Danger: Alcohol

The mortuary is near the first home my mother lived in.

I prepaid the cost of her cremation and set aside money for her favorite charities at the same time.

I did this years ago; when death was not at all on the table.

I also went through The Five Wishes with Mommy.

The Five Wishes is a gracious way to talk with someone about not just their living will,

but what they want at the time of their death.

I am grateful that The Five Wishes came into my life.

The Five Wishes led me to a moment of 100% Forgiveness.

I chose the mortuary assuming I had found the home my mother would live in until she died.

It is mind bending how little I knew then about Wernicke – Koraskoff.

We moved Mommy three times after the forced detox at Denver General .

I pulled up in front of  the mortuary yesterday and sat in my car.

I was picking up my mothers ashes.

I sat in the car for a very long time.

When I prepaid the cremation expenses I chose a Rosewood box that would eventually hold her ashes.

I took that box home with me.

Apparently  that is not done. I did it anyway.

I wanted the box in my home.

I wanted the box to sit next to my father’s box; a box made with his very own hands.

(see the post: How To Build A Coffin)

I needed my mothers box to sit next to my father. I needed that.

I knew we would not be building Mommy’s coffin and I needed a way to acknowledge the inevitable.

I wanted the box to become part of my life before Mommy left this world. I could not stand the thought of some stranger placing her ‘cremains’ in a box I did not know.

I sat in the car, with the box,  for a very long time.

Howard, the mortician, would be placing my mothers ashes in the Rosewood box and I was not  ready for that.

I was also there to pick up my mothers Certificate of Vital Record.

I was picking up copies of my mother’s death certificate.

I dreaded both and remembered that death is but the first step on this

Long journey Grief.

I had earlier contacted the coroner and the doctor who would sign the death certificate.

I told them in no uncertain terms that the cause of death was chronic alcoholism.

That was what they should put as cause of death.

It is true.

I sat in the car yesterday, the radio off, for a very long time.

I held the Rosewood box.

I looked at a photo I took of my mothers hands taken the day she died.

Chronic alcoholism killed my mother.

My mother killed my mother.

The death certificate does not read

Chronic Alcoholism.

I reads a lie

and thus the lie is perpetuated.

Alcoholism Kills. It does.

This blog is about the devastation caused by alcoholism.

This blog is about my mothers journey into alcoholics dementia;

Wernicke – Korsakoff.

That is what this blog is about.


Here is a link to the Five Wishes website.

Take a look. I hope it will  be  of immense value to you someday too.


Peace, in Pieces;   Jen

~ by Step On a Crack on December 10, 2011.

15 Responses to “Danger: Alcohol”

  1. Thank you Thank You Thank you….
    You have been the ROCK in this family for so long in so many ways. I wish I could have been with. I hope this will be the start of you Not needing to be the rock. I Love You. A


  2. Time to rest, revive yourself. Time to know you have been a good daughter. Always remember that.


  3. Thanks for the reminder that i am a walking miracle! Alcohol is indeed cunning, baffling and powerful and much stronger than i will ever be. The only way to fight it is to stop trying and turn the battle over to a power greater than myself. i’m a miracle because i survived a disease that has taken many lives.


  4. The practicalities can be so painful, so many jolts and jars. Thinking of you and wishing you strength.


  5. Jen, you are a genuine article. How can we not love you? We do love and pray for you. Stay genuine.

    What does the certificate say? I am indignant that it doesn’t tell the truth!


  6. Brava.
    Love to you and prayers for you, Dearest.


  7. You said it all. Alcohol kills. People should know that it’s not just because people “DRIVE DRUNK” . It kills because the drivers live their lives drunk. I know this is why moderate is torture for me. Period. Love you, Jen. m


    • EXACTLY! I am SO SICK of statistics and the lousy way they play out in favor of the alcohol lobbies and our societal acceptance of alcohol abuse. I am so grateful I do not have a company party to attend this year. I would be a dangerous Woman right now in a room of active alcoholics! I might just get fired this year. Rant Rant Rant. Thats me. so it goes… Love you too Mel! Jen


  8. One time, I sat in the parking lot of a mortuary in the Denver area with the ashes of a baby that was born way too soon. Your post reminded me of that experience. It was 20 years ago this past September. While he was not even old enough to breathe outside the womb, I will always remember Isaac’s brief time as my son.

    Death is so sad. (Duh. I’m not trying to overstate the obvious, but I just had to write it out — it is really freakin’ sad and hard to handle. I wanted to acknowledge the sadness here, and just sit by your side with it for a moment.)

    Some deaths make some sense, I have decided. None of them are easy, but some of them at least do make sense. My grandmother’s death made sense. She was elderly, she had health problems, she eventually died. She’d had a good and peaceful end to her days, after surviving a lot of crap in her life and still being a lovely person, full of grace and love. Sad, yes. Death is always sad. But it made perfect sense for her to go when she did, at the age of 85.

