As I stood next to my father’s hospital bed I calculated it had been four years since we had seen each other, and two years since we had spoken. Death is an interesting thing; in fact, it’s the only thing that is absolute in life, so good luck with those grudges you’re holding. When my father died on 11/12/18, I was thrust into this balance between chaos and order – consciousness as I know it, rejecting nihilism, and truly experiencing the God of my understanding in ways I never thought possible. Years of harbored resentment, anger, jealousy, frustration, and feeling of abandonment immediately ceased fire upon receiving the news that his time was up. What a gift – not only to free myself from such burdens, but also to be there for my father in his last moments. I wasn’t sure what to expect as I arrived in Charlotte to meet his wife for the first time (talk about awkward) but I had a calming sense of peace about me: I was sober, I was present, and I was meant to be there as a vessel of hope – I truly believe that. I spent twenty minutes kneeling beside my father’s bed clearing my side of the street: making amends, telling him about my life, and praying with him. He was unconscious, but he heard me. I also saw my true reality lying in that hospital bed. Lying before me was a perfect example of what would happen to me if I decided to ever take a drink again. My father died an alcoholic’s death – stage four-lung cancer, cirrhosis of the liver, MRSA, and pneumonia. That was God telling me that some people find the solution, but most people don’t. He was sober for about six years at one point, but again, a very small percentage of people stick around because nobody likes to admit that they are mentally and bodily different from their fellows. The great obsession of any person affected by addiction is holding on to the thought, “one day, just maybe, I can use like a normal person.” Some chase those thoughts, like some literature suggest, “to the gates of insanity, and or death.” My father was a victim of the latter. Before leaving the hospital, something told me to go back one last time. I was standing over my father yet again, and he popped up. It took him several seconds of looking around the room, then he looked left, at me, and focused for another ten seconds before uttering the last nine words he would say on this earth, “Hey buddy…I love you…I’m sorry…she’s pretty.” At that very moment I finally understood what it meant to feel pure love, tolerance, compassion, and forgiveness towards my fellow man – more importantly, my father.
Sobriety continues to be a strange journey for me, and trust me, there are plenty of areas I need get a grip on – but that’s life. The holiday season can be filled with chaos, even to the point of returning to use, but I would encourage everyone to find an opportunity to instill some order – be conscious. The grudge I held wasn’t resolved until the clock stopped ticking – take this time to beat the clock. Happy Holidays.
If you’re feeling squirrelly over the holiday season, come hang with us at our new space:
860 Park Road
Lexington, SC 29072