Life with a sick father
For most of my life my father has suffered from an illness. This illness was busy consuming him, though it was not nearly as debilitating as in others. It still prevented him from being the father I needed. I needed him at sport events and dances. I needed him in the quiet moments when I questioned myself. Instead I stood there alone and witnessed this need answered for other girls by their fathers.
This made me angry. Why did other little girls, teenagers, young women have fathers that were so present in their lives? Why did their fathers play such active roles in caring for them and mentoring them? Did my father simply not care about me? No, he might have cared but his illness took precedence. It kept him from going to events where there were many people around. It kept him from even leaving the house some days.
Though it was hard for me as a child it paled in comparison to my mother’s strife. She carried the heaviest load of us all. She had to witness the man she loved being taken away from her on a daily basis. She had to support three children and a debilitated man on a meagre salary that equates to an internship salary in other companies. It always angered me that she worked so hard and was paid so little, even after over twenty years of service to that company. But I digress.
All of this strain had made her a hard woman. She was hard on us all, yet hardest on herself. It is difficult for a child to see her mother, a woman she knows is sweet and soft spoken at the core, act so hard.
This illness did not just consume my father. It consumed us all. It spewed toxic vapours into our home and filled us all with anger and resentment. It caused a thirteen year old girl to shout out her disdain for her father and raise her hand at him. But that was not right. My father had an illness and needed our support. But we greeted him every day with aggression for it was his fault we lived in hardship. But it was not his fault. He was ill.
Today, with a lot of help, understanding, and support from grown and matured children my father has gained momentum in fighting his illness. We have banded together to give him the foundation he has always needed from us. Though there are days when it takes a stronger foothold in him we fight it together, as a family. So my father will never again leer at his illness from the bottom of a bottle.