28 September 2008

Mother-in-law's Funeral

Greg was fine for the funeral. He had seen his mother an hour or so after her death and had come to terms with her passing. In many ways it had been a great relief for everyone as she had suffered for years with emphysema and had been marooned in the house for the last two. She had once been a very energetic woman holding lots of successful house parties, catering for forty or fifty people at a time and doing all the cooking herself. Her brain had been active to the last. She had even once stood as the local Liberal candidate for the council elections. But in her infirmity she had been relegated to a chair watching TV or doing crosswords and word games to keep her mind alive. Her last few days in particular had been painful to watch because she went downhill rapidly and could not move an inch from her bed. So everyone agreed it was better for her to go rather than to linger.

Greg had returned to London to collect Kay and me, taking us back in his car to his mother's cottage for the days leading up to the funeral. I felt confident that he was able to drive on the motorway all right, now that he had sobered up. His car had large scratches and gouges at each corner where in the past he had misjudged obstacles when parking it. Thankfully he had never hit anyone or another car but I had banned him in the last few years from making any trips in the car while under the influence. He had occasionally crept out and driven for more alcohol in the night when I was asleep, hence the mishaps to each corner of the car. Although he always maintained he was a better driver drunk than most people were sober. No comment!

Greg and his sister Jill were busy for a few days making the funeral arrangements, whilst I helped where I could with preparing the catering. The funeral day was successful (if you can call it that) and we spent a lovely day with all the relatives and friends who had travelled far and wide to be there. Over the following days, Greg and I went through his mother's things with Jill and made choices about what to take for ourselves or what to dispense with. We also made plans with Jill about selling the cottage. So there was plenty to keep us occupied. But already on the day of the funeral Greg had started to drink a glass or two of whisky. I was torn between saying anything or giving him some leeway - it was his mother's funeral after all. But I also knew that once an ex-alcoholic has ONE drink
, they are on the path to ruin again.

Once we were back home in London, Greg did indeed start to slip back into drinking quite quickly. Within a week or two he was back to half a bottle of whisky per day; within a month he was back to a full bottle each day. When he came out of detox, I had told him I could not bear to go through another bout of his alcoholism. We had already twice had the opportunity to pick up the pieces, but three times he had let us down and put us through hell. He had promised things would NEVER get so bad again. He had categorically assured me he would never go back to drinking heavily again. But here we were yet again. His sobriety had lasted just six weeks. Here I was again, having to drive out each morning to get him his supply of whisky and cigarettes for the day. Not to do so, once he was on a full bottle a day, would have meant HE would drive instead to get it. I could not have that on my conscience. The credit bills were rising into several thousands of pounds and in addition we had two large loans to pay off....all of it going on whisky and cigarettes. Where was it all going to end?


funeralplanningguide said...

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blogthatmama said...

It sounds as though rehab should be compulsory if you're going to do de-tox, otherwise it's a complete waste of time, just a quick fix instead of a potential cure. Blogthatmamax

DogLover said...

Blogthatmama: "Compulsory" in relation to an alcoholic spells failure, I'm afraid. Alcoholics have to want to get off the booze and stay sober for themselves, otherwise the disease is too powerful for them and they will soon go back to their only source of comfort.

Rosiero: What you tell us goes back some time, doesn't it. What is your situation now? Are you still buying drink for Greg? If so, I assume you are happy to continue in this situation. That is a pity for your sake, for Kay's sake and for Greg's sake.

Elaine said...

Doglover...I don't think Rosiero is happy to continue buying it at all...I realy feel she is left with little choice. The fear of him getting into the car himself would be enough to make me cave in to his demands.

It's such a sad situation.

rosiero said...

Doglover - yes, my story is the whole story unfolding over the years. We are now only about six months away from the present and will soon be getting closer, so please bear with me.

No, I am definitely not happy to buy the alcohol for him, but as I have said repeatedly before, the alternative is that HE will go and get it in the car (and believe me he has driven with a whole bottle inside him). I have tried to hide his keys, but he fights with me till I hand them over or he will steal mine. I just cannot have it on my conscience that he is driving around in that state. I would prefer to continue the nightmare for me than have an even worse one with someone's death on our hands. Until you are in that situation, you cannot believe the choices you have to make.

rosiero said...

Blogthatmama - I agree. But the professionals involved in this all pussyfoot around this and say the alcoholic has to want to do rehab or detox. At the end of the day, it is all about the alcoholic's human rights and not the rights of those who have to live with the alcoholic.

rosiero said...

elaine - you are so right and understand the situation well.

Millennium Housewife said...

I know we all saw this coming, but still, heartbroken for you x

Millennium Housewife said...

PS, just read the comments about you buying the drink. I think you are in an impossible situation here, dammed if you do etc and have made the most unselfish choice you could. I don't think anyone could possibly know what they would do unless they had traveled your road.

aims said...

Oh Roseiro - what we do to survive amazes us in the end.The walls and tough skin become second nature and something we never even think about until it is all in the past and then we marvel at ourselves for living through it.

You're thinking that eventually there will be a life for you - and there will. This won't always be - and later - much later - you'll be given your wings and halo for all of this. Because you have to be part saint to live with this for so long.


what happened ?how did i get HERE? said...

Again, so like what my sister had to endure. Once, while doing a part time degree, she arrived home early, to find her 4 year old alone in the house, her father gone out, drunk and in the car, to get a bottle of scotch as he had run out. Instead of grabbing the child and running away as far as she could (my initial, unhelpful, reaction when she told me ages later...) she made sure he had plenty of booze and fags in....something she still struggles with. You have to do what you think is right, but living with an alcoholic blurs your normal perspective. So, Rosiero, you do what you need to do until you feel that you can do it no longer and maybe walk away, WITHOUT GUILT. Mx

DogLover said...

Rosiero - please forgive an extra comment in reply to yours (and Elaine's) about buying Greg's drink instead of letting him loose on the roads.

I do so sympathise with your situation. It is a terrible quandry. However, there are ways of overcoming it. No situation is hopeless. As you can imagine, it is a problem many wives (and husbands) of alcoholics face. People have found different solutions. In my case I was lucky and, thank goodness, with the help and advice of friends who had themselves experienced the problem, I found one that worked and no one was put in danger on the road.

Elaine - I know what you mean. I'm afraid living with an alcoholic requires enormous courage, as we see from what Rosiero reveals. But buying him booze is not a good idea!

rosiero said...

Doglover - I would be interested to know what solution worked for you.

DogLover said...

Rosiero - I'd be very happy to tell you, but my story is a boring one and not really for public viewing!

My e-address is dunkered@aol.com if you would like to email me.

Crystal Jigsaw said...

It's unbelievable how much money is wasted on stuff like this. My late father-in-law used to waste almost all his weekly pension on cigarettes when he could have been either saving it or buying something useful.

CJ xx

rosiero said...

Millennium Housewife- thank you for your supportive words.

Aims - you deserve that halo too for all you have endured.

What happened - it is amazing just how many people have been touched by alcoholism in one way or another. I did not realise how common it was until I started this blog.

Crystal - I know. It is such a waste of money, not to mention tax-payers' money too when these diseases have to be treated.

Doglover - will be in touch shortly.

Pig in the Kitchen said...

Awful situation to be in. Don't let him drive. I was hit by (i think... still waiting blood tests) drunk driver on Friday...I think I will be picking up the pieces for months. 4 innocent children in the car with me, and now I have to live with the awful car-flying-through-air images, he doesn't, he was too out of it.

Don't let him drive.