I can’t believe I’m writing about this, I can’t fully express myself verbally but I am about to try. I have got to get this out of my mind.
The night before Easter, right after my husband and I got the Easter goodies prepared for our son’s seeking adventure the next morning…I got the call.
My father usually never calls me past 8:30 at night as he knows we’re usually getting our son to sleep, but sometimes Clint (Dad) has had way too much to drink and calls me drunk and depressed. So when the phone showed he was calling at 9:30 PM, I just didn’t have it in me to answer the phone and deal with his ramblings like I have for the past 2 1/2 years. I waited for the little alert on my phone to show a voicemail was recorded, but it never showed. I assumed he realized the time or decided calling me drunk once again wasn’t a good idea. Until my phone rang again and it was my cousin. At that moment I knew something bad had happened and I had to answer. “Hey Katy it’s Josh, my mom wanted me to try to get a hold of you. You’re dad is in an ambulance on the way to the hospital. He’s overdosed on Ambien and has been drinking all day. That’s all I know. She tried calling you, but you didn’t answer and your sister won’t answer either so I’m not sure what to do next.”
My heart hit the floor and was pounding out of my chest. FUCK!
I kept calling my Aunts cell phone and she wouldn’t answer. I kept calling my sister and her husband and they wouldn’t answer. The drive from dad’s house to the hospital is 45 minutes and I was shaking uncontrollably. I called the hospital ahead of time to give them my name and number, who I was and that he was coming via ambulance and why. For one hour I sat with my heart pounding and dying inside with panic because I couldn’t reach anyone. Is he dead?
Clint tried to kill himself the day after my brother died a year and a half ago, luckily he only had ingested 5 Ambien before he was able to get stopped by his friend. Then 6 months later he parked his truck in the garage running and closed the door, to have been discovered by a friend in time again. Then 2 months later he called me drunk again telling me he was going to do kill himself as he just couldn’t walk this earth any longer, so I called the Sheriffs office to get there. They did, he said he was fine and they left. He was really pissed at me that I did that to him. Since then he has spoken of killing himself on a weekly basis. I have called his doctor begging her to stop prescribing Ambien to him and she ignored me. I have begged him to get counseling, grief group, help of some sort…but he’s refused. Always the next day after he sobers up he says he feels stupid and doesn’t know why he gets that way. I have talked to him until blue in my face and he refuses to get help. I’ve cried, begged, threatened…you name it I’ve done it.
After 1 hour I called the hospital, all she could tell me is they were working on him and she would have the doctor call me. My father has been an alcoholic all his life, he has had many traumas and crisis that he’s refused to get help for. Recently his wife died of alcoholism complications 2 1/2 years ago and then his son 10 months later from a tragic fall from a cliff. I have yet to tackle writing about my brother’s death because it hurts so bad.
Basically my dad is a 73-year-old hot mess and I can’t save him.
Finally the phone rang and it was the doctor. Dad took 30 Ambien with a lot of alcohol, he was dead on arrival to the emergency room, but they were able to counteract the sedative and bring him back. He was placed on life support measures to help him breathe because the Ambien would cause him possible respiratory distress for the next 12 hours. The Doctor was admitting him to the ICU for close observation. He should survive this, but only time will tell.
Finally my sister called me and she was extremely intoxicated as well as her husband was, both of them very dysfunctional and incapable of rationalizing. My sister and I have medical power of attorney, but my copy is at my dad’s house 5 hours away, so we agreed she would get her copy faxed to the hospital the next morning.
I cried myself to sleep and woke up crying, slept for 3 hours and had to wake up and do the Easter egg hunt with our 4-year-old son. After a couple of hours awake I called the ICU and talked with the doctor, he said based on my dad’s history and his deep intent on dying he is going to recommend admitting my dad to a mental health facility for a few weeks. I started to prepare myself to drive there so I could help with the logistics and being there for when dad woke up. I called my sister and explained to her the hospital needed the POA as soon as possible and to please get it faxed there. She said she would.
Two hours later the doctor called and told me they got dad awake and extubated and he was breathing on his own so not to rush myself, that my dad would be in the ICU for a few days. I called my sister to explain this and she refused to talk to me because she was drunk and couldn’t deal with it, as was her husband.
My Aunt lives with my dad, she had gone up to my dad’s bedroom the night before to check on him and say good night and found him unresponsive with the empty bottle. She saved his life. That next day I called her and asked her to please grab my dad’s legal papers for the hospital and she refused. She knew he was going to possibly go into a long-term admission to the mental health facility and she didn’t want to lose her drinking buddy, nor the control she has over him. She also told me that she wouldn’t let me into the house, so don’t bother showing up. Later that day my Dad called me and told me I wasn’t allowed to come and he put an order with the nurses not to let me in.
