Mother's Heartbreak

A Story of Addiction & Loss

Tag: drugs (page 1 of 7)

Drugs, Jobs and Roller Coaster Rides

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Matt,  Holy shit, holy shit, I am doing the happy dance.  Hugging you and jumping for joy.  I get a grip and look at your face.  Matt, what’s wrong, this is the best news ever.  You will be doing the work you love, making real money and having a sense of pride.  I’m still not getting it.  You look like you just received the worst news instead of this great news.  You grab my shoulders holding me still.  Your eyes bore into mine.  Mom, I have to take a drug test…Ok, so take it.  Oh God Matt, I still lived in my little world of denial.  I figured that since I was handling your pills and being very stingy with  how many you got that our problem was under control.  I foolishly thought I’d fixed you again.  I had no clue as to the many sources you had and believed that because you weren’t bugging me for them that you realized you really didn’t need them.  Stupid, stupid me.

Days go by and your still evasive when I ask you about the job.  Mom, I’m waiting.  Waiting for what.  It was then that it struck me.  You were lying again.  I’d overheard you on the phone asking about passing a piss test.  Yes Matt, I did pretend to not notice you on the phone but my ears were on high alert as I tried to learn as much about who you were hanging with while pretending to be looking for my phone or whatever would pop into my mind when I saw you sneaking around talking in whispers.  Passing a piss test.  Ugh, so gross your slang.  Couldn’t you just say drug or pee test, nope had to use words that conjured up images in my mind that I’d rather not think about.  I guess my education regarding the slang used by addicts was in full swing.  Thank you Google.  I was educating myself and was amazed at the stuff posted on the internet.  I guess if you could learn how to build a bomb you could certainly find out how to pass a piss test.

So you could pick up a detox kit from GNC.  Well, I’ll be damn.  I foolishly thought they were a health food store.  The jokes on me.  Addicts are beyond smart.  I saw this sitting on your dresser when I was snooping or working out in your space.  However you want to look at it you left it out and I found it.  I, your naive mom just couldn’t believe what you were going to do.  Take a chance on this stupid kit instead of not using.  So it’s the big day.  You leave the house with this big grin, like you were the cat that swallowed the canary.  I decided to play along.  Good luck.  you got this, giving you a hug and letting you go.  Oh God,  wouldn’t it be easier to just stop then to play all these games.

I watch your car leave the neighborhood before I begin my daily search.  Hoping to find your source of these demon pills.  You were fox sly and tore the labels so I had no idea where your pill pushers were located.   You are back way too quick and way too happy.   Hey, how did it go.  No worries Mom.  I’ll start as soon as my results are back.  A week passes, nothing.  No call, nothing.  I’m in a panic and you don’t care.  Matt, call. You should be starting by now.  Have you heard anything.  I come home from work everyday and find you way too comfortable sitting in front of the TV.  Matt,  WTH.  What is going on.  Mom, get off my back.  I grab your phone and look up the number.  I call.  You failed and you knew.  I am ready to explode.  Matt, why. I can’t even talk as I feel my body fall apart.  The aftershock of your addiction once again kicking me in my gut.  My high hopes for you shot out of the sky and all you can say is get off your back.  I’ve always compared being your mom to riding a very fast, very high roller coaster.  The ride left me breathless, heart pounding and feeling very unsettled.  Never knowing from one day to the next where we were heading and how we would land.  Once again, my hopes for a normal life shattered while you look at me with disgust.

Matt,  this was the start of our ride.  You finally got a job as a service writer.  A job using your brain and not your back.  Only by the grace of God passing the infamous piss test.   You smelled a lot like vinegar for days but by now I didn’t care if you had to eat dog crap.  Anything that worked to get you a job.  I remember making your lunch, yeah I know, just like when you were in school.  That’s how it felt.  My boy getting back into the world.  Having a purpose instead of planting yourself on the couch for the day.  I was as happy as I could be.  Pretending that we were finally on the road to normal.  I allowed myself to ignore the slowness in your speech.  You glazed eyes.  Your excuse that you were just getting used to working again.  Matt, are you stoned.  Really Mom.  You would look at me with such hate.  I chose to stay in my little world slapping away those doubts that surfaced.  Stop, I would tell my brain.  He’s just tired.  He’s been sleeping in and hanging out and now he has a time clock.  Eight hour days.  Cut him a break my heart would cry.  My brain would send out warnings.  Matt, Mom.  Stop.  I’m tired.  My back hurts.  I can’t sleep. I’m being watched.  Matt. Please stop.  Mom, get off my back.  Matt, we are going out for my birthday.  I’ve left dinner in the oven.  We won’t be long.  Mom, I got fired.

