Many of my friends, whom I grew up with have been calling to check on me. All of them, in one way or another, knew my father. Well.
I grew up in a neighborhood filled with kids I went to school with, went to Youth Group with, and had over to our house for one reason or another. All of my friends saw my father in raw action. They all saw the same things I did. And each, in their own ways, had interactions with the man themselves.
When my parents moved to Sarasota after rebuilding and selling their house in Miami after hurricane Andrew in 1992, they moved to a neighborhood that was populated with the Parents, of the kids I grew up with. My friends, were still a part of their own families, and over time, had interactions with both my mother and father.
In the end … as it came out, many of my friends parents who lived close, would be out somewhere for dinner, and find both my mother and my father, drinking at the bar.
My mother was just as guilty of the shameful behavior that my father exhibited. She was just as arrogant and opinionated as he was. And my mother was very good at swinging doors shut in your face, and off offhandedly, telling you to fuck off.
Alienation was a common theme in my family. My parents were masters at their craft. If they disagreed with you, or you did not share the same point of view as they had, or you just pissed one or both of them off, You Too would find yourself shut out.
I’ve talked about, over and over again, in the past, that once my parents shut your light switch off, you were in the dark forever. That was a convenient visual for me to explain just what they did to everyone. Family or Friend.
My mother never thought for herself, even if it was prudent or good for her. She always deferred to my father as the wisdom giver. However, Unwise, he actually was.
At the end of the day, my parents were sick. Rumors were going around just to how sick they really were. Nobody really felt the need to call or inquire directly, because who really cared, when my parents shut them out of their lives, and stopped communicating with those friends for a decade or more.
I cannot, in good conscience, justify away their behavior to alcoholism, however a direct link there is to alcohol in the end. They have proven to my friends and their parents, that my parents were assholes. Nobody cared to engage them any more.
They just walked away.
This kind of walking away is a familiar refrain in the Big Book. I mean, who wants to hang around a couple of morose, alcohol addicted, self-righteous, arrogant assholes?
The Four Horsemen took them,
As we became subjects of King Alcohol , shivering denizens of his mad realm, the chilling vapor that is loneliness settled down. It thickened, ever becoming blacker. Some of us sought out sordid places, hoping to find understanding, companionship and approval. Momentarily we did. Then would come oblivion and the awful awakening to face the hideous Four Horsemen – Terror, Bewilderment, Frustration and Despair.” Unhappy drinkers who read this page will understand. BB. pg. 151
Both my parents were in hospitals in the end. My mother in one, alone, suffering a major coronary episode. My father, alone, in another, dying from Cancer. Neither of them communicating with each other.
My mother had, the presence of mind, however addled, she walked away from him too. She had decided NOT to participate in taking care of her ailing husband any more. Leaving him to take himself to and from Chemo, ALONE.
Once my mother was discharged, my brother whisked her away to Virginia to live out the rest of her days. Leaving my father alone in a hospice, where he witnessed my father die. Alone …
They had no friends, They had no family, save my brother.
They had NO ONE else. Not Me, No friends, No one who cared …
My father died, alone. and as they have all said to me: He, in the end, he was a dick.
None of my friends or anyone else in this family, mourn him.