I see you sitting on the freezing kitchen floor, curled up in a corner. Your pale frail body is covered in bruises and I’m afraid to ask where you’ve got them from; “has he been hurting you?” I think, but the words will never pass my lips. You have barely eaten but cigarettes and alcohol basically count as food for you now. The circles under your eyes tell me you’ve been having nightmares again.
Your suitcase is empty, waiting to be packed, we’re supposed to be going on holiday together, the whole family, one last time. Next to your suitcase there are several packets of different kinds of pain medication and a flask so you don’t start shaking when you haven’t had a drink in a while. The Asthma spray you’re using for your panic attacks.
Your words repeat, repeat, repeat- you seem to be stuck on a word, then your sentence… breaks off, you look confused, are silent for a while and then repeat something you said before that. All I can do is sit next to you and put my arms around you.
“Please, please get help! We both know you aren’t doing ok. Get help, if not for yourself then for your daughter!”
“You’re teaching her to drink when she doesn’t know how to handle a problem, that’s exactly what I learnt from my dad in high school. I don’t want you to have the same relationship with her as I have with my dad!”
“You are breaking your mother’s heart. I’ve spent hours talking to her, I know how worried she is about you. We all know about your problems.”
All the things going around in my head but I never say.
What would I know, I’m just the child and you the adult. I don’t know what you are going through or have your life experiences. You’ll get angry and aggressive when I say any of these things to you. You’ll go light up another cigarette and drown your thoughts and emotions in a couple of beers. Tomorrow we’ll both pretend nothing ever happened and things go on just the way they have before so you can save your face.
I don’t know how to ask this of you, or if I have the right to, but “Please, get help!”