Wednesday, February 29, 2012

An Alcoholic Moment...

I was a bit reluctant to blog tonight due to my "not so inspirational mood"; then I thought that maybe one or more of my readers may know EXACTLY how I am feeling at this moment and just knowing they are not alone may help them out. So... I decided to suck it up and blog! That's why I do this anyway right? To help others know what to do or how to feel or what to say in certain situations because that is what a motivational/inspirational person does, so here I am.

Trying to make a long story short, (by the way I stink at that)... I am a Daddy's girl, always have been. Tonight however, I had an epiphany; and the meaning of being a Daddy's girl changed what defines this phrase for me now. (sigh.... this is a hard one to put out there.) At 7:00 my cell phone rang and it was my Dad, usually he calls me much later so I quickly answered thinking something must be wrong. You see... my step-mom has been battling lung cancer for the past two years and it has been quite the roller coaster, as most cancers are. Treatment, check-up, improvement, treatment, sickness, checkup- no improvement, experimental drugs dose 1, no improvement, dose 2, improvement, dose 3, checkup, nothing more that they can do.  And that is why he was calling tonight. Her checkup after dose 3 of an experimental drug was yesterday and the outcome was not a good one, "Game Over." The battle is now merely a waiting game, and my Dad called me to talk. I listened and did my best to cheer him up... not an easy task when he has been drinking, and he had been.

We talked for a while; great conversation... (stage 2) by the way, that "stage" reference will make sense by the end of this post. We hung up, then he called me back a little while later to talk some more. (stage 3) The conversation took a nose dive at some point leaving me no choice but to say how I felt and the kindly dismissing the conversation by saying I had to go. (before stage 4) He was complaining about not seeing his grand kids... how he wishes I lived closer. I proceeded to encourage (once again) the use of his computer, facebook, Skype, all of this great stuff that could help him stay connected from afar and he bah-humbugged my request; he is a bit old fashioned. (He still uses an analog cell phone that is 12 years old if that paints a picture for you) I gave him a heart-felt lecture about being stubborn,  about how complaining is not productive, how if you have a problem you solve it with a logical solution, and how embracing change in technology did not mean you had to forfeit nostalgic things such as a phone call or a printed picture. I have been listening to my dad complain of these things for years yet he refuses to solve the problem, in fact he resists the solution completely. He does not even know how to send or check email. (nothing more frustrating). The conversation ended when I told him how sad I was that he had not come to visit me at ALL in 12 years...(yes it went there) and how I was tired of the excuses of why he couldn't. He has been to Massachusetts at least 6 times to see his sisters and family in that time frame but a trip to Florida to see his daughter and grand-kids? Nope, I got excuses of why he could't instead, and tonight he began to give me more of the same. I was truly hoping by sharing my sadness and "lay-them-on-the-table" feelings that he may respond differently.

I love my Dad... and I hate that he is having to go through this. I wish I could be closer to him in order to help; but I can't. The best I can do is to answer his phone calls and do what I can from afar. My Dad is an alcoholic; was recovered for 8 years but started drinking again when Nancy was diagnosed with cancer... the very same path he took after being sober for 7 years before my sister Teresa died, it's how he "copes". If I may be selfish for a moment however, the drinking makes it harder for me.

As I end this post tonight, my heart is heavy. I want to hug my Dad... tell him I am here for him, but distance prevents that from happening. I cannot fathom what this cancer journey has put him through, how scared he must be, and how lonely he will feel when she is gone. I feel guilty for the way the conversation ended, but by now I am used to the "stages" and he will probably not remember half of it tomorrow. One day I hope that I can say that I am having normal, healthy conversations with my dad again... sober... thing is, he is not too talkative without a few beers. Below is an excerpt from my book Wishing you all a great night/day. Off to sleep for me, happy thoughts... happy thoughts.

Excerpt from " I Need the Happy Ending" by Shelley Giard ©2011

"My dad is a WONDERFUL man, a talented carpenter, a brilliant guitar player & singer, the apple of my eye... and an alcoholic. As I have gotten older, I starve for his approval, his attention, his love and caring, but getting it is not an easy task. Much of this need for approval stems from when I became a mother at 18 at which time he told me I would never fulfill my dreams... needless to say I made him eat those words and it was because of his words that I tried so hard. He has four stages of "drunkenness" stage 1: Happy-go-lucky, 2. The reminiscent one who is SO proud of you and your accomplishments, 3.Woe is me 4. Bitterness sets in and all your shortcomings must be discussed. 

Many girls wish for their Dad's to be a part of their lives, many girls have Dad's as part of their lives, some girls have lost their Dad's, and then... there is me. My Dad is alive, he is part of my life... he calls me all of the time; when he is drinking and needs someone to talk to. When he was sober, I rarely heard from him. When he is in "stage 2" of drunkenness he embellishes me and tells me how wonderful I turned out, he brags on my amazing ability to write... how inspirational I am and how proud he is of me and all my accomplishments; for once I wish he would say the same things sober... that moment would be part of my "happy ending."

 My Dad back in the day

Dad today