Adjusting To The New Normal

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Matt,  I must say having you living under the same roof again just killed the spontaneity in my life.  Before you I could walk around bra less in sweats and not worry about anyone taking a peak.  I could turn up the music and sing and dance with only the dogs as my audience.  I was so used to my privacy on my days off that it took a while for me to realize another grown man was in the house.  This man wasn’t my husband, he was my unemployed son who also happened to have a problem with pills.  I remember the morning I rolled out of bed and grabbed a tank top, braless of course,  just wanted to grab a cup of coffee before I got dressed.  Never thinking that you would be standing right in the middle of the kitchen as I half awake smacked right into you.  Crap, Mom, really.  The look on your face was priceless.  Hey if you don’t like it get a job.  Great, my adult son just got a look at the boobs.  Boy this was going to be such fun…Not.

Talk about you getting a job became our daily conversation.  I’d start with hey Matt, what ya going to do today.  Hey Mom,  what do you want me to do today.  Oh wait, it’s the same thing you wanted me to do yesterday, get a job.  How about you get off my back.  How about you let me handle it.  So now instead of my mornings being peaceful and quiet they were becoming a battle ground between you and me.  Hey Matt, we had a deal.  You come live here, you find work.  Work isn’t sitting on your butt watching bullshit TV all day.  Drinking coffee and living in lala land.  Remember the deal Matt.  I do.  I’m not going to watch you sit around and waste your life.  Get moving.  Out.  Go to Unemployment and look for jobs.  Oh boy, the looks I got from you.  Memories of your teen years came flooding back.  Now here we were at it again except now you were years older but no more mature.  I truly believe that your maturity level was stunted when you first started using.  Now the wingmen were becoming warriors.

Ok, so now on my days off I was on the hunt.  Finding you a job became my new obsession.  I became a mom on a mission. I would scour the want ads with my black sharpie in hand circling anything I though you might qualify for.   Every weekend Ray would find me hunched over the want ads.  Hey, you looking for a new job.  Nah,  I’m looking for Matt.  Don’t you think he should be doing that himself.  Well, hell yeah, but he’s just a little too comfortable living in luxury and collecting a check in the mail.

I was relentless.  The more I pushed, the more you fought.  Mom, lay off.  I just got here and you’re constantly on my back.  Matt, you got here months ago and nothing has changed.   I come home from a twelve hour shift and here you are all day.  Must be nice to be retired at thirty.  My peaceful home was becoming a battle ground.  You were acting like you owned the place.  Like you didn’t have to be responsible for anything.   Holy shit, then it hit me like a slap.  This was you. The product of my enabling all those years.  I took care of everything for you.  Never stepped back and let you fall.  My God, I never let you feel consequences for your behavior.  I fixed everything.  Now we were both paying the price.  Ok Matt, now I get it.  I’m as responsible for your behavior as you are.  Well my little buddy, things are going to change.  Rules will be followed.  You looked at me like I had two heads, you started to snicker and I could feel the crazy mom coming alive.  Ugly started pouring out of my mouth.  All the years of cleaning up your crap finally surfacing as we stood nose to nose in the kitchen.  Even the dogs were on high alert.  Fur standing straight, ready to pounce on you to protect me.   We screamed pointing fingers at each other, throwing blame in the air.  Oh God, this really isn’t who we are.  Matt, STOP.  I will not live like this.  My heart racing, that familiar feeling of wanting to puke in my throat.  You slam out the door and I sit in silence, once again ashamed of who we are becoming.  Your addiction was changing how I lived and who I was.  Having it in my face 24/7 was becoming unbearable.  Something had to change before we killed each other.   I sit and once again formulate a plan in my mind.  I can’t help myself.  I am a fixer.

You return, we both apologize.  This has become our new habit.  Tear each other up, take a breather, apologize.  Matt, this has to stop.  You need to stop taking the pills.  I want all your bottles.  I will give them to you but not to the point to make you high.  You look at me like I’ve lost my mind.  Meetings Matt.  Here is the list of NA meetings.  You must go and start working the program.  Your staring at me, piercing my soul with the hate in your beautiful eyes.  Matt, you have a job interview tomorrow.  I made some calls.  Matt, this is how our life must be.  You don’t say a word.  Killing me with those eyes.  You go to your room in silence.  I follow.  You are pissed, damn Mom, can’t I have my privacy.  Nope, you can’t.  I want to watch you get your pills.  You have no idea how many times I’ve searched your living area.  You have no idea that I’ve been on a ladder pushing up ceiling tiles in my finished basement that has now become your home.   You have no idea how I’ve gone through you things, picked up your mattress in my search.  You are sly.  You hide those demons like they are gold.   I fool myself into thinking if I have control you will be normal.  That life will return to the way it should be.  Stupid me thinking I could outsmart the demons.

