From the June 2011 magazine.

June 2011: Death of a Father

My father’s alcoholism broke up my family when I was 17. In the next six years between then and his death, I spoke to him only a handful of times. I was there when he was on his deathbed. At age 60, he looked like an emaciated well-known comedian, his eyes like saucers due to his wasted body. The hospice he was in allowed him to continue drinking as he only had days left. He was unable to communicate verbally.

I had no idea what to do. I mean, what do you say to a family member who you haven’t spoken to in a civil manner in almost a decade and who is about to die? I made some excuses and left for the pub. The look my father gave me when I left his room has haunted me almost every day. Did he hate me? Did he see through my own disease? What? My father died the next morning. I drank for another 12 years, to the point of spiritual and emotional bankruptcy.

-- James M., ,

Bangkok, Thailand

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