Mother's Heartbreak

A Story of Addiction & Loss

Tag: recovery (page 1 of 7)

The Witch and the Warlock Head to Warwick

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Matt.   As pissed as I am that you have been released,  I am amazed at how great you look.   The old Matt is back.   Clear eyes and speech.   Your handsome face showing no signs of the horror that unfolded in my driveway so few nights ago.    Still I’m pissed.  I want my life back.  I want my son back.  I’m so sick of what your addiction has done to our family.   I’m so sick of the so called professionals thinking they know what you need.   My letter fell on deaf ears.  Told your addiction story and no one cared.   You are not safe.   I can feel it.  I know you better than you know yourself.   I have lived this nightmare way too long to think that a few nights in a mental hospital is just what the doctor ordered to fix you.   I’m so tired, so  disappointed and so pissed at this stupid broken system.

So now we begin again.   I choose my words carefully.   Your anger is seeping from your pores.   I hold my breath as I ask you about your plans.   I know you are not strong enough to fight the constant cravings for the poison that rules your life.   I know you need to get into rehab and I can’t believe you were released to the streets.   WTH is wrong with this picture.   How many times do we do this same dance.   Round and round we go.   Let’s not speak the word.. REHAB.  Let’s not say the word ADDICT.   I try to keep my cool.   Try to be the mother I want to be but cannot.  You know, the one who wears the rose colored glasses and lives in denial.   Or maybe the one who is strong enough to play the tough love game.   Dropping you off, driving away and never looking back.  But we both know I am neither.  As much as I hate this world that has become ours, I’m in it as deep as you are.   This chaos has become my way of life.   Your addiction has become mine.

I ask if your hungry.   You are.  So it’s off to lunch.   It’s a beautiful day and we pick a seat outside.   Your favorite burger joint.   I’m hoping this will help lighten the funk surrounding us.   I look at you as you scour the menu.   You are so handsome.   Your eyes are bright and clear.   Your face with no signs of puffiness.   No head bobbing today,  no dosing off while we eat.   My heart is afraid to love this Matt.   I fear he will be gone soon and my heart will break again.   I decide to enjoy this moment.   This gift of normal.   Just a mother and her son enjoying a beautiful afternoon.   You start to lighten up.   You tell me how great it is to be aware.   To taste, to smell, to be here and feel everything.   Oh God, I bust out in tears.   Holy shit, my dam has broken and the tears are running down my face.   You grab my hand.   “I’m so sorry Mom”,    I’m sobbing into my napkin making a fool of myself.   The waitress comes quickly.   Oh God, I’m so embarrassed.    No, no, the food is great.  Everything is great.   My son is here.  Today, this very moment Matt is here.   My heart is gone.  Forget trying to save it,  I have prayed for this for so long.   My brain knows we are on that slippery slope.  We are still in the woods.   We are no where near being finished with this disease, but my heart is soaring with the clouds.   Just today  Dear God,  just today, Matt is here.

I decide to bring you home.   I will once again be the mom police.   I will save you from yourself.   Watch you like a hawk.   I’m off and I will follow you like a dog.   No car, no leaving the house without me as your wing man.   Once again,  I allow myself to enter my disillusional world.   I will put on my supermom suit and save the day.   I will be The Queen of Hearts and slay your demons.   No one will get close enough to drag you back into your darkness.   How hopeful and  foolish.   I allow myself the fantasy of normal.

My plan is working.   Everyday you are clean.  You are far from being happy, but you are clean.   Everywhere you go I go.   Wawa for smokes, ok let’s go.   If looks could kill I’d be dead, but the longer you are clean the more hopeful I become.   Fantasy land is beautiful.   I’m Alice and we are living in Wonderland.      My anxiety of returning to work after my week of supermom duty was through the roof.   Heavy heart, tight chest, closing throat all my familiar reactions to the impending storm rolling into my fantasy.   Addicts mother’s intuition.

