Mother's Heartbreak

A Story of Addiction & Loss

Month: March 2015 (page 2 of 3)

And So the Story Goes

So life went on as I guess it should be. You living by the sea with your Lisa and me home immersed into finding a new direction for my life. I had spent so many years trying to keep you straight that I had forgotten that I too had a life that needed attention. So even though it was so hard to pry myself away from the old routines, I stopped calling everyday and little by little started to stretch that cord that kept us springing back to each other. I have to admit Matt, it was starting to feel like what a normal relationship between a mother and her son should be. You, now a man, living life away from my constant supervision. Now this Lisa was where I used to be. Except deep down I knew you my son were too afraid of bearing your truths to this woman who you felt so lucky to have. You still never understood how amazing a person you were. For whatever reason, you still didn’t think you were worthy of happiness and no amount of praise and love would ever change your mind.
So I got down to the business that was my life. My work with the babies kept me busy during the week. Belle and Dewey were my constant companions on the weekends. Now, instead of the beach I would head to the park with my pups. Oh, yeah, Let’s not forget about Match From Hell.Com. So now my life has it’s own rhythm. Working my 12 hour shifts, dating, Oh Yeah Me! and finding new places to explore with the pups.
There came a time when I started to enjoy having the house to myself. I remember arguing with you about how to put your dishes in the dishwasher and that we didn’t have a little elf that grabbed the laundry off your floor and miraculously placed it in the washer.
I started to notice that your calls came only during the week. I just kept hoping that you like me had found some rhythm that made you feel productive and fulfilled, and that your weekend time was spent enjoying time on the sea you so loved. I still remember listening to how you said your words, your clarity, the sound of your laugh, still wondering if and when the demons would find you again.
Our lives though still intertwined were now heading in different directions. You working at a job you loved with people you called your extended family. I remember coming to visit during the week, surprising you at the garage. At first you looked shocked, then that smile spread across your face and that Hey Mom! came falling out of your mouth. I tried to just relax and enjoy your company, but continued to look for those heart breaking signs that would alert me that you were standing on that slippery slope again and I had to grab you and pull you back. You looked thinner than I remembered, I silently hoped you were following my advise and trying to eat healthy or that Lisa didn’t allow pizza and wings as your daily diet. Your eyes looked clear. You were so proud to show me around the garage and introduce me to your boss, Charlie. I remember his wife being there and hugging me telling me how you were just like a son to them. Matt, you would never know how much that meant to me. Another mother to keep watch over you. When you walked away I grabbed her hand and said, please keep an eye on him for me. I worry and I’m so far away. She looked in my eyes as if she knew and chills gripped my heart. Oh God, had she seen what I have experienced most of your life. I couldn’t betray our secret but her eyes bore into my soul like she had been where I was and together we formed a silent pack to keep you away from your demons. I left to walk on the beach leaving you to your job as cars needed fixing and that was what you did. My heart felt heavy. Warning bells sounding in my brain. My key to your house in my pocket, I turned the car around and headed to the house by the sea. I once again, praying that my instinct was playing with me and my paranoia was leading me out of control. Matt, even though I wanted to believe with all my heart that you were clean, all those years of your deception was so ingrained in my soul that even before I pulled into the driveway, the tears started to flow and that helpless feeling wrapped its arms around me as I sobbed in my car.
Being the mother of an addict is an endless journey of what if’s and whys and my precious boy our ride was no where near over. I remember my hand shaking as I turned the key pushing the door open. My need to keep you safe and find the truth was more powerful than my guilt of once again invading your space. I looked around hoping to slip in unnoticed. Your neighbors all knew me Matt and I was hoping to do this without you knowing that my trust was as changing as the wind. Your house, our little house by the sea looked abandoned. I flashed back to our week of detox and saw the dirty dishes, the moldy food the unkept home that we both so loved. I remember feeling like I walked back into the storm. I couldn’t leave a trace or move a plate. I wanted to sweep the place clean, let the house know it was still loved, but as I crept quietly through I knew you like you knew me, you hide, I seek. Ok Matt. Game on!!!!!!` ““““““““““““““““““““““““““

