What do you wish you had left unsaid?
Oh my gosh, so many things.
One thing in particular comes to mind. This was a few months before I got pregnant, and before Clayton got the ankle bracelet (which I wish the judge hadn’t let him get it off after only 6 months).
We had been out drinking, and we both got pretty drunk. He did something that annoyed me, and we ended up in an argument. A big argument.
He had started talking about his daughter, and getting partial custody back (the year previous he had lost custody due to his drinking). I told him he wasn’t getting her back until he quit drinking, in not so kind words.
I was usually pretty understanding and sympathetic, except for that night. I felt horrible even as I said such hateful words. I still feel horrible. I wish I had apologized, but I never brought it up. Neither did he. I’m not sure how much he really remembered, he was wasted.
He told me that he will get her back, don’t say that; it’ll be fine, his drinking isn’t a problem. Mind you, he couldn’t even walk straight or speak without slurring.
I was pretty well drunk myself. I told him loudly, hatefully, that he won’t see her again for a long time unless he quits drinking. I told him he might not even see her again until she’s 18, and she can come to him herself.
My words hurt him, I saw it on his face, in his eyes, his posture. But for some reason, I wouldn’t shut up. I just let my words kill him a little more.
I wish I hadn’t said anything. He already knew his drinking was preventing him from seeing her. He didn’t need me being a total bitch about it. He needed someone who supported him, gave him hope and something to look forward to. And usually I did. Except for that night.
I know he was an alcoholic. But I always felt guilty going out drinking with him, like I was encouraging him. I didn’t want to stop going out and drinking. So we’d go out together.
Even when he got his ankle monitor, I’d go out for drinks and he’d come to do karaoke. I never should have done that. I should have given alcohol up for him, or quit seeing him. But he needed someone who encouraged him to quit drinking, and not just with words. He needed action, too.
I was too selfish to quit then. I know his drinking isn’t on me. But I wondered back then, even before he died, if I had just been willing to stop with him, if it would have maybe helped.
But those words hurt him pretty badly, and I never even apologized. I only said them out of anger. It had nothing to do with thinking I was right (because I did doubt he’d get custody back even if he got sober, at least for a good few years). I was angry and lashed out.
He saw her once. She didn’t see him. He later told me how happy he was to see her, but how much it hurt not being able to actually play with her. My heart broke for him. He loved her so much.
I try really hard not to lash out in anger. Because all you do is hurt the one you love, and yourself. Recounting this kills me. I have thought about it periodically, but immediately push it aside because it hurts to think about.
Despite that that was the only time I was ever so hateful about the situation, and I was always supportive, doesn’t change the fact I regret it. I know he still loved me. He often told me, even after that, that I was the only person he felt comfortable talking to about his daughter; everyone else thought it had been long enough since he’d last seen her, and he needed to quit missing her so much. But that I would always listen.
And I did. My heart broke for him. I can’t imagine not being able to see my child for a year. By the time he died, it’d been a year and a half. And the fact other people made him feel like he shouldn’t miss her anymore, pains me. It did then, and it does now.
He was a great daddy. I wish he’d had the chance to be a daddy without the alcohol.