Sometimes tragedy can be a blessing in disguise.
When I was a kid, my uncle would drop by often. He always had a bottle of whiskey in hand, and he always tried to get my dad to drink with him. My Uncle Isaac was an uncle by marriage, as he married my dad’s oldest sister. Dad and my aunt were really close as kids, but after she married Isaac, things changed.
Isaac came from the type of family where the father drank and the mother raised the kids and took care of drunk dad. Since this was the type of upbringing he had, this was the type of man he was as well.
Every Friday, you could find him sitting in the old armchair in the kitchen of my parent’s house. Since neither of them drank, Isaac usually sat and drank himself stupid, then went home to beat up his wife and kids. Many a time Dad headed to his house to teach him a lesson, but mom always stopped him.You see, mom’s father drank as well, sometimes he and Isaac drank together, so she knew where this usually led. “Don’t upset him, maybe he just goes home and sleeps it off” she used to tell dad.
Isaac’s wife rarely said anything, but you seen in her face that she lived with abuse. The kids, all three of them, also showed signs of abuse, but back then, nobody said or did anything.
One evening, my dad had enough. When Isaac showed up at the door, my dad locked it. We all stayed quiet like we weren’t home. He banged on the door for about an hour, finally giving up and going to some other person’s door. He started his trend at their home then, and finally, my family was free of this idiot.
Isaac worked with the local paper mill, where he drove the work bus. He made a good salary, and I guess a few girls in the area thought that he was a cool guy, so he cheated on my aunt with those girls. Mom said Isaac would sleep with a dog if he thought she was female, and since he was usually drunk at the time, he used this as an excuse when his wife caught him with a ‘pretty young thing’ from somewhere in the hills.
You ever hear of Karma? Well, it exists, and Isaac was the first to find out. He thought he had the world at his hands, and time after time I heard my grandmother praying to God that he leave my aunt and move on, or else smarten up and realize how lucky he was to have someone stand by your side like my aunt did. He was diagnosed with a strain of Parkinson Disease. With that, he became a gentle and loving person. He quit drinking, and even got a cat. For the first few years of the disease, he would visit everyone in the community, offering them his thanks for putting up with his terrible ways all those years, and often inviting them to walk with him. Isaac did a lot of walking back then, I think it was his way of dealing with the drastic change he went through.
When the disease worsened, Isaac became helpless. He could barely feed himself. He would sit and cry on the couch, while his wife tended to him. Despite the terrible life she suffered at his hands, he needed her now, and she was right there for him. More as a mother than a wife, she tended to his every need. His speech slurred, he could not walk on his own, and he spent much time in bed.
A bit later on, one of the doctors who worked with Isaac discovered that a new drug might be able to help him a bit. Within a few weeks of taking the medicine, Isaac became to recover.
In less than two months, he was now walking on his own, and he began to tend for himself. The medication seemed like a miracle. Two days before Christmas, Isaac was eating a cookie that his wife had baked, and one of the side effects of the powerful drug took its toll on the old man.
His heart could no longer sustain the effects of the drug that gave his life back, and he died. It was so sudden. He had been holding the cookie, my aunt in the kitchen bringing him some fresh milk, and when she returned, he was gone.
The entire community gathered to pay tribute to a man who only became a true man after he had retired and took sick. The man they paid tribute to on that day was not the wife beating, drunken disgrace of a man, but a kind and respectable citizen of the community. I am glad that this was the man we lay rest on that day.
My Aunt still lives alone to this day. She lives in the home that Isaac built all those years ago. The same home that his drunken rages destroyed, and the same home that he helped to rebuild once he had taken sick.
This is a true story. The names have been changed to protect the innocent. No animals were harmed in the making of this story, except maybe a chicken, but my aunt killed him quickly, and cooked him for supper.