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Friday, March 4, 2011

Every year I like to repost this story about my parents and give you an update on where things are. Although i still miss my mom so incredibly, I am overrun with joy to tell you that my dad is doing amazing!!! He had a rough couple of years and continues to struggle through daily life, but don't we all sometimes?

Recently there was an article written in The Memphis Flyer that included parts of his journey over the past couple of years. I'd love for you to go read it, but I also think it's important to read my original post to help understand how easy it is for everyday normal people to fall into the trap of drugs.

(This is a picture of my parents, Mike and Rhenea Fisher, taken while on a cruise just a couple of years before our world changed forever.)

My whole life I grew up in church. I heard the same things over and over. It wasn't until 3 years ago, that I actually HEARD God!! It goes back to that saying that "you always find something when you are looking for it"

Sean and I were in the process of planning our wedding. In the process of deciding to become an enormous yours, mine, and ours, blended family. We told eachother that we had to be on the same page spiritually. He was Catholic, I Pentacostal. So we became Baptist. (You are supposed to laugh now.) But seriously, it wasn't about the denomination of the church. It was a private invitation every Sunday and Wednesday, just for us!!! The pastor was speaking directly and privately to our hearts. So that's what I meant by looking. Our lives and the lives of our children have become so much more meaningful. I am so thankful for our church family. I just ended a 9 week class on "Recovering from Life's Losses" which was a really great start for my recovery, which leads me to why some crazy girl is telling you all this in the first place....
I am the only girl in my family. I am the oldest. My family went to church every Sunday and had dinner together after. EVERY SUNDAY. Grandparents, aunts, uncles, parents, brothers, cousins. We were very very close.

3 years ago, in a matter of seconds, my family changed forever.

My mom called me and said my dad had a heart attack and she was taking him to the VA. The next morning, my brother called me and said my mom was in Methodist Germantown and we needed to talk.... I left my dad's side and went to my mom where she informed me that she didn't want me to be mad at her, but on the way to the hospital the day before, she prayed that God would do something really bad to her because she knew that if my dad went into the hospital, he wasn't coming out until he was better and she couldn't make it on her own. So she had tried, as my brother sarcastically put it, "to have her morning medicine" and she busted a vein in her arm. My head started spinning. I couldn't comprehend what they were telling me. I knew things had changed over the last year or so. I couldn't put my finger on it. They had a very lucrative business called Rent My Husband for the previous 15 years, but the last 2, they had lost everything. I'm talkin, everything. They were doing really weird stuff, like asking constantly if they could come see the babies. (My kids were 5 and 1 1/2). Now before this, they were picture perfect grandparents. Inviting them over, making cookies, popping up with gifts, etc... but they had started asking me if they could come over and babysit overnight, and while they were there, mama would ask if she could buy a can of green beans from me. And they were each at different times, constantly in the bathroom saying they were sick. Things started not adding up. I have never done drugs and I was really nieve. I just thought they were really bad with money. It turns out that for 2 WEEKS before my dad had this heart attack (which turned out to be from him trying cocaine the weekend before for the first time), they had no electricity. And they later confessed, they were scared that if I found out, I wouldn't let the kids see them anymore, so they were buying as much time as possible. My parents had become Bonnie and Clyde.
It all started 5 years before that when my dad had back surgery. My mom says she had some neck problems and that's why she started taking my dad's pills....Well, slowly over that 5 years, it crept up on them. They needed it more and more. They would make up ailments and go to the doctor. When that resource ran out, because they had gone to sooooo many doctors in Memphis, they somehow got closer to the kid who lived across the street, who grew up with my brother, but had become lost in this chaotic world of addiction, and he turned them to dealers. So the pills were no longer enough. They started shooting up. That lasted about 6 months until my dad had the heart attack. They both went into seperate hospitals, the truth came out, and they each stayed for a month. They got out, got help to turn their electricity back on, and swore that they were better. I mean come on.... they lived in the youth pastors house next door to the church I grew up in my whole life! My parents were married there, I was married there, and finally 3 weeks after they moved back in, my mom's funeral was there.... And the same pianist that had played at their wedding 30 years prior, and my wedding, played for my mom, one last time.
This has devastated my family. The day my mom died, I lost my dad and brothers too.... My dad was overcome by grief, that instead of putting everything down, he became more addicted because of the guilt he felt. My brothers hated my dad for what they perceived HE had done. So a year after her death, my middle brother, (who I lovingly call my "midtown brother" because he wears a beard, has been known to pack up and travel Europe and Brazil for months at a time without any kind of plan, and says he thinks People create their own lives, and he's not sure if there is a God), decided to once again pack up and move to St. Louis where he became an AA poster child for a year. He, himself, delved into a world of drugs and alcohol to cope with mama's death. And my poor baby brother who was just a teenager living in the house while all this was going on, became an orphan.
During this year before my middle brother acknowledged that he had a problem, both my brothers decided that my dad did not need to live alone, so they all moved into a completely new house. For 6 months, they gave my dad money for the bills, until one day, the landlord came and said that she was trying to be caring, knowing my mom had past away, but that my father had not paid ANY rent in 6 months. That same day, the electricity was shut off again. Hence, why my brothers hate my dad. That's when my middle brother packed up and left. My dad packed up and went into rehab at the VA AGAIN, which left my baby brother homeless!
So, that was 2 years ago. Since then, my middle brother stayed clean for a year, thought he was strong enough to move home. Went straight to midtown and ofcourse, found out he wasn't strong enough. He moved in with me, my husband got him a job with the city where he works, and he stayed with me until I found a bag of cocaine on my kids bathroom floor, and I told him he had to leave. He didn't just leave. He moved to Virginia!!!! He is always RUNNING, just like my parents!
My poor baby brother is doing well, and we are starting to speak more than we ever have in our lives. (Before, he was my bratty little brother that got on my nerves.) Now he is 26, and doing well for himself.

