You always adore your parents
During this month of January, I always feel close to my father. His birthday was January 30th, and – though he passed into the light 22 years ago (read my blog post about it: ‘Our Souls Are Eternal‘) – I will always remember his birthday.
My dad had an amazing spirit. He was so talented in so many areas as well as having an amazing brain. However, he was also deeply sensitive and leading a life as the breadwinner for our family of 5 put him under an enormous stress.
I now see that alcohol was his coping option. Alcohol numbed the pain, numbed the calling for a higher purpose, numbed the sensation of feeling inadequate, and numbed the conditioning he was under as a young child by his parents. It numbed life itself for him.
This is the very first time I’m acknowledging openly, that I grew up with a father who had problems with alcohol.
But you loved your Dad
I remember when I mentioned my father’s alcohol problems to a friend, my friend said, ‘but you loved your Dad?’ My friend knew how much I loved my father from me sharing stories and experiences.
At the time, I was shocked about the question. How could they think that, just because my dad had a problem with addiction, that I would NOT love him, or that I would judge him? I would never judge anyone, let alone my father.
We are all here to live through our experiences, and no matter what, we all make our choices, and that is ok. Why would I judge my dad and rate him as being unlovable just because he had a problem with drinking? Drinking did not make him a bad person.
I refer to the book ‘The Afterlife of Billy Fingers’ (on Amazon) the part where he was a drug addict, and later from the afterlife mentions, that it was ok, he had to experience this sort during this life circle.
I loved my dad, no matter what. I still love my dad, no matter what. He was a gentle and loving soul, who had no real way to release his pain.
It is ok. I grew up. I learnt, and I did even as a child sense where he was coming from. Now, after all my spiritual studies, I get an even deeper sense of why he made the choices he made.
So let’s take a little detour through my childhood.
I was the first child in our little family. I felt adored and loved, and my sisters (identical twins) joined our family not even 2 years after I was born. My father probably missed having another male person in the household ;-)
His mother also told him that he was no good without an heir and name bearer. My grandmother – I love her dearly – was a very strong woman, and she clearly held the scepter in her hand.
I feel that my father had a very firm upbringing, and was pushed to achieve high marks in school. He did well indeed; he graduated with the highest marks his school had seen in 10 or 20 years time. He went on to study economics and started work in an insurance company, and climbed the ranks.
As a young child, he excelled at ice-skating. He did figure skating, he played the violin; he drew amazing paintings, and he drew wonderful perspective pictures. He loved to dance and he was highly gifted in a lot of artistic areas. However, as he grew older, the focus was more and more on academics, and the artist in him – the creative person – was subdued.
My sister mentions, even today, that he was hard to please. I remember him telling us how well he did at school, and how we could not achieve such high marks, and even needed tutoring in some areas – so, yes, we obviously felt like we failed.
Remember, feeling like a failure is a choice YOU make. You can un-condition any belief you have any time you wish to.
It is easy to blame someone, especially your parents, for feelings you have about yourself. It is handy to have an excuse. Just remember, your soul chose your parents, and you came to this earth to experience exactly the kind of upbringing you needed to learn the lessons that make you who you are. And remember, parents always try their best at a given time. We are all only human!
When I was a young child, I did not notice anything. Maybe my father did not drink that much then, or I didn’t know differently. Maybe I can’t remember.
I remember my father sometimes being at home, sleeping in his favorite armchair – that was normal for me.
I realized, however, that it was something we needed to keep ‘hush-hush’.
I learnt through my mom, that speaking about my dad sleeping in the armchair would bring shame to the family. So we learnt to pretend and hide the fact that my father was maybe more ill than others.
My father was not an active dad. Remember it was the 70’s, old family models were still very much in use, and he worked and brought home the money, and that was it. Of course, as the family patriarch, he ruled ;-)
For us as children, this was very much ok, and I even adopted this family model later on, to the extent of giving myself up and undervaluing the role of me being a mother. Luckily, I have grown since in so many areas of my life.
As a teenager, I knew that I was not to bring friends home, just in case my dad was ‘sick’. We never knew when there were good times or bad times. However, my father was never violent or angry. He smacked me only once when I was really frank and maybe a bit arrogant as a teenager, and I said things he did not want to hear. But that was it, so we were safe. And please remember, he was only drunk a couple of times, it was not like he was constantly drunk. He had good phases, and then some bad ones too.
As he was hardly ever home, as he was either working late or had stopped for a beer after work, or had gone out with his friends, we did not know any better.
I remember the day when I was a young adult, my mom was away, and my two sisters did not live at home anymore. So I was alone, at home, waiting for my father.
It was maybe 11 pm, and the doorbell rang. It was a neighbour from down the road, he said my father had fallen and was lying near a car (luckily my father did NOT drive, he always took cabs home).
I was shocked and ran out.
My father had hit his head on a parked car and was lying there. An ambulance came and we drove to the hospital. In the hospital, people asked me about his drinking problems, of course, as he was obviously intoxicated. I tried to be open and honest, despite my conditioning to hush it all.
