As much as I tried to shield my girls from the ugliness, Clare in particular was old enough and smart enough to start picking up on things. After throwing out the bed sheets, I realized that they needed a truth.
We sat curled up on the sofa together and I gave it to her as black & white as I possibly could.
Me: Clare, your father has an addiction. An addiction is when you want something so badly even though it is not good for you.
Clare: Am I addicted to ice-cream?
Me: Ice-cream is ok for you in little bits. But if you ate two big tubs of it, you would probably be very sick and wouldn’t want any ice-cream for a while. But a real addiction is even when something makes you sick, you still want it. Your father is addicted to alcohol and that is called an alcoholic.
Clare: Why is alcohol bad, is it poison? (Hugely concerned facial expression) You drink wine.
Me: When you see me have a glass of wine or two with my dinner or with friends that is fine, but it would not be fine if I was drinking wine in the middle of the night or for breakfast. And unfortunately with addiction, also comes lying…and because of that your dad can’t be in this house with us right now.
(My subsequent conversation with Maddie was a streamlined version with her only concern being what was for dinner.)
By this time we were both crying. My tears were not for him, they were for my beautiful girls.
As I sat there in that moment, I realised how much I utterly detested, despised and loathed him. I hated him for putting me in that place where I had to say those words to Clare. I hated him for his choices. I hated him for his lies. I hated him for those tears that streamed down Clare’s face.
Mort did not have a close relationship with his father growing up. I on the other hand had a very close bond with my dad. Mort said many times through our marriage….”I promise to be to our girls what your dad is to you”……I hated him for
breaking desecrating that promise.