I miss my dad so much. I decided almost 2 years ago that he was unhealthy for my family. I was afraid he was coming into my home and stealing. He has become so deceitful. So dishonest. I have been using what I think is tough love, but all I think it is, is a way to slowly kill my heart. He has had very very little contact with his family for 30 years. My mom's parents have been his parents since he met my mom when he was 17. My grandfather, for the last 3 years, has done nothing but enable him. With money, housing, you name it. This has done nothing but pull my grandparents apart and ruin them financially. I haven't been able to grieve over my mother because I worry about my father. I cannot get past the same emotions. Anger, sadness, pity, anger, sadness, pity... its a circle that I can't stop. I can't bring myself to call him because I don't want the open communication. It always leads to him asking if I can do something for him. My grandparents found out 2 weeks ago, that he ran up a $5,000 Home Depot account that is in my grandfathers name within the last couple of months. He knew they would find out!!!! His addiction is so overpowering that he didn't care. I wish he had other resources besides the VA. I wish he could could go into a facility somewhere out of town for atleast a year, so he could learn how to live life not only without drugs, but without my mother. So he could learn how to cope with his horrible childhood memories, his horrible memories of Vietnam, and learn how to be my dad again. Learn how to be a productive member of society. My heart physically hurts. I cry quietly in the bed next to my sleeping husband all the time. I couldn't sleep all night on Wednesday before Thanksgiving because I knew the Home Depot fiasco, was finally a deal breaker with my grandparents, and this was the first holiday that he wasn't welcome. I wondered all Thanksgiving day, what he was doing. If he had food to eat. If he was sitting in his house all alone crying and if he would end it all that day. I made him a plate and still couldn't muster up the courage to take it to him. I can't face that house. I can't face a conversation of lies and negativity. I want a relationship with my dad so bad. Am I wrong for wanting others to make contact with him. To help him, when I refuse? My brother has told me a thousand times that daddy is an entrepreneur. He is a genius, He is smart, and the last thing he wants, is for someone that he made, to try to tell him what to do. He knows what to do. You don't do drugs. He knows that. But when my mom died. everything changed. I can't even fully say the sentence in my head let alone out of my mouth, that my mom died from drugs. I keep replaying my dad's funeral in my head and it hasn't even happened. I am a 30 year old woman, yet the day my mom died, I felt 9.

I don't want to get a phone call that he is dead and all I do is regret this last 3 years like I already do. I just don't know where to begin. It hurts to know that they didn't love us enough to not start doing drugs. And they didn't start until I was 22!!!! I grew up in a house with my dad constantly PREACHING how bad drugs were. But they didn't think they were doing anything that bad at the start of this because the doctor prescribed it.
I truly think that in my every day life, I am handling this as any responsible 30 year old wife and mother should. I live my daily life. I go to work. I go to church. I love my husband and kids. But it never fails....every day on the same stretch of Sam Cooper when I am driving home from work, I cry. And I've gotten to where I can gauge it by exits. I only cry for about 3 exits, then I feel better and my mind wonders to something else. Then I get home, turning my full attention on my life until I crawl into bed at night. Only on the nights where my husband is so tired that he falls asleep before I, are the nights when I silently cry myself to sleep. If I have any alone time, my mind becomes NOT strong enough. I need to be able to talk about this. I need to be able to be in a loving christian enviroment to openly talk about this and confront this head on. I know I can't change my dad. But I also know that there is hope for him. If he could somehow get into an enviroment where he feels loved, appreciated, and heard, then he would let down his know-it-all attitude and realize that if he had the answers, he would have been better by now.

I know that my story isn't unlike hundreds of others, but for me it is personal. I didn't grow up around abuse, drugs, alcohol. I had literally 2 months to become an expert on how to save your parents from drugs, and I failed miserably. All the support groups are for parents whose kids fell into drugs. What do you do when your parents fall into drugs????