I watch, you try to hide from me.  Blocking my view with your back.  Matt give me the damn pills.  I see you scrambling.  I grab your arm and we struggle.  The bottles fall to the floor and I am on them.  I grab them and stuff them in my bra.  Go ahead tough guy, I dare you.  I leave you cussing me out with the  grin of the Cheshire cat spreading across my face.  HaHa.  Got them.  A moms got to do what a moms got to do.

Tomorrow comes and I am on you.  Get up, clean up, eat and out the door you go.  You are still looking at me with daggers but I am on cloud nine.  My addict has a job interview and I have his pills.  You leave and I turn into the Mom police.  Flashlight in hand I start my search.  Every nook and cranny is inspected.  Once again I depend on the dogs to alert me to your return.  I am crazy, relentless.  Think like an addict I tell myself.  Where would you hide your stash. Think, think.  Every drawer has been  pulled completely out checking the underside for your stash.  Damn,  I know you are slick.  I know you have some reserve or you would have fought harder.  Your hunting boots.  Stinky, sweaty, muddy hunting boots.  I reach in, turning my head against the smell of years of use.   Ah ha.  All the way in the toes I feel a bag.  Yes, my brain is screaming. Yes. I pull hard and a bag of loose pills pops into my hand.  Holy shit.  Percocet, Methadone, Xanax and Vicodin all  staring me in the face.  I am stunned.  You are sick, very sick.  I hear the door, the dogs quietly let you in.  Shit, shit, shit.  I grab the bag and start to dance.  Mom, WTH are you doing down here.  This is my space.  Hey Matt, this is my house.  I work out here and just finished.  My heart is pounding.  You are staring me dead in the eye.   We are like two wild animals sizing each other up.  Do we pounce or pass.  I pray things are as you left them.  I pray you won’t know.  The dogs start barking.  Thank God.  Gotta walk these guys.  You want to come.  You look at me still unsure, hey Mom.  I got the job….

A Calm Before the Storm

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Matt, I must say I was pleasantly surprised.  You really kept your promise.  No drama, no chaos at least none that reached me.  Life was good as Ray and I got into the rhythm of married life.  I was finally back at work busy every day saving those babies.  My life found a rhythm again, a calm that I hadn’t felt in a long time started to settle in my brain.  So this is normal I would think out loud as a smile would find my face  and a lightness found my step.  Everyone noticed.  I felt so blessed.  Finally I was able to just concentrate on my life without the constant stress and worry about you.  I would remind myself that you were a grown man living your life and this was how it should have been all along.

Being back at work and having the ability to pick up extra shifts allowed me to get the mortgage caught up on our house by the sea. I felt so accomplished and once again felt that I was in control of how life was supposed to be.  God, I just didn’t learn that lesson.  So foolishly I continued down the road of denial believing that your addiction had left the building and we were home free.  I no longer worried about our dirty little secret and started to act like we had returned from a very bad place but were safe now.

Weeks turned into months.  We spoke nearly everyday.  You and Lisa seemed to be finding your own rhythm as you spoke of a more permanent future together.  Even though I still felt she was not your match I kept my opinion to myself as my only concern was for you to be happy and stay clean.  Whoever you loved I loved thats just the way it was.

Ray  had to travel for work so I took those days off and planned a trip to see for myself just how things really were in your life.  I had to admit I missed you.  I wasn’t used to you not needing me like you did in the past and was feeling kinda left out of your life.  I kept reminding myself that this is how a normal relationship was between a mother and her adult son, but you and I never had normal so I was having a difficult time adjusting.  Driving down I tried to keep my spirits up.  Tried to keep that anxiety at bay.  After all, you said you were fine and you sounded fine, so why in the heck was my body starting to react like the old days.  The throat tightening, the worry about what I would find, all the normal feeling I had in the past came rushing to my brain.  Oh God, what if I’m wrong and he’s lying, what if, what if.  Stop, for God sake stop, shouted my brain.  WTH is wrong with you.  Do you always have to think the worst.  Maybe, just maybe he is telling the truth and you will have the happily ever after you have been praying for.  For God sake take a break.  So once again it was me, myself, and I all battling back and forth reliving every horrible moment of your addiction.  I just could not get my brain to shut up.  So here I am, once again talking to myself in my car on the way to the beach just like the old days.  Groundhog day, yup just like Groundhog day.  Really Matt, I think my whole being knew that this was just a break in the storm and my body and mind were getting ready for battle.

