I had a nice long chat with Mom today. We don’t talk as much as we should. Whatever that means.
You owe that woman a fucking apology. Seriously. I’m not fucking around. It’s amazing that she is still standing and no worse for the wear, for the most part. You married your match, Flynt. She took all your shit, and brought home a pay check, raised your children, did your laundry, cooked your dinners, cleaned your house and always looked amazing doing it. She was a knock out, Dad. Beyond beyond beautiful. She is still my super hero in a lot of ways for managing to make all of that happen. You could thank her too, while you are at it.
I can’t help but wonder how much happier she would be today if she had never met you. Married you. I wouldn’t be here. But she might have avoided a lot of pain and hardship. I didn’t have a choice in loving you. She did. And she chose to love you in spite of all your weaknesses. Tried her very best to make it work. I know, loving an abusive alcoholic is no fun. She did it for almost twenty years. I know she stills loves you, too.
I do feel fortunate that you were never a mean drunk. Well, not a beat the shit out of us mean. Drinking actually had a remarkable way of making you more amiable, if I remember correctly. You became pleasant, fun, animated and even playful. Charming, engaging and almost invincible. Alcohol did seem to give you super powers, at least that’s how myseven-year old self saw it.
Mom knew the real story. She weathered all the disputes that happened after we were in bed. The verbal lashings. The irresponsible behavior. She had two girls to fend for and no time put up with what probably started as an inconvenience, a manageable dalliance but progressed ever so surely into a fucking uncontrollable problem.
I will never forget you trying to explain the circumstances surrounding mom kicking you out of the house to your high-school friend, who was 11 years sober, at your father’s funeral party August of 2004, just a little over a year before your own death. You had almost finished the entire contents of a freshly opened Glenlivet bottle and wouldn’t stop repeating,
“Ah’ll teh’ you wha’ happened. It was ’cause of that Damn Dog! Sam wanted to have a dog. This ugly dog. She picked that little shit over me. That damn dog.” We, your friend and I, were sober and saw it as the logic of a currently wasted alcoholic in incredible denial and unbelievable pain.
You were so drunk dad.
“Did you ever think it might have been your drinking?” Your friend offered.
“No, it was that Damn dog. That damn dog.”
For the record dad, Mom kicked you out because you were a drunk. She wanted to protect our family from any further devastation your drinking might cause. The dog had nothing to do with it.
When you were mean, it always seemed to be when you were sober. Your physical strength might have never been used to flatten us in a drunken rage, but you did not hesitate to destroy us with your well spun words. piercing biting cruelty and untruths, designed, I guess, to make us feel as shitty as you did? You tell me. You were so unhappy and not satisfied unless the rest of us were too? You wanted all of us to know what it felt like to be you? Like a failure? Like a looser? Like a fat disgusting slob?
I’ve learned in therapy that you were projecting your feelings about yourself on to us. Still doesn’t make it okay, Flynt.
Well, I’m sorry you were unhappy. Always comparing your life to others or measuring your actual accomplishments to the ones you had imagined you’d have achieved. Pissed that you had not magically arrived at the life you felt you were entitled to. This dissatisfaction interfered with your ability to see where you were so clearly blessed. Mom, Gillian and myself are three pretty special ladies and you missed it. Everyone of us. You stupid selfish ass. Totally took it for granted how much we loved you. Our little quiet suburban life just wasn’t enough for you. I’m sorry we disappointed you so.
Thank you for returning the favor.
I’m a little angry today. Yes, I think is what I’m saying. Because you get to be dead and we all have to keep living with the consequences of your inability to grow up and battle your problems like a man. I don’t give a fuck today if alcoholism is a disease. It was hateful to not get treatment for said disease and just let it kill you, Flynt. It killed a little piece me, too. Did you know that? And robbed me of at least 4 years of my life. That is a gross understatement.
I couldn’t be angry at you for a long time because I was so sad, busy missing you and all. I felt guilty for even thinking about being mad. So I put aside all my resentments, for too long. Took meds. Did anything to ignore the simmering emotions slowly stewing away and growing thicker, richer and next to impossible to distinguish one feeling from the next. It was just one big smoldering pot of heart-ache.
Well played, Flynt. You always did know how to manipulate me. And I always did know how to find it in my heart to forgive you for it.
Categories: Letters I Will Never Send