How Do I Go On?

Cary McHale

My father was 48 years old when he died. My dad was an active alcoholic for all of my life. I always tried to help him and be there for him when I could. He always told me that I was the only one he had left, everyone else gave up on him. It wasn't easy but he was my dad and I couldn't give up on him and shut him out like everyone else did. My mom and dad divorced when I was 4 years old. My visitations with him growing up were spent on a barstool in a bar. We didn't have the best relationship, basically it came down to me taking care of him. No matter what, I always loved him. I knew he had a disease and couldn't control it. I hated the disease but never hated him. I watched as the disease took over and made him into a monster at times, beating my mom and verbally and emotionally abusing me. But he was my dad, he didn't know what he was doing. When I became an adult, my dad told me he wanted to form a relationship with me since we hadn't had the greatest relationship. It was a little too late to make up for the past and all the pain he caused me but I forgave him because of the disease. All I ever wanted from him was for him to love me. I hadn't talked to my dad in the last year. I sent him a father's day card and a letter and got a letter back asking for money. I had been looking for him for the past 3 months and couldn't find him. I left letters at his favorite bars and I've been told from his friends that he got them but was afraid to call me or come and see me. I got a phone call on Saturday, Feb. 20th from my uncle telling me that they found my father dead.

The call that I expected all my life and thought that I could handle just cut through my heart like a knife. I went to the hospital in hopes of at least seeing him and giving myself some closure. The coroner was there and wouldn't let me see him. They think what happened was that my father was highly intoxicated and fell asleep under some trees outside. He froze to death.

They wouldn't let me see him because he had been dead approximately 7-8 weeks. I know it would have been a gruesome sight to see, but I needed to see him for some type of closure. I can't accept his death. I'm still looking for him as I drive down the street. I am missing him terribly and want just 5 more minutes with him to tell him that I forgive him and that I love him. I know I'll never get that 5 minutes. It's just so hard to accept his death. I guess I thought with everything that my dad went through in the past, he was invincible. I feel guilty because I was always there for him when he needed me, now when he needed me most, I wasn't there. I let him down.

Cary McHale

You can send email to Cary at: [email protected]
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anniversary date 2-20-99
date of post 3-27-99

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Crisis, Grief, and Healing: Tom Golden LCSW