I wish so desperately that I didn’t have to write this post. It’s been 1 year today since my Dad died and it was a shock that will probably never fully leave my system. I bear an emotional scar that will heal with time, but will always be there as a sign of pain, grief, and suffering. I am still so sad that it will be so long until my dad sees Braden and again and until he meets Ethan. I just know that my Dad is like their guardian angel and that he’ll watch over them for me until he meets them again one day.
I have also been sober for over a year now and I don’t miss alcohol one bit. It was a personal choice not to drink alcohol anymore, I was never addicted, but I’ve also made this decision to ensure that I never do become addicted because I’m at a higher risk for alcoholism due to such a strong family history.
I hate alcohol. I hate it.
It ruined my life forever. It took away my Dad too young. It changed the amazing man I knew growing up from a kind, caring, do-anything-for-anyone man, into an unrecognizable monster swallowed by his addiction to it. It poisoned him from the inside out and when he tried to quit, he went into withdrawal, had seizures, and his heart stopped. Alcohol killed my Dad.
Yes, it was a choice in the beginning for Dad to drink, of course it was—just like it is for you every time you consume alcoholic beverages. But addiction turns into a disease: an actual, diagnosed medical disease, and my Dad never could manage his disease. I know he loved me, my brother, and our Mom with all his heart…but no matter how much he loved us, he just couldn’t stop the addiction. For the very short time (just over two years) that he was actively a part of Braden’s life, he was the best. He was such a proud, involved, happy Grandpa and it breaks my heart over and over every time I think of how my boys will never get to meet the amazing man he was to me growing up.
I pray that my awful memories of the last 1.5 years of Dad fade over time and that the 29 years of joyful, happy memories flush out the bad. I will never fully reveal to you all the awful, horrible things I suffered with Dad and his disease the last part of his life…but without my faith in God I would be a different woman today. I would not have handled this situation at all and I am so grateful to Him for that.
Dad’s death put our family in a blender, turned it on, and to this day I feel like we’re still scraping the pieces off of the side. It’s been a life-changing year and I don’t know if our family will ever be the same. I can’t describe what happened…I don’t even know what happened. I wish I could understand so we could all lean on each other to grieve and to heal and to move on. All I know is my Dad wouldn’t want our family to be the way we are and all I can do is pray that in time the pieces of the puzzle fit back together again somehow.
Dad, some things that I will always remember about you that I will pass onto your grandchildren:
- Your love of sports—absolutely anything and everything
- Hard work and good customer service
- Family is the most important thing in the world, you always made us know we were #1
- Star Wars
- Indiana Jones
- Edmonton Eskimos football games and Edmonton Oilers hockey games
- The Coliseum Steak & Pizza House
- How to BBQ a good steak
- Fried egg sandwiches
- Going to movies and watching movies as a family
- Your love of the “THX” surround sound snippet
- How you would drive anyone, anywhere, at any time because you cared that much
- Tim Hortons hot chocolate and a honey crueller donut after early morning skating practices
- Popcorn and Barq’s root beer at the old Edmonton Drillers soccer games
- Coaching your kids’ sports teams and loving it
- The Beatles
I could go on and on. Your legacy will live on, Dad…I will make sure of it. I’m comforted in the fact that Ethan looks so much like you! It’s uncanny! I’m in the process of making memory books for each of your grandkids so that they will know who you are, where you came from, and how much you mean to me. I will also teach them the dangers of alcohol and addiction and pray that they don’t fall victim like you did.
Love you. Miss you. Always.
Update – I just wanted to add that if you or someone you know are struggling with alcoholism or another addiction—it is never too late. There is always hope. Not only are you going to ruin your life, you’re going to ruin others’ lives around you. Don’t do to your loved ones what my Dad’s disease did to ours. Don’t let it control and take over your life. You are worth it, you can beat this.