Today someone asked how my father has been since he had a stroke two months ago…I never quite know how to answer this. I have always firmly stated and believed that NOTHING would make my dad stop drinking, yet since he got home from the physical rehabilitation center, he isn’t really drinking. I say “really” because my mom has caught him a couple of times with one beer, but he is not sitting home drinking vodka all day like before. I am not confident that my father has “stopped drinking” and I almost can’t believe that he is maintaining any kind of sobriety (even though it is sort of forced and not really by choice). He also is supposedly not smoking (he smoked almost 2 packs a day pre-stroke). My mother is at work all day, so he is alone a lot, but she hasn’t seen any evidence of him smoking. It is like I keep waiting for things to go back to the way they were (even though how things are now is clearly better). It is kind of like that “pinch me” feeling- I don’t want to believe that my dad actually might stop drinking because I don’t want to be disappointed when it doesn’t happen. But that has left me in this weird in between place- a suspended reality. I don’t want things to go back to how they were, but I don’t really believe that they will stay how they are now. I’m really confused! And part of me is annoyed with myself because I should just be so happy that my dad isn’t drinking in the moment.
Christmas is has always been really low key in our family because it is just my mom, dad, sister and me. And normally there is a lot of anxiety leading up to it because my dad’s behavior was always unpredictable. A family holiday or event where nothing bad happened was considered a success! Even though my dad is depressed and still not always the nicest guy, I am curious to get more of an up close and personal look at what is going on at my parent’s house when I am there for 24 hours. It is hard to see my dad in a diaper, hardly able to walk by himself- I am still definitely getting used to that. But I will take that over how horrible he was to all of us before. For the first time in many, many years, I am not dreading going to my parent’s house for the holidays and that is a nice feeling that I am allowing myself to embrace.
Happy holidays to all of you!