Friday, April 18, 2008

Rest in Peace

I wrote last July about our visit to Limna, Ukraine--where we spent a week as guests of Styopa and Liudmila, the husband and wife who helped to take care of Katya and Natalia our first year and a half in Moscow. We really loved them and thought they'd be part of our extended family for the rest of our lives.

Unfortunately, I then wrote this February about what happened in December when Styopa showed up at our home drunk, really truly, raging drunk, when he was supposed to have come to help us in the days before and after our trip to the USA for the holidays, and house sit/take care of the kittens while we were away. In my post I detail the unbelievable drama that occurred and how we had to kick him out of our home--and lives.

He repeatedly called afterwards, thinking that "Sorry for what happened" somehow could wipe away the destruction of both our trust and property. He truly didn't "get it," still believing that all I had to do was hear his explanation for why he'd been drinking... And he still talked about the return visit to Ukraine that he was certain we'd make again this summer...

I never hung up on him, but I did not engage in the conversations and kept them EXTREMELY short. I also told him that it just wasn't enough, that it wasn't "OK," and I did make it clear enough that things were through.

All the while, I think about what happened the last time we saw him every time I look at my once beloved--but no longer--leather couch that he peed all over. It's so darn ugly with that denim comforter cover it--but I haven't been able to find a slipcover that will fit, and we don't have the extra couple thousand dollars to replace it (even IKEA is much more expensive in Russia--if only we could buy a new couch from them at USA prices!). Annie--I hear your pain about losing your favorite chair to similar circumstances.

He called on February 21st to wish me happy birthday, and then on March 8th for International Women's Day and Chris's birthday.

And on March 13th he died.

Liudmila just sent me an SMS, simply stating that he died from blood clotting in the brain. Although I have no further information, I'm certain his death was related to drinking... He probably was so drunk that he struck his head and then bled internally...

I've tried to call Liudmila, but she doesn't answer (and she can tell from her cell phone that it's me calling). I hope she doesn't partly blame us... We cut him out of our lives because we had to. HE was responsible for his actions. We had to put our kids first. I know how much he adored the girls, how much he valued our friendship and it must have been devastating as he began to realize that he had, in fact, lost us.

It's just so, so sad. I pray for Liudmila... And, God willing, that we can at least speak to her again to share our condolences (I have no address for her, so I can't write)...

I haven't told the girls and I'm not sure when I will. Katya's so fragile emotionally these days and she can't handle any unnecessary extra stress.


Rachael said...

So sorry to hear.

garnet said...

Oh, my. You absolutely did the right thing to separate yourselves, particularly the kids, from this situation, but I think I'd be feeling guilty myself even though I'd know he is absolutely responsible for his own decisions.

I enjoyed the description of the visit to their village -- I read that one carefully because it reminded me a lot of Romania. Somehow I'd picked up the idea that this man was much older. I was quite shocked to see how young he was.

Praying your family, especially Katya, will be able to see your way through this -- and for his wife and that she will be able to understand why you did what you did.

Annie said...

I am SO sorry. Having read about that horrible fiasco (a kind word), but also earlier about your visit, I know that your feelings must be so sad and complicated.

I get angry every time I read of someone "scoffing" at teetotalers or being "amusing" about the stupidity of prohibition. As much as I realize that prohibition didn't seem to work, the devastation caused to individual lives and families because of alcohol, is just too horrible to not understand why someone would try just about anything to stop it. I'm a girl who doesn't mind a drink! But I ought to thank God daily that some quirk of genetics didn't make me unable to stop.

My children are all mine - and not in the loving homes of their biological parents - due to alcohol. Each and every one of them. All five. Five children, and four devastated families. Due to alcohol.

I'd forgotten about your poor leather couch when I blogged about my velvet chair. It is kind of disheartening to have that large, clumsy "reminder" of painful excess sitting in one's living area. I know what you mean, and now it is even worse for you. My heart goes out to you. I do hope that Liudmila will answer her phone.

Anonymous said...

this is a great picture, keep the good memories only, and jerry and i truly do pray that each of you truly find peace.


Nataliya said...

I'm so sorry to hear about Stepa's passing. Don't even think about blaming yourself in any way... Cutting him out was the only way to protect your family! Unfortunately, there is no negotiation with alcoholics. As we say in Russian, "Pust' zemlya emu budet puhom".

HRH said...

I am so sorry.