Todays piece has been written by Gemma-Lou and is going to resonate with so many. It highlights the journey an alcoholic parent can take us on and highlights how seeing glimpses of who they could have been often adds to the pain. Remember Nacoa are available to offer help and support and if you would like to share as a COA then please get in touch.
Growing up was so destructive for me, the fear I felt every time I saw you pick up that glass I knew what was coming and that was the scary part, the waiting. Dealing with this daily, I felt ashamed and alone, your daughters always smiling everyone said. Little did they know what was going on behind closed doors. Taking over the role as parent for my sister and brothers, I felt lost with no one to turn to, we hid it from the world with secrets and lies. ‘She’s always walking into things’ you’d say. My friends were all out having fun and I was up all night doing bottle feeds and making dinner. I was scared to say or do the wrong thing and I never wanted you to be angry so I never told anyone, everything was fine I told the kids. I had to protect them from the worst, I never wanted them to feel how I felt, you still found us no matter how hard we hid, you only stopped that day because I stopped moving. I placed it all on my shoulders so they could be kids, you said you were giving up alcohol I was so relieved, I was proud dad, finally I could go to sleep without worrying if you would be there when I woke up. Months later you relapsed. Sometimes you were gone for days once over a week. I lost you forever the day you picked up that glass you were consumed. You never saw me cry or watch over you as you slept I desperately wanted you to be safe I loved you then, I still do dad. You sat by my bed and held my hand that day I was ill, you made up the funniest bedtime stories, you cried when I got my first job and told me how proud you were, you took me to get my hair done once, even though you waited hours, you never complained. Those were glimpses of a dad, my dad you will always be the man who taught me to ride my bike, I treasure those memories, you forgot us. I stopped visiting you knowing you wouldn’t remember even if I had. I grieve for you now, I’m achieving the dreams you dreamt for me.
I wish you could see.
Your daughter Gemma-Lou