Damn it, I knew this new path of mine was going to suck some days. I was right. It does. And then it doesn’t. To be completely honest, it is hard to tell whether I miss the man or the wine most. Let’s just say that my life would be so much easier right now if I could numb out with one or the other. Either or both served the same purpose in my life on any given day. Combined? It felt as if my life just completely rocked!
I say life completely rocked but we all know that is just not true. It felt good for the moment and helped me avoid the hurt and fear associated with a series of ugly life tasks. Basic ones like figuring out who I am at any given moment.
Who was I in the worst moments? I suppose I have to go back (ALWAYS) to ending a long-term marriage that produced two of the most awesome young adults I’ve ever known. A marriage that looked great on the outside. That moment when I had to look those amazing kiddos in the eyes and tell them the truth about their parents was probably one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done. Stabbing your own babes in the heart is completely out of the sphere of normal in my world. Two therapists married for 26 years can’t stay together. Really? At that moment, I was the ultimate phony. A phony mother, who could not put the good of her children and family above her own selfish desires to have a real marriage. The ultimate betrayer who hurt the people I loved the most.
I realize now that no one, not even those delicious kids of mine, would expect me to continue to stay married to a man who had perfected the fine art of walking and talking while dead. The man did not want me and had not for many, many years. The man lived in books and not in real life. The man hid from me and the kids for a long, long time. He was, and is, a wonderful man in so many ways. Geez, the whole community still tells me that. But honestly, he was not a good husband. Someone had to pull the plug. The dead man wouldn’t, so I did. Courage. Looking back, I can see that it took courage to do that. It seems that one thing I have in this life is courage. Sometimes I had to medicate myself from the fear associated with that courage. Pour another glass and keep going.
My next plug-pulling episode was truly a matter of life and death. Literally. It seems that I wait until I can no longer stand it for a second before I pull the plug on something. I also wait until there is no going back. Pulling the plug on Daddy seemed right. I believe now, and did at the time, that Daddy was better off unplugged. His life was a living hell in so many ways. Years of alcoholism, in and out of recovery, haunted by his childhood and heaven knows what else. His last years were spent drinking daily, mostly around the clock. Coupled with his lung disease, it is amazing to me that he lasted as long as he did. Smothering to death must be the most frightening thing. I thought drinking was a great idea for him at the end. I thought it made sense for me too.
I always wondered why he was so afraid to let go. He would never say. I’ve been the person in my family yelling loudly that I have no intention of living forever. He always said I would change my mind when my turn rolls around. He had all the necessary advanced directives, living will, etc. Yet, there is no law in my state that allows a physician to honor that if the person holding the power of attorney is not in agreement. Or if the family is not on board. My family wasn’t on board. We always thought Daddy would bounce back. He always had in the past and figured he would this time. He didn’t. I never understood what my family wanted him to bounce back to. A life of living hell?
That life of living hell was the argument I made to the nurse in charge of his care. The nurse who refused to let him die and assured me that he was not at death’s door. The one who just absolutely refused to move him to the level of care that allowed comfort only. I still wish I could find the nurse and unleash the words that would allow him to know that he is not God almighty. I suspect the nurse hates alcoholics and wanted Daddy to suffer, wanted him to feel the consequences of his decades of alcoholism. Getting to the doctors was impossible. It was Christmas Eve/Day. We had to wait till the day after to let him die. Fine with the rest of the family because they weren’t going to let him go anyway. The bottom line is that I did flex my plug-pulling muscle. I did get the plug pulled by yelling loudly and forcing the issue with medical professionals and the family. I still believe it was the right thing to do. At least I hope. Pour another bottle of wine and worry about it another day, Katie Scarlet.
Who put me the hell in charge of this plug pulling? Well, I did, of course. It seems I have a really long history of being the one to pull the plug. Or the one to say the thing that cannot be spoken. My foot-stomping-we-will-not-live-in-darkness has resulted in lots of darkness anyway. So now the plug is pulled on the wine. Or maybe the plug is put in the wine. The plug is pulled on this relationship. Did I do that? Actually, yes I did but only when presented with circumstances that just cannot be tolerated. I realize the high tolerance for inappropriate things is typical of adult children of alcoholics. Hell, I realize a lot of things but seem unwilling to tackle them all at once. Who wants to be a constant make-over project? Yet, that is where I am.
My next task is to pull the plug on all this sadness and fear and allow positive things in my life. Surely, I am not the only middle-aged woman living with this fear of being alone forever and being a pitiful cat lady. I have courage. The next few days/weeks will be spent excavating my courage. Without the blinders of the booze or the man. Trying new things. Grieving fully. But I also know I’m trying to rush the process. I don’t do process well. It takes too long. The realization that this finding joy might take longer than a few days is scary. I am used to the quarter system. Surely this will not take an entire semester!
Thanks for listening y’all. I mean it. Send love. Send support. I need it today.