I arrive.  The house is quiet, the dogs are gone.  I use my key and let myself in.  I long ago lost the feeling of guilt about coming in unannounced.  I was paying most of the mortgage and felt like I had every right to just let myself in.  It was getting dark so I walked around turning on lights.  I figured the neighbors would see my car and know everything was ok.  It was obvious you didn’t spend much time home.  I could have written you a note in the dust.  Matt, you weren’t raised to be a slob but this was crazy.  At least the sink wasn’t full of dirty dishes.  I opened the fridge and was greeted by the greenest food I’d seen since my college days.  Ok, so this was proof that you were spending most of your time at Lisa’s.  So that’s a good thing right, my brain is thinking.  After I grab a trash bag and clean your fridge, the old mom police starts to resurface.  I Try to tell myself not to do this, but I knew my brain would not relax until I did.  So just like the old days I went snooping.  All the time telling myself I was doing it for your own good.  I lifted your mattress. Looked in all your favorite nooks and crannies.  I kept listening for the sound of your arrival.  Dam, I wish the dogs were here.  They would give me ample time to run to the couch and grab a book, smiling my innocent smile if you came home during my search.  I really didn’t know what I would do if I found  anything.  Probably have a break down but that still didn’t stop me from snooping.  Nothing, absolutely nothing.  Do I really believe that this horror story has come to an end or have you just gotten smarter.

So now I see a big pile of mail.  Stay away, don’t look my mind is spinning like a top.  He’s a grown man.  He’s handling it.  I can feel the guilt running off me like syrup as I grab the pile and scan the addresses.  Electric bill, water bill, credit card bills all thrown casually in a pile like they were junk mail.  Slowly I open one figuring you wouldn’t notice a torn envelope in this mess.  Now my heart starts to sink.  Overdue, not by a month but months.  That familiar feeling of suffocating has found me.  I leave the pile and walk outside. I need to feel the sea air.  I need to breathe.  Calm down, there has to be a reason.  I start to walk and before I know it I’m a Lisa’s door.  I hear music and laughter.  Too much music and laughter for someone who needs to be at work in the early morning.  The door is unlocked.  I walk in.  You look like hell.  Cigarette hanging from your hand, a joint hanging from her’s.  You see me and look like you’ve been shot.  She jumps up, WTF.  Yup exactly, WTF.  I feel like I’ve been kicked in the chest, I’m trying not to scream, to act like an adult.  I just can’t believe I bought your crap.  Here I am working extra shifts paying not only your mortgage but sending extra payments to get your cards paid off.  Working myself crazy to keep you from stressing over life.  Doing whatever I could to make your life as simple as possible.  I am the best enabler you could have ever asked for.  Someone please tattoo it on my forehead so whenever I look in the mirror I will see just how stupid this addicts mom really is.

I leave out the back door, the dogs wake with the racket of the slam.  They come running as if to say please get us out of here.  You follow, I can’t even look at you.  I am sick, so sick of your selfishness, so sick of being taken for granted.  I’m running as fast as I can with the dogs in tow.  You catch up, we are both breathless, I’m sobbing.  Matt, what are you doing.  You are with another addict.  Why are you doing this again.  How many times will it take before you get it.  Mom, I lost my job.  I felt my heart crack, just a little.  You what.  You heard me I lost my job.  You were so happy I didn’t want to burst your bubble.  I’ll figure it out.  I took a pill and came to work.  Charlie let me go.  Oh God Matt.  One pill or many pills.  You’re a mechanic for God sakes.  You can’t work on cars when you’re stoned.  WTH is wrong with you.  What were you thinking.  Now everything is screwed.  I can’t keep paying your bills and your mortgage. How can I explain this to Ray.   Oh God, I should have know this was too good to be true.  Addiction never leaves the building just hides in the shadows waiting and watching until it latches on again sinking it’s hooks into your soul.  Matt, I can’t do this now.  I’m sick of this life, this lie we live.  All I ever wanted was normal.  I leave you in the dark.  The dogs follow me and we don’t look back.  My heart once so happy now starting to break.  I know the path this will lead to.  I’ve walked it too many times.  The demons will not let go.  Our dirty little secret will surface.  This lie will continue to haunt us, to shatter us into a million pieces.  I curl up in the dark, the dogs lie at my feet.  I stay like this for hours.  I keep telling myself that you have a disease, that you are sick, that I can get you through it again, that I can fix it just once more.  I try to tell myself it will be ok.  But all I want to do is scream………

