to the sadness and desperation of the situation. I desperately wanted for him to see what he was doing to himself, to his children. He was such an intelligent man. So insightful and spiritual. How could he of all people be doing this to himself? All other emotions started melting away, until all I was left with was anger.
The the penny dropped. I COULDN’T change the situation. I couldn’t stop his drinking, any more than he could. My life was already falling apart as a result of his disease. I made a difficult choice. I told dad:
“The drink or me. If you can’t even agree that you have a problem and need immediate treatment then I am walking away. If you need me to help you get better, I am there to hold your hand every step of the way, but if you want to continue along this path, then I have to walk away”.
Needless to say, the drink won. I didn’t see him for 9 months. I didn’t call. I didn’t text. It was soul destroying. I felt like I had abandoned my own father. The guilt was unbelievable. I had gotten so used to being the strong one that I had forgotten that I was the child here. That he was my dad and he was supposed to have been there for me. That was particularly difficult to come to terms with. That very fact alone made me very hostile towards the world and everyone in it. Everyone seemed to be getting along with their lives. While I was falling apart. Who was looking out for me? The sad fact was, was that I DID have people looking out for me, but I just wouldn’t let them get close.
There was not one single day where I didn’t think about him in those 9 months. I cried most days. My relationship suffered terribly, as did my work. What I didn’t realise a the time was that the mourning process had already begun.
Then I got the phone call, at about 7pm on March 13th, 2013.
My dad had died alone in his home from a heart attack. My cousin and uncle had found him when passing by the house. He was alone. This is a fact that still continues to haunt me. If it weren’t for me abandoning him, then he may not have died alone, right?
…I’ll continue the story soon. Thanks for reading.
If you have been effected by what you have read then Nacoa is here for you.
If you want to say something as the child of an alcoholic then contact us here.