Apparently my Aunt told my dad that I was going up to commit him into the mental ward and use the medical POA as my tool. My sister was refusing to help because she thought I was doing the same.
Seriously? Even with the medical POA, I don’t have the power to do this; but in all of their codependent alcoholic dysfunction they couldn’t see that. Even if I could have done this, it’s to save his life!
So now what?
The next day psych does their interview with him and he told them everything they needed to hear so he couldn’t get admitted. Small country town therapist, NOT a psychiatrist made this decision. Instead she agreed to let him go home and that he had to enroll into a strict outpatient mental health program. Mainly because all of his previous attempts aren’t documented, because none of his codependent alcoholic friends didn’t want to cause problems and get him the help.
The day he was to be discharged he had a minor issue that had to keep him in the hospital one more night. That evening he finally started alcohol withdrawal. He is so pickled in Black Velvet that it took 3 days for the withdrawal to start. The hospital started him on a sedative to keep him comfortable and calm, but still discharging him home the next day.
I tried calling my sister again, and I was immediately placed into voicemail. I called her husband and got the same. I sent a text to both of them and still no response. Through our mom’s death and our brother’s death, I was in charge of everything, because no one else could stay sober and get the job done.
I watched my mother slowly kill herself with alcohol, most ugly heartbreaking and emotional fuck of my life. Now I’m faced to watch my father do the same? Yet the suicide attempt is really messing with me. Why aren’t my sister and I and his two grandson’s enough to want to live for? Why does he tell me how much he loves me, yet chooses the fucked up way out? Why leave us (actually me) with another mess to clean up?
I can’t take it anymore. I can’t sit on the sidelines and watch him continue down this road. I can’t continue in a relationship with him, my sister and aunt; which is actually a very sick triangulation of emotional fucks of narcissism. My son had to watch his mommy cry all day on Easter and at four years old can’t understand nor should he have to. My husband feeling deeply pained to watch my pain, knowing there’s nothing he could do either to ease my pain. Then my oldest son who is 22 knowing that his most favorite Grandpa is a destructive mess. Not only can’t I take it anymore, I can’t do it, and I can’t let my family go through this anymore.
So I quit. I wrote my dad and sister both a letter telling them goodbye. Letting them know that how this all transpired is beyond dysfunctional and completely unacceptable. I’ve learned that when trying to help an addict, you should never work harder than the addict. That I am tired and exhausted from trying to help and be there as expected, but only if I support them in their endeavors to continue to be sick. I won’t do it. I deserve better than this, my husband and children deserve better than this. That I am going back into counseling so I can make sense of what the fuck just happened. Heal myself once again and walk away from their choices.
Before I mailed these letters I received a voicemail from my dad. Damn it…you can block numbers from calling you or texting, but it doesn’t stop the voicemail. In the small valley he lives in, everyone knows everything about you and what happens. One neighbor checked on my aunt and asked what had happened, because ambulances with lights and sirens in a small town that has no stop light is noticed. My aunt told this neighbor, who then told another and it was spread like wildfire within one day. Most of the people up there know me very well, I used to live there and they’ve all been extremely supportive of me after my brother died up there. I received messages from people and calls and I verified the stories and corrected the mistakes, but I won’t lie for my dad. I won’t make this a dirty family secret, because those secrets will eat you alive. They wanted to know why I wasn’t there yet, so I told them the truth. I was stopped for bullshit dysfunctional reasons. In turn many of those people reached out to my dad, as they too have had run-ins with my aunt and they also think she is a bad influence on my dad. They spoke their truth.
As part of my dads embarrassment for what he did and is continuing to do, he called me and let me know the following. I needed to basically get the “burr” out of my butt about my aunt and that I should be grateful she saved his life and that all I have been doing his “hurting” him. Wow. Hello pot…have you met kettle yet? Look in the mirror dad! I will not lie for you, I will no longer be your escape goat as the “black sheep” of the family, I am choosing MY family and health over your sick choices. Oh and by the way you hurt me.
Can you tell I’m extremely angry with him? As well as my sister and Aunt? Can you tell my pain runs so deep just typing this brings tears to my eyes? I’m the one and only one making the healthy decisions and I am being punished for it. S fuck it. The letters have been sent, written with a lot of love and compassion, but most importantly honesty. It’s time to cut those ties that have bound me and restricted my growth, it’s time for me to fly. I refuse to put lipstick on suicide.