Mom, Lisa – Lisa, Mom

So the weeks go by and I keep hearing the name Lisa. Lisa’s coming over, I’m going to Lisa’s. I tried to think happy thoughts, tried to be glad that you weren’t alone anymore, but that little nagging feeling wouldn’t let go of my heart. I knew the kind of people you gravitated to, and now with Natt gone, I feared your path would lead you right back to where you should never tread again. I started to notice that your calls were becoming less frequent and quick. My ears, now fine tuned for the signs that your demons were knocking on your door took over as I would listen to your words not really hearing what you were saying so much as how you were saying it.
Friends would tell me to relax. You spend so much time worrying about Matt, why don’t you worry about you. Matt’s living his life, you need to live yours.
Ok, so even though I tried to keep you under my radar, I was getting lonely. My frequent trips to our beach house were now interrupted by Lisa’s presence. The flow of our lives was changing again and I had to redirect my compass and find my own way. I kept telling myself that you were now a man and I should loosen the reins and let you grow up and away from me. I didn’t want Lisa to get the wrong impression and most important I didn’t want to embarrass you and cause any discord between us. So I kept the distance you required as you started your life with Lisa.
My friends urged me to start dating. One night, unable to sleep I just decided to just get up. I found myself in front of my computer reading emails when a pop up appeared. Well, what the hell, I’ll fill out a profile and pay the $29.95 thirty day fee. This could be interesting, I was definitely not looking for anything serious, but a few free dinners was something I could be up for. So let the fun begin..
Well Matt, I must admit I now had something else to think about. I never knew there were so many assholes in such close proximity, but they all seemed to like my profile and send that stupid wink that I felt guilty for not responding to. As I was living what was becoming Match from, you were loving life. It appeared that you and Lisa were making it work as I continued to look for the signs that would take us back on the road leading to hell.
Well, finally the call I’d been waiting for. Hey Mom, come on down I want you to meet Lisa. I don’t know what hit when I heard those words, maybe it was my Mom instinct, but those warm, fussy feelings of excitement just weren’t there. I remember rehearsing my lines, like an actress up for the biggest part of her life. Questions swirled in my brain, does she know about your demons, did the relationship mean enough for you to reveal yourself completely to this woman. Oh God Matt, I felt like we needed a dress rehearsal to make this right. The drive down was quicker than I wanted it to be. I remember feeling like a kid on previous trips, are we there yet? In the past I couldn’t wait to get to you, this trip as my mind and heart raced I took my time. Excited to see you again but cautious as to how to approach this girl who you claimed to love. Our dirty little secret safely tucked in my heart.
Pulling up in Lisa’s driveway I remember my sweaty hands letting go of the wheel I had gripped so tightly. Taking a deep breath, ok lights, camera, action. I got out and stepped onto gravel. The house was adorable, outside clean and well landscaped. Dogs barking. Kahlua was bounding through the swinging door, bouncing and jumping at my feet. Her wet kisses so welcome. She looked at me as if she knew. It’s ok, she seemed to say. He’s ok, relax. Then there you were. That smile and those beautiful eyes. You came to me as you always did and wrapped me in your hug. God, it felt so good to see you again. You looked at me straight in the eyes and I knew our secret was still just ours. Ok Matt, I will play your game. I took it as a sign that you were clean and life was free of your demons. Out stepped a girl. I remember my first impression. Tall and very masculine. Nothing like the Natt I had come to love. Alright my brain said, don’t compare, Natt is gone and Lisa is here. Suck it up and be nice.
Sorry Matt, i just couldn’t do it. No matter how bad I wanted it to be, she just wasn’t you. I found myself really having to fake it. I caught myself observing you together, something just didn’t fit. She was just a little too bossy. Where Natt was soft,she was hard. I could feel how hard you were trying, there was nothing natural here. I remember standing in her kitchen with you, you saying “Mom, I did good”. Oh Matt, she did good. You are the sweetest, most loving man I had ever known, but still you were unsure of your worth and Lisa wasn’t the person to lift you up as you needed to stop the call of your demons. I stayed the weekend, but I slept at our house by the sea. Nothing felt right. You there, me alone with Kahlua. I felt such a feeling of dread almost like the day my hand wrapped around the bottle you hid so well. What were you hiding now I thought as I cried myself to sleep.

No Worries Mom, I Got This !