I could feel it from the distance.   The return of the demons.   “Please Matt,  stay home,  stay clean”.   “Remember how great it feels to smell and taste and be here in the moment”.   I’m begging you for your life and you are pushing me out the door.   Your truck is in the driveway just like we left it or so you thought.   My chalk mark confirms my angst.   You left the house.   I put on my happy face and pretend.   You are asleep, slumped over on your couch.   Pill residue on your nose.   I scream silently and hear my heart crash into land.   I quietly search and find a tissue in your bathroom holding the pills I’ve come to know so well.   Noooooooooo.   I’m holding the evidence but my mind still screaming doesn’t understand.   Why? why? why?   How could you do this again?  How could you do this to me?   I quietly watch your breathing.   Tears running down my face.   Ok Supermom,  whats the plan now?

You come upstairs.   You know I know.  “Mom, where are they?”   “They?,  you mean the bastard pills that keep finding their way back into our lives”.   “Don’t know Matt, I just don’t know”.   You turn on me like a snake.   I look at you with a feeling over overwhelming sadness.  “WTF Mom”.   “I’m not playing this game, give me my f…… pills”.    I walk away as you punch the wall.   I am broken, numb.   I tell you the only way to get your pills is to get into my car.   There is a bed waiting for you at Warwick.   I have packed a suitcase and have it by the door.   You walk out and drive away.

I sit alone and wait.   There are no  tears.  I am numb.   I’m dead inside.   My heart still beats but I feel nothing.   Hours pass and I wonder where you are.   I wonder if you have more pills.  I wonder if I will ever see you again.   This time it’s me sleeping when you come back.   You are agitated, sweaty and pissed.   It’s early morning and you are desperate.    “Mom please”.    I throw on clothes and come downstairs.   “Mom please”.    “Get in my car”.    “WTF mom, WTF”.   “Get in my car and you get the pills”.    “Bitch”.    Yes Matt,  Supermom is now Super bitch.

The drive to Warwick was like being trapped in a burning building.   Like slowly having the air replaced with soot that burned your lungs and turned everything it touched into black slime.   You were withdrawing from whatever and I was driving like a mother on a mission.   The words coming out of your mouth stung my ears and I tried to block you  out.   LALALALA,  I tried to remember this voice was not yours but the demons who now controlled your mind.   Your filthy mouth, your ugly words,  “You F…….Bitch, who do you think you are,  give me my f…. pills”.    “Who the F…. do you think you are bitch, you don’t own me”.    The louder you got the higher I turned up the radio.   Trying to stay calm and not become as ugly as you.   You push my buttons.   You light up in my car and blow the smoke in my face.    I snap.

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The dirt road is empty except for my car.   I pull over in a cloud of dust and hit my brakes hard.   I tell you to get the hell out.   I jump out my door and run to open my hatch.   I am cussing and shaking and spitting mad.    I grab your luggage and throw it to the ground.   My adrenalin  is pumping.   I am throwing your bags as far as I can into the dirt and stomping the shit out of them.   I have officially lost my mind.   I walk to your door and hear the click.   Your smiling face greets me through your window.   I am beating on your window screaming at you to open the Fu….. door.   I watch in horror as you pull pills from your shoes,  grab a pen from my console and dismantle it.   I know what’s coming as I’m pulling on the door handle and screaming Noooooooo.   I throwing my body into the door beating the glass with my fists.   You crush the pills on my dashboard and bend your head toward the dirty powder.   I’m kicking in the door as my hands are numb and bleeding from beating the car.   I’m screaming and completely unaware that we are no longer alone.

