The sins of the father

Published 10:42 am Thursday, June 12, 2014

They just don’t make a greeting card for what I need to say on Father’s Day.
I know a lot of children and adults are feeling the same way this week, so after much thought I decided to share my story.
Like a lot of us out there who get uneasy about the third Sunday in June, my old man is an alcoholic. From my earliest memories until the time I was 12, I don’t recall him ever being sober.
My parents divorced when I was a toddler, and after my father joined the Marine Corps I lived with my grandmother. She hoped a stint in the service would sober him up. It didn’t, so when he got out, I stayed with her.
After two failed marriages and in the midst of another, my father decided the answer was not at the bottom of any beer bottle, no matter how much he wished it were.
It was the Thursday before Father’s Day. My grandmother and I were coming home from somewhere. It wasn’t quite dark yet, and I spotted his truck in our driveway from half a block away.
I was excited. As much as he terrified me when he was drinking, I still loved him and looked forward to seeing him in small increments.
We came inside, and my grandmother called out his name. No answer. I saw the light on in my room ran back, expecting to find him asleep drunk on my bed. It had happened I don’t know how many times before.
Instead, I found him dying in a pool of blood at the foot of my bed. He’d cut his wrist and throat. The bedroom had belonged to him as a child. As an adult I’ve found some sort of sad poetic justice in his choice of places to die.
Later when my grandmother asked me if I saw his face as he was lying there, I lied and said I didn’t.
I’m not asking for anyone’s pity though. I’m lucky. My father survived because I found him when I did. A few more minutes and he wouldn’t have made it.
Though our relationship over the years has been strained, I’ve gotten the chance to know the man, not just the drunk.
My dad hasn’t had a drink in more than 10 years now, and he works as a substance abuse counselor at a VA hospital in Texas and pastors a church. I’m proud of him.
He’s a new person now, but every June, I have a hard time separating the memories of the sinner from the pastor.
It’s something I’m working on. I believe in change and forgiveness. You should too.

Josh Edwards is a reporter and can be reached by email at or by phone at 601-636-4545.

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