I will always wonder if I did everything I could to save him.
I sat in the coffee shop with my new friend talking about our mutual love for the day shelter for homeless individuals where we both volunteer. As we shared our stories, I discovered we were drawn to this unique place of grace and mercy for some of the same reasons. Like me, she had a family member who battled addiction. Like me, she had helplessly watched someone she loved deeply hurtling head long down the path of self-destruction. Like me, something about this holy place brought healing to the broken places left behind.
When Daddy died in 2008, I wrote about the complicated messy reality of saying goodbye to my intelligent, charismatic, loving, tragic hero of a father. In spite of multiple treatments for his illness, he could never escape the demons which haunted him and ultimately killed him. My siblings and I, along with his parents and his multiple wives, begged, cajoled, scolded, ranted and cried hoping to convince him to stop drinking and take care of himself. We alternately tried to take control of his life and left him to fend for himself in our efforts to persuade him to do what he needed to do to get better. Ultimately, I couldn’t stand by and watch him bring about his own destruction and my contact with him in the last decade was strained and infrequent. He called on Thanksgiving, 3 days before his death, but I was too busy preparing the holiday meal and told him I would call him back later. I never spoke with him again. Continue reading