In August 2015, my Grandma died. Literally in the blink of an eye. She was gone. I was obviously saddened by her passing. I’d grown up around her and as she lived a few streets away, we would see each other on a regular basis. She would often take both me and my sister on trips to London and we would go and watch ‘The Lion King’ on Broadway every single time. She taught me how to bake, and whenever we slept over, we would always wake in the morning to a sausage sandwich. But as I hit my late teens/early adulthood, things changed dramatically.
My father (Grandmas son) divorced my Mum and slowly spiraled into alcoholism. And as Mum had left the family home, leaving him to continue bringing me up, it became more apparent that I would be the one caring for him. Now don’t get me wrong, for the first few years he was great! Would do anything to make me smile. But the older I got, the more the Vodka became involved. Almost like because I didn’t need him as much, he turned to something else instead. Well after that it just got shittier and shittier. He would pick me up from college drunk, he knew most of the bar staff in most of the pubs in our area and beyond, INCLUDING the one down the road from campus… 40 Minutes drive from our home. It was awful. But yet no one could see what was happening. My Mum helped and supported me as much as she could, but the entirety of HIS side of the family and his friends stood up for him, blamed my Mum, and then blamed me.
I remember coming home from a friends one night to him curled up on the living room floor crying. My sister was dead. I was heartbroken, panicking and immediately tried calling her phone. She was next door at her boyfriends, and very much alive. I remember coming back from work to him crying begging me for help. To help him fix it, help him find a cure, to help him find help. So I tried but couldn’t actually do anything unless HE called and asked himself. He got himself into AA meetings, held every Wednesday in the church hall. Didn’t work. He just lied his was through it. He got himself into a basic rehab system. He learnt where to hid the booze so we wouldn’t find it. Then my Uncle got him into a private rehab clinic, all paid for by my Uncles savings and hard work. The first weekend he was out, he was back on it. He basically went to all these things to make him look like he wanted help.
Nothing stopped him.
He got into a relationship with a single mother and after only a few months, planned on evicting me and my sister so he could move them in. They got engaged and that ended after she got sick of his shit too.
In the end, my Mum bought his share of the house off him. He moved out and back in with my Grandma. That just made things worse for me. Because I was the one who should of been dealing with him, not her. I should be the one to care for him no matter what, not her. She sent him packing not long after. She broke her hip after a fall and her health deteriorated after that. She let him move back in after finding out he was sleeping rough/sofa surfing, which of course ended badly. He tried to kill her.
Only got a suspended sentence, a fine and he wasn’t allowed within a certain radius of the area.
Her health deteriorated more and she ended up in a care home facility. She was only there for a few months before she passed. We had lost contact after he first moved in with her due to other members of the family. I was quickly pushed out. But when I had heard of what he’d done to her, I tried contacting, with success, but only after me and my Uncle had an exchange of words and a lot of truths came out. I would send her letters or make the odd phone call and he would help her respond. I managed to visit her a few times before as well.
The day of the funeral, I was shitting myself. I knew he would be there, my Uncle had told me he would be. I also knew that the entire half of the family (or who was left) would be there and I probably wouldn’t be welcomed. I was asked if I would like to take the family car to the funeral, but decided it best if I didn’t. I arrived before them, seeing people I hadn’t seen in years, but were there to support me. All knowing what he had done. When the car pulled up, one by one they climbed out. I was quickly spotted and approached, firstly by my Uncle and then my Great Aunt, then by him. He hugged me, told me how much he missed me and how he was doing so well etc… it was all lies of course. He sat next to me during the service. I gave him a tissue.
At the end, everyone congregated outside to chat and share memories etc. The wake would be held in my Grandmas house. Tea, Coffee and cake. I had very mixed feelings about going, I didn’t want to be near him, let alone be stuck talking to him about my life and where I live now. My Uncle approached me and asked if I would go to the shop on the way as he’d forgotten to get milk for the wake. I seized the chance and left. Driving as quickly as I could (within the law) I raced into the shop, got milk and sped to the house, hoping to god I got back before they did. So I could leave the milk on the door step and leave. I got there at the same time as them… crap…
I waited for everyone to go inside, except my Uncle, who had chosen to wait for me, probably knowing I wouldn’t stay. He promised he would look after me and I didn’t have to speak to him. I left anyway.
The last thing I gave to my past, was a tissue and a bottle of semi-skimmed milk.