Friday, April 28, 2006

Dear Senior Citizen

Around here the mail is usually hoe-hum. It's either bills, or crap, or both. Sometimes there's some sort of freebie thing I've signed up for or a quarterly yarn catalog to drool over...that's on a good day. In today's mail I found a letter addressed to me. It looked pretty important, I mean I could see through the little cellophane window that the paper inside was pink. Pink is important, right? I wasn't quite sure what to make of it. I haven't had a "real" job in over 3 years so it couldn't be Uncle Same, I haven't been hospitalized or even seen a doctor in 2 1/2 years, and since we finally have health insurance and Geof's Medicaid expired in January, I was stumped. Half excited, I opened it......"Dear, Senior Citizen..." Geez, I know some days I feel old, but I'm not ready for the retirement home just yet...or even retirement! I didn't read any further..oh well, there's always tomorrow.

Wow, a whole paragraph devoted to my junk special.

I won't be around next week. Geof and I will once again be visiting my folks. I hadn't planned on it, I'd rather be here, but I think we need to go. I don't like to disclose too much of my personal life here, basically because it involves telling parts of other people's life stories, good and bad, plus writing about it forces me to own it, and sometimes I'd rather not. Tonight, I'm in a sharing mood...lucky you. My Dad is an alcoholic. I hate using that word because of all the stereotypical things that spring to mind when someone is labeled as such. My father is none of those. He's a happy drunk, really. He's not abusive in any way, well, maybe self-abusive. He's a wonderful person. He doesn't wake up and reach for the whiskey bottle or anything like that. He drinks at night, alone in his drawing room. Every single night since I can remember he'll sit at his desk and draw and drink. Usually beer, with a shot of whiskey every now and then. I've always known that he was a beer drinker, I remember being Geof's age and fetching them for him. It wasn't until I was in high school that I realized he had a problem, and that's only because my Mom told me. I'd find him passed out in the living room floor, or at his desk with a cigarette still burning. I always naively thought it was because he was sleepy and that he just fell asleep. I asked Mom about it and she told me the truth. I was stunned. Like I mentioned before, when I would hear that someone is an alcoholic, I had preconceived notions as to what kind of behavior they would exhibit, most people do. So anyway fast forward about 8 years, 2 leg amputations, rapidly declining health, and dozens of hospital stays and things have progressively gotten worse. He's depressed a lot, and rightfully so, and the more depressed he gets, the more he drinks. If I were in his situation, I'm sure I'd be doing the same thing. He's told me many times before that Geof is the only reason he wakes up in the morning. He's ready to die, but I'm not ready to let go. Mom's been emailing me that this past week has been pretty rough. He's been really depressed. I talked with him tonight and mentioned that we might come down, and his voice lit up. How could I not go? So anyway, that's where we'll be next week.

On a side note, I really like how open my parents are with me. They've always treated me like I was an adult. They've always been open, and treated me with respect. I'm thankful for that. But sometimes, the kid in me just doesn't want to hear about it all. I understand why they tell me these things and I don't fault them for it, sometimes I'd rather just be in the dark. Ignorance is bliss.


Blogger Deneen said...

You're right, how could you not go? It's good for Geoff and your dad to spend the time together-making memories.

Your a sweetie and ya know it.

April 28, 2006 10:43 PM  

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