My father was still coherent and seemed like he wanted to say something. All of a sudden, his eyes glazed over, and then he started to shake violently. I cried, I was shocked, and the doctors came running.
He’d had an epileptic seizure. He’d never had one before, or not that we had noticed. It was really scary to observe it.
The brain CT showed that he had a huge brain tumor.
Chicken or egg
The doctors explained that the tumor was growing in the area of the brain where the personality is stored. Meaning, it was indicated, that he’d lost the sense of who he was. Depression is a common side effect of a tumor in that area.
However, we wondered if it was the tumor that led him to drink, or was the drinking that led the tumor to grow?
He had also been taking sleeping tablets for quite some time, and they could also have caused his benign tumor (which was not cancerous).
My mother always suggested that he learnt to drink during university during his fraternity hangouts. Maybe he was celebrating his liberty, away from his parents and responsibility…? Who knows? Then again, does it really matter? It was as it was!
We humans always want to find a reason to explain things, to understand things, maybe in hope to change them, however, it was as it was.
Sometimes all we can do is simply accept the facts, and go from there.
My dad underwent brain surgery, and was in the hospital for weeks, and the doctors were all amazed that he did not have any withdrawal symptoms.
I think feeling nurtured and safe in the hospital helped my father. Letting go of all of the burdens of the outside world, and just being lessened his need to numb his feelings.
2 Years later
Of course, we had no idea that an open skull surgery could prove to be troublesome even years later. With patients over 60, the skull might never heal properly together again, so when my father fell down the stairs and hit his head on the way down, his skull broke open along the fracture lines from the operation. That was the day he died, April 6th, 1994. (Read more in my blog post ‘Our Souls are Eternal‘)
It seemed so similar to my skating accident 3 years ago. My skull was fine, luckily… or shall we say, my time was not yet up.
You see, growing up with parents who have problems is likely a widespread phenomenon. I know that even my children will probably see faults in me; that is only normal. I used to be a control freak, but now I’ve eased into the flow, and I allow my kids enjoy their own experiences (within reason). I just trust that they will be well and they know I am here to hug them, no matter what.
I know my father was highly sensitive, and he had a hard upbringing, growing up with his younger sister, whose small brain was damaged during a forceps birth. She grew up being paralyzed on one side and needed extra support.
I know my father was deeply hurt when his father died of a heart attack when my sisters and I were still young.
Even worse, he lost his sister a year later to cancer. He had seen enough hospitals from the inside and saw the pain and agony his beloved sister was in.
I remember one day in June, I was maybe about 11 years old, my father sat in the living room, and I chose to sit with him. He was tearful, and we chatted, and he mentioned that it would be his sister’s birthday, and I saw the pain in his eyes, and the grief.
He also confessed at a later stage that it was hard for him to be the only one to look after his widowed mom, especially because we lived 4 hours away from my Gran’s. He felt the burden of being her only caregiver heavily.
My father was an impressive man. He was in politics and did well. He was remarkably gifted, and he could memorize so much – he put us young ones to shame very often. Yes, he was strict and yes, he demanded a lot from us, but then that’s how he was brought up.
Yes, he loved his beers and yes, he was numbing his pain, as he had no other way to release. I know first hand that when I want to drink a glass of wine, I realise that the desire comes from being stressed and the need to unwind, so I learnt to take things easier.
I have opened up my connection to the Universe. My father never had that opportunity: it was just not done at his time. He might have also ignored any of the signs that would have connected him and people that were brought to him. That is ok.
He was meant to learn the lessons he did at that time.
I know I was loved
When my father died, I had a hard time. We spent time together beforehand – we had lunches together and could chat and discuss things. It was a great relationship. Still, I did not know whether he loved me. He may have never learned to share his feelings. It might not have been the thing people did at the time and he probably did not know how to.
Anyhow, when I started to look at my baby photos and saw how I sat on my father’s lap, and how he took me bathing and remembered the hikes we took in the mountains, I realised that he truly loved me. I saw how he looked at me, how proud he was, and then I could cry and feel the relief. My Dad loved me, no matter what.
As I do love him, no matter what!
I feel that no one is perfect. We all struggle one way or another.
But there is always LOVE.
Love is our essence and when we sweep the cobwebs of pain, fear, guilt and upbringing conditionings away, love is what stays and always was.
No matter how I grew up, I do love my parents. I know they did not know better at the time. I feel that it is the same as my own struggle to be a good mom, just like how I give my best every single day. It might not be enough – it never will be – but I try my best, and do my best, as my parents did.
Having a parent that indulged in alcohol is not a shameful thing.
Understanding the parents who did, knowing they did not know better, and understanding that all is well is soothing and healing.
I could NOT save him, however much I wanted to. I could NOT make him happy. Actually, I think we kids did bring him some happiness, still he chose to drown his sorrows instead of getting help.
I also see now, how my relationship with my father let me to partners that needed saving.
Everything is ok. All is fine, and you are right where you belong now.
Forgive your parents.
Walk in LOVE
I love to share with you a forgiveness ritual that has helped me tremendously in accepting myself and my circumstances.
Forgiveness is the first step in healing.
Wishing you a wonderful week…