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Alcoholism: My Uncle Bob

My uncle is an alcoholic. He’s been one for years. I just recently found out about it last year. I was never close to him, he’s barely an uncle to me, but he happens to be very close to my mom.

He had a company in California and the economy started going down hill so he lost everything. He is now in a different state. He was in a relationship with a woman who manipulated him and ultimately brought him down. My mom went down to his place to see him. He said to her that if his parents (my grandparents) weren’t alive, he’d be dead. He was very suicidal. My mother had to forcefully take a knife out of his hand so he wouldn’t slit his wrists.

Later this year my mom and I went to Atlanta and, damn, he looked horrible! When he’s drunk he gets angry. My mom and I left to go to the store with my other uncle, my aunt, and my cousin and when we came back he was drinking something. My uncle asked him what it was, and he said, “Coke.” My uncle said, “You’d better not be lying to me.” It wasn’t Coke, it was beer.

Because of his drinking habits he now has an enlarged heart. His issues are tearing my family apart. My grandparents and my mother are miserable with worry and pain. It hurts them to see him like this.

Next weekend, my family is planning on getting him into rehab. It has been so hard to get the money for it. It’s been a crazy, constant struggle. It fucking sucks. We are hoping and praying he agrees to go, because if he doesn’t go soon, odds are he’s going to die. I don’t know if my grandparents can handle that. I’m almost sure they can’t. My mom tells me if he dies, they will too.

Thanks for reading. Your prayers would be very helpful. (I changed my uncle’s name for privacy purposes.)

All Is Lost…

I don’t know where to begin. Too much has happened in my life, it even seems unreal to me at times. My coping mechanisms are different than most people because I have Dissociative Identity Disorder, or DID for short. I will try to be as clear as I can about the events while protecting myself from the grief.

The first trauma – I was sexually abused by an older brother from ages of 5 until 9. That is when my DID began. When I was 9 years old, my mom committed suicide. Her suicide had 2 lasting effects on my life- 1st, it sent my abuser away to live in another state and 2nd, it formed a wall inside of me that will always and forever prevent me from taking my own life.

My twin brother and I went to live with our paternal grandparents. It was not always easy there. I don’t think or believe the same as the rest of my relatives, so while not exactly worthy of outright hate, I was not worthy of unconditional love either. I tried to earn love and respect by getting good grades in school, but that only seemed to alienate me further. My grandparents were hard working farmers and completely illiterate. I would keep my mouth shut, so my “book learnin” wasn’t quite so obvious.

It wasn’t that they didn’t care, I think they just didn’t know how to respond to me. They felt uncomfortable with me. I loved them anyway.

My dad was a truck driver. He drove “cross country,” so he wasn’t home much. Once, he was gone for 2 years. I used to sit on Grandma’s front porch and wait for him, hope in my heart for the slim chance of him coming home. When he did arrive, he would flood my twin brother with gifts and stories. I would get a hug and a pat on the head. I wanted to sit on his lap, to hear the stories, to ride in the “big rig” with him like my twin. I still don’t understand how being a girl made me unequal. I needed him to love me the way he loved my brother, but that would never be the case.

After I was married, he came to my house looking for my twin. He had not yet met my newborn son. I begged him to come in. I would make coffee, we could wait together for my brother to come home. He stood at the door and said he would come back when my brother was home. I shut the door, slid down to the floor and cried. Why was I so unlovable? Why was I not worth an hour of his time? After that, I decided that I was done begging for his attention. I had my own issues to worry about.

My husband was abusive. I left him when my son was 6 yrs old. I moved in with someone I met online, a terrible decision because he was not good for me or my son. I left him too, and quickly found myself living in my dad’s basement.

I went to college, earned all A’s and a degree, and met a wonderful man. He does not abuse me in any way, and I finally felt loved for the first time ever.

My son was 15 by then. He had undiagnosed autism and an IQ of only 72, but we tried so very hard to create a safe and loving home for him. Sometimes it was really difficult, he was rebellious towards my boyfriend, never wanting to listen to him. I cringed every time I heard him say, “You’re not my dad.” We worked to try to make things better.

When my son was 19 years old, he came home from school one day and told me he had met a wonderful girl and wanted to date her. The problem was she was only 14.  Her parents were divorced. I spoke with her mom, and she was alright with the situation. I never heard from the girl’s father, figuring I would get the chance at some point because he welcomed my son over to his place once or twice.

