To lose one parent is terrible, to lose two is just irresponsible.

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Memoir  |  House: Booksie Classic

A short oversight on possibly the worse year of my life and how it came about.

I grew up in a pub here in Ireland and alcohol was around me from the day I was born, I went from the being born in the hospital to being brought to and laid out on the pool table. When people say they "wet the baby's head", in my case there this was a week long drinking session for all involved. In a way I loved being brought up in this environment, it made me the person I am today, I have no problems talking to strangers, am very sociable (in a way) and very approachable. However this came at a cost. My mother, who had been treated for years with valium and strong pain killers, due to a disease called porphyria, had easy access to ALOT of drink. She became a roaring alcoholic  and along with her addiction to prescription drugs became the bane of my life. It got to the point that she robbed a perscription book from a doctor and got herself and my father in  alot of trouble. Growing up I could never have friends over, my house was constantly a pig sty, you wouldn't want your dog to live there. I am also an only child so had no one to share this torment with. My father, god love him, worked hard and would spend as much time away from the house as possible and I wouldn't have blamed him. My mother was intolerable, eyes constantly rolling to the back of her head, repeating herself. She drove me crazy!! This went on as long as I remember, she would get so abusive and hurtful. But then there was the times she "tried" to be normal, it never lasted more than a month. I followed my fathers example and when I got old enough I would leave the house at 9 in the morning and not return til late, avoiding her as much as I could. 
I became a teenager and what more can I say other than that the bitch rubbed off on me. I started drinking heavily myself at 14, binge drinking every weekend, getting as fucked up as I  possibly could. I started smoking weed, a habit that to this day is controlling every aspect of my life. I became very depressed, self harming frequently. I still have scars I try hide. I was (still kinda am) overweight and had very little or no self esteem but would constantly joke and have a laugh at my own expense so others wouldn't. I was intelligent enough, always was in the top few in my class, didn't have to put much effort in to things but as I got further through my teens I lost all interest in everything, including school and dropped out at 17. 
My parents, much to my relief, split up when I was 16, bringing an end to the constant bickering and spitefulness that had been brewing for over 20 years. I obviously stayed with my father and became a lot closer to him. All my childhood I was made to believe he was a bastard, refusing to give us money when it turned out he was trying to protect me as he knew any money she would have she'd drink. Didn't stop her from robbing him blind though. So between this and the death of my grandmother in 2006 my mother spun into a downward spiral of depression, causing her to drink twice as much and become twice as much of a pain in my ass. I would get calls from local pubs to come get her, find her on the ground after pissing herself, have to look after her as if she was a child. I come from a town of small minded people who have nothing better to do than talk about other peoples problems. And every week my darling mother would give them something else to talk about. So in 2007, when I was 17 after finding my mother after she fell, badly cutting and bruising her face, I said enough was enough and broke all ties with her and moved out on my own and started working. I remember clearly saying "fuck off and stay the fuck away from me" and little did I know this would be the last thing I would ever say to her face. And that was that.
So living and working on my own at 17 brought so much freedom that most people that age wouldn't dream of. Thinking back it was crazy what I did at that age, especially looking at people that age now. At this stage I would take anything you put in front of me (except heroin), anything to get a buzz and forget about my fucked up childhood. I would work 40 hours a week and would never have a penny going from one week to the next. Every cent was spent on either getting drunk, stoned or out of my mind. Little did I know that this was only the start of the madness, nothing in the world could prepare you for what was going to happen. They certainly dont teach you in school how to cope with how cruel the world can be.
In July 2008 I would get a phone call that would change everything. I had a gut feeling something wasn't right the days leading upto it. My father rang me and told me he was on his way out to the hospital and that I was to go out straight away. At this point I hadn't spoke to my mother for over a year, the only contact I had was that Christmas when my phone got hammered with calls and texts from her. In my own drunken state I sent here a text "Happy Christmas my arse, I pray god it's your last", lyrics from the Pogues, Fairytale of New York. So standing in the hospital corridor my father explained that her liver had given way and it was only a matter of time. I remember feeling this mad out of body experience, I was literally looking down at him tell me and it didn't seem to sink in, I just walked outside and smoked cigarette after cigarette. She was dying and despite all my anger and spite towards her I felt hopeless that there was nothing I could do. I had put her where she was, her only child wishing her dead. They say be careful what you wish for, it might just come true, thought it was just an old superstition. 
2 weeks I spent going to and fro from the hospital, sitting in the hallway as I didn't have the guts or heart to go in and see her, despite my father's best efforts. I would sit in the hallway for hours and hours, staring at the door to her room, wishing deep, deep down that she'd get up and walk out to me. This would not happen, she fell into a coma and I lost the last chance I would ever have to say how sorry I was and how much I loved her, despite everything. On July 28th, at 18.20 she passed away, a mere 6 stone skeleton, her whole body yellow from juandas. She looked like something out of a horror film and I remember looking at her in the bed thinking that is not my mother, it couldn't have been but alas it was and she was gone. Then came the guilt.
We buried her with my granmother and the only comfort I could take from this was that she was no longer in pain, she was free from her own demons, the demons that would be her demise. I lost my faith in god at a very early age. It was probably due to the fact that I couldn't understand how he could let such horrible things happen to me without intervening. It would be nice to believe in something but nothing has proven to me that there is anything or anyone "up there" looking out for me. But that's neither here nor there, at least my mother was with her mother, it was something. I would close my eyes and picture her body being eaten by worms, the roof of the coffin caving in on top of her. Nightmares of her juandus figure screaming at me for help and I would just stand by and watch her corpse slowly disintegrate into dust. I would cry for hours and hours on end. Nothing or no one could make me feel better. This would prove to be the start to my own turmoil, my own path of self destruction, as if I wasn't bad enough all ready.
Christmas came and went. I spent it just my Dad and me. I put so much effort into our Christmas dinner. We tried to make it feel all christmassy and cheery but it was clear that my father was being eaten away by the same guilt that I was. He did love her. 5 months had passed and I was in no way coping better. There was some good days but they generally involved large amounts of alcohol and drugs. I spent most of my life being very sociable, always up for a laugh but I was now spending days and days in the dark, playing video games and smoking massive amounts of weed. Anything that would switch my brain off. Anything to escape reality. Still do to this day. But the worst had yet to come.
Early 2009 my best friend lost her mother, this brought everything flooding back. I was forced to visit the graveyard where my mother lay, not having been able to face it for the previous 6 months. I remember thinking how could anyone be so cruel as to do this to the two of us in such a short period of time. It was just unbelievably unfair. Just a week after this horrific time I was with my Dad shopping and the more I looked at him the more I could see this yellow glow in his skin. Knowing juandus was contagious I thought that he may have picked it up off my mother and it just took a while to show. Anyway I insisted he go to the doctor. The following week he was sent into hospital for tests and asked to stay over night.

