I lost my husband of 20 years to alcoholism on December 5, 2005. He was only 50 years old and far too young to leave this world. He left me, and a 16-year-old son. He’d been slowly killing himself for years, fighting his demons unsuccessfully with his soft, sensitive nature, and his bouts of depression. The alcohol seeped in through our relationship like water will, over time, erode a mountain. It drove a wedge between us and robbed our happy times, our quiet moments together, and the memories that we were making. In 2002, after years of drinking, he was stricken with a sepsis infection that shut down his kidneys, putting him on dialysis and causing irreparable destruction to his cognitive thinking. At only 46 years of age, he spent first a month in the hospital, then a time in a nursing home. He came home depressed and angry. Months later, his kidneys started working again, but he couldn’t accept the blessing the Higher Power had given him and start his life anew. Rather, he drank again, and more. And by 2004, his kidneys had again shut down and he had to return to dialysis. The last year of his life was spent in and out of emergency rooms, hospitals, treatment centers, jails, and halfway houses. Now, more than a year after his death, I find myself still wondering if I could have saved him. And I cry too many nights in my pillow, and I light a candle every day for him. Marcus, my love. Marcus, the love of my life.
Tags: alcoholic, depression, dialysis, husband, kidneys, love
This is my mother’s Bible. I’m not really sure how I came to have it after she died, especially considering that there are six of us kids and she didn’t leave much behind to remember her by.
A few years ago I was dusting the bookshelves on a weekend and I came across it. I opened it and started thumbing through, just looking at it and remembering how it was always on the table by her bed. I came across the 23rd Psalm (The Lord is my shepherd…) and saw that she had written in the margin, no telling how long ago:
During six births I said the 23rd Psalm. Please say it over my grave.
She always talked about what she wanted for her funeral, and what she wanted done with all her personal possessions. I always said that she spent her life preparing for her death. Looking back I know that it was true. I think she longed for death, hoping and expecting it to be a final release from the pain of her life. I suppose she didn’t have the nerve to take her own life, or maybe she thought that the pain would be too much to inflict on her kids or that they still needed her. Or maybe she was just a little more religious than I always thought and didn’t want to go to hell.
Instead she opted for the long slow way to death through alcoholism. She knew it would eventually kill her, especially as she got older and it took its toll on one organ after another, finally taking her at fifty, just two days after Christmas. The alcohol brought her to death and numbed her to life in the meantime.
Tags: bible, death, mother
My mother gave birth to me when she was only just turned 18. My know nothing about my father and to tell the truth I am not even curious. I never felt that I was missing out on anything.
I think this is due to the fact that my uncle was always there when I was growing up.
I grew up in a house with my Mum, Nan (Grandma) and my Uncle. There where many times when I would spend the evening sat on his lap watching tv. Hw would pick me up from brownies and I always felt that he treated me like a grown up, he never dumbed down things he spoke to me as an equal.
When I started senior school at 11 things started to change, his usual one can of beer a night began to be 4 and you would find bottles of vodka hidden in the strangest places. He would turn violent , he would never hit anyone but he would certainly threaten them. There are still doors off the hinges where he had wrenched them off. I began to dread going home because they where arguments or he might be so drunk that he would collapse at the bottom of the stairs. This went on for years and all the way through it my Nan would defend him (even 15 years on she doesnt believe he had a problem). I became so frustrated with him I withdrew any feelings I had for him, I could barely stand to be in the same room as him. I said I wished he was dead.
One day when I was about 17 I remember I was just about to walk upstairs when he asked to talk to me, he said he had found a lump on his throat he grabbed my hand and pressed it to the place. I snatched my hand away and told him it would be nothing.
I was wrong he had throat and mouth cancer helped on by heavy drinking and smoking. He ended up having the most awful operation which left him barely able to talk and having to be fed through his stomach. He assured everyone that this made him accept that things had to change.
The only thing that changed was that he was more secretive about his drinking.
He moved out and got a flat of his own and it was like a huge weight off my shouders, home felt like home again. I hated the fact that my nan would run around after him and was at his beck and call but the plus side was that I could go weeks without ever seeing him.
It was quite usual for my nan not to be able to get in contact with him for days at a time only for him to resurface with a bunch of lies about what he had been up to.
Three years ago my nan decided to go round to his flat to find out what he was doing as no-one had heard form him in a week. My mum was at work so waited at home to find out what was happening. A couple of hours later my nan rang, I had got my wish my uncle was dead. He had apparently gone to bed one night and never woken up.
The worse thing was that he had obviously been lying there for a few days. Luckily she had called the police to break into the flat so it was they who had found him, I think it would have killed her to have seen him.
At first I was in shock and I didnt know what to feel. I was upset at losing him and then angry for putting my nan through so much.
We had to wait for an inquest before we could sort out arrangements for the funeral , the coroner said it was Adult Cot Death which to me sounds like they didnt know what had happened.
I went with my family to his flat to help clear out his things.
In amongst his papers my mum found a picture I had drawn for him I couldnt have been very old, at the top I had wrote "you are like a father to me". I dont remember drawing it but i think it summed up how much he had meant to me. I let go of the anger and wept for the intelligent witty and kind man I had lost.
I still hold an immense amount of guilt for the way I treated him and I also know I need to let him go, its just hard.
I know through everything he loved me and I often wonder if he looked at that picture and wondered where things had gone so terribly wrong. So a simple crayon drawing is the saddest thing I own.
Tags: alcoholism, death, uncle