Mother's Heartbreak

A Story of Addiction & Loss

Tag: Xanax addiction (page 1 of 7)

A Matt With Nine Lives

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Matt.   So this tender love seemed to be working.  You would stop by to visit Kahlua.  You looked reasonably straight.  We were trying to work on getting back to you and me.  I couldn’t stay mad forever.  I was becoming cautiously optimistic that Ray and I did the right thing.  I was okay knowing you had a roof over your head and food that of course I’d send with you each visit.  You blew my mind during one visit when you thanked me for kicking you out.  I’ll never forget your smile as you said, “Mom,  I’m really glad you kicked me out”.  “It’s about time I figure out how to take care of myself”.  You gave me one of those bear hugs as you left.  I watched you walk to your car with a mixed feeling of joy and sadness.  This was never what I wanted.  I wanted you living at the beach.  I wanted you to be successful.  I wanted our life back.  I wanted you back and I wanted me back.

You shocked me when you came home one day and announced you found a job.  Working at the same auto parts store you did in high school.  You were so proud.   I was so sad.  I smiled and hugged you, all the time thinking how much your demons cost you.  Prior to the pills,  you owned a very successful business.  Living my dream life by the sea.  Now here you were working for minimum wage exactly where you started a million years ago.  I wondered if you actually passed the drug test or if you were able to sweet talk your way back in.   I guess I couldn’t be too picky.  Wanting you to be who you no longer were.  At least you had a place to be and responsibility.  I prayed this was a step in the right direction.  That if you started to feel useful and were surrounded by clean people maybe just maybe normal would find us again.

Matt, I remember the call like it was yesterday.  It was a beautiful summer day.  Ray and I were tag teaming the housework so we could head out to mountain bike.  Ray was happier knowing I was fine with you not living here as long as I controlled where you lived. We were finding a new rhythm, finally having the house to ourselves.  I never realized the enormous chaos you created until it was gone.   I was learning how to focus on something other than saving you.  A little piece of the way life could be.

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Ray was vacuuming,  I was in the kitchen.  My cell rang.  Surprisingly, I heard it.  A number I didn’t recognize.  Any other time I would not have answered.  That little voice and a chill had me grabbing my phone.  “Hello”.  I hear a voice asking if I am MaryBeth.  Dear God, do I want to be?  Yes, I can feel my body starting to react.  My soul knew it was you.  “Yes, who is this?”   The next words brought me to my knees and had Ray at my side.  “Oh God,  is he alive,  please tell me the truth”.  You’re a nurse, so am I.  “Please stay with him, tell him I love him, please keep him alive for me”.  “Yes, Christiana, I work there, please tell them to get him to Christiana.”  I’m sobbing trying to talk to you as this nurse holds the phone to your ear.  She tells me you are still breathing but the accident was a head on and you are in very bad shape.  I stay on the phone until I hear the medics arrive.  She again reassures me you are still alive.  I hear the medics muffled words.  Calling ahead to alert the E.D a trauma is coming.  I don’t want to hang up.  I can’t lose our connection.  I want to keep telling you that I love you.  That I will be there.  Please don’t leave me.  Please fight, breathe, stay alive.

