Thursday, March 31, 2016

The most painful part

So I was watching an episode of Nurse Jackie (which is a really good show by the way) and one of the characters lost his son to a drug overdose and at one point he says "The most painful part is when you realize the first thing you feel is relief".

I pretty much lost it. That sentence pretty much encompasses how I felt when my father died. He was an alcoholic and at that point he was mostly homeless. At 16 years old I was constantly worried about if he was ok. If it was winter, did he have a warm place to sleep? Even if it wasn't cold out, was he safe, did he have food to eat? He would never admit he had a problem. I even ran into him when I was volunteering at the hospital and he was checked into rehab. He pretended he didn't recognize me because he was too embarrassed. One time I saw him asleep on a bench outside the supermarket I worked at but I didn't go up to him because I knew he would be embarrassed and ashamed. I had to pretend like I didn't know him. None of my coworkers ever knew.

He was still in my life. He kept regular visits with my brother and I. He always showed up and I am grateful for that. He cared despite his addition. He would never drink when he was coming to see us which meant he was very shaky and had a tough time but he didn't want to be drunk when with his kids. He called us all the time and never forgot a birthday. It's strange to say but I had the best alcoholic father you could ask for. Never violent and very caring, he just couldn't stop drinking.

My father passed when I was 16. He died in his sleep in a graveyard and was found by a jogger in the morning. When my mother told me I cried of course but I felt guilty for the fact that my first thought was I don't have to worry anymore, he's at peace now. For years I felt horrible that that was my first thought, but as an adult I realize this is not uncommon. You're under so much stress and have so much anxiety because you care about this person and worry about them 24/7 and when they are actually gone you don't have to worry anymore. It might be hard to understand if you haven't experienced it but it's nice to see a fictional tv show actually get it right.

Well I think I might have over shared here but I felt the need to get it out.


  1. That must have been so difficult, I can not even imagine.

  2. Good post and I don't think you've over shared at all. I can relate with my Dad although for different reasons. Once he died I did feel a relief that he wouldn't be harmed by my mother anymore.

  3. Not oversharing. It makes sense to feel that way even if your dad was a good guy. I'm so sorry that you lost him to his addiction.

  4. It's certainly understandable to feel relief in that situation. I even felt that way when each of my parents died, just because it was their "time".
    Your post gives me a stronger sense of empathy toward addicts I didn't have before.

  5. A touchingly honest account of a small, but important, part of your young life.

    It's perfectly right and reasonable to experience relief when a loved one is freed from pain or disease or sheer misery by passing on. The loss of a loved one can often be both heart-breaking yet almost joyful at the same time. You have just described the truth of this.

    You do not know me, nor I you BUT may I wish you much happiness in the future and a joyful wedding.

    1. Thank you Philip! I appreciate the comment.

  6. Aww, G! <3 This is a very brave post, thanks for sharing. Nothing wrong with feeling relief. That is actually how I felt when my grandparents passed on. Dealing with lymphoma and dementia isn't easy or fun.

  7. Oh man. This pulls at my heartstrings. I already know that I'm going to feel some relief when my step-dad dies (which could be soon) because he's so nuts and has done so many crazy things that hurt the people around him. But that doesn't mean that I don't love him. He just breaks my heart every time I interact with him, one way or another.