Rena's Story Part-4
Last night was just one of those nights that everything hit- all at once. The storm of grief, of losing one loved one to addiction, of listening to another talk about his plans of drinking while wanting to rip into them..., but you're unable to.
A week before Mum's passing, my step sister and I had been talking about our concerns. We had both noticed huge changes in both my Dad and Step Mother's behavior. I had seriously considered making the five hour trip up to Auckland and surprising them with a visit but I didn't end up going. Why..., I don't really know? Looking back I guess I wasn't so sure about traveling on a bus with a one year old even though I knew in my gut something was seriously wrong. Last night, I couldn't help but wonder if things could have turned out differently if I had just gone up when my gut told me to. Could I have saved mum's life and dad's eye? The logical part of my brain tells me that there probably would have been very little chance. I found out later, that mum was slowly developing liver failure. She was warned the last time, that if she started drinking again, it would kill her. And it did.
It's difficult to talk to anyone about Mum's death and the ongoing pressure of supporting my father in the aftermath or her death. Socially, drinking is widely accepted as something you do with friends but if you abuse it, you suddenly become a social outcast. Even these days its hard explaining to others that the cycle of addiction doesn't make a person bad. You try telling someone how it impacts you and so often you end up on the receiving end of a rant about how addicts are terrible people, that they are only hurting themselves. Maybe it's just the people I’ve tried talking to- but it feels like no one is prepared to listen or learn. They don't see that an addict’s illness doesn't just hurt them but us as well. Those that they lie to, hide stuff and steal from. Those of us that are left behind wondering if we did something different could the outcome have been different.
Following Mum's death we have slowly discovered that mum and dad’s addiction goes deeper than alcohol. Gambling, and using loan sharks to fund it..., and new things are still coming to light six months on.