I remember one of my first thoughts moments after the accident occurred was that this couldn’t be happening again. I wasn’t supposed to lose someone close to me again. I had already survived what I considered to be my life’s tragedy when I lost my mom. It felt impossibly wrong. I just kept saying, why is this happening AGAIN?!?!?!
My mom died 20 years ago this May. Tonight we just found out that my dad’s wife has a very rare form of stage IV bone cancer. How is this happening again to him? How is any of this fair? My life has taken on this surreal feeling again, where I’m unsure what is real and what isn’t.
Besides losing Benny, the darkest hours of my life were when my mom was sick and after she passed. Even though my parents had a complicated relationship, my dad was incredible for my mom when she was sick. He was unwavering in his strength and willingness to do anything and everything for her. I guess that I’m lucky because in those moments I got to witness what real, unadulterated love looks like. For all of his faults, that man was truly amazing for my mom when she was sick.
But he was sick too. My dad is an alcoholic, plain and simple. I had spent 14 years of my mom sparing me from most of that though and my dad and I had a pretty good relationship. I’m one of those lucky people that really had an amazing childhood complete with what I consider to be great family memories, undiluted by my father’s illness. As a child I really didn’t know any different, ignorance is bliss.
When my mom passed, obviously everything changed. I was alone in my house with my father, alone being the key word. He disappeared. Fell apart. Broke down. My life became a series of days – going to school, coming home, taking whatever money was left on the counter to buy dinner and going to bed, waking up at whatever time in the morning to hear my father stumble in the door, clearly drunk. I would spend a lot of time at friends homes because no one was ever home at mine. I coped the best that I could by hiding behind a smile and moving forward. Trying to keep it together, thinking it could always be worse. Wondering why it was my mom that had passed. Looking back, it was a dark time, but I was too young to even comprehend what I was going through and know how completely wrong it was.
It’s probably why after Benny died, it was so important to me that Parker and I didn’t shut down on Darcy or each other. It’s why I don’t accept people disappearing from our lives as ok, or have any ability to deal with their weaknesses. I’m still not great at expressing emotion because quite honestly, if I let myself feel 100% of what I should, I would probably be in a padded room somewhere. But that’s ok, because I know my limitations and I’m trying my damndest to work through them to be as healthy as I can for my family. I’m not strong, I’m just doing what I need to do to survive.
It’s taken a very long time, but we finally have a good relationship again, probably not the healthiest, but it works for us. I’m terrified about what all of this means for my father and my own family. I don’t know if he’s strong enough to go through this again. I’m angry as all hell that he should even have to. Has he not suffered enough? I just don’t get it. We’re given one life to live, how many times can you just roll through the punches before enough is enough? My stepmother actually apologized to him for getting sick, because she doesn’t want him to have to go through this again. My heart is breaking for both of them. How many tragedies should one have to endure in their lifetime? This is my question.