They say it happens in threes.

In April, there were three men in my immediate family: my father and two brothers. Now there is one. I fear he won’t be around much longer. He’s had many serious health issues over the past year. And despite surviving mouth cancer (which required removal of lymph nodes), he’s still drinking heavily. He won’t go to rehab.

I don’t understand. He lost his older brother in April due in part to alcohol-related health problems (cirrhosis). Why hasn’t this made an impression? Why did he fight to beat the cancer if he was going to continue killing himself with alcohol? Why doesn’t he want to clean himself up so that he can continue to run my father’s business? Why wouldn’t he want to do this as a tribute to my father?

My mom has done what she could to force the issue. She gave him an ultimatum: rehab or he could no longer work at my father’s business. They ended up compromising: he can’t drink at work. He’d been bringing alcohol to work when my mother and father both weren’t there due to my father’s health issues. When my mom went back to overseeing my dad’s business after he died, this included monitoring my brother’s drinking. He can’t hide it from her, now. My mom, at 75, is now compelled to go to my father’s office every day to make sure my brother isn’t drinking on the job. She needs him there to run the business. To bring in income. The business owes her money. She needs the loan to be repaid. This is her only form of income now, other than social security. She wants to fire him due to his refusal to clean himself up, but she can’t afford to. So they’ve compromised.

He’ll be dead before another year passes.

I asked my mother how she’ll deal with yet another loss. She said she won’t have to worry about him any more. Like she no longer has to worry about my oldest brother.

My mother has had a difficult life. Two severely alcoholic sons. A husband with Alzheimer’s. I want her to have some peace and happiness during the years she has left. I want all the pain and heartache to leave her alone. Just for a few years. That’s all.


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