I feel his hands on my shoulders before I see the uniform.    He tells me to back away from the car.   My mind is still screaming.   “Are you Fu….. kidding me officer.   Get the F…..  away from me”.   “I’m trying to break into my car,  yes, you heard me,  my car,  my son snorting drugs”.   My sobs are making it difficult to speak.    He tells me to stand back as he approaches your window.   I follow standing right behind him.    I want to get my hands around your throat and squeeze the shit out of you.   Let me at him, my mind screams, let me at him!   You are so polite as you roll down your window and smile at the officer.   My dashboard wiped clean and the dismantled pen no where in site.   I hear your words,  “Yes officer, I’m ok”.    “My mother has the problem”.    You lying shit.   I have the problem.    The officer looks at me like I’m the crazy one.   “Sir why don’t you step out of the car and help me load your bags.   “Officer, are you F….. kidding me”.    “Are you stupid?”   “Don’t you see past this BS?”    He just snorted whatever and he’s happy as a clam soon to be in La La land.   The officer helps reload the bags and walks to the driver side where I’ve buckled myself in for the rest of the ride from hell.   “Where you headed?”   “I’m headed to Warwick, you know the drug rehab to drop off my precious cargo”.    I try to stay calm but in my mind I’m going to kill you as soon as I see his tail lights in the distance.   I’m going to throw you and your f….. shit out of my car, out of my life and drive off never looking back.   As if reading my mind,  “You’re almost there, I’ll escort you the rest of the way”.    He walks to his car and I grab your smiling face.   You are gone,  your eyes glazed over and drooping.   I drop your face and listen to your breathing.   I’m shaking and sobbing.   My hands throbbing as I grab the wheel and follow the yellow brick road.

There are no more words as you sleep the rest of the way.   I’m so ready to get rid of you.   I’m shocked at my behavior, ashamed at who I’ve become.   Your demons take control of my soul.   Your addiction makes me ugly.

Warwick is beautiful.   The perfect setting.   Situated on the Chesapeake Bay, I felt like I’d pulled into our vacation spot.   I hit the brakes hard and startle you awake.   Ok shit head, get out.   Once again I’m throwing your bags out the door into the dirt.   You get out and I get in.   “See ya,  Matt, I’m out of here”.    A man walks to my car.   “You can’t just leave”.    “WHAT,  you are expecting him, I called and he already has a bed”.    “Sorry, you have to wait until he is evaluated by a counselor”.    Ok, now I’m gonna start punching people in their smug little faces.   “No one shared that little bit of information with me on the phone, I’ve got news for you buddy, he’s staying”.   “No Ma’am,  he’s not.  Not unless you obey the rules and let us talk to him first”.    You are taking this all in,  my sly fox sitting on the porch like I’m the big bad wolf and you are the innocent.   “How long?”   “I’ve spent two and a half hours in my car.  I have had nothing to eat or drink and I’m ready to scream”.    “Don’t know,  these things take time”.   Just as I’m ready to scream I see a man approach you, shake hands and take you to another building.   Thank God.   I start to walk toward the water.   Just what I need, to sit in those beautiful chairs and stare into the water.  Ok, I’m thinking.   I can do this.   I start to walk toward the beautiful blue of the bay. “Ma’am,  you have to wait in your car.  The grounds are for patients only”.    I turn on him like a cobra ready to strike.   “Listen to me A.H.   I’ve been stuck in that car with my withdrawing, ugly addict son.   I’ve been cussed at,  called MFer and other lovely words that are music to my ears.   If I don’t get to sit by that water you’re going have to call my patrol car buddy and have me taken away”.   “You got that, buddy”.

I don’t even give him a chance to respond.   I break out into a run toward the water.   F.U, F.U,  my mind is going crazy,  I’m breathless as I make it to the chairs.   My tears flow, mixed with hysterical laughter.   Well Matt,  I’ve made a complete ass out of myself today.   All in the name of saving you.  How in the hell did this happen.   If anyone saw me today.   Oh God, what am I turning into.   I’m so lost in my thoughts that I don’t hear the approaching footsteps.   It’s the man who took you away.   He tells me you are permitted to stay.   I jump out of my chair and practically run to my car.   You are there sitting on the same porch surrounded by your bags.   I approach with caution.   “Matt, do what you need to do”.   “You better get it right this time, I don’t know how much more I can take”.    You take a drag of your smoke and look at me with those beautiful eyes.   Those eyes I fell in love with when I first held you.   Those eyes that always told me you loved me.   Those eyes that melt my heart no matter how ugly we become.   Today I must not let you get to my heart.   Today I must protect myself.   Today I almost lost my mind.   Your demons hiding behind those beautiful eyes.   I turn as my tears come.

