I’m grieving

IMG_6070I really am struggling at the moment. I don’t know if I am preparing myself for Faiths death or just grieving for the family life the alcoholism has stolen from me.

And no one knows how much, other than you my friends.

I know I am still grieving for my recently lost parents, I think about my mums last moments surrounded by family, and I think about my dad, how I found him, lying cold and actually broken-hearted on the floor less than six weeks later.

But that is a grief I expected to come at some point. Yes it’s still upsetting and painful, but it is nothing compared to the grief I know I will feel when the life leaves my son.

And now I have this sadness, it just fills me, of the life I dreamt of, for my eldest son.

It used to be that he would take over his dads business, and then later when he decided engineering like his grandad  was what he wanted to do, I saw in my head, his apprenticeship finishing and him going out in the world, making a living, marrying some lovely girl, and then of course the grandchildren. As I got older they would come and visit, not as often as I would like, but they would be there for birthdays and christmases.

But that was not to be, this wicked wicked alcoholism has stolen all that from me.

Maybe that was all a dream anyway, but I was hopeful I would have a garden full of children again. When the children were growing up my house was very much an open house, I welcomed a broken family in, 4 children, they might actually be my saving grace when I am old, as they are still in touch and very much a family unit. In the summers, my garden and house were always full of children and friends and mums and dads. What happened?

And my daughter? She will bring my grandchildren up on the other side of the world. That’s hoping she eventually has some.

I’m wallowing in self pity, but I am so so very frightened for the life of Faith at the moment. Alcoholics die, that is a fact, and I am so worried he is on a path that he cannot escape from.

And no one, no one other than you my friends know how I am feeling.

Friends are concerned for me, work colleagues know I have a “problem son”, my partner? He has three normal adult kids, with partners and a sprinkling of grandchildren, just how I expected my life to be. He just doesn’t understand and doesn’t know what to do.  They are all lovely to me, but, just but.

In fact they are descending on us this weekend and I welcome them, I love their normality. But in between building sand castles and making sandwiches, my heart will still be breaking, for my son, for what should have been.

Hopefully my next post will be more positive. I don’t like this  person I am at the moment.

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We have made peace with each other

IMG_4430Tonight I think I have had the most honest and open discussion with Faith that I have ever had. I believed every sad word that he said and we cried over the phone together.

I have seen things changing slowly over the last months and tonight I think we were both brutally honest with each other.

He knows he is on a very thin line, if he doesn’t stop drinking soon he will die. He wants to, and does have the chance of an in hospital detox, but he needs to ask for it very clearly himself. I believe he will.

But he still has the problem of his live in alcoholic girlfriend who is still in denial. He has to make the decision himself of how he is going to deal with it. He loves her, of that I have no doubt, be it the love of a fellow human who suffers as they both do, I don’t know, I can’t answer that.

My advice to him was to go and talk about it to as many people as he can, I pray they all give him the same advice that I give him. Trying to instill in him the things I have learnt at alanon, he is not helping her by letting her live with him and carry on drinking, she too will lose herself to this dreadful disease.

Tonight I pray, they both find the strength to do what they must do.

Please don’t let me lose my son.

Catch up

Where do I start, so much has happened since my last real post.

The biggest being the loss of both my parents within 5 1/2 weeks.

They were both elderly but reasonably healthy. My dad cared for my mum, more than we ever knew, especially in her last few weeks, I felt such a debt of gratitude and pride when I realised just how much he was doing.

I went away at the end of October for a holiday, I work full time, I needed the break. I worried my brothers wouldn’t check in on my parents, I don’t think they did.

The week before I went I organised a joint celebration for my mums 85th and my dads 90th birthdays. I am so glad I did, My mum didn’t want a fuss, she found reasons not to, they wanted to pay as they didn’t want to invite people and then ask them to pay, but they couldn’t afford much, their savings were needed to pay for their funerals, little did I know. But it was organised, my younger brother didn’t attend, he was just being awkward, my daughter was in Australia so couldn’t be there, my younger son didn’t wake up in time, I make no excuses other than he works nights and his built in clock told him it was sleep time. And Faith? No, he wasn’t in a fit state to come.

So to celebrate their 85th and 90th years , two out of three children and one Step granddaughter out of 7 grandchildren were there, and two great grandchildren. I felt so upset for them, but the wider family rallied and they did enjoy their day even talking to my daughter in Australia by video call.

That was October. When I arrived back from a weekend away in November I called them on the Monday after work to see how they were. I was greeted by my dad saying, oh yes, we are fine, but your mums legs aren’t working I’m a bit worried. After asking to speak to her and getting a totally unrecognisable conversation I told him to call 999 I would be straight over.

