I miss you every moment of my life
There’s so much pain you’ve left that I mostly find I can’t talk about it because I just don’t know where to begin. Your funeral was one of the worst moments of my life – standing in a room with only a handful of people, whilst sobbing through the speech I was trying to give for you, whilst we all avoided talking about real reason why you weren’t there. I didn’t want anyone to know you’d been anything but the fun-loving, kind-hearted man they remembered. I only wanted you to be remembered as that person. I was with you in the hospital right before you died, you looked much older and were just a shell of the person I remembered. I told you that I loved you. I don’t know if you heard me. I’m still frightened you died thinking you were unloved.
I miss you dad. I miss you every moment of my life. But it’s like all my memories are jumbled up. I have odd childhood memories of you as this parent who was always up for play time, who loved to joke and laugh. But they’re faded memories, I don’t remember them so well. What I remember clearly is the last 15 years of your gradual spiral from just drinking beers – to wine – to daily bottles of vodka. I have a handful of photos of you when I was child, but virtually none as an adult, because you were drunk and any photos taken were too painful to look at.
Most people didn’t know, some thought I wasn’t close to you because I never spoke about you, others thought I’d hated you or if I had mentioned the drinking they had joked about having a few too many beers and not really understanding what it was like. From around 2012 onwards, you slowly drifted from functioning to losing everything. I lost count of the amount of times I heard a loud bang, and ran upstairs to find you drunk and injured on the floor. There were so many A&E trips for cracked ribs, a bruised face, a concussion, a fractured spinal bone. You lost your job because of your drinking, your marriage fell apart because of the drinking. And every time it was someone else’s fault. It was your Epilepsy. It was my mum’s fault. It was my fault. Not the bottle of vodka you’d finished by 11am. You thought we hated you, no matter how many times we said we loved you. I feel like I tried everything, charities, AA leaflets, the church, I sent a begging letter to your GP to do something, but every time one reached out to you, you became angry and wouldn’t accept the help offered. And now that you’re gone I know you won’t ever get better. That ridiculous hope I couldn’t shake, that maybe this time you’d stop drinking, it’s gone. You never did get better.
I’m always numb when people try to compare losing you to their own lives. I genuinely know it’s well-meaning and people are just trying to be kind. But I can’t relate to it. I don’t have a shared kinship of a family coming together to mourn someone. We were left with the broken pieces of our lives and yours. And the constant guilt. Did I try enough, what could I have done more, did I let you down. And that last lonely question of ‘why wasn’t I enough?’.
It’s been just over a year since you died now. I’m coping better than I thought I was capable of. I still have days where the guilt and loss is overwhelming, but I also have days where I’m peaceful. As much as I miss you, I don’t miss the alcohol and perpetual cycle of despair and helplessness I felt. But this is my life now, you won’t be there if I get married, or if I have children. You’re no longer here to see anything I accomplish in my life. But then even when you were here you weren’t truly here. I don’t want you to be forgotten, but it’s hard accepting what has to be remembered.