It was early morning on a Friday. I went to check on my son. There was no answer when I knocked on his door. I open his door a crack. It smelled like old socks because he never cleans it, but he was not in bed. His backpack was gone. I figured he must have gotten himself off to the school bus by himself, unusual, but I was happy about it. I spent the day dreaming of the wedding I hoped to be planning with my boyfriend soon.

When my boyfriend arrived home, I realized that my son was not home from school yet. I told myself he was probably at his girlfriend’s house having dinner, so I had my boyfriend call over there. At first, my boyfriend was silent, then he stood up and turned on the TV. There on the news, was a picture of my son and his girlfriend. The caption on the picture said, “Man, 19, kills 14 year old girlfriend’s father.”

In that moment, I lost everything that I had ever held dear, my hopes and dreams gone, blasted away in pain, regret and remorse. What did I do wrong? How could I not know that was going to happen? I blame myself every single day …if only I knew what was happening, if only I would have done things differently …if only …IF FUCKING ONLY!!

That was 8 months ago. I have not been able to touch my only child. He does not emote very well, never has. He will go to trial in the spring. The best I can even hope for is that they will put him into a mental institution instead of a prison …but how likely is that? I don’t know. I know if you are capable of doing something like that, you need to be kept away from society. He had never been violent before, and has not been violent since. He waited for the police, admitted his guilt. He cooperated and did not flee.

My son was nearly strangled to death already. It is a painful reality that he will not do well with the rest of the prison population. He cannot read people’s emotions, and does not understand when someone is being sarcastic. His mental age is 14, and he is easy to manipulate.

My boyfriend is still with me, thankfully. My twin still talks to me, but my dad and grandparents passed away before all this happened. The rest of my family speaks ill of me because of my “different” ways of thinking. My community hates me because I am the mother of a murderer. I feel completely and utterly alone.

I am not suicidal, I won’t take that road, even after all of this, but I am not actively living now either. So, where does that leave me?  I don’t know, but I don’t like it.

Ebb And Flow

This is a very hard thing for me to admit.

I’m in love with two men.

I am a happily married woman. I love my husband completely and am fully committed to him. We have a great life together, three beautiful children, and a nice home. I have no complaints.

But my husband is sick. He has multiple health problems that could take him away from us at any time. He could live to be 90, or he could die next week. It’s hard to know. I know that his death will be heartbreaking. Every health scare brings me to tears.

There is a very dear friend of mine who I have known since childhood. He has been there for me through thick and thin. In our younger years, there was a time that he was in love with me. I didn’t feel the same then. He eventually moved on, got married, had children of his own. But every once in a while, I get a glimpse of the love he still holds for me.

I realized a few months ago that the feelings I have for him go deeper than just friendship. I am in love with him. I think the love for him has been there for a long time, I just didn’t see it.

I am very careful to make sure I don’t do or say anything inappropriate. I could never hurt my husband, or my friend’s wife. I don’t say things to him that I wouldn’t tell my husband, and I don’t spend time alone with him, so nothing could be construed as improper. This is not a case of physical or even emotional infidelity. I keep my feelings for him tightly locked inside my own heart.

The problem is each time my husband’s health sidetracks our lives again, I find myself daydreaming about a life with my friend – being married to him. My friend’s marriage has never been stable. I picture us in the future – my friend divorces his wife, then my husband dies. My friend and I get married and spend the rest of our lives traveling and enjoying each other’s company.

Maybe it stems from my fears of my husband’s death. Maybe I just don’t want to be alone. Maybe it’s just easier to imagine a life without that fear of death constantly looming over my head. Maybe I just need therapy.

It is what it is, and I can’t change it. I love my husband. I want him. But if I can’t have him, I want my friend.

I Can’t Tell Anyone

I have been dating my boyfriend for almost two years, but I am unable to tell him things from before we met. The minor things are okay, things like “I was married for about a year” “my ex-husband used to drink”. Those things are fairly minor.

I tried to tell him about the other stuff, but my heart starts pounding and I find I can’t breathe very well, my fingers get pins and needles. Then I just can’t say it. I get so cross with myself, I feel like such a failure. How hard is it to open my mouth and speak? I was going to tell him, I had a few drinks to get the courage, but then I had too much, and I still couldn’t tell him.