Whithout going into too much detail she was admitted to hospital. Her core temperature was very low and heartbeat very slow. After 6 days of positivity from the staff phnemonia diagnosed but was being treated, a week after she had been admitted we were called to be told they thought it best all support be taken away from her. She was made comfortable the family called and within an hour she was gone. We were all so unprepared. My dad , his partner of 63 years gone, was broken.

We got through the funeral (Faith actually got sober and stayed sober for a month, more on this later) and then Christmas, dad seemed to rally, doing excercises and looking after himself, he had the energy to make sure he was clean again.

New year And we were invited away, my best friend felt I needed the break.

When I returned I called my dad , he was Ok, I had arranged with work that I would do 4 days a week, at least for a while so I could help dad adjust and be free to take him for any appointments he needed.

I never got to do that, on Sunday I had arranged to take him food shopping, I was concerned when he didn’t answer his phone, by the time I arrived and saw the blinds still shut I knew, I just knew.

I found him on the floor in the kitchen, freezer door open,  oven on, fish a chips ready to go in the oven that was on.

He really had died of a broken heart, I was devestated but happy he was reunited, only having spent a short time apart from his beloved wife.

Life was taken over again by funeral arrangement, Having to wait weeks for a post Mortem didn’t help.  I carried on working, not wanting to be alone and think. I was too familiar with the funeral company, I worried I would have a third funeral to arrange “Faiths” it is a real possibility.

Faith has actually dealt with it better than I thought he would, fear of death has always been a worry for him. The fact he made a month sober, yes even over xmas, on his own without support, his determination to be sober for his nans funeral seemed to mark a change in him. I really believe he might have got to that point, the one you read about, where something switches in their head, I pray it has. But life is not that straight forward, he lives with another alcoholic, one who is in denial and expects to hold down a job whilst swigging vodka from her plastic squash bottle in her handbag.

So that’s it in a few paragraphs, my parents lives gone. I have so many more words in my head waiting to get out and onto this blog. I want to try and explain how it feels to be the mother of an alcoholic.

Hopefully I will have a bit more free time now to do that.

See you soon x

 

FAMILY…the word, brings so many emotions

IMG_3323I’ve just looked back on my last post and realised I obviously didn’t proof read it! But it was sent from the heart, I just typed, it was what I was thinking. I sometimes forget that others read my words, which really are just my thoughts.

So last time I was here I was feeling pretty low. I am again tonight, probably why I am drawn to my blog, to write, it somehow eases the hurt.

I have been lucky enough to have another short break, with a very very dear friend. She manages to ground me, her laughter heals me, her problems bring mine into line. Brain haemorrhage, breast cancer, a husband who contracted food poisoning and was left paralysed. Yes really, and on this holiday, her beloved grandson was diagnosed as autistic. There is actually more, but that’s on a very personal level I feel I can’t mention on here. So you see, how can I complain? Her laughter, her positive outlook on life rubs off on everyone around her. Unfortunately she lives a long distance from me so I only get to feel it occasionally.

So back to my son, Faith.

Nothing has changed. He had a fall due to being intoxicated which lead to  wound to his head and hospital for one night.

I am trying to arrange a family gathering for my fathers 90th birthday. Shouldn’t this just be such a wonderful celebration? Not in this family.

I have had bit of a meltdown, yes me, who hardly ever sheds a tear, sorts everyone else’s problems, but found suddenly, enough was enough. I have held back my feelings from family members to protect my elderly parents from further upset, they have had enough believe me, for far too long.

Money has always been an issue within the family, my parents on a basic pension, my younger brother has hardly worked in the last 10 years, my older brother has worked but found himself made redundant many times and living on a boat supporting his partially sighted partner. Divorce after 25 years married has had its impact on me financially, starting again with a mortgage which will be paid off shortly before I retire. But out of all of us I am the most financially secure, even though I work hard, full time to achieve that.

So I find myself helping out, my son who is in absolute dire straights financially. His benefits were stopped due to sick notes going missing, it has taken 3 months to finally get some benefits for him, in the meantime I have paid his rent and taken food parcels to him. Because he was getting no benefits he could not even register for the food bank. His girlfriend has of course supplied him with money for alcohol.

But finally his benefits be they meagre, have arrived in his account. And he has gone on a drinking spree. I have spoken to him in his drunken stupor, no, I have cried to him in his drunken stupor “your wonderful grandad who adores you, his eldest grandchild, is celebrating 90 years on this earth, and I cannot invite you to his celebrations” how that hurt to say. Especially when their step grandaughter who was not invited due to their limited finances (she of course said she would pay her family’s way) but as she wasn’t invited now refuses to come even though I have told her how welcome she would be.

