|Frangas non Flectes|
About three hours ago, I came home and got the news. My father was found dead on the evening of 11/23 during a wellness check. NY State Police entered the house when he didn’t answer the knock and found him dead. I have no details, the investigator will be calling my mother in the morning, and hopefully we’ll know more then. She flew into town last week to spend the holidays with us and he died alone.
Some of you may remember some things I’ve posted here and there over the years, and recently, months. He was an alcoholic. Long story short, I’m pretty sure that’s what killed him, one way or another. We did not have a good relationship. He was emotionally and physically abusive with my whole family, but he singled me out for special attention. Just… bad stuff. I didn’t realize quite how bad it was until my wife became pregnant with my son. I started thinking back on his example and found myself horrified, remembering things I hadn’t thought of in decades. That ended our period of being drinking buddies.
He met his grandson once, after people pestering him for two years about not having done so yet, and he was such a poor house guest and such a belligerent jackass that I told him he was no longer welcome in my home if he was smoking cigarettes or dope. He took that personally, and then canceled the plane tickets he had already bought for another trip a few months later, and bought a new loaded Camaro instead. We didn’t talk for nearly five years. My seven year old son has no memory of him whatsoever, he only knows what I’ve told him here and there. My son never got a paternal grandfather, never got to know the man he shares his first and last name with.
I took such offense to these things that I’ve attempted to thoroughly and completely throw out everything he taught me about people and family so that I would never do to my son the things which were done to me. I got sober. I worked hard at being if not gentle with people, at least not treating them so harshly. I don’t yell at my son. I don’t hit him, don’t smack him around. When he’s being difficult, I don’t drag him down the hallway by his shirt collar and beat his ass until he can’t catch his breath. I have many failings, but I’ve endeavored to make my failings different from my father’s. I have worked hard on these things, and I also forgave him for his shortcomings and character defects, his anger, his jealousy, and his violence.
I called him up and spoke to him twice a few months ago. The first phone call was very brief. I asked him if he wanted help quitting drinking, and when he said yes, I gave him a phone number to call and hung up. When I was able to confirm that he had called the gentleman from AA whose number I gave him, I called him again and we spoke for about an hour. I told him there were some things I needed to tell him before we’re both dead. He interrupted and told him “whoa, don’t put me in the ground yet, I’m going to be around another 30 years.” I told him the physical description my mother had given me of his health led me to believe he had third stage cirrhosis, and if he didn’t quit drinking, he would die very soon, probably within a few months. I knew these things because I also have third stage cirrhosis, and I was told to quit or die last year. I told him that I had taught his grandson all about alcohol, and alcoholism, and that some day, he would lose his father and his grandfather to the effects of it, and I would make certain he knows that’s why. “You first, and me sometime in the next ten years or so.” I told him he needed to get himself into a detox facility at the very least, so he could be medically assisted to keep from dying of withdrawals. I told him that after that, he needed to go to an AA meeting every day. I told him to avoid eating salt or sugar, eat lots of lean protein, vegetables and high fiber, and if he did all these things, he would be around for a while. He did none of these things, and instead, he passed away sometime in the last week at the age of 69. I was able to conclude our conversation with “I love you, Dad.” He replied in kind. Those were the last words we spoke to each other.
I don’t resent him, I don’t hate him. I wish he had not been too proud and too stubborn to let me help him. I wish my uncle hadn’t bailed him out of jail in Pennsylvania a few months ago and then drove him home instead of taking him straight to an in-patient rehab like I pleaded with him to do. I wish my son had gotten to know the man I can recall my father sometimes being: charming, hilarious, and gentle. Things he might have been if he’d gotten sober. But wish as we want, things happen the way they’re meant to. I told him over the phone that “if you can’t be a good example, you’ll have to serve as a horrible warning.” It’s a line I heard somewhere a few years ago that’s stuck with me. I think it stung him, but not enough to make a difference.
So I guess this is my eulogy of a man I grew to understand far too well before he died, and I’m delivering it to a group of people who never met him. He was a sick, tortured soul and we never really got along that well, but he was my father. For a long time, I told myself when he died, I wouldn’t cry and wouldn’t miss him. I was wrong.
This is actually one of the last photographs of us together. We were getting along pretty well at the time. He had come down to Tampa to visit me and my future wife. This was taken in December of 2007. I think we still both looked pretty healthy and happy there. As I understand it, the man in the picture you see here shriveled away to skin and bones before he died. Honestly, I’m not all that far away from that, myself. I had to recently quit my job because I’m getting progressively weaker and more tired to the point where working with heavy plate steel and machinery was a hazard when I could handle it at all.
I’ve never posted a picture of myself here before. I’ve never talked about my diagnosis or my alcoholism here. I think I suspected most here would tend to think I’m the type of person who is a stain on this forum and the 2A community at large. I think that probably used to be true. I was afraid of being judged. In the end, it’s really none of my business what people think of me and I’m really not that guy anymore anyway. I’m not sure I had a sober post on this forum before last March when I went to rehab in liver failure, and for that, I have no true way of apologizing or making it right to the forum membership at large and Para in particular. I’m sure that explains a lot about me for anyone who ever wondered what my problem was. If I’ve wronged you and you’re willing to make amends, speak up or shoot me an email at the address in my profile and I’ll do what I can to make it right. I get an AA meeting every day. I have a sponsor, he has a sponsor, I see them both weekly at a men’s stag Big Book study. I now take other men through this thing - I have four sponsees right now. This last summer, I worked at the rehab I went through until I couldn’t handle the commute. I’m open and honest with my son about all these things, because it’s the opposite of how I was raised and it seems right, it feels correct.
