I look from the care worker to Bella, wait for a confession.
‘Well,’ Bella said, hesitating, ‘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.’
‘Ok,’ I said.
“I knew it;’ husband piped up.
‘And the other thing, I want to tell you,’ she said.
‘The other thing!’ Was this not enough of a body blow for one day.
‘I have been stealing from you, bottles of wine.’
I relaxed a little; I knew this. And the rest, I thought.
I looked at Bella. None of what she said mattered, anymore. Husband and I both knew Bella’s situation to be more serious than before. ‘That’s all in the past, just get yourself better, and we can start afresh,’ I said. I wanted her to believe.
The meeting was over; the care worker’s job was done. Bella took us to the dining room. Explained all meals were cooked for them. A young lad sad ‘hi,’ to Bella. He sat with his mum and dad. We were not the only ones. Not the only parents suffering.
We said goodbyes, shared hugs and kisses.
We went to our married daughter’s house, to share Christmas eve. Husband quiet and withdrawn.
Christmas morning we woke, with 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.