That gut feeling returned stronger than ever and I remember waking up at 7 in the morning. I knew something was horribly wrong. At ten past eight my father rang me and asked me to come out to the hospital. I knew it could not be good but never thought it could have been as bad as what it was going to be. I got dressed and walked up the road to the hospital, a place I all ready loathed. It was the longest walk of my life, what normally takes less than ten minutes felt like I was walking for an hour, my feet heavy, every part of me wanting to turn and run. I got to the hospital and because of a fairly serious bug going round members of the public weren't allowed onto any of the wards. This meant my father had to come out to meet me in the hallway at the front of the hospital. We sat down, the whole world going on around me and then he came out with it, as if in slow motion. He had been diagnosed with liver cancer and was riddled with it. I asked could anything be done and without hesitation he said no, as if he had all ready given up. I sat on that seat looking at the ground knowing the last 7 months of hardship and misery was only the warm up.
Straight away I got on the case of getting somewhere comfortable for me and my father to live, not a hope in hell of him going back to that shit hole in the terrace. I rented us a newly built duplex apartment, my only concern being that he was as comfortable as possible. He would have his own bed, as he had spent the last 17 years sleeping on the couch in the sitting room, even after I moved out he would stay sleeping on the couch. His health deteriorated so quickly. This man only a few weeks before had been working 50 odd hours a week as a chef in a special needs trainging facility, where everyone loved him. He became so weak and was disappearing everyday right before my eyes. I refused to have him cared for in hospital, he was staying with me and that was the end of it. His friends came and went and he was able to have the laugh and joke, something that I knew would never be possible if he lay on a ward in a hospital. But with tremendous pace the cancer ate him alive. Within 7 weeks of recieving the worst possible news he was on deaths door and I just watched, helping as much as I could. I had all ready lost one parent due to my own selfishness, I made sure that I did everything in my power for this not to happen for the second time. Nothing can prepare you for how horrible cancer can destroy someone, so ruthlessly. I just wanted it to slow down so I could have as much time with him as possible. This would not be the case.
On the morning of the 4th of April, 8 months and 6 days after my mother died I was woken early by my Uncle, who was helping me look after him. He told me that he had  a very bad night and I should prepare myself for the worst. This was it, my last few hours of having a family, the only person who loved me unconditionally would be gone and it would be me versus the world, so to speak. I was not ready for this battle. I sat in his room for the day, doing everything I could to make my dad enjoy his last few hours on earth. We had a weird relationship to say the least, it took an awful lot for us to talk about problems and even at this stage we just joked, as much as he could, mostly I sat looking at the ground. He had gotten a special orthipedic mattress the day before and I joked that he must be happy as a pig in shit with his new fancy mattress. This would be the last thing he'd hear me say. When loved ones die you get these romantic notions of the right thing to say. You see it in films but this is not how it plays out in real life, well not in mine anyway. Thinking back I would have said a million other things but no, it was about a fucking mattress. A fucking mattress!
At 4 o clock his breathing started to go funny, as if he was choking, long deep coughing breaths, nothing I had ever heard come from a body before. This was no longer my father's deafening snore. This was the life being sucked out of his body. About 10-12 people gathered round, all I could hear was whispers  around me of "this is it". I wasn't ready, I would never be ready. But I sat at the side of the bed, holding his hand, screaming at him to come back. At 20 past 4 his pulse was checked and that was that, he was gone, forever. Despite being surrounded by family I knew I was on my own. I was 18, 3 weeks before my nineteenth birthday and had lost everything I had ever known. My heart was shattered into a  million different pieces, and remains that way to this day. An empty void in me that will never be filled. I am alone. 
