It’s so strange that I feel safer writing this to strangers on the internet rather than confronting my dad directly!
Dad’s drinking has always been an elephant in the room that we all ignored. (I’m regretting not taking drastic action sooner). Over the past 6 months dad’s health has deteriorated, initially he told us it was work related and took some time off. Fast forward a few months and he’s in hospital for the 3rd week. The problem we have is that dad won’t allow his doctors to talk to us. We saw his discharge note when he was briefly released and based on this we know he has decompensated liver disease and other complications from this. We also do know through snippets he’s given us that he has fluid on his abdomen (ascites) and behind his lung. He had varices banded and is barely eating now. He’s getting more confused and it’s quite difficult to hold a conversation that flows anymore. Unfortunately we have lost other family members to this cruel illness and my sister and I are quite certain that this is it. Unfortunately as dad isn’t allowing us to speak to doctors and is only sharing what he wants to, we have so many questions and no one to ask. I know this isn’t bereavement yet , but I’m quite sure that it’s how this will end. Today I visited and he was talking about going onto 0% Beer when he gets home but then added that his first one will be a‘proper beer’. I was devastated. At the moment I’m the designated visitor (COVID rules) and I’m trying my best to help him but feel like because I’m not confronting him I’m only enabling his behaviour more, I also can’t help feelings of what is the point in confrontation now as it’s already too late.
Am I being sensible and honest with myself and preparing for the inevitable or am I writing him off too soon. It’s so hard to know without him being completely transparent about what is happening. It’s cruel to us as loved ones, but also cruel to himself, we aren’t angry at him for being ill but are angry at him for the secrecy when we are worried sick and just want to support him. Even my mum is struggling to get any more information from him and I had to explain what decompensated liver disease was to her, that crushed me! Has anyone else had a similar experience with an addict in hospital? I’m preparing for the worst and would appreciate any words of wisdom to help us through this. The awful thing is, I know he’s having difficult conversations on his own and doesn’t need to. We want to be there for him but I know I’m going to get shut out by him if I confront him and can’t bare the thought of not talking to him for the bit of time we think he has left.
I’m so confused about how we even got here and scared for life without my rock. How do I prepare for the death of a parent and how do I make sure mum, my siblings and I get through this in one piece?
Sorry for the long post, as you can probably tell I’m struggling a bit today!
Thank you and sending love to everyone in a similar position x