Making Difficult Amends


Carole’s room last year looked down on a labyrinth that I never saw anyone walk or even go near.  In this (bad) picture, you can see Christmas lights.  I have no idea where those actually were.  And, honestly, when I look at pictures from that time one of my most frequent thoughts is “I hope I never need to have my knee replaced.”  In my defense, I had major knee surgeries when I was ten and eleven.  And really I just marvel at the fact that, 40 years later, those surgeries are still keeping me mobile.  If it was easy to do, I’d find out if the doctor is still alive and let him know about it.

Thankfully, because I stopped drinking young, I didn’t have many big or difficult amends to make.  What comes to mind is a situation with my father’s family.  I’ve probably written about it before but actually those relationships are still unresolved (though many of the key players have actually died).

I was a drunk dialer, and at some point (I don’t remember exactly when.  I think I can look up the Social Security Death Index and see exactly when) my father’s father, my grandfather, was dying.

I didn’t know him well at all.  My father died when I was six.  When I visited his family intermittently through the years, I would go visit my grandfather.  He lived in the same apartment building as my aunt and great-uncle.  They owned the building, which is a whole other can of worms and maybe relevant, but certainly long.  My grandfather wouldn’t leave his apartment after my grandmother died, 16 years before he died.  So for the last 16 years of his life, he left his apartment only to go to the hospital by ambulance, as far as I know.

My aunt let me know when he was dying, and I’m afraid I did some nutty drunk dialing around it.  I have only vague recollections.  The death index tells me I was 20 years old.  That was within my worst drunken times.

Anyway, he died, my life went on, and two years after he died, I got sober for what has been until now the last time.  In the ensuing weddings/baby showers/Christenings of my cousins, I got sober, and, as a newly, truly sober person, I went about making amends.  I knew that some of my cousins were mad at me.  I figured there had been talk about what a scene I made when my grandfather, who I really didn’t know very well, was dying, and how hard that was on the relatives who lived with him every day.  I sought out my aunts, since I know I talked to them during the melee, and apologized.

Well, I was forgiven.  How nice.  Turns out that they were made at me for something I said at my own wedding shower, WHEN I WAS SOBER.  I still don’t know what I said.  Some stupid remark that was taken the wrong way.  Isn’t that usually the case?  But you could have knocked me over with a feather.

I’m glad I apologized.  I’m sorry I hurt their feelings (I guess??), but yeah, the thing I thought I had done wasn’t even the thing I had done.  Live and learn.


3 thoughts on “Making Difficult Amends

  1. I don’t know what drunk dialing is… Calling someone in the middle of the night when you’re drunk?
    I never got along with my parents either, mostly my father. When I was 18, I joined the navy and left them forever, in sobriety, I told them I wanted to terminate all contact with them, because seeing them twisted my mind, (long explanation). After I told them that, my father came to me, and we sorta worked things out. It was more like he made amends to me instead of the other way around, although I believe I did my part as well.
    I’m glad things were OK between us before he died. We had a few good years.

    • Drunk dialing does not have to be done in the middle of the night, though it’s surely sloppier and more pathetic then. I called people at all hours and mostly sobbed incoherently. I remember my best friend asking if I was throwing up. Yes, I would tell her to hold on a minute and go puke or have dry heaves. Awful.

  2. Thank you for your input into alcoholism.

    I have just started my ninth step.

    Yesterday I rang a lady to say sorry for shooting her horse when I was 14.
    I had a vage memory of being accused of it by her.
    I had shot in the direction of the horse but it ran away.
    I believed she said it had died of lead piosening.

    That was 39 years ago.

    She excepted the appoligy but said there was no need for it because Dolly (the horse) had died of old age.
    She was surprised that I had been holding on to guilt for so long.



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