Many regular readers know of my very personal journey. Adopted as a baby – I decided after giving birth to my first child I would have to find my roots.
I am not going to cover old ground you can read about what happened when I met my birth family here…
This tale is all about Angus, the middle brother.
Content Notice – Alcoholism and Suicide mentioned.
Having researched my birth family tree I then needed current addresses so I could contact them. It was harder getting hold off such details in those days so I hired a whiz-bang chap online who said he could find anyone. Well, the only address he came up with was the one for Angus.
Angus was the first blood relative I ever spoke to. We talked at length on the phone – very special moments for me – and that was when he told me. He was an alcoholic.
When I met him alone about a month later we went out for a drink. He took me to his local pub. Everyone knew him. Everyone like him. Many people bought us a drink. And it was sitting in that pub that he told me why he was an alcoholic.
Odd One Out
Angus said he was the odd-one-out in the family. All the others, including me, have brown eyes, a darker complexion and are very tall too. We’re actually descended from some of the original Romany Gypsies.
Angus had the most clearest blue eyes you’d ever seen, very pale skin and was smaller than the rest of us. He said from a young age he felt everything too much. They were a very close family and all the kids looked out for each other but he knew he wasn’t as strong, mentally or physically, as the others.
Deciding at sixteen he’d experienced enough of life he tried to kill himself. Giving it his best shot, so it was never seen as simply a cry for attention. The doctors and family recognised Angus wasn’t stable. He received psychological treatment and all the family and his friends rallied round.
He realised that if he had died many hearts would have been broken. Knowing people loved him. And why wouldn’t they? Angus had the sweetest most compassionate nature. By the time I met him he was a carer for the elderly and perfectly suited to that career.
After recovering from the suicide attempt he knew it would hurt too many people if he tried again, so to get by, he began to drink. Within a very short time he was an alcoholic. The kind that can carry on with their jobs. The kind that you can sit in the bar chatting with. Having two, three, four drinks and they never seem to get any drunker. Meanwhile you are practically falling over.
Angus never married or had any children.
He told me that nothing would stop him drinking.
He would drink until he died.
And that was precisely what he did.
Just a year after I met him he was admitted to hospital as his organs began to fail. His sister, (my half sister), took him back to her home and cared for him until his death a few month later.
Timing is Everything
If all this had happened just a year earlier I would not have been fortunate enough to have met him, a beautiful, kind soul. Indeed, I can’t be sure I would have met any of my family as it was only Angus’s address that was available online.
Finding out he had gone felt very strange. Sad that his time was up and also I had no more time to get to know him. But glad he had told me this was his decision. What he wanted.
I am going to leave it there as I don’t know too much about what being dependent on alcohol is like. Don’t get me wrong I drink far too much. I enjoy a drink. But I can stop.
Alcoholism is more common than we know. In a strange coincidence, the month Angus died, a close friend’s sister died for the same reason.
One reason Angus felt odd was because he looked different from his family. Genetics are strange. When I had my second daughter I recognised immediately that she has his eyes, clear and blue.
So Angus is never far from my thoughts.
Originally posted in April 2019 and linked to SB4MH and Wicked Wednesday.
Updated 11/07/2021 4thoughts topic of addiction