    Then there are the complicated deaths. Deaths that happen to people that are young, or suddenly ill with little warning, or via accident. Those deaths rarely make sense. Those deaths are not only sad, but the shock of them lingers painfully for many years.

    Then there is the kind of death of your mom. A complicated one. Complicated because it is one that did not have to happen. Her disease was 100% preventable,.

    This disease is one of the saddest of all for while it is 100% preventable, it is so hard for the sufferers of the disease to see the light that it is a A) a disease that leads to death, and B) it can be averted.

    I’m sorry your mom died of this disease, Jen. I’m sorry that you had to go through what you did. I’m sorry that your mom never got to the point where she could understand that her disease was a preventable one. I’m sorry.


    • OH Dear Mrs. D! I am SO sorry for your loss! I can NOT imagine a more painful death than that of a child. I will wander the rest of my Denver days wondering which mortuary you sat near and realizing that each one I pass has tales of truly great sorrow to tell.

      You are 100% correct. My mothers death was totally preventable. If only the word spreads, BUT as I have seen in my own family, a death caused by alcoholism in a family built on alcoholic dysfunction, only gets shoved under the rug and the lies continue.

      I SO want that cycle to end for all families cursed by alcoholism.

      I am again, so very sorry for your loss. That is a loss that does not make any sense what so ever.

      Zero Sense.

      Take Care my Friend, Jen


      • Hi! I just saw this response… I don’t know why or how I got here, but I did! I was clicking on a couple of past posts. 🙂 I guess I was supposed to see it now!

        I can’t remember what mortuary it was. It was 1991 — I had the baby at Lutheran Hospital. I was 17 weeks pregnant (just in my 5th month) & had to go into labor & delivery. Anyway, I am pretty sure it must have been one up on Wadsworth Blvd or maybe Kipling. I don’t think it was Olinger’s because I remember being somewhere smaller, but I remember it was near the hospital. In my storage unit in Denver, I know I have the paperwork and so on that says where it was. Not much help now!! I was living in Bailey, CO at the time, with my mom & stepdad — I was only 23 and had just come back from China. Long story. Anyway, it’s funny (strange funny) thinking about this. I was just reading a couple of articles about Lily Allen, who lost her second pregnancy when she was 6 months pregnant (she just had a baby girl, who was born at term, last year). Anything before 24 weeks is considered a “miscarriage” but anyone who’s had one past the 12-week mark knows it is totally different from the ones that happen earlier (I had that kind, too). One woman I read about held her son who was breathing for a short time after his birth until he passed in her arms. Babies lost in this way is really hard, all the more harder for I don’t think it is often talked about. Miscarriage from 1-12 weeks happens in about 30% of all pregnancies, and second-trimester ones happen about 1% of the time. It’s not uncommon, but hard for people to talk about. I personally cannot even imagine a stillbirth, though! That must be incredibly painful, as with babies who die from SIDS….. on and on.

        I guess this makes me think that no kind of death is more painful than another… they are all pretty sad and bad. But certainly some people die with a lot more dignity than others, and for reasons that kind of are more acceptable to us, I guess.

        “a death caused by alcoholism in a family built on alcoholic dysfunction, only gets shoved under the rug and the lies continue…”

        This is the thing that is so sad in your family’s case! It’s so disheartening. The complications of alcoholism and “addict thinking” really do baffle me. It’s such a hard thing to treat, to live with. And yes, kind of like incest and other forms of abuse, it is definitely kept secret, and lies are used to keep it so at all costs. It’s horrible.

        But I keep thinking about the line from the movie version of The Princess Bride where Wesley as the Dread Pirate Roberts says to Buttercup, “Life is pain, Highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something.” Heh. True that. It’s how to swim in spite of the pain that is the real trick, eh?

        Thank you for your condolences, Jen. My 15-year-old turned out to be pretty cool. I’m sure his bigger brother would have been, too, and maybe someday I will get to know how much so. I dunno — that’s weird to think about actually, and strangely enough, brings up grief that I thought I left long behind in the past. Funny that grief thing – you can go for years without feeling it, and then suddenly it is in your lap again! Crazy. I bet he would have been a cool guy, though.


  9. Peace in boxes… not quite, not yet anyway.
    Jen, dear Jen, I’m praying for you daily, some times, hourly.
    This blog, like the writer, is a gift and a treasure.
    I visited 5 wishes.
    You’re generous even in grief.


    • I am SO glad you liked the Five Wishes! I think Everyone should have access to them.

      You are too kind and a reason to Keep on Keepin On. I can feel your heart and your prayers. THank you! XXXOOO Jen


  10. […] you want to pull back the curtain of grief that is alcohol, I would suggest you take a look at Danger-alcohol, a post by a young woman who fights daily to become a survivor of alcoholic grief. 31.968599 […]


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