The more things change, the more they are the same

alphonsekarr2-2x

I got a notification from WordPress that it was my seven year anniversary of when I began this blog.  I decided to go back to my very first post, which was on January 17, 2013.

I am not really sure where to begin, so I will just start writing and see where it takes me…

I am in my 30s and have read pretty much everything ever published about being the child of an alcoholic.  I know all about the roles (I am a hero), the shame, the dysfunction, the warnings…

 

Well, not much, yet EVERYTHING has changed…I am now in my 40s, my dad is still a drunk and I can now add a very long, very dysfunctional relationship with an alcoholic to my resume.  I became the dreaded cliche- the daughter of an alcoholic who ends up dating an alcoholic.  The only silver lining to that was that I did not marry him.

My father has been in the hospital or a rehabilitation/nursing home since Christmas Eve.  He suffered through a coma and once he was well enough to be moved physically, he went through a mental psychosis, caused by withdrawal or the sedatives.  He was irate, hateful, violent, and confused.  He thought he was at McDonald’s, he flicked off my two year old niece and said “fuck you” to her when she said goodbye to him, he thought another patient was my mother and yelled at her all day for ignoring him, he believed everything was a conspiracy against him, he blamed my mother, sister and me for “doing this to him”, he asked what plane I took to get there when I live ten miles away, he refused to eat..I could go on and on- his behavior was incredibly disturbing and upsetting.

He seems to be doing a little better with his mental facilities, but physically is very weak and will be moving to a rehab center again tonight.  So, now we are up to two different hospitals, two different rehabilitation centers, at least a dozen different doctors and more nurses than I can count.  It is exhausting.

My therapist AND my sister’s therapist asked why we go visit him so often, especially when he is being so nasty and verbally abusive towards us.  I honestly do not have an answer for that.  We have tolerated his behavior for so long.  I think a lot of it is feeling like we need to be there for my mother, but I cannot and will not ever understand her loyalty or sense of responsibility towards him.  It has just been a very stressful beginning to the new year, after what was arguably the worst year of my life.

Speaking of which, my ex (the above mentioned alcoholic and subject of MANY of my blogs) decided this would be the opportune time to try to reinsert himself back into my life.  After not hearing from him for months (at my request), he texted me asking about my father.  I contemplated for a while how to handle it and then decided maybe he was just being nice.  I gave him some details about my dad and nothing about myself.  He basically took the opportunity to fill me in on his life (which only made me pity him) and then proceeded to keep texting me until I had to kindly ask him to stop.

SO much has happened during the past seven years- it is impossible to sum up. Yet, that famous quote is eerily accurate: “the more things change, the more they are the same.”

Is it better to have loved and lost…?

GriefNeverEnds

My exboyfriend arrived back in our town on Thursday.  He rented an apartment less than two miles from my house.  He was supposed to stop by with the dog around 5 pm, but texted me the move was taking longer than expected and he would either come later or over the weekend.  I did not hear from him again until 9:30 pm.  I was already in bed, so I put his call to voicemail.  He immediately called back again and I answered.

“I think the dog is dead.”

I knew our dog was not doing well and was suffering.  I had said my bittersweet goodbyes to her two weeks ago when he left and took her with him to visit his parents.  I believed that she would live out her remaining days down there, in the sunshine and warmth of the South.

“What? Are you sure?”

I had been nervous about seeing him all day.  I felt so many different emotions.  Resentment for him moving so close to me without even asking how I felt about it.  Worry about how his health is and that he hasn’t gotten any professional help yet.  I missed him, I wanted to see him, I never wanted to see him again…I was all over the place.  I sort of just needed to get the first time seeing him over with.

“I left for 20 minutes and when I got back she was lying against the door.  She’s not moving.  Her eyes are open.”

I took control.  It is what I always did.  It was why he called me.  He knew I would know what to do.  Regardless of what happened between us and my demand for more space and time from him, this was something I knew he couldn’t do alone.  And I didn’t want him to.  I called the emergency vet and arranged to bring her in.

“Get her to the truck and come pick me up…we will bring her in together.”

I got into his truck, the backseat was dark and I couldn’t see her lifeless body.  I didn’t want to.  He was trying to keep it together.  He called his parents to tell them and failed to mention I was with him.  I let that go- not important.  They did not show much acknowledgment or appreciation for the 26 days of my devotion to him in the hospital (or the 8 years throughout our relationship), so I wouldn’t expect it now.  It was so hard not to reach over and take his hand.  I stuck mine deep into the sleeves of my sweatshirt and crossed my arms.  We spoke very little on the way there.

We both got a chance to say goodbye to her in a private room.  Even though my already broken heart shattered into more slivers as I kissed her nose and whispered into her soft ear, I was more worried about him.  I left him so he could have some time alone with her.  Walking out of the office, I turned to hug him in the parking lot.  He was stiff and patted my back and I could tell he did not want to be touched.  It felt like a rejection, but I know he was just trying to hold it together.  When he dropped me off, I tried to get him to come in and talk and he refused, but I know that my ulterior motive was that I wanted to prevent him from drinking if he was planning to.

I couldn’t stop him from drinking when we lived together and I saw him every day.  I certainly cannot control him now.  I am just SO SAD all the time.  It is like one thing after another.  Just last week, my mother had a cat scan of her lungs and they found a nodule in each one.  I can’t even think about it.  It’s just too much.  My therapist said that I am focusing on him so much so I don’t have to deal with how I feel and my own pain.  It is just too overwhelming and I do not know how to even begin to process everything that happened.  I am genuinely worried about him, too.  I know I “shouldn’t” be and he “isn’t my problem anymore”, but how do I just stop? When he is sick or depressed, how do I not check on him? I feel angry and frustrated because after everything his body went through, he is not taking care of himself.

I am consumed by so much grief and so much loss.

“It takes a minute to have a crush on someone, an hour to like someone, and a day to love someone… but it takes a lifetime to forget someone.”
― Kahlil Gibran

Baby steps

So it has been over a week since my dad had a stroke. Yesterday he was moved from the hospital to an in-patient physical rehabilitation facility. We are not sure how long he has to stay there, but he has already made some progress. Right after the stroke, he had no use of his left arm…now he can move his shoulder, wiggle his fingers and can feel sensation, but he still cannot lift it. My mom, sister and I went to visit him today and he was in a wheelchair the entire time. He can walk a bit with a walker, but needs a lot of assistance with getting up and down. Thankfully, the alcohol withdrawal symptoms seem to have subsided. He’s not all whacked out and confused anymore, which is a relief because that was really hard to witness.

My mom told me that two nights ago, when my father was told he had to go to the facility instead of coming home, he hysterically cried and told her that none of us care about him and we all wish he died. I don’t know why but that really made me so sad. I feel like I “should” not really be as affected by how he feels, because god knows he didn’t really care about all the nights I cried myself to sleep growing up because he was drunk or because I was afraid of him, etc. I am glad that I wasn’t at the hospital that night, because it would have killed me to see that. Sometimes he cries when he is really drunk, but I don’t ever remember him crying when he was sober.

Everything feels like it is in limbo right now. I feel like there is a giant ticking clock counting down until he is discharged and goes home. Even though it would be an early Christmas miracle for him to stay sober, I am confident he will drink as soon as possible, and then things will just go back to “normal” (whatever the hell that means in my family lol!!)