At the same time my younger brother is going through a court case to try and have some custody of his son, of which I am totally in the middle, with his x wife. I have spoken truthfully with the social worker assigned to the case about my feelings towards my brother and his dominating controlling behaviour, his x wife’s lack of parenting skills, that poor child in the middle.

There was more upset with my parents over the celebration meal, my mum who is now partially deaf but refuses to acknowledge it , said she had not had enough say, the meal is too expensive (I opted for a roast, in a hotel that was easily accessible for people that were travelling) it’s just an average price, they are out of touch with prices, and I have asked for their opinion always.

I feel beaten tonight, well this week really. Tonight is my one night I have time to myself and go to a fun exercise class. I couldn’t face it.

And the very worst thing is? I have bought a bottle of wine, to ease the pain.

Will my next blog be (10 days sober)

At the moment I’m feeling that is a real possibility.

 

 

More Chaos

I think this is probably the longest period of time for a long time that I’ve actually not seen Faith.  I think I’m afraid to see him,  from what he’s telling me he must be thinner than ever.

So this weekend I made up a food parcel, called him to tell him I would be over to deliver it.  He was going down to the beach,  his words were slurred.  But his girlfriend Hope would be in I could give it to her.

It seemed odd to me he was going to the beach alone,  but there again their relationship is built around alcohol so it’s not a real relationship.

I took the food over later in the day,  as I was driving Faith called,  “Oh you will never guess what’s happened to me now?” Another bit of alcoholic chaos by any chance?

Yes, I right.

“I left my bag for a moment while I used the toilet and someone stole it”

So who leaves a bag on a beach unattended?  Someone who’s mind is fuzzy with alcohol, that’s who.

I can’t actually believe he’s dared to show his body down the beach. People must stare at him,  believe me he looks like one of those poor souls you see on the TV in Africa that are starving. But he seems oblivious.  I’m surprised he had the strength to walk there.  The day before he had called me as he was trying to make his way to catch a bus to go to hospital for blood tests.  “My legs keep giving way,  I have to keep sitting down or I will fall down”

So I drop the food off.  Hope actually looks well,  I think she made an effort as she knew I was going round. She is grateful for the food and apologises profusely for spoiling my birthday and starts crying.  I don’t tell her it’s OK, I tell her she will continue to hurt people while she continues to drink. Hopefully my next birthday will be better.

Later that I get a call from Faith thanking me for the food.

Then later in the evening another call “You will never guess what’s happened to me now?  I fell down the stairs,  right from the top,  my legs gave way, but I hadn’t been drinking had I Hope?” This is confirmed in the background by Hope.

No absolutely nothing to do with alcohol,  would you believe that?

“The whole of one side of me is bruised and I think I will have a black eye, I’m lucky I didn’t break my neck”

With the state of his body he’s lucky nothing is broken,  they were the stairs in the flats that he lives in, nothing cushioned with carpet.  He bruises easily so God knows what he will look like now. He wants sympathy,  he gets none.  I tell him it is down to alcohol. That’s why his legs are so weak.  He argues it’s not. It’s where he spent a week in hospital not using his legs. I ask him why he was in hospital,  silence for a minute, then “because of alcohol”

I’m woken in the early hours by another call,  Hope has called the paramedics,  she is concerned he has concussion,  she is also drunk and angry with him.

I wake this morning not knowing if he’s in hospital or not.  I hope he is. But I doubt it.

New day, it was true, this too shall pass…..

IMG_1664How can 24 hours  make so much difference? Yesterday I was at war with the world.

Today I woke up, same old, off to work, nothing much has changed. Home late as I’m still doing holiday cover. My oven is broken and now it appears so is my front door lock, But, hey, the sun is shining and it’s warm.

I spoke to Faith, he has it seems finally got his act together and sorted his benefits out. Such a worry lifted, his rent will get paid, he won’t be out on the street.

How could I have complained about caring for my elderly parents, if my brothers don’t help that’s their problem not mine. I am blessed to still have them alive.

Tonight my partner and I found the energy to go for a walk. I had forgotten how very lucky we are in where we live. This is all is within 10 minutes walk from our home…

Tonight I feel gratitude for my family, my home, my job. And love ❤️ for one very trying person in my life. Today I received this…..

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This actually was last night, but I was too exhausted to publish

 

 

 

Birthday? What birthday? How very dare I?

IMG_1492I I had a bit of a meltdown last weekend.

