I didn’t know that Dad was yelling at me because he was trying to control the uncontrollable—your addictions.
I didn’t know why there was no talk at home about anything, or why there were rules that kept changing.
I didn’t know that you loved me. Even though you never hugged me or said you loved me—it was evident in the clothes and birthday cakes you made me.
I didn’t know that you were not accident prone as Dad said, but actually out of it most of the time—this is why you fell over, bumped into things, and had bruises all the time.
I didn’t know that we shouldn’t have made fun of you for those accidents.
I didn’t know why I could never please you.
I didn’t know why we were worried about what the neighbors would think, and that’s all you and Dad seemed to care about.
I didn’t know why you wouldn’t talk to me about anything that mattered.
I didn’t know when I married an alcoholic that I too would get the same rage, anger, and helplessness that Dad had.
I do know now that you did the best you could, and that you did care for me. I am sorry that I didn’t know this before you died, before I got the chance to make amends to you. I am trying to love others in a way that I couldn’t with you. I hope you know that I do love you, and that I was able to make amends to Dad and show him love before he died. I hope you know that I found a wonderful fellowship called Al‑Anon, which has given me the tools to change my life, and get well again.
And dear Mom, thank you for all you did for me. I hope you have the peace and serenity that I now have!.
By Vivienne B., New Zealand
The Forum, March 2014