TW: death, alcoholism

As I have written here before, my dad died last May.

I had a really complicated relationship with him. He stayed married to an absolutely toxic person for twenty years, even though he wanted out by year five. This person was in a mothering role to me and yet was completely inappropriate, manipulative, selfish, and juvenile. My dad drank to escape, and when I was around 14 I became his drinking companion.

For that reason, as well as many others, I am an alcoholic. I feel no shame about that. And I know now that the only person who was responsible for my continued drinking was me. But that was a hard lesson, and a very adult lesson. I grew up a lot when I figured that out. I saw my father in a new way, too - his irresponsibility, his humanity, his longing for connection. He was a person who made bad choices and ultimately suffered gravely because of them. I have no doubt that at least fifteen years of active alcoholism contributed to his colon cancer and death. 55 years old, one AM, the day after his birthday.

So I’ve aged a lot in the past year. And I’m facing, now, the deaths which will follow. My beloved grandmother won’t be on this earth forever. She and I are so close, and I feel horrible considering the aftermath of her passing. But it’s a reality.

Everyone dies. That’s the danger of loving people - we will lose them. We will dole out and divide their possessions: college yearbooks, family photographs, the cherry chest refinished by a great grandfather we never met. We will remember them, all the things they said and all the things they didn’t.

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I feel old, and tired, and scraped out like a gourd. My grandmother is in her bedroom, her cat curled at her feet, the television on MSNBC. I miss her already. Some nights like this I want a drink, or some new pretty thing I can’t afford, or a cigarette, and then the adult me steps in and says, deal with your feelings, don’t drown them.

I always wanted to be an adult. To be free. But I didn’t know how difficult it was to grow up.