Wednesday, April 23, 2008

release

I have been conflicted on whether I should do a post regarding the events of the past Saturday. But sometimes just putting things down allows you to let it go....

As most of you know, my father is a life long alcoholic. Wow, it still remains difficult for me to put that down in black and white.

Anyway, since my mother passed away in 2006, it has been just my dad and I. I know that he loves me and doesn’t understand why I keep my distance, why I rarely call him, why I don’t include him. For my own preservation I have limited his presence in my life for the better part of 20 years. His addiction has wreaked havoc, humiliation and pain on my life and lucky him….he wakes up in the morning with no memory of his actions. If it hadn’t been for my mother’s sister and cousins, I would have been unsalvageable. My cousins took the place of those siblings that I never had…they were my family in every sense of the word.

This brings me to Saturday… My father called but I hadn’t heard the phone ring, so I missed the call and he didn’t leave a message. I decided to get a cup of coffee to gather myself before I returned his call. However, I never had the chance. My cousin called and quite frankly after I said hello, all I heard was the most painful wailing I have ever heard. I couldn’t make out anything she was saying and I could hear my aunt in the background sobbing. Finally, my cousin was able to string enough coherent words together that I now understood why they were so utterly devastated. My father had just called and told them that the coroner’s office had just called to let him know that I had passed away. I was speechless. And then the biggest wave of guilt washed over me. I was helpless to comfort my family…I was numb.

The rest of the day was a fog. My family (my mother’s side) contacted my father and informed him that they were cutting all ties. For over 40 years, we have all endured his addiction and this was the deal breaker. My father continued to drink throughout the day and rallied his siblings to contact me and plead his case. Somehow, he was being sold as the victim. I refuse to speak to any of them. He continued to call and leave message after message and his story morphed over time…first it was the coroner that called, then someone had called him to say they were hurting me, then someone had called and had told him they had murdered me and the last version had me dead from a gunshot wound. However, the truth does not have versions.


I had to get out of the house…I went for some retail therapy. On my way to the store the police department called me to determine what condition I may be in. I was flabbergasted. My first response literally to the officer was, “You’ve got to be fucking kidding, right?” After I explained my family situation, the officer noted my father’s “condition” in the system. How many times have I had to have my father’s “condition” noted throughout my life? More times then I care to admit.

I finally contacted my father in the evening only to let him know how completely reckless and cruel his actions were, how horrified I felt that my father could inflict such pain and be so ignorant while doing so. Even if I were to considered that he truly believed these “calls” actually took place, that consideration could not be overcome by the fact that he continued to drink throughout the day and make phone call after phone call; that his addiction has permanently altered his ability to think and act like a reasonable person.

Well, it’s not everyday that you can see how your death would affect your loved ones. In a strange almost inappropriate sense, I was immensely flattered and touch that my family would be so shattered from such news. It was as if I truly had escaped death that day. However, a much bigger escape took place…I was free of the guilt and obligation that has imprisoned me in regards to my father. There was nothing more that he could do to hurt me because that’s all he was capable of doing to me. I was finally…released.



9 comments:

buffalodickdy said...

I really hate I'm first to comment.. That has to be difficult beyond words to describe. You are innocent, and you are needed. I don't know of anything I can say that would help you what do next. I hope an idea, or an inspiration comes to you- because he needs help and you need peace...

Marc said...

Awww Michelle, this is terrible. I have a brother who is nothing but trouble (bipolar and prescription drug-addicted), but viewed through this glass, my problems with him are light in comparison. I do sympathize with you! Beyond that, there isn't much that can be said except that my thoughts are with you.

Michelle Ann said...

Buffalo-over the years I have gotten used to my dad's shennanigans, but even I have my limits. I'm very lucky to have understanding and supportive friends, family and my blog family as well. Thanks for your kind words!! :)

Marc-it seems we all have someone in our lives that causes conflict. I have really learned to appreciate the ones that make life better!! :) And on another note, your little Bernice and my Nadine look like they were separated at birth...and if Bernice is anything like Nadine, she has the BIGGEST heart and the sweetest disposition.

Tanya Kristine said...

i'm glad he's out of your life. there is nothing you can do for him becuase he doesn't want to help himself. you needed something THIS huge to sever the ties you have with him. it's sad but it's life.

SSC said...

First of all this was very well written. I admire your strength to write so openly and being so honest.

I am so so sorry, I couldn't imagine. I don't know what to say, all I want to do is hug you.

doggybloggy said...

makes me really want to stop binge drinking thats for sure, but alcoholisim is powerful disease that doesnt let go easily, I feel sorry for your dad, I feel sorry for you, and I feel sorry for your family - he is crying out for help but it doesnt sound like it after its mixed with booze, you are a strong woman.

Michelle Ann said...

TK-thank you! And I know that you understand the "love my family, but don't like them too much" conflict... If they were only perfect like you and I :)

SSC-You probably feel like I felt when I read your Michelle post. I just wanted to hug you too!!!

Doggy-I enjoy my drinks, god knows I do...but when you are on a binge by yourself everyday of your life, you aren't living, you are just existing. I can't help him anymore...but you are right; this situation has made me a pretty strong person.

SSC said...

I guess we both have something to deal with that we didn't expect. The release of a loved one.

Consider yourself hugged!!!!

debbyd said...

Hugs to you. Being trapped in a web of guilt is one of the most painful places to be. I'm glad you feel free. I was there once too for a long time with my mom. You can love them and let them go. Take care of you.