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September 23, 2011


Monday marked the one month anniversary of when my dad was admitted to the hospital.  It is hard to believe, that in less than two weeks, my dad would take his last breath.  As time goes by, I have my good days and my bad days.  What I am having a hard time with is how some of the simplest things trigger memories of my dad.  For instance, last night I tucked my daughter into bed and gave her kiss and wished her good night.  As I walked out of the room, she asked me if she could keep a quarter she found earlier in the day as an emergency quarter.  I told her sure, closed the door and almost started to cry.  The reason was simply her saying emergency, which triggered a flood of memories.


As a kid, my mom and dad watched all of the great television shows of the era, included one called “Emergency”.  During our last visit with my parents in April, both of them were excited about a new television channel that was showing all of the shows from the past.  Shows like “Emergency”, “Dragnet” and “Bonanza”.  One of my dad’s favorite shows was “Adam 12”.  During our visit, he watched the show every day.  I knew my dad missed those shows, but other than “Cheers”, and “M.A.S.H.”, I had never seen him so hooked by a television show.


As I mentioned earlier, my dad was hospitalized on August 19th, which was a Friday and I flew down the next morning.  We visited my dad in hospital, and it was obvious he was not doing well.  I was shocked at how much he had degraded from the last time I saw him in April.  But, mentally, he was still with us.  Over the next couple days, we watched as his condition slowly deteriorated.  He was not eating, started having hallucinations and slept all the time.  He tried to read the newspaper, but his hand shook so bad, he couldn’t read more than an article or two.  On that Sunday, as he lay in bed, he was watching the television.  My mom asked him if there was anything he wanted to watch.  He turned to her and asked her if “Adam 12” was on.  When she told him that they did not have that channel in the hospital, he made a face, rolled over and dozed off.


Now, he is gone and as each day goes by, I miss him more and I become angrier and angrier.  If he had the strength to put down the bottle, he would have been able to watch “Adam 12”.  If had the strength to put down the bottle, he would know that his granddaughter won a school spelling bee.  If he had the strength to put down the bottle, he would get to enjoy the new dog my mom got while he was in the hospital.  If he only had the strength…..


And this is what drives my anger.  My father was a strong man, both mentally and physically, so I struggle to understand how this beat him.  I struggle to understand how a man who would go to work every day, whether he was sick or fine, could let the liquid in a bottle beat him.  I struggle to understand how the person, who taught me to be a man, could be so weak.  I struggle when I talk to my mom; because for 40 years, the man she was with, chose a bottle over her.  I guess I am just really struggling.



From → Alcoholism

  1. Debbie permalink

    I am notoriously full of words; if I am annoying, I do apologize.

    There is a book called, The Shack. The author is William P. Young. I am reading it for the second time. It blew my mind the first time. The second time now brings new nuggets of insight that I did not glean the first time. Truly, I am in a different place in life than I was when first reading it.

    I thought of you and your recent post while reading page 231. It reads as follows:
    “Wow!’ he said hoarsely, trying to find any word that might describe the emotional journey he had just waded through. He felt alive. He handed the kerchief back to Papa and asked, “So is it all right if I’m still angry?”

    Papa was quick to respond,. “Absolutely! What he did was terrible. He caused incredible pain to many. It was wrong, and anger is the right response to something that is so wrong. But don’t let the anger and pain and loss you feel prevent you from forgiving him and removing your hands from around his neck.”

    Part of the healing process will include forgiveness. It will not change the situation nor excuse the circumstances. Anger will remain, for there were wrongs that were committed. The hold of the anger and the wrongs committed will loosen their grip on you when you begin the journey of forgiveness. It is not easy and will not happen overnight. Forgiveness releases you from the prison of anger.

  2. Debbie permalink

    Willpower and love are very key elements in life and obviously you have them both. Unfortunately, willpower and love will never eradicate an addiction or anything that has a stronghold in our lives.

    Being unwilling or unable to overcome the stronghold or the addiction is not a sign of weakness nor does it mean the person addicted does not love others. “You would if you loved me …” has no power or value or significance and frankly it’s a trap. Unfortunately, not dealing with a stronghold or an addiction will make victims of the ones you do love.

    I don’t know the whole story, but I would be willing to bet he loved your mother and you and all his family very much.

    My parents separated when I was a mere child because of alcohol and the kind of man that my dad would become when he was drinking. From ages 3-5 I was the poster child for Easter Seals and from time to time had to be presented at conventions, conferences and even before our state legislature. I remember leaving for one particular event while we were still with my dad and he was a blubbering shadow of a man. Because he was in the middle of a hangover, he could not go with us. He was proud of me, for I was not supposed to have lived, to have walked… yet his addiction made him more of a cripple than my physical condition.

    There are so many things in life that defy logic and there is so much unnecessary pain. There are things we will never understand and even if we could, it would not make it any easier to accept. “If I only knew why…” is our small way of wanting some semblance of control. If I understood it, i would not feel so helpless.

    I don’t know the whole story, but I would be willing to bet you are a very strong man and you, too, will survive, yet again, as a child of an alcoholic. Not only will you survive, but you will assess, contain and combat and you will succeed.

  3. I am praying for you. So sorry that you are suffering because of this deadly disease.

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