The ride home is peaceful.   I keep my window down.   I need to feel air and hear nature.   No music just the sounds of life.   I stop to get gas and a drink.   Buckling up I feel something sharp.   I wrap my fingers around the tube and pull it out from my seat.   The dismantled pen.   Your demons hitching a ride home.   I want to scream.  To throw them to the ground and stomp the life out of them.   I feel the ugliness that has taken over my being surfacing.   I can not let them steal my soul, they already have my son.   I throw the tube out my window as far as I can.     F.U, I shout. F.U.   My soul belongs to me.  My son belongs to me.  I’m no longer the Mad Hatter, just the mad mother of a man suffering from the ugly disease of addiction…

 

 

 

 

 

Hey Mom, What’s Up With Matt….

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Matt,  in my mind you are safe.  Just for this night I can close my exhausted eyes and let sleep take over my brain.  I tell myself this is a start.  You were willing to finally go.  After all the screaming matches we had about you needing rehab it took your peers to convince you how messed up you really were.  At this point it really didn’t matter how you got there,  just that you were there and for tonight my heart and mind would find peace in beautiful sleep.  No laying awake worrying or constantly checking my phone.  No more jumping out of bed when I hear a car pass by.  Just for tonight I kept telling myself,  just for tonight sleep…

I woke to the phone ringing.  I couldn’t believe the time.  Almost noon.  I couldn’t believe I’d slept that long.  Ray was long gone and I never heard a sound.  Even the pups still lay beside me in lazy slumber.  Looking at the phone as if to say how dare anyone wake us.  I didn’t remember ever sleeping that deep.  Not since you came home and your addiction took over my life.   I answer.  A voice I don’t recognize introduces herself as your counselor.  Would I be interested in a family meeting.  Absolutely.  She tells me you are being detoxed and I can not visit or speak to you until the day of the meeting.  She gives me the date and I tell her I will be there.  I hang up feeling relief.  My mind once again reliving the day.  The hell you put me through.  I really didn’t want to talk to you yet.  I still had to calm myself down.  I still could not believe the ugliness that took over my sweet boy when you didn’t have your pills.  I was getting an education in addiction that I really didn’t sign up for.  I wanted my normal son.  I wanted my normal life.  My mind and body still feeling the aftermath of your fury.  I needed a mental health break.  Just a few days not consumed by your addiction was all I could think about.  You were where you needed to be and for once I could just relax and enjoy being home.

I tried to be normal.  To do normal things.  The laundry, grocery shopping,  walking the dogs, but that little voice kept breaking thru.  Go look, go look.  You don’t have to worry about him finding you in his stuff.  Go look.  Ok, so now here I am.  I want and need a break from your addiction, but with you away the time for my searching is just perfect.  Don’t have to calm my racing heart.  Don’t have to depend on the dogs barking to alert me to your return.  It’s just me, myself and I plus your demon pills.

So much for normal I tell myself as I carry the ladder and a flashlight to your space.  How convenient for me that you lived in my finished basement.  I didn’t even have to leave the house to play spy mom.  So now I take my time.  Lifting ceiling tiles and looking.  Dumping drawers and emptying boxes.  Taking my time and finding pieces of a life I had no idea you lived.  The more I searched, the more I found.  My shocked brain kept saying WTH you weren’t raised to be this kind of person.  To hang with these kind of people.  Oh my God.  I sat and realized I was pretending all along that you weren’t one of them.  The addict who hung out with the bad boys.  The addict who lied and fought for your demons.  I felt like I’d been slapped in the face.  Reality.  Addiction the four letter word.  My son is an addict.  I never found your pills but I found so much more.

