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Unread 06-20-2013, 08:23 AM   #4
backwaterdogs
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Thank you very much for posting, this is helpful to me. Today is my brother's funeral, I am in and out of fits of sobbing..having to look at the pictures of his younger/healthier days, reminding me of the person I really miss...or times that I miss. I know the pictures don't tell the whole story though, they keep making me think that I could / should have done something more, but my rationalization is that any attempt to discuss would have ended in argument, if not worse and possibly complete loss of contact.

I mentioned in my first post about speaking with the doc soon after his death and what the doc said made sense. For all the years he was sick, when we did talk, the info about his sickness always seemed incomplete and scattered...my sister and I experience the same thing...we seemed to never understand what was going on with and any time you would question him to clarify something or get better detail, he would berate and become angry. I guess in my own defense, he was a very difficult person to communicate with...especially to any depth of meaning...I always stayed high level...I avoided asking detailed questions about money, his sickness to avoid a fight. Im not the most even tempered person in the world and I would allow his derisive nature get to me quite easily.

That is essentially the relationship we had, occasional get togethers, holidays, bdays, fathers day. Mostly cordial, but never really addressing the root issues that were tearing our family apart. My sister and I would become so livid as they would either show up having been drinking or would leave early to head to the bar. I would get angry at something like this and then would go weeks or more not talking to them, but never confronting their behavior. I know how any confrontation would have ended, so I tell myself, but now, after my brother is dead, I'm really questioning the kind of person I am.

I feel just as bad for my nephew, he has lost his dad and though I have been with him a lot lately and I think our relationship will be great going forward, I'm beating myself up for not being there for him. His parents (my brother and wife) divorced when he was 3 or so. Alcohol was a factor as was a big gambling debt my brother accrued at the time. Their relationship was stormy at best and often at the infrequent get togethers with my brother, my nephew would not be able to come because 'it is his mom's wknd or mom's turn for the particular holiday'...there just seemed to be lots reasons. I learned of a couple drinking episodes from my nephew these couple of days: my brother was 'fired' from coaching coach pitch baseball because he showed up drunk(nephew was 8), my brother stabbed is hand pretty severely while drunk at home with son.

The episode that really put me over the edge that I think cemented my relationship brother and dad since 2004 was right after we moved back to home area after living out of state for nearly 5 years. We moved to a nearby small town...kids going to a very small small school (less than 50 kids in a graduating class). My son was on the basketball team...this was his 5th grade year. I reached out to my dad and brother to come to his games. I do remember at that time wanting to reconcile with them both...wanting to have a functional family...be normal. They showed up after the game started (dad, brother, nephew(8 or 9 yo)...clearly they had been drinking (and driving w/ my nephew in the car!). I was pretty livid just at that, but, there in the gym, on the bleachers with lots of people crowed on the benches, I see in my dad's shirt pocket, a flask of whiskey. I was pretty enraged, I was so scared that he would fall, people would notice he's drunk, that flask would fall out and slide across the gym floor in front of everyone. I would have been mortified. Nothing embarrassing happened thankfully, not sure if anyone in the crowed noticed them or not. But, afterwards, I chewed them both out at their car and I dont think I ever asked to come to another game since. If you can imagine, a grandfather not dieing to come to every single ball game or event. I couldn't risk it...I and my kids would have been so embarrassed to have a drunk relative show up to a SCHOOL function. I think I pretty much wrote them both off at that point...from then on, our encounters were fairly infrequent/distant, trying to remain cordial, i guess.

So it went, a lot of the time when calling my dad he was drunk and could barely speak...I would get mad and not call for a long while. I would talk with my brother and more often than not, he would berate me, I would get mad and not call for weeks or more. we' have them out at holidays, but would never intermingle with my wife's family, always had two small Chistmas', etc. I would have loved for my kids to be have to have both sets of grandparents, aunts/uncles...but I was always afraid for a drunken debacle of some sort, so avoid that.

Sorry, this is turning into a novel...I'll share more later. It is helpful to write this down. In just telling the above stories, I'm remember more of my feelings over the years and why I was so distant with my dad and brother. I still feel like I let my nephew down though.

thanks again for all your input!
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