I just got shocking news this evening: after recently recovering from a knee injury from wrecking my old car, my father was rushed to the hospital this evening. At last report, he suffered a heart attack, is currently in ICU & hasn't regained consciousness. He also has fixed pupils, which isn't a good sign.
For those who haven't already read about this, I have a very complex relationship with my father. I'll spare you some of those details but I didn't have a Ward & June Cleaver upbringing. The only way my life would be similar would be if Ward had been an alcoholic who eventually cared more about drinking than his family & June had to step up and be both mother and father. My mother's definitely no stupid woman & she's a far better human being than many of us. My sister is definitely a better human being than many of us; maybe that's where she got it from.
Distance has improved that relationship in some ways. I don't have to be part of that drama or deal with him getting drunk & showing his ass. My mother would say he's mellowed in his old age & they've been through a bunch of shit but if it were me, I'd have left so many years ago. Remember, I'm the one who told my mother she should get a divorce when I was 7 years old.
I don't think I'd have married him in the first place but I probably say that having seen what it's like to live with an alcoholic parent. I know you can't change someone & it was my mother who told me that whatever a guy does before you marry him, he'll do after you marry him.
When I went to CT in 2003, I discovered that there was a huge amount of unresolved shit in that relationship. Particularly with his drinking with that neighbor kid when I was in 8th grade (an older kid we looked up to who was under 21) & me writing a long, multi-paged letter about how I felt. I think I even outright wished him dead in it.
I've gone from blind hatred & fantasies about killing him with the car to a state of numb indifference. I knew when we had this huge fight driving home even when the roads weren't great & he said "If you were a man, I'd punch you" that we weren't going to ever have a functional, normal father-daughter relationship as long as he sat in denial on this. Never said "I was wrong to do that & put you kids through the strife I put you through." My parents have never acknowledged putting us second, much less apologized for it.
That's why I'm so hard-core when it comes to not bringing kids in bad situations or putting them second in life. No kid needs to be put in the position of having to be the strong & responsible one, not having a parent to guide or protect them from the realities of life. Granted, it could have been far worse. I was never physically or sexually abused but the emotional abuse I got was bad. I did get called a bitch & because my mother wouldn't let us curse, we couldn't use profanity on my father.
I feel like it's even worse when someone's making your life Hell & doesn't have a substance abuse problem to partially excuse it. Drinking was a deal-breaker for me when I looked at who I'd marry. You couldn't be my husband & a social drinker; I outright told guys (including my husband) about my childhood & that I couldn't live that again so it would never last if I had to worry about alcoholism becoming a cast member. Maybe I should have added mental issues to that as well; it's something else I'm not good at handling & probably explains why many of my family members are as they are. My father was a great parent when he was sober; when he wasn't, it sucked.
I haven't really dwelled on this since I've been trying to live my own life & you can't resolve conflicts with someone who refuses to admit to doing anything wrong. Mainstream society would side with me on this & I shouldn't have to back down and say "Oh, it was perfectly okay to get drunk and not take us to things, embarrass us in front of our friends, let your drinking buddy kidnap us, make us have to keep secrets from our classmates & stunt our social development, drink with the underage neighbor kid we looked up to, etc."
I'm not sure how I feel about all this. I did tell my mother to pull the attorney card if she had to since I don't think anyone should be getting substandard care or general substandard treatment. My husband kept pushing me to have an emotion. I just have a million concerns in my head.
For one, I wonder if he's going to live or end up brain dead i.e. not being the same person. I know my family can't afford an institution & it would kill them to do that. I also don't really want that kind of financial drain on my mother since she's gone through enough in this life. She doesn't need more. He apparently never said anything about staying on life support or not.
Second, I wonder if and/or when I'll have to go to NC. That prospect bothers me, especially when things have been going well for me. Even my husband has had things look up for him. I would have no place to stay unless I was in a hotel since people either have no space, aren't in town or their homes would be unsafe for me. My husband said he'd go with me to any funeral that happens but I saw how he acted last time when shit hit the fan so I'm concerned he'd just cave again and let Nick the Ineffectual continue to think he's his better.
I, on the other hand, will be very nasty if he gets problems & have no issue telling Nick the Ineffectual to his face that I wish for him to watch his son die a slow, painful death. Be a monster to me & I'll be monstrous right back. Even up the ante if I feel I need to for my mental health.
My husband didn't get that you can't tell someone who's gone through the things I have that they must go backwards after making so much forward progress. Call me selfish, naive, whatever but going backwards would be my functional death. If you give me no pro-social outlet, I'll have to go the antisocial route. I've told people this before & I felt like my husband ignoring it meant he didn't truly believe me or get what it is to me. No therapy is going to change my view & I'm not going to take meds; I don't feel I need them since I do function fairly well & am far happier today than I was living in NC or the South (who wouldn't be happier living their dreams?). I bet meds would also steal my creative energy & who wants "normal" me? I wouldn't & doubt any true friend would either. My husband goes without saying; he's definitely anti-meds on general principle.
Third, I'm not sure how this whole thing is going to resolve with me mentally. I'm not earth shatteringly devastated & do feel worse for my mom and sister. I can't live up to some little "happy, functional family" tableau. My reactions are different. My tears (if anyone ever sees them since I don't cry in public very much; I'm not even good at letting myself sit & have a good cry) are for different reasons. The unresolved stuff is definitely part of it. The fact that I never got that acknowledgment is another part. Can't we have something in between total sadness & indifference? That's where I'm at right now. I also at least understand the "why" of my father's alcoholism, which didn't come until later in college.
So much is going through my mind right now. I'm not sure I'll get to sleep tonight even though I'm coming down with a cold. Maybe I should do dishes or put meat away. It's a radical notion at 3:30 in the morning but hey, I have to do that stuff sometime.