The writing on the wall – big black and strong, but not when you don’t want to see it
Things were not rosy and even a couple of years before our twenty-fifth wedding anniversary, during a consultation with my doctor I had flippantly remarked that I hoped I could hang in till my silver anniversary as I felt I deserved a bloody good holiday!
She said, ‘Not you two as well!’
She liked him and they had a good chat the odd time he went into the surgery. She said his profession was so different to doctoring and she would chat away with him.
She told me later that she could not get through to him health wise. And that most of the time he just talked about how the children and I were all that mattered. Well I suppose I have to believe that. I doubt he would lie to her.
I must say that I really enjoyed my twenty-fifth wedding anniversary holiday. It was a trip to Rome. I was stunned by Rome. I loved it!
But the year of that anniversary in 2001 was the time I started to find spirit bottles hidden in his rolled-up structural drawings.
I wonder now why he hid the bottles. It was not only me who found them. My daughter would challenge him too about his drinking but that did not stop him either. Why would someone hide a bottle in a rolled-up plan and not throw it deep into the dustbin? Perhaps it was a cry for help.
Every two to three months I would challenge him about the drink escalation. A good old row ensued. I suppose I thought I might get through to him. When your two children are stuck in the middle, the psychology behind your husband’s excessive drinking doesn’t matter. You just want him to stop as it is hurting everyone. When the rows got worse, he would say to the children, ‘Your mother will never leave me. She’s better off here.’
I could feel a little self-disgust about that statement because most certainly there was truth in it. I had no intention of leaving; I was not the one doing anything wrong. So I agonised over ‘the will I won’t I leave’ for a long time.
Finances would have been tight. The house would have to be sold. He worked from home and I might have to leave with the children. He was not going to move out.
The easy answer was to ignore it as much as possible, pretend it wasn’t really that damaging. I would ignore it for long spells at a time.
Isn’t it a bloody good job that we don’t know what is round the corner?
There is a big issue over Secondary Gain in a situation like this.
As I write this in my beautiful long room, the room where I work with my clients, overlooking the garden, with the sun shining, early on a summer morning, I can only shrug my shoulders. … C’est la vie! Wow …
What else is it? It’s life and it’s a journey. We have to live for today.
Around six years after he died, when I was having Counselling sessions due to perhaps a bout of mild depression, it is hardly surprising that I discovered I probably had a responsibility issue.
I feel sure that I felt it was my responsibility to help him and sort it out.
I have worked over time to accept that I am only responsible for me. My children are now big children – adults if you prefer. I like to class them affectionately as my big children.
I am not responsible for anyone else. I cannot try to protect or change someone else. It is not my right. It is not my duty.
Life went on. He worked and drank. I collected the empty bottles and threw them out occasionally. I had my job-share at school for which I am eternally grateful. The children lived in an increasingly unhappy home. I also mentioned to my mother that I really did have a big problem on my hands because his drinking was escalating.
Not the best of times.
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