We fly to the E.D.  Ray has already called Mike.  Ray pulls up and slows down as I leap out.  I see the ambulance and know you were it’s patient.  A nurse/mother’s instinct.  I run in and am ignored by the unit clerk sitting in triage behind the plexiglass screen on her phone.  I am ready to punch the window to get her attention.  I look up and Terry, a nurse I worked with during my E.D days smiles.  Hey, what are you doing here.  My son is your trauma.  He was just brought in.  She asks for your name.  “Matt”.  Her smile disappears. She walks toward me and wraps an arm around me.  “You need to come with me”, she says.  Ray runs in the door and sees us.  Terry tells him to stay back and wait.  She continues to guide me toward those doors.  Oh God,  “Terry, I can’t do this.  I remember being the nurse and taking parents like you are taking me”.  ” I can’t do this”.  My body is racked with sobs.  I’m shaking so badly I can barely think or walk.   “Mare, you can do this, you must do this”.   She tightens her grip as we walk into the trauma room.  All eyes turn toward me.   “Hey, what are you doing here?”  I’m surrounded by a sea of familiar faces.  “That’s my Matt”.  I walk to the table.  You’re body is broken.  Purple bruising covers your chest.  The doc is scanning your abdomen.  I tell you I’m here and squeeze your hand.  You are alive.  I stifle a sob and try to calm my trembling body.  Terry remains by my side.  I don’t know why but my nurse mode turned on.  I’m looking at the scans asking about your liver and spleen pointing out things I don’t want to see.  I’m asking which Trauma Surgeon is coming.  I’m relieved when one of the best will be arriving shortly.  I’m asking about pain control and my mind is running down the trauma protocol when I hear this young nurse cop an attitude.  “Who does she think she is?”  I’m ready to scream, “I’ll tell you who I am smart ass, snot nosed, don’t know nothing little shit”.   Terry saves me from my tirade.  “Shut up, you have no idea who she is, she was our trauma coordinator,  She was here when you were being potty trained”.   We exchange a glance.  The trauma surgeon takes his place by my side.  He gives me a hug.  “Hey, we got this. You try to be the mom, we will do everything, you know we love you and he is one of our’s.  Go take a break.  I’ll see you soon”.

Terry walks me to that room.  The one we always deliver bad news in.  I tell her I can’t wait there.  Too many memories of families I’ve stayed with.  The mother’s and father’s I held as the news of loss was delivered.  I’m shaking again.  Ray opens the door.  He’s been waiting for me.  I collapse in his arms.  I tell him you are alive and to pray.  The door swings open.  Mike walks in with Heather.  His face says it all.  I tell him you are alive.  He needs to see you.  I call Terry.  Yes, Mike go.  Terry meets him and takes him to see your battered body.   I’m pacing as Mike returns with an officer.  He sits and tells me he was at the scene.  Witnesses say you crossed the center line.  He apologizes as he hands me your ticket.   He tells me how sorry he is.   They have drawn a drug screen.  The results are pending.  He leaves us in silence.  Each one of us lost in our thoughts.  I’m giving thanks that you are alive.  I’m praying you will recover.  The sadness surrounding your family  binds us.  Your addiction is killing us.

What started out as a day of happiness has turned into one of fear.  Once again not knowing where we were headed.  The normal I was starting to feel shattered.  The chaos of your demons never letting up.  I thought I had regained some control of my life.  How foolish to think after all we survived that normal would ever find us again.   Mike goes for coffee.  He needs to cry for his broken brother.  His only sibling.  Matt, your tough as nails brother is sobbing.  I wonder how much more we will survive.  How many more insults your body can take.  I wonder how to fix this.  The door opens again.  Our surgeon.  My heart stops.  He sits.  Your spleen is torn, several vertebra are fractured.  They are keeping you heavily sedated.  Watching closely for changes that will buy you a trip to the O.R.  He hands me a small bag, his eyes full of pity.  Matt our dirty little secret is out.  “He’s an addict”.  Those ugly words flying around the room.  Your demons laughing.  My heart breaking.  They will pump you full of drugs.  They have no choice.   I hear the roller coaster pulling up.  I see myself getting on.  The bar locking firmly in place.  I have no control.  I sob as if the world is ending.  My fantasy over.  The ride will start again………

 

 

Heaven’s A Little Closer In A House By The Sea

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Matt,  I knew I had to trust you to do the right thing.  I had to believe you would do everything you could to find a new job and pull your weight not only with the bills but in taking care of the house.   I kept telling myself to relax and just give it time, but that nagging little voice wouldn’t let me be.   I called every few days and was getting the feeling that I was annoying you with the same questions.   Oh well, maybe it was my turn to annoy you.  Maybe it was my turn to push and push and push until you finally did what you promised to do.  Every call was answered the same way.  Yes Mom, I looked for a job today.  Yes Mom, I called about that.  Yes Mom, I paid those bills.  Blah Blah Blah.  I felt like I was reliving groundhog day all over again.

