I looked from the care worker to Laura. I waited for this confession.
‘Well,’ Laura said, ‘the thing is …’
‘The thing is what?’ I pushed her along.
‘The thing is, it’s not just alcohol … the problem I have. I’ve been taking cocaine. But, I only take cocaine when I have been drinking. So it’s not a problem for me to stop.’
‘Okay …’ I said.
“I knew it;’ Husband piped up.
‘And the other thing, I want to tell you,’ she said.
‘The other thing!’
‘I have been stealing from you, bottles of wine.’
I relaxed a little. I knew this. And the rest, I thought.
I looked at Laura. None of what she said mattered. Husband and I both knew Laura’s situation to be serious. ‘That’s all in the past. Just get yourself better and we can start afresh,’ I said.
The meeting was over. The care worker’s job was done. Laura took us to the dining room. Explained all meals were cooked for them. A young lad said, ‘Hi.’ He sat with his mum and dad. We were not the only ones. Not the only parents suffering.
We said our goodbyes to Laura. We shared hugs and kisses.
Husband and I went to Married Daughter’s house to share Christmas Eve. Husband was quiet and withdrawn. Not his usual gregarious self.
Husband and I awoke to Christmas morning. We had no joy in our hearts. We cancelled our planned visits. Husband could not stop crying.
Our problem daughter was sick. Her alcohol abuse more powerful than her.
Husband felt as though he had abandoned his daughter to a place full of hardened addicts.
We were heartsick with misery.