We sat and continued our new game until the sky darkened. The dogs wet and tired kept nudging us with sandy faces letting us know it was time to leave. We walked back together in uncomfortable silence. So unlike us. I felt the loss of our honesty. We had been through so much together yet I felt like an outsider. I tried to hide my hurt by suggesting that the wet dogs come home with me. I knew Lisa wouldn’t want the smelly, sandy girls running through her tidy home. We parted at the house, you headed to Lisa’s, I headed to the hose with my companions for the weekend. We hugged and I remember thinking about my cool Mom plan. It wasn’t working for me. I cared too much about your life and found it hard to pretend that I didn’t. Your addiction robbed us of having a healthy relationship. You were an adult. You had a life. I should be able to just relax and enjoy your company. Our reality was nothing I ever dreamed would happen to us. You were always a daredevil and never worried about the consequences of your actions. I thought you would mature and realize that. You still weren’t too worried about paying your bills on time and would rather buy another toy than put money into your savings. I remembered all the lectures I’d lay on you when I’d come and find your new Jet ski. You would have the biggest smile telling me that I worried about bills and life enough for the both of us. Life’s too short, Mom, was your favorite comeback. Little did I know that you were wise beyond your years. God Matt, I’d think. If you would be more responsible maybe I wouldn’t have to be. Maybe I could have a little fun if I didn’t have to constantly worry about what you were doing to your life.
I spent that night trying to relax. The dogs now clean snuggled next to me on the couch. I ordered a pizza and opened a bottle of red. I thought about calling to see if you wanted to join me, but I was still playing the cool Mom. You knew where I was and I figured you would come if you needed something. This new game was a tough one. Being this Mom went against who I truly was. Remember I am the fixer and I didn’t know what to do if you weren’t giving me something to fix. I started to read books written by parents of addicts. There were some similarities to our story, but I really couldn’t identify with these tough love parents. There was no way I could ever turn my back on you and your addiction. I had myself fooled about your addiction. You didn’t do street drugs, you had scripts for everything you took. Sometimes you just overdid it. That’s what my mind would tell me. I guess that’s how my brain got me through those times I had to pull you back from your demons. God, denial is such a beautiful thing.
The night passed with no contact from you. Ok I thought. I can do this. Maybe this is how things should be. You are a grown man in a live in relationship. Why should I expect you to want to hang out with your Mom. This is normal I kept telling myself. This is how your friends live. They have their own lives, enjoy their own things. Not always wrapped up in their adult kids lives. Maybe you can get used to this. Maybe this is a good sign. My mind was in high gear trying to convince me that this was the normal I always wanted. My gut just wasn’t so quick to buy in to this new theory. Mothers instinct they call it. Mine was like a lion always on guard looking for the predator coming for her young. Your demons would never let you go without a fight, and we all knew you could not fight. They brought you the euphoria that you always ran to when life got tough. Ok, give it a rest I told myself. Just try to enjoy this peace while it lasted. Deep down I knew chaos was not far behind.
The weekend passed too quickly. I was packing my car when you pulled into the driveway. Hey Mom. You going back to your rat race. Yup Matt, gotta pay the bills. Believe me I wish I could stay and watch what your up to. See how long you could pretend to be this cool guy. I had to admit, you did look good. My checklist starting again. Speech clear, eyes clear. I continued to observe you as you walked into the house to get the dogs. Thanks for washing her Mom. I ‘m glad you came. Sorry I didn’t spend more time with you but Lisa starting complaining about me not doing my share around her house. I thought I better stay and help her out. It’s hard when I work and have my own place to keep up. No worries Matt. The place is clean. I’ll cut the grass and clean next time I come. Oh God, I thought. Matt, don’t stress. Please just handle this without your usual escape. I try to lighten the conversation. Ray and I go through the same thing too. House hopping is hard but don’t worry if you’re not here much the place will stay clean. Good, I have something to fix. I can feel the game ending. He needs me again. I will do anything to keep him from stress. Stress leads him back to the dark place and the demons.
I return home and start putting my plan together. I’ll go down on my day off and keep the grass cut and place clean. No problem I think. It will take time away from me but that’s ok. I love it there and this is a great excuse to keep an eye on Matt. Smiling I think thanks Lisa, you just gave me the perfect excuse for checking up. Smiling to myself I foolishly think I’m in control.
They say Man makes plans and God laughs. Well he was laughing all right. He laughed and laughed. You see I still thought I was in charge. Me, the type A, fix everybody person was about to get a lesson on control. I just didn’t know it at the time.
I had to work July 4th. You see babies don’t know it’s a holiday when they come into the world sick or too early. Ok, I thought I’ll go down tomorrow night. Ray and I had plans to go mountain biking and then to have crabs on the 5th. He was finally getting used to dating a nurse and understood about working when everyone else in the real world had off. He picked me up and we headed to Fairhill. It was a beautiful day and the trails were perfect. We were about two miles into the woods enjoying a great workout and each other’s company. We were in the middle of a steep climb when my front tire hit a rock. Holy shit. I was dead stopped in the middle of this steep hill. Shit, shit, shit. My bike started going backwards picking up speed. Shit, I tried to get my foot down to stop this backward spiral. I remember falling with such force. I saw my right wrist slam into the ground. I remember laying there trying to catch my breath. Ray was by my side. I sat up. My wrist was hanging off my arm sideways. I remember looking at Ray as the color drained from his face. It’s bad I thought. Ok, my nurse brain kicked in. No exposed bones, just a hanging hand in the middle of the woods.
The only way out is to walk. I was leaning on my bike trying to stabilize my wrist with my shirt. I was in survival mode. I Just kept walking and tried not to think about the pain now wracking my body.. I knew if I stopped I was passing out. Ray in all his medical brilliance kept telling me that it wasn’t broken. Shut up Ray, It’s broken. it’s more than broken. We walked about a mile. I couldn’t walk anymore. I told Ray to leave me and ride to the car. I remember laying on the ground taking deep breaths trying to stay conscious. I remembered thinking I was leaving for the beach tonight. I remember thinking about Matt. I could feel the fear building. My plan like my wrist shattered. I prayed for Ray to get back, I prayed for the pain to let up. I asked God for help. I remember hearing a voice in my head, Let Go, Let God. Ok God. Did you really have to let this happen. You know I have to fix Matt. Fix yourself first my new little voice said. Ok God I get it. I’m not in charge, you are. I know I’m hardheaded but really was breaking my wrist necessary. I hear the car in the distance. I get myself up and start to cry. Ok God, stop laughing…….