Mother's Heartbreak

A Story of Addiction & Loss

Tag: wedding day

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.

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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.

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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