I knew my birthday was looming,  the last few birthdays I’ve felt the loss of not having my daughter around on my birthday.  I don’t have a sister.  My friends who have sisters always seem to have such lovely birthdays,  it’s something women do isn’t it?

So I basically was feeling sorry for myself.  My partner stepped in and booked a meal somewhere special.

I am so lucky to live in an amazing and beautiful part of the country. The hotel where he booked the table has amazing sunset views over the sea. It’s always been bit of a joke between us, we once went in just for a drink and he walked out as he wouldn’t pay the prices.  So this really was a special treat.

Now,  if you have been reading my blog you will know Faith is in hospital.

He called me while I was at work.  I knew straight away his mind had gone again.  So I listened to his talk of all sorts of imaginary events.  I know he has no idea it’s my birthday so I don’t wait for, or be disappointed when he doesn’t wish me a happy birthday.

It’s a manic day at work. I’m covering colleagues who are on holiday. Whilst juggling my work,  trying to get the important things done, in the back of my mind I’m thinking I should call his girlfriend and the hospital.

In my lunch break I call Hope,  she doesn’t answer.  Mmmm that’s odd she hasn’t returned any of my calls since Monday when Faith went into hospital.

Aaahhh but he did say he had the phone charger.  Still odd. I thought she would have gone out and bought a new one.

I call the hospital twice. Can’t speak to anyone.

Back to the madness of work and I have no time to think about them.

When I eventually finish work,  I worked late to try and catch up, I don’t have a lot of time before we need to go out, and we need to vote also, I call Faith.  He is still totally out of it still. I can hear a nurse in the background telling another patient off. I ask if his girlfriend Hope is there, yes she’s here. “Can I speak to her, oh yes hang on, Oh I’m attached to a drip, I need to go and get her, He laughs “Ha ha, can you hear her? She is really loud and bossy, she’s trying to order everyone about” I know instantly she is not there. I tell him not to worry I will speak to her later. My house phone starts to ring. I tell Faith I will call him back.

When I pick up my house phone and hear Hopes mothers voice on the other end my heart sinks. She only ever calls when there is a problem, I know she’s going to say “have you heard anything from Hope” She does, and I want to cry. I know my evening has just gone how shall I say “tits up” .

Yes she’s concerned, she’s heard nothing from her since Monday, my heart is in free fall, I’ve been here before, then when she tells me they are in Wales on holiday I know this is going to be all down to me again. I am the only one with a key to their flat. The fact she has not been in to see Faith is extremely concerning, she just wouldn’t do that, for some crazy reason she seems to love him. My mind is working overtime, I can see her laying dead in their bed. I call the hospitals, last time she disappeared like this she was in hospital. No, she’s not been admitted anywhere. I feel sick, I call her mother back and tell her the news.

I also tell her it’s my birthday, I was just about to go out for my birthday meal, I will have to cancel it, there is no way in a million years I could go and eat my meal and enjoy it whilst thinking she could be laying unconscious or dead, this not being in contact with anyone for days is so out of character, she would have normally been keeping me updated with Faiths progress in hospital.

As you can understand she is devastated that I have to cancel my plans, And obviously very, very concerned about her daughter.

I tell my partner we will have to cancel the meal. He looks at me and shrugs. Here we are again, our lives being impacted again by the selfish alcoholics, I know that’s what he thinks. He’s right.

The journey takes 25 minutes. I ask my partner to please come in with me, I am so worried by what I might find.

As I walk into their room, there was no polite knocking, I am met by a very disheveled Hope. My immediate reaction is to hug her. Then, oh boy, does she get it. Like two barrels straight between the eyes, I am uncontrollable.

I get her mum on my phone so she can talk to her. I know the feeling of not knowing if they are OK.

She explains that she bought a cheap charger but it didn’t work, we try to get it working but I think she was right, we don’t manage to get the phone to turn on.

But I don’t stop, “you’ve had four days to get this working, you haven’t been to see Faith, what the hell have you been doing for four days?” The answer is obvious. The bed is stripped, she is shaking and slurring, uncomprehending, she offers a sorry… woah! Red rag to a bull, “sorry? Oh the explitatives that come out of my mouth, I tell her so many things that before I’ve not said. I don’t hold back.

We eventually leave, leaving her with strict instructions. I am yet again exhausted.

Now for my positive thoughts, yes I can find one. The birthday meal that was booked has amazing views when the weather is good. It was lashing down.

We found a really lovely authentic Greek restaurant that served us up the most amazing meal. The other restaurant can wait for a sunny day. So I get two birthday meals.