If you feel like you might have a problem with drugs or alcohol and can’t quit even if you really want to, I know a gun forum is about the last place anyone would speak up on that, but please don’t take it as far as my old man and I did. You don’t have to die. You don’t have be shooting blood out of both ends and wishing for death. You don’t have to be alone and afraid. You can go get help and it doesn’t mean losing your guns unless you go start getting felony DUI’s or other such stupidity. Shit, I went to rehab with a homicide detective and my sponsor went to the same place and he’s a high protein type SWAT officer for crying out loud, so don’t let that be what stops you like it did for me. My liver doctor says I was about three to six months from dying if I had not quit when I did last March, so I took it about as far as it goes without dying, and I have to say, it really wasn’t worth it. Unless that means I can be both a good example and a horrible warning. I always wondered what my calling was going to be, and I would never have guessed or wished for this, but here it is – I help people get sober. I thought I’d be able to drink like my father did for maybe not as long as he did, and quit, and it would be fine. Genetics dealt me a different hand and instead I drank for about twenty years and the doctors say I’ll be lucky to make it to age fifty.
If you have bad things to say about drunks, then I’d respectfully ask you not do it here. Please. If you’re a sober alcoholic, I sure wouldn’t mind hearing anything you have to say, here or by email. If you lost family members or a loved one to alcoholism, I’m sorry, I know we’re incredibly hard on the people who love us. It was hard to watch my father go this way, because I knew too much about it and watched him choose death. I told him what was down that road and off he went anyway.
I’ll probably regret posting this tomorrow, but it won’t be because I woke up hungover in a panic, wincing with vague recollections of the previous night’s bizarre and moronic behavior. I’m going to stay up until five, and then call my sister and tell her the bad news. That’s really going to suck, she was always a Daddy’s girl and she was his favorite. I guess instead of a road trip across the country, it’s going to be a flight to New York for me and Mom to sort through his belongings.
He was a huge Pink Floyd fan, and I was too, of course. Eventually, I couldn’t listen to any of it anymore because it made me think of him. I’m listening to The Wall, and it really feels right. What a fucked up night.
I believe in the 25th amendment.
So sorry for your loss. As a recovering alcoholic and drug user I feel for you.
My journey has been much different than yours and I pray that you and your family find peace.
"Yidn, shreibt un fershreibt"
"The Nazis entered this war under the rather childish delusion that they were going to bomb everyone else, and nobody was going to bomb them. At Rotterdam, London, Warsaw and half a hundred other places, they put their rather naive theory into operation. They sowed the wind, and now they are going to reap the whirlwind."
I hope you find comfort and peace.
|Bent but not broken|
|The Unknown |
A worthy pursuit.
Condolences for your loss.
Prayers and good thoughts to you to ease your grief and pain. As an adult child of an alcoholic I understand somewhat what you dealt with. Alcoholism affects so many others than the alcoholic, and the scars last a lifetime. Thank you for your courage to post your story.
"Oh bother", said Pooh, as he chambered his last round.
Sorry for your loss, Smudge.
Screen names i’ve seen over and over for years become family and friends in my head. Your loss feels strangely mine.
Wish there was something that made sense or help i could tell you but that is how i feel it.
"OP is a troll" - Flashlightboy, 12/18/20
|Muzzle flash |
I am sorry for your loss. I pray God's peace for you and your family.
Texan by choice, not accident of birth
My sympathies to you on your loss and best wishes on your continued strength in overcoming it all.
Very sorry for your loss. Thoughts and prayers are with you.
You did everything you could to help your father. It is difficult to process the feelings when a parent or close relative passes, regardless of the nature of the relationship or circumstances. You recognized the mortality of the situation, and did your best to prepare him for the outcome if he didn't take required action to turn things around. Glad you had the chance to have that last conversation with him. Nonetheless, it's still hard to process the loss.
Thanks for the courage to share, and stay strong, just take it one day at a time. No judgement here, we likely all know someone who is fighting this affliction.
Friend of Bill here, for 9 years now.
One day, you will treasure those last words you heard and spoke with your dad.
Keep helping others, while helping yourself.
|Gone but Together Again.|
Dad & Uncle
sorry for your loss.
may your father RIP.
try to remember the good times.
Proverbs 27:17 - As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.
|Eye on the|
I’m so sorry for your loss and your family’s loss. I’ve seen your posts, and quietly read without commenting. We struggle with alcoholism in my family as well, but our road, again, is different than yours.
Don’t regret your post. It speaks volumes about what a good soul you are, and the struggles to maintain your family and do right by all, including your father. May he RIP.
"Trust, but verify."
|A man of few words|
So sorry for your loss. I'm praying for you and your family.
I truly appreciate your honesty and courage in sharing your story. It may very well help someone else here.
You have nothing to be ashamed of, either for your father or yourself. You’re your own person and from the sounds of things you took responsibility for reversing course and being honest with your son about what’s happened and why. My condolences and may you both be at peace now.
|Animis Opibusque Parati|
I am sorry for your loss. I wish you success on your journey. Telling your story here may help others on the edge of that path.
"Prepared in mind and resources"
May your father finally find resolution Smudge.
Your report off the sad situation could not be better presented.
Excited about crackers!
|Alea iacta est|
Ed, I’m sorry for your loss. Don’t regret what you posted. You’re a good guy and part of the team here.
The “lol” thread
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