I sit in stunned silence.  Finally seeing you and your addiction for what is was.  Dirty, ugly, deceitful.  My little sweet boy had grown into a man with a horrible disease that made him do horrible things.  I felt the tears and the tightness taking hold of my body.  Damn you,  my mind is screaming.  The phone startles me.  Hey Mom,  I can’t get Matt.  What’s up with him.  Something isn’t right.  Do you know where he is.   Oh God, Mike.  My mind is saying,  while you’ve been away serving our country busting the drug cartel your brother has been giving them business.  My mouth doesn’t move.  Now the all familiar heart racing, throat tightening that has become my bodies automatic response takes over.  Mike,  we need to talk.

I will never forget the look on your face.  I could feel your anger as I told you about the dirty little secret.   WTF Mom.  Why didn’t you tell me.  WTH were you doing.  I had a right to know.  Mike, my eyes are pleading with you.  I couldn’t put you at risk.  You were gone.  Out to sea dealing with your own life.  What could you have done.  I try to defend my decision.  Please Mike,  I can’t battle both my boys.  I did what I thought was the right thing to keep you safe.  You could not be worrying about your brother and do your job.  You needed a clear head.   I was pleading for my life.  Once again your addiction was the poison hurting our once close family.   Where is he Mom.  Is that why the beach house is gone.  Is that why he lives with you.  All these questions deserved answers.  I felt so guilty for keeping our secret.  No more Matt.  No more secrets in our family.  I needed all the help I could get.  Maybe your brother could get through to you.  Maybe just maybe we could work together to save you.

Mike knows everything.  No more dirty secrets.  He knows you have an addiction to pills.  He knows all the horror we have lived through these last years while he was away.  He is both shocked and saddened that you have lost so much and still use.  He knows about the family meeting.  He is coming.

Your big brother wraps me in a hug as I cry letting the years of grief, worry and uncertainty rush from my body like wave after wave hitting the sandy shore.  The release of loving a son with a horrible disease.  The relief of having someone who loves you as much as I do know our journey.  I pray you will understand my need to come clean.  The burden of your addiction has broken both my spirit and my heart.  I need backup.  I need help.  Forgive me Matt.  I need all hands on deck.  Your demons must be stopped and I’m tired.  Your brother will step up and join the fight.  He never had a fear of rollercoasters….

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………

 

At Last I Do

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Matt,  I left Ray behind at the hospital.  He really needed some family time and I really needed to get the hell out of there.  All I wanted to do was get home, let the dogs out and have the privacy I needed to continue our conversation.  I was still shaking and feeling sick when I got home.  I just couldn’t believe you would dare go back on your promise.  How stupid I was.  I really needed to believe everything you said.  I wanted to believe you could control the craving for the drugs, that you could stop the way they took over your world leaving you caring for no one else but yourself.

The dogs greeted me with wags and kisses.  I let them calm my spirit as I watched them chase each other playing like they had no care in the world.  Their Mom was home and they were happy.   I sat and watched and wished we could be like dogs.  Happy and carefree showing love like it was the most natural emotion in the world.  Why did life have to be so complicated.  Why did your addiction always find a way into my life.  All I ever wanted was normal.  How hard could it be.  Just normal.

I grab my phone and punch in your number.  I can already feel that  familiar throat tightening.  My body  automatically responding to my fear of how you will answer.  What words you choose will either make me or break me.  God, how horrible to have such fear of a phone call.    Hi Mom,  you answer.  Really, did you expect me to call.  Are you playing with me.  You sound normal.  Holy crap,  yeah,  my throat easing up, I want to jump for joy.  Matt,  what happened this afternoon.  You sounded stoned.  You pissed me off, you threw me into a tail spin.  WTH were you doing.   Mom, you need to relax, you worry way too much.  Yeah Matt, you give me so much to worry about.  Matt, you must understand I need you to keep your promise.  You must control the meds.  Mom, stop.  I got this.  I will be ok.  Please give me a break.  Trust me.  Oh God Matt, how I want to trust you…The wedding is in 4 weeks please Matt let me have a little normal.

We hang up making promises.  You will stay clean, I will stay off your back.  Now that Ray’s Mom is on the mend, I need to get back to planning our wedding.  I keep telling myself to just relax, everything will be ok. Matt won’t let you down.  Please God, just once I need to trust that life will be ok.