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Living in the chaos that becomes the addicts life is unthinkable for someone that lives a life of order.  I found myself getting things back in order.  That was the only way this mother of an addict can function.  I remember the lists going around in my brain.  Matt clean, check. House clean, check. dogs fed, check. Groceries bought, check. Bills paid, check.  How foolish I was to think that my system of order would continue once I left you in our house by the sea.  Matt, I think you should come home and stay with me awhile until we know you will cope with life without help from the pills you ran to when things got tough.  No Mom, I don’t want to leave the beach.  I love it here.  The dogs love it here.  I hate the rat race you live in.  It’s peaceful here.  I will be ok, trust me.  Looking back I now know that trusting you was the biggest mistake I made.  I wanted so bad for you to stay clean.  I needed a break, you needed a break.  I was in such denial thinking you could stay away from the euphoria that was becoming how you lived.  A mothers denial is her worst enemy.  I could confide in no one, this was our dirty little secret.  Saying that you were an addict was way too hard for my brain to comprehend.  It was easier to think you just had a problem that we fixed.

Your business, once so busy had slowly died while you were living with that monkey on your back.  Your once loyal customers saw the changes in your appearance, your work ethic disappeared and even your sweet smile and apologies could not bring them back.  One of the saddest days going with you to clean out your most prized possession.  I remember the wide grin on your face, you were beaming with pride as you gave me the tour.  Mom I did good.   I remember how proud you were, you reminded me of a fighter that was shocked that he won the fight.  You, who had little confidence, now owned his own garage.  Your dreams finally coming true.  God, I was so proud Matt.  You were in business.  Your reputation as an ace mechanic was spreading around Lewis.  Business was booming as was the responsibility.  Matt, you never handled stress, even positive stress well.  I remember thanking God that you had come so far.  Returning there with you was so painful.  You tried to make it ok, but I knew you too well to know your heart was as broken as mine.

We packed what we could, locking the door behind us.  Dreams now broken,   It was time to find another.

So I left you in the house by the sea and returned to my own stress.  Matt, you continued to be full of surprises.  Mom, guess what.  I found a job.  A guy named Charlie heard about my garage and asked to see me.  He hired me the same day, Mom, I am going to be ok.  Oh God, how I prayed you would be. 

Months passed and to my surprise, things calmed down and life found a rhythm again.  Both of us working during the week and hanging out on the weekends.  I still observed you like a hawk and went through your house looking like a detective on a witch hunt.  Every visit, I held my breath until I looked into your eyes and saw a clearness that I craved as you craved your euphoria.

I remember you calling during the week.  Mom, would you mind staying home this weekend.  I met a girl and she is coming over.  We’re renting a movie and hanging out.  My heart stopped for an instant.  Shit, a girl.  Who was she, was she straight, what the hell, Matt…. I needed to trust you but, I was scared.  I only knew Natt and she was gone.  I didn’t want to be the Mom police but I just couldn’t shake the feeling of dread that suddenly gripped my heart.  Oh God, please I need to trust him, Help. 

Detox for Dummies


There is nothing in your nursing education that can ever prepare you for watching the human body rid itself of the poisons it has come to crave.  My mom used to say, Oh Marybeth, you think you know everything and can do it all”.  I used to hate when she would be unsupportive of my goals, thinking back, I heard those word as clear as if she were standing there speaking directly to me.  I had no idea how to get you through this horrible period of releasing the demons that you lived with on a daily basis to leave your precious body.  Yes, I had years of ICU experience of seeing the human body at it’s worst, but you were my son and I was taking this on with no back up.  There were no others in the house except our precious dogs hiding in the corner as they watched this horror unfold.  I remember praying as the first waves of tremors hit. Making sure my phone was in reach and fully charged.  A piece of your mail where I could grab as I worried that in my panic I would forget where we lived.

Blankets were on and off as the chills then sweats took turns wreaking havoc on your body.  I remember trying to get my arms around you to support your trembling body, but my sweet Matt, you outweighed me by about 100 pounds.  My arms could barely reach, so I sat on your lap as you shook and shook.  Thinking that if this was the worst of it, piece of cake, no problem, I got this.

Stupid, stupid me!  I remember being stunned as you threw me off your lap and started screaming.  Your skin was on fire, being burned off your body. Dear God, I picked myself up seeing the blood on my arm that had been gashed by the force of my fall.  Kahlua rose to her feet coming to me and growling at you.  Her protective instinct now in full force, letting me know she had my back, there would be no more hurting Mom.  I looked into her eyes and kissed her head. Thank you girl, he’s not our Matt. Forgive him.  Sit and be still I will call out if he becomes angry and I need your body to protect mine.  I remembered the quote that Dog is God spelled backwards, funny how silly stuff would pop into my head under times of extreme stress.  I prayed again, strength for me and peace for you.