 

Hating The Waiting

IMG_0572Matt,  the O.R. waiting room is packed.  I look around and see the faces of family members, their eyes telling the story of fear.  The anxiety is palpable in this room.  I find a seat by the door so I can make a quick exit when my own anxiety hits and I need my space to breathe.  Ray’s family files in and we claim our corner in this place where no one wants to be.  We are given name tags to be identified as family of the patient.  Ray’s sister hands me one that says Cichocki.  Put it on she says, you’re already a member we just need you to make it official.   I stick it on my shirt and start to think about the wedding.

Everything is set except the date.  We need to get through this day before we can even think of a time frame.  I have been blessed with a very flexible group of people willing to work with us to pull off this crazy wedding. For now Ray’s mom is the priority.  I sit and watch Ray.  He’s nervous.  Stress is taking the light out of his beautiful eyes.  His face is lined with worry.  It breaks my heart to see him this way.  Then it hits.  There is no relationship more precious than a mother and her son.  Oh God.  I look at this man, now a scared little boy.  I continue to watch, unobserved by Ray who is lost in his own world.  Is he thinking about his childhood.  Memories of his mom, the love they share.  The stories he’s told about his childhood always revolved around his mom.  Now I observe the man and know that the little boy lives inside that grown mans body and he wants his mom.

My thoughts drift to us.  All the great times we shared before the demons found you.  The joy and laughter.  The peace and love that filled our lives.  We shared the love of the sea, the love of dogs, the love of family and friends.  Now we share your addiction and our dirty little secret.  How did we become who we are.  You, my precious boy.  My friend.  I watched you grow from a happy go lucky young boy to a somewhat troubled adolescent to a very trouble man.  A man who found his answer in a bottle of pills.  Pills that changed who you were and turned me into a mom I never wanted to be.  Pills that made you do and say things we would have never imagined.  Pills that have allowed you to rip my heart out while I watched you start to self destruct.  Still my love for you remains unchanged.  You are my son and I am your mother.  I know you love me as much as I love you.  I know it’s the demons that make you ugly and hateful.  I know as long as there is a breath in my body I will fight the fight to keep you free from the hell and chaos your demons bring.  This bond is like no other.  The cord is never cut.  Mothers stay in connection with their sons.  The love never stops.  Hate the addiction Love the addict.

I drift back to reality.  This is crazy.  I hate hospitals, yes I know I work here.  I hate being on this side.  The waiting side, the no control side.  You know I’m always in control.  Ok, I think God is teaching me patients.  I tell Ray I need to get some air.  I need to call you.  I need to hear your voice and tell you I love you.  I need to hear that you’re ok.  No chaos today.  I couldn’t take it today.  You answer quickly.  Hey Mom, whats up.  I listen closely now not liking the greeting.  Matt, where are you, are you ok.  Fine Mom, just fine.  Oh God, not now.  Not when I need to be here, not when I’ve asked you to stay clean.  Not after the promise. Matt, what the hell.  I’m in the hospital waiting to hear about Ray’s mom.  I can’t handle this now.  I’m trying to keep my voice down as the panic is rising in my chest.  How could you do this to me now.  I’m trying to reason with you as I feel a hand on my arm.  I turn to see Ray’s face.  His eyes full of concern.  Matt stop this now.  I hang up. Breathless.  Ray looking at me waiting for an explanation.  Oh God, I can’t do this today.  Can’t dump this on him now.  Need more time to sort this out.  Maybe Matt was just tired.  Maybe just stressed.  I was going to maybe myself right out of this one.  No way was I going down this ugly road today.  Forgive me God, but I’m going to lie.  Nothing big.  Matt just being Matt.

Rays sister appears.  A smile on her face.  Mom is fine. Surgery over.  We can see her soon.  Thank you God.  Some great news.  I see Ray relax.  The worry slipping from his face.  Our conversation forgotten.  We return to our corner.  A calmness now settles around us.  I put my I’m just great mask on.  Oh God, what now.  I’m smiling and talking but my mind is spinning.  Trying to be part of this happy family, sharing the joy of a mother saved.  One day so many emotions.  I’m beat.  My heart heavy with the burden of the unknown.  My dirty little secret buried for now…..No laughter just deafening silence.

 

Shit Happens Again!

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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.

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