Matt, Guilt is defined as a feeling of having done something wrong. A feeling of letting someone down. A painful emotion when one believes that their behavior has affected the outcome of another. Guilt has moved into my psyche and refuses to leave.
During your active addiction, my head was spinning. Taking time to quiet my mind was a luxury I didn’t have. Now the quiet is deafening. The quiet has become a powerful enemy. It gives me time to replay every thought, every decision, every move I made to save your life. This unwelcome quiet knows my every move. It lurks ready to pounce when I least expect.
All of a sudden the lightbulbs that remained dark have illuminated my mind allowing me to see clearer than ever before. My Aha moment. A moment I so desperately needed during your addiction once illusive now smacks me in the face every chance it gets.
I have become a crime scene investigator. Sifting through the rubble of our shattered lives. Searching for clues as to what went wrong. The belief that I let you down holds tight to my heart. Searching my mind for the actions done and not done that might have changed your outcome.
Yes, I know you were an adult. I hear that voice of reason trying to break through my subconscious when I’m beating myself into the ground. When the guilt joins my grief swallowing me whole and refusing to let me come up for air. I try to remember that you were a man. All my broken heart sees is my little tow headed boy reaching out for a mother who was a thousand miles away.
Mothers are supposed to protect their children. That belief comes with no expiration date. We don’t stop loving, protecting or saving when our kids become men. You were so controlled by your addiction you could not save yourself. Being a man really had nothing to do with who was responsible to save you. You were brainwashed into believing you controlled the disease. You were a victim to a deadly mindset that even a mother’s love could not break through.
So now I’m left to sort through endless emotions. To rethink every decision made. To replay and rewind every scene of our very tragic story. The mind is a powerful thing. It has no on-off switch. It has a mind of its own and I have little to no control when the memory will hit taking my breath with it.
Mother’s are born with the guilt gene. I know I was. It came to life as you were placed in my arms and moved into my soul becoming more powerful each year as I tried to protect you from yourself. I feel like I failed you. I look for signs that you see what I go through. I question if you understand that you are really gone from this life. I wonder what it was like for you. Did you finally understand that you crossed the line and would not wake up? Did you think of me or did the euphoria carry you away without a care? Did you picture my face or hear my voice telling you that one day you would forget and fall asleep forever? Did you wonder what your death would do to my life?
So now I fight to survive. I fight to allow a little of my guilt to fall on your shoulders. I fight myself when the full responsibility of your death punches my heart and drops me to my knees. I fight the image of my tow headed innocent son allowing a small slice of our reality to ease my pain. Yes, you were a man with a disease you had no control over. This disease took you away. I try to recall facts, statistics, anything that helps me to understand that I like you were powerless over your disease.
I wish you and I could have one last conversation. I wish I could hear you tell me it’s not my fault. My heart would love to hear that I am forgiven. That you knew I fought for you and against you to save you. God how I wish Heaven had visiting hours……….