I am shy, I don’t ever want to be the centre of attention, and I feel too exposed to say it in words. None of my friends who know, I did tell my husband, that wasn’t difficult, but that was a lot of years ago now. Why is it difficult now?

It all started so long ago. I was 14. I went for a walk on my own in the woods. I was going to start smoking, so I wanted to be away! I walked through the trees to a clearing and there was a jogger. He only had his trainers on. I guess most people who have any sense would turn right around and leave, back the way they came. But I didn’t have much sense. I carried on walking, straight past him. Close enough to touch, but he didn’t. I wasn’t going to let that put me off, I had a destination in mind, and that’s where I wanted to go.

Anyway, if it wasn’t for a man walking his dog the whole story would have a very different ending. I didn’t tell my parents when I got home, but I told my best friend at school. She persuaded me to tell a teacher, then my parents, then the police.

Its not a bad story, after all nothing happened. But why can’t I tell him? Why does it play on my mind? Why does it matter?

I had my first boyfriend when I was 15, he was 18 and he raped me.

But I didn’t understand what it was, I just thought, “this is how its supposed to be.” I didn’t know I had a choice. It did mess my head up. When he dumped me, I started self harming. I didn’t understand what it was at the time, why cutting myself made me feel better, but it did. I never told anyone about the cutting, I had long sleeves, so no one saw.

I told my next boyfriend “I don’t want to” and he didn’t, but it still went down-hill from there. Sometimes it was okay, but other times he wanted the me I was before, the happy me. That girl was gone.

I wasn’t happy for a long time. I cut myself and burned myself, but never told anyone. I overdosed twice and went to hospital once. I had sex with a lot of people. I didn’t love myself so why should anyone else?

I did find someone to love. He loved me too, in his own way, after all we did get married. He left me. I had a young daughter, and it was so hard on my own. I had to have a job, which was good because it was probably the only thing that kept me sane. I went out for a rare evening with work. I met a man who I knew from my sleeping around days, and we went to my house. I didn’t want to have sex, but he did. It wasn’t rape, I could have screamed or pushed him off.  I asked him to leave, then I had a bath, at 2 am.

Then I meet my fella. He’s nice. He doesn’t want me to send him pictures of myself with no clothes on. He doesn’t want sex all the time. He comes to visit me and he give me a cuddle. That’s what I’ve been looking for all this time, cuddles.

We won’t ever live together, or get married, or have children together. But I know one day, that is what I will want. I’m 22 years younger than him. Sometimes I think of what I’m missing out on – a family.  But then I think of what/how I used to be. I was unhappy. I was sad. But now most of the time, I’m okay.

I still can’t tell him anything though. I can’t tell anyone.

Some Days

Some days I move forward. I think about you. But I’m able to smile and not get sucked in. I remember, but I don’t cry.

I see your face on my phone. It’s there always. All the time. And I smile.

“Hi, Daddy.” That’s what I say. I smile, say that, and I’m okay.

And then the other days. They suck.

I cry. Hard.

I remember the fear. The feeling I felt when I heard the words.

I replay the moments in between knowing something was wrong and knowing you were gone.

I hear my brother’s voice.

My heart hurts so very much.

I wish I had a way to rewind it all.

And bring you back.

It hurts so f*cking much.

You’re supposed to still be here.

I’m supposed to be singing with you until you’re in your 90’s. AT LEAST.

And you’re not here. You’re not coming back. You are missing. You took a piece of my heart with you.

A chunk. A large one. And that empty space? It aches like HELL.

When the good days come and I’m smiling? I feel like it’s a small betrayal, to you, myself, our family. It’s just not fair. I try to remember you with a smile through the tears. I try to think of the moments that make me laugh. And I do. I can do it. But in the end, you’re still not here. Not coming back.

And it sucks. My heart hurts. Because it sucks.

I love you, Daddy. I miss you. I carry you in my heart always. That part is full. Despite the chunk I lost when I lost you. You fill up the rest of my heart with memories and laughter and moments where you simply held my hand. That’s all I need, for you to hold my hand as I make my way through this.

Do you think that’s possible? Reach down and hold me. I know you’re watching. You should be able to do it. Right? How does it work, anyway? Ah. I’m surely asking too much. But sometimes I have to.

Because I love you, Pops. And I miss you. Always.