Finally the big day arrives.  I wake to the most beautiful, crisp Autumn morning.  The sun is shining, big puffy clouds fill the bright blue sky.  The dogs are my only companions as I step outside and pray that this beautiful day is a sign.  Soon my friends and family start piling in.  Mimosas are poured and happy toasts are made.  Normal and happy, thank you God.  I’m upstairs when you and Lisa arrive.  The house is in full swing.  My Bridesmaid and flower girls all sharing bathrooms getting ready for the big day.  My heart is so full of joy I almost forget all the hell we have survived.

You are there as I walk down the steps.  You are so handsome.  Thinner than I remember, I push the bad thoughts from my mind.  You wrap your arms around me and I relax in your hug.  You are here, your eyes clear, your perfect.  You are the best wedding gift.  Thank you God, we have normal.

I quietly watch you and Lisa.  No one would know the problems you’ve had by observing you today.  I am flying.  Maybe just maybe life will be as it should.  Pictures are taken. The house is full of joy.  We are lining up the cars for the drive to the church when we hear a loud crash.  I hear Heather scream.  I jump out of the back seat and run dragging my gown.  Holy shit, a tree fell and crushed my fence.  Thank God no one was hurt.  Oh God, everyone is shaken.  We are scrambling.  I look for you and Lisa.  Your car is gone.  My driver is yelling to get back in the car.  Everyone accounted for except you.  Now I’m shaking.  My mind over thinking what just happened.  The tree fell with no wind, no storm.  Oh God are you trying to tell me something.  We line up and pull away from the house.  Don’t look back my mind is saying, put on that happy face and pretend it’s all normal.  As we get closer to the church the sky is growing darker.  The phone is ringing.  It’s Ray, where are we he asked.  We are late.  Everyone is waiting in the church.  Is Matt there.  No. Oh God.  Now the sky opens up.  The drivers are forced to slow down.  The flower girls are singing rain, rain go away and I’m numb.  Smiling my famous practiced smile, trying to laugh as my bridesmaid is reminding me that rain is good luck on a wedding day.  Oh God, she has no idea.  She is a friend but has no idea that I live with a dirty little secret.

Where is Matt.  I call your phone.  Voice mail.  WTH, Matt, my mind is screaming.  Please don’t.  Oh Dear God.  What do you want me to do.  The day that started out so beautiful and so full of promise has turned dark and uncertain.  I know I haven’t been honest about Matt.  I’m trying to handle it myself.  I can’t take the chance today. I can’t let his addiction wreck my chance at a beautiful life with Ray.  Oh God, I promise when the time is right I will tell the story, just not today.

We finally arrive.  You are not there.  People are flocking to the cars with umbrellas.  Our friends have set up a white tent in front of the church giving us a place to stand and not get drenched.  I wait in the car as everyone lines up.  My bridesmaid and flower girls and my precious ringbearer all waiting for me.  I sit as the tears fall.  Oh Matt, I can’t walk down that aisle without you.  How could you do this again.  My heart is breaking when I see headlights coming toward me.  Oh God, it’s you.

Sorry Mom, you grab my hand.  We took a wrong turn.  You are clear. You are here.  I look around at all our friends standing here in this little church.  We look at each other.  It’s good Mom, you deserve this.  I love you so much.  We will get through this together.  I put my arm through yours and we walk in.  Ray’s face looks so relieved.  His Dad joked, I thought you changed your mind.  People laugh.  You walk me to the man of my dreams,  my mind is spinning.  It will be ok.  It will be ok.  Oh God, thank you.  Both the men I love are here together on this very special, very wet day.  The only thing missing was your brother.  Still away and unaware that he is fighting a war against the very drug you love.  Secrets have become my way of life.  Secrets from those I love.  Secrets shared between a mother and the son she loves.  Secrets too evil to think about today.  The I do’s are said.  Ray and I walk out, now Man and Wife.  A ray of sun breaks through the clouds.  I look up and say a silent prayer.  Please God, please Matt, give me just a bit of normal.

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.

 

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