Day became night bringing vomiting, more violent behavior.  Screaming as I tried to calm you with cool cloths and warm blankets.  I remember guiding your broken body to the bathroom. Placing your clothed body into the cool water.  I sat on the side and tried to rub your neck, head and arms.  You vomited on my clothes, nothing but bile.  Everything else gone from your system.  I prayed this was the end of the nightmare

Night became day bringing new ugliness.  You were out of control.  The dogs were by my side as you screamed, kicked and punched.  Your skin now crawling with bugs.  You scratched until you bled, me trying to control your arms while we struggled.  I was getting scared, you were out of control.

The dogs now barking, someone at the door.  I told you to stop screaming thinking our dirty little secret was about to come to an end.  I pushed you into the bedroom trying to quiet you and plan what my explanation would be to whoever was disturbing my plan.  Wiping the tears from my face and forgetting about the vomit on my shirt, I opened the door.  I looked into the face of an angel.  You see Matt, in all my planning I forgot that I confided in another nurse about what was happening while I was supposed to be home sick from work.

She was another me, a nurse with the ICU mentality that knew everything and could do anything.  She bolted past me to find you in wet clothes, looking like a shock victim.  She looked at me then and said, ” I don’t know who looks worse, the nurse or the patient.  She did know everything about detox as her brother worked as a Doctor in recovery.  She came armed with knowledge and supplies. 

She told me to take a break and mentioned ever so nicely that I stank.  She said there was food in the kitchen, something I hadn’t even thought about until I heard my stomach growl and felt dizzy as I stood up.  I decided to shower after seeing the disaster I had become in the 2 days we fought our battle.  I remember looking in the mirror, the saddest eyes I had ever seen staring back at me.   God how did we get here and where were we headed. 

I remember coming out of the bathroom feeling somewhat human again.  You were lying in bed clothes dry with fluids running asleep.  We looked at each other, what happens in Lewes, stays in Lewes.  She held me while I cried, snot running down my nose.  We were used to snot, you know there isn’t much we nurses haven’t shared.  I managed to eat the soup she brought remembering how wonderful and soothing it tasted. Chicken soup really was for the soul. She spent the night and kept watch while I slept. The house became calm again. The dogs curled up on the bed beside you. Raising their heads when we checked on you as if to say, we got this you rest.
The most beautiful words came in the morning. I fell asleep on the floor in your bedroom still afraid of what might be coming. Mom, hey Mom are you here. You sat up and looked into my eyes. I think you saw me for the first time as the glaze was gone from your eyes. Oh Mom, I’m so sorry. Are you ok, did I hurt you. I quickly covered up the gash on my arm and held you. No Matt, you didn’t hurt me, you just broke my heart.
To this day I will never understand why you chose to poison your body again. The torture I witnessed should never have happened again. I love you Matt.


Let the Battle Begin

I slipped the bottle into my pocket as you walked into the room.  Your hair still wet, a towel around your shoulders. I looked directly into your eyes wondering if you knew.  We had played this game before, you hide I seek.  I needed to get away just for a bit to stifle the scream that was building in my throat.  I told you we needed to eat, something healthy, not the moldy leftovers in your fridge.  I remember running out the door and putting my hand over my mouth to prevent you from hearing my sobs.

I drove to the water blinded by my tears. I parked and took my anger out on that bottle.  I had a baggie in my car and I dropped those demons into the bag and began to beat my dashboard with those ugly pills, sobbing with each hit.  Why Matt, Why…..

After they were nothing but a white powder, I grabbed my water and drowned them.  I emptied that bag into the ocean praying the waves would carry the demons away.

 you were dressed, clean shaven and looked at me with that look that said it all.  Half hate, half sorrow, you knew.  Mom, what did you do. Where are my pills? You don’t understand. I need them.  Soon I will get sick. It’s been too long, my body knows and I will get ugly.

Matt, we can get through this. I’m a nurse I will help you.  Mom, you have no idea how bad it will get.  No Matt I don’t, but I will not leave your side. We will ride this storm as long as it takes.  I will never leave you and if it becomes out of my control I will get you to a safe place.  Mom, please I’m scared.  I am too Matt, but my love for you is stronger than my fear.  We will fight this battle together.  Little did I know this would be one of the many battles Matt and I would fightThinking back, I kept Matt’s addiction a secret from his brother Mike, he was in The Coast Guard fighting drug battles in the Caribbean, I was fighting the same battle at home.


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