Different Parts of the Whole

I am watching the show Intervention: 80 days into treatment the alcoholic is diagnosed with esophageal cancer. He was sober a little over 100 days when he died. His young son says to the camera. “I am glad  at least that my dad died a dad and not an alcoholic.”

I can’t get up from the couch and away from the TV fast enough. But the tears beat me.


Tracy Chapman comes on radio, “my old mans got a problem, live with the bottle that’s the way it is” and I remember vividly being in the backyard of my childhood home. It’s sunny and the whole family is out by the pool, either weeding or cleaning or swimming, when that song starts to play. My mom, listening to the words says to my father, “Ray, are you listening to this song?”

Maybe he was.

Maybe he wasn’t.

I didn’t really know my father. I couldn’t say.


I’m lying in bed in the dark, cats piled on me and a snoring man next to me. I grab my phone to turn off the alarm and check my email. There it was sitting in my in box. A letter I thought I’d never receive.

After over two years of no contact my former best friend, the one who ended our twenty year friendship via text, had written me an apology. I lay there stunned with quick tears burning my cheeks.

I had convinced myself she didn’t think of me, that I didn’t matter, that she did not miss me and here, staring me in the face, was evidence to the contrary.

And here she was delivering the very thing I wanted most but never got from my dad- an apology.

It’s been almost two months since I received that email and I can’t bring myself to write her back. Can I be friends with her? Have I forgiven her? Can two people mend such deep hurt?

I have no answer. So I wait and listen.


Everything that happened to us before comes with us into today and sometimes it is impossible to sort it all out. What’s from now, what’s from then, what’s real, what’s fiction, what’s hyperbole, what’s next. We want answers possibly to the wrong questions. We want it to be easier but it keeps getting harder.









There is a better way to do this and we’re feeling in the dark to find the light.



21 thoughts on “Different Parts of the Whole

  1. This gave me goosebumps. Sending you big hugs.

    Also, you know I never do this, but go read my post today (which I wrote at midnight so I had no idea you were writing this today).

  2. The great thing is that you’re moving forward, thinking, feeling, listening, growing. Maybe some of that happens in the dark so it’s not as apparent, but it still happens. Your awareness and sharing with all of us affirms it even more.

  3. I’ve never dealt with an alcoholic parent or a family member addicted to anything so I can’t really say I know how you feel. When it comes to being hurt by someone though, I know how you feel. Those apologies sometimes never come. I’m glad you got one though. No, I don’t know what you should do, but sometimes, forgiveness is freedom. Freedom to move on. Freedom for friendship. Freedom to let it go. Your freedom is whatever you want it to be. *HUGS*

  4. If you ever find yourself questioning whether you have continued to grow, go back and read this post.

    This is amazing.

    No matter what you decide to do – with regard to anything – I know you’re gonna be ok.


  5. What a deep and meaningful post, Sizzle. The fact you think about these things, feel these things, it all means so much. Keep wondering, searching, discovering … you will find answers along the way.

  6. you never ever know whats round the corner i do really feel for that bloke it does bring tears to me but if nothing else he did him slef proud and i hope his son was prud of him

  7. I haven’t heard from my father since my daughter was 3 months old. She’ll be 11 in 2 months. I’ve since given up on him, but some days it will hit me out of no-where. I’ll start wondering why. I’ll wonder what he’s doing, if I ever even cross his mind. If some part of him, somewhere deep and hidden, knows what he did, acknowledges it and feels any remorse. I will probably never know.

    Respond to your friend. You have grown in the years since that text. The only way to see if you can get past it is to try. She has taken the time to acknowlege her mistake. The ball is in your court now. Maybe she has changed and grown, too?

  8. Whenever I talk about things like this with people who are close to me, I always find myself saying “we have to meet people where they are now.” I suppose that applies to ourselves, too, doesn’t it? I have to remind myself of that often.

  9. You know what I always wish they’d do on Intervention? Show people (and I’m aware the show hasn’t been on long enough for them to do this) 15 years later, and see whether they’re dry drunks/addicts or whether they’ve actually changed some core behaviors. Also, whether they’ve re-written history to deal with the negativity they caused in the past. As an alcoholic close to me has done. Frequently.

    Anyway, sidebar. I think you’re just continuing to make the next good decision for yourself, consistently. And that the reprieves are getting longer and longer.

  10. These words, that’s the stuff: Writing.

    I like to think that relationships can be mended, both people just have to let it be mend-able. So much easier to write than to practice though.

  11. One of the new people in my life (I started a new gig recently) told me her father is an alcoholic, now sober. She said it was like having two different people in her life. It’s odd but I think addiction is like that. It robs people of who they really are.

    As for the person who dumped you via email. I’m not sure what you do to be honest… I’d be tempted to write back “Thank you.” And let sleeping dogs lay. Shrug.

  12. I hate addiction and the wake it leaves to everyone behind it. Sad. And sad.

    Your vignettes of memories were melancholy and haunting and I could see them like it were a movie running in those old 8mm film strips.

  13. Haunted by our past. Informed by our past. It’s messy isn’t it. I too love this post. I love that you don’t feel compelled to hand us an answer because I’m not sure there really is one. Just knowing one’s own heart is probably the best we can do.

  14. My heart hurts for you. The pain you’ve endured. I don’t know if you’ve read any Eckhart Tolle…it can sometimes be boring stuff…but when I listened to him on Oprah’s book club, he talked a lot about the “pain body” we all carry with us. The hurt that we wear like coats and allow to define us in certain ways. I cannot remember now how he taught to shed that pain, but it might be worth trying to read some of his stuff in added effort to stop the trigger-repeat cycle.

    I can’t believe your friend finally contacted you. I know I’ve read more than one post about her. Didn’t she have a drinking problem too? I can see why you’re conflicted. I think the answer whether to contact her back will come to you in time. It’s so hard to let go of those kinds of people, isn’t it. And even harder sometimes to hang onto them when they’ve become someone else.

  15. I’m still here, Sizzle. and Wow– I GET this.

    I will tell you that it does get easier over time, but some issues just never reeeeeally go away. Things still make you cry, make you think, trigger you. Sometimes people forget you “have” an issue, and so they are all like “what’s your problem?” but it’s just better not to feel compelled to explain. After awhile, it’s just enough to let yourself release the emotion, and acknowledge it. Friends who understand, they do not NEED an explanation. Seek those, to talk.

    I know what you mean about the friend, what is expected etc. Just give her an acknowledgement of her SorryLetter(amends), and tell her it meant alot. You don’t need to decide anything, just tell her you “recieve” it. 🙂 that’s what SHE is waiting for.

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