He was waked at the house. Friends and family came from all around to show their condolenses. Between the two funerals I must have shook a thousand hands. I sat with the coffin for hours, giving out stink to my father for landing me in this situation. I knew it wasn't his fault but I was angry. I still am. I sat there and was able to speak more openly to him than I had ever done before. I told him how I wished Eleanor dead, I told him how I had tried to kill myself on my 17th birthday, how I robbed him to buy money for weed. It was my confession of all the wrong I had done him and I sat wishing I had had the guts to say all this before. But I am a coward, I put on an act and don't want people to see me how I really am, not even my own father. I sat there until it got bright, hoping that through some miracle that he would open his eyes and it was all just a string of unfortunate events. He never opened his eyes. 
He had a very large funeral, when I come to think of it so did both my gran and mother. People liked us, I remember thinking that the act I put on, this brave face, that they all must have done it. They all showed one person to the outside world and the truth was we were all suffering behind it all. I was born into this and it will follow me for the rest of my life. I am the only one who can change it but it is too strong or I am just too weak. People could not understand how I was keeping so calm and holding myself together so well. " You are so brave" they would say but the truth is I was stoned out of my head from the minute he died, and every second of the the following days. The morning of the funeral I rolled an extra strong joint, knowing it was going to be a tough day. We went to church and it was all way too familiar. Between March 2006 and April 2009 I had buried both granmothers and both parents. A large chunk of my all ready small family. I sat at the front of the church, my uncle with his arm around me, pretending he gave a shit. I would not take communion, I would not say the prayers. I would not get on my knees for anyone who could take so much from me and have nothing to give in return. God was a joke to me. The whole situation was. As the mass ended I walked behind the coffin, not one tear came to my eye. I didn't know whether this was because of how stoned I was or was it that I was just completely and utterly numb from all the pain. I saw so many people crying for him and yet the one person that mattered wasn't able to shed a tear. We got to the graveyard, again it all seemed way too familiar. They lay his body into it's final resting place and again I could not show any emotion. It was not until I was made throw a rose on the coffin that I showed anything. For some reason the Irish have taken it on themselves to start throwing roses on coffins, a truely American thing and pointless if you ask me, just one more thing to rot in the ground after we all walk away. But I threw the rose. I threw it and it went straight down the side of his coffin and the only thing I could do was laugh. To the hundreds of onlookers I must have looked nuts, but I thought it was the funniest thing in the world. And that was that, they were  both gone.
Looking back I would have done a million things differently, I would have said a million things, I would have told them both how much I loved them so much more. But death comes and goes and so do the people who offer you the sun, moon and stars. My so called "family" couldn't get away from me quick enough. You could nearly see the smoke clouds form as they disappeared, it happened that quick. For them it was the end. For me it was only the beginning. I was 18, just starting out at life. What a start to adulthood. I am lucky I have the friends I have. Otherwise I wouldn't have made it this far. But no matter how much you sugar coat it, my friends are not my family. My life has no love. And that is what is killing me now. I am so alone, but to the outside world I put on my brave face and people commend me on how strong I am. But I'm not, I'm crumbling on the inside and 5 years on I am worse off than that day when everything came crashing down around me. They say time is a great healer. To a certain extent this is true, I don't cry as much but I think I'm all cried out. I just can't do it anymore, my tear ducks have been cried dry. It has been so long since someone has told me they loved me and meant it that I don't even think I am capable of love anymore. I am just a shell of what I used to be. I am broken beyond repair. Someone please help me. 


17/09/14: It can always get worse, RIP Bosco... xxx 


Submitted: November 13, 2014

© Copyright 2021 Aisha Nolan. All rights reserved.

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