Hi ass kickers!
This is the last episode in this round of the recovery series (season 2 will be out sometime in 2017. If you don’t want to miss it, make sure you’re signed up for updates here).
Last fall, as I was about halfway through the interviews for this series, my father passed away. We learned he had a terminal illness, and about 3 weeks later he died.
As a person in long-term recovery, this was the first time I’d faced something big while sober. For some, losing a loved one becomes too much, and they relapse. I can completely understand why this happens.
In this episode, I talk about the following:
- My family story and how I was first introduced to what a functional alcoholic was.
- What the worst moments were when I came home from dealing with his death.
- What I thought the “rules of grief” were.
- What surrender has been like for me over the past few months.
- I answer the question: Did I want to drink again?
- What I did when I found myself sobbing on my kitchen floor.
- What I did to get through the multitude of feelings.
After his death, I got the word “surrender”
tattooed in my own handwriting.
“My humanity is bound up in yours, for we can only be human together.” -Desmond Tutu
And as promised, here is a piece of writing I did about a week after I got home from California…
You died in the fall. My favorite season.
Uncertainty is an enemy to me, one that I’ve tried to embrace. An enemy I run from when given the chance. And grief is uncertain. I never know when I might be able to walk through the world as my normal self. One moment I’m able to smile and laugh genuinely. When the next moment if I let too much space in– too much quiet in, something reminds me of you. And all the air gets sucked out of the room, and I’m wanting to run again.
Questions never asked.
Questions never answered.
The night you died, I stood next to your bed, alone with you. Part of me broke off and slid into the corner. The little girl part of me couldn’t stand there next to your bed staring down at you. So she went to the corner, crouched down with her hands over her ears and screamed. Screamed in horror. Screamed in loneliness. Screamed in sadness. Screamed in regret. Screamed as loud as she could in hopes that the sheer volume could stop time and reverse it. Go back to being four years old and riding on your shoulders. Go back to being five and playing tennis with you. Go back to being six and learning how to ride a bike with you. Go back to a time when music and hugs and slurpees solved everything.
Go back to a time when I didn’t know what a broken heart was.
I don’t know how long that little girl stayed in the corner and screamed. Maybe she’s still there.
When you died they told me I could stay with you as long as I needed. As they left the room, they asked if I wanted the door closed. I didn’t know how to answer.
What do you do in those moments? No one gave me instructions for what to do when you’re by yourself with your dead father. Did I want the door closed? No, I wanted you not to be dead. I wanted certainty as everything slipped through my fingers.
I paced the room alone with you for what seemed like an eternity. I couldn’t bear to look over at you, but I couldn’t bear to leave. I packed up my things. I didn’t know what to do as I felt like a child in a very grown up place.
In your last moments did I say everything right? Were you scared? Did you know you only had minutes left? Did you wait until everyone was gone except me? Did you just want it to be you and me and if so, why? Or were you sad more people weren’t there to say goodbye?
She asked if I want the door closed. Did I have a choice? It had already closed, did they not see that?