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The Phone Call

September 1, 2011

While sitting at my desk yesterday; I suddenly felt the need to call my mother.  As you know, she had called me at 6:55 yesterday morning to let me know that my dad’s condition had deteriorated badly overnight.  This urge or desire was immediate.  I needed to call her at that moment in time.  Not later tonight, but at that moment.  So, I called her, but got her voicemail.  Before I could set the phone down, she called me back.  The call I had been expecting but dreading had finally happened.  My dad had passed away.  His suffering is finally over and he is now at peace.  Right before he died, he opened his eyes, looked at my mom and mumbled that he loved her.  With that, he took his final breath.

As of this writing, I am completely numb.  I have cried a little and gotten angry a little, but that is it.  I am wondering if there is something wrong with me, or if like my wife told, it will hit me when I go home tomorrow.  Time will tell.  The hardest thing I have to do tomorrow is tell my 10-year old daughter that her Grandpa has died.  We have been less than honest with her as it related to my father’s condition.  We never truly told her how bad it was, to shelter her from the anguish we were experiencing.

Can a 10-year old understand death?  My daughter adored my dad and I think it may take awhile for her to process that he is no longer here.  However, ever the astute 10-year old, she was keenly aware of my dad’s desire for beer, constantly asking him why he drank so many.  I am afraid she might put two and two together and ask if the beer had anything to do with his death.  Do I tell her truth or do I lie to let her keep her happy memories of Grandpa?

I miss my dad….


From → Alcoholism

One Comment
  1. I’m glad you’re talking about this out loud. What a shock you and your family have had. As you probably know, I’m an alcoholic in recovery and I am ashamed of the things that happened when I drank. I did things that I’ve had to forgive myself for, but that’s part of the healing. I’m fortunate that I got to see the other side of life again (after getting sober).

    Had I stayed on the drunk side, however, I would hope that my son would have told my grandchildren that I had a life-threatening disease and it is called alcoholism. Alcoholism kills every day.

    You did ask the question of what you do. Truth or lies? I vote for truth every time. Becoming dishonest was one of the consequences of my addiction. As an adult child of an alcoholic, you have probably picked up the alcoholics tendency to avoid the truth. Reasoning that it will rob her of happy memories is tempting. But if you do it. Who does she trust? Her memories or her father?

    I believe we all find a way to combine the character strengths and flaws together in coming up with a realistic picture of our ancestors when we are ready for that. As a child, she will be sad, but I doubt you will be robbing her of the happy times.

    You will be helping her acknowledge what she already saw–a grandfather in the grips of alcohol. She already has questions. Don’t you have the answers? I think you do and she will love you and trust you for giving them to her as she comes up with them. I wish I’d had a father who would have acknowledged my observations with the truth. She’s fortunate to have you!

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