After my mom died, my dad Joe and I were heartbroken. It felt like we had lost a piece of ourselves. At least, I thought, we had each other still. Little did I know that my father wouldn’t live much longer either.

Writing about this is hard. I’m still so angry and sad, although those words are not strong enough to do justice to the way I feel about losing both of my parents, and for losing my father so needlessly. We did everything we could for cancer, but there was no stopping it. I should have done more to help my father, and he should have done more to help himself. I’m in therapy now to handle my grief, and my counselor says this blog might help me release some of these negative feelings. That keeps me going, along with hoping that this story somehow helps others out there who have gone through anything similar.

I told you in my last post how my dad started drinking again right after my mom died. This was a little alarming because I knew he had struggled with alcoholism in the past, but I had never seen it. I had never seen anyone I knew struggle with substance abuse problems at all. I should have done some research, I should have asked for help. But I didn’t realize how bad it was until it was too late.

I saw dad drink right after the funeral and even had a couple of whiskeys with him. I didn’t understand the nature of addiction and thought that a couple of drinks in an incredibly stressful situation wouldn’t hurt anyone.

But dad didn’t stop there. He took leave from work for bereavement, and was drinking every day. I would go over to my parents’ house, now just my dad’s house, after work and find him parked in front of the TV in his armchair nursing more of the brown liquid. He wasn’t belligerent, but from his slow, slurred speech I could tell that he had been drinking a lot before I got there.

“Dad, do you think the drinking… is it okay?” I asked timidly. I didn’t want to insult him, and I didn’t really know what I was talking about.

“Don’t worry about it, son,” my dad would say sadly, giving me a weak smile and taking another swig. We would sit in companionable silence while I drank a beer and dad worked his way through a bottle of whiskey.