Matt, I couldn’t believe the turn of events. One minute I’m on cloud nine the next I’m sitting in the hospital waiting for word on Ray’s Mom. My mind is racing. Thinking about you , thinking about her. Life just wasn’t fair. Just when I thought it would be all smooth sailing another wrench gets thrown in my face. It felt like forever and my mind kept drifting back to you. Were you playing me again. Were you really being honest or just being the Matt I needed you to be to keep me off your back. I wanted to call you to let you know what was happening or maybe it was just to ease my mind. To push away those nagging doubts that kept creeping into my brain. Your addiction always had a way of holding me captive no matter what situation I was going through. I Felt guilty sitting there thinking about you when Ray and his Dad were so worried about someone else. I tried to pay attention to their questions. Trying to keep them calm, but the longer we waited the more my nursing gut was telling me something was terribly wrong. I’d only known Ray’s Mom for a short period of time but loved the way they cared so much for each other. It was something I ‘d come to hope for our future. You getting and staying clean and us having a normal mother and son relationship, not the love me, hate me, save me, one we had going on for years.
So once again here I am making deals with God. Ok God, you let her be ok and I’ll tell the truth about Matt. Ok God, you keep Matt clean and I’ll never lie about him again. Ok God, before I could list my next deal the doors to the waiting room open. My heart sinks as I look at the Cardiologists face. Oh God, I know that look, I’ve seen it too many times only I’ve always been on the other side, the side walking with the doctor to support the family. I wasn’t liking this side as my nursing gut was silently screaming. A CABG, your wife, mom needs bypass surgery. She needs it tomorrow. Holy shit. my brain is screaming. Holy shit, holy shit. This is the worst news. I look at Ray and his Dad. They look shell shocked. Both asking questions not really understanding what just happened. I start questioning the doctor. He looks at me like hey, you are educated. You know what I’m saying and how serious this is. Our eyes meet silently communicating. When can we see her I ask. Let’s get her settled in the ICU. Wait and I’ll send someone to get you.
So we wait. I’m trying very hard to be optimistic. All eyes are watching my face. I can feel my throat getting tighter and tighter. Ok God, exactly what are you doing. Are you postponing the wedding for a reason. I just don’t get it. Can’t I ever catch a break. Now is the perfect time. Matt is ok, he’s on board to stay clean. He wants me to be happy, to have a life and now you have to let this happen. You could have waited, this could have happened later. Oh my God, listen to me. Listen to the selfish person I’ve become. Matt’s addiction has screwed my brain turning me into this horrible person. This isn’t who I am. I care about people. I love Ray and his family. Matt’s addiction has become mine. I’m constantly hiding and planning, trying desperately to have a little piece of normal when I can. Before the demons come again and drag me down with Matt. Oh God, please let this all work out. Let Rays Mom get well. Help Matt to stay clean. I will be better. No more hiding and lying to cover for Matt. If he uses again I’ll come clean. I’ll tell the truth and if I end up alone so be it.
I’m so lost in my thoughts that I don’t hear the doors open. I don’t hear Ray say we can see her now. He grabs my arm. Are you ok he asks. I smile the smile that has become my mask. I’m great, let’s go see your mom. I’m recognized by the nurses as we walk to her bedside. I’m trying just to say hi, but I’m looking at the monitor, BP, her color and movement. Once a nurse always a nurse. She opens her eyes and smiles. Ray and his Dad are both so relieved to see her. She grabs my hand. I’m so glad you and Ray are getting married. You are so good together. I try to keep the tears from showing. I’m supposed to be the strong one here. The tough girl, the nurse who saves everyone. The wedding will wait until you can dance with your son. The wedding. Oh God, please I’m begging now. Let this woman be there to dance with her son and let my son be there to dance with this mother. I stand there looking around at my familiar territory. It hits me then just how in the blink of an eye life can change. Illness, addiction throwing you into a spin. Never knowing how you will land or what you will face when the spinning stops. Plans made, promises made, lies told, secrets kept. No demons tonight just the soft laughter of God.