I tried to just act normal.  Working and spending time with Ray, but my mind was always drifting back to you.  Unemployment was barely giving you enough to live on and pay a few bills.  I knew the dam was going to break but had no clue that it was about to explode.

I received the call on my lunch break.  A number I didn’t recognize.  I held my breath as I answered hoping it had nothing to do with you.   Seriously,  are you kidding.  A new bank taking over our mortgage isn’t real happy with the arrangement made to keep us afloat.  The my son’ sick and lost his job card wasn’t getting any sympathy from this new gatekeeper.   Holy shit, really you want what, payment in full in 30 days to prevent foreclosure.  No amount of begging or bargaining was having any effect on this new I don’t give a shit about your problems manager who was making me feel like the biggest loser in the world.  I hung up and tried to not let the sobs escape my throat.  This was too much, the straw that broke my back.  I find a private corner and call you.  Matt we are in trouble.  I barely give you time to speak before I start to realize your speech is slurred and those hateful words, Hey Mama float out of your mouth.  My throat is closing, my heart is racing, I want to puke.  I hang up knowing that nothing I say will penetrate your brain.  You are in your favorite place.  Euphoria surrounds you as the demons take you away from reality.

I finish my shift, fly home, change.  Ray, once again is away on business preventing me from making up a lie.  Keeping our dirty little secret was hard enough, I didn’t want to start new lies.  Your addiction was turning me into just that, a liar.  Making up so many stories to cover for you that soon I feared I would forget who I told what and be caught.

Driving down in the dark allowed me to openly sob without drawing attention to myself.  I was sobbing and talking to myself feeling that familiar hopelessness wash over me like the tide I loved to watch.  How could you let me down, how could you continue to destroy everything you said you loved.  We sold everything we could spare to keep our little piece of heaven.  Now we were on the brink of losing my happy place and my heart couldn’t take the pain.

I pull up to the dark house.  Your car is there. I hear the barking.  My heart is racing,  I’m physically sick.  I puke in your trash.  Great, let’s hope the neighbors didn’t catch that performance.   I let myself in and hit the light.  You are there.  The light hits your face and I see the demons.  Hey Mama.  I grab you and start punching and sobbing and punching.  You are not fazed.  You laugh and brush me off like a bug.  I come back at you now screaming.  You prick, you coward, how could you do this to me.  I’ve loved you and helped you.  Paid your bills and given you the perfect place to live.  You repay me by spitting in my face and destroying everything I love.  I hate you.

I’m out of control.  Pulling cushion off the couches.  Dragging your mattress off your bed.  Tearing the place apart looking for your demons.  You sit watching with your glassy eyes, quiet knowing that if you speak I will attack.  I feel the bottle in your shoes.  The amber beauty you love so much.  Empty.  You SOB.  I come at you shoving the bottle in your face.  You laugh.  Your eyes looking at me but not seeing.  Your skin pale and clammy.  Your speech slow and slurred.  I slap your face, you react.  Now I’m in nurse mode.  I’m pushing you into the shower fully clothed soaking you with cold water.  Snap, you are back and pissed.  Punching and spitting and calling me names that break my heart.  We struggle, you slip past me and run into the wall.  You are bleeding, the dogs are on you protecting me.   My God, who have we become.  I don’t know these people.  I’m shaking and soaked and ashamed.  What have we done to each other.  Your demons making me ugly and hateful.  You push yourself up and slam the door to your room.  I hear the shower.  I sit holding myself as the dogs come to comfort me.

I am shocked at how I acted.  I’m the adult here, the fixer.  I fixed this alright.  The rage I felt scared me to my core.  This is not who I am.  I love you and I could have easily killed you and left you behind.  I feel like I’ve lost my mind.  You are sick and I am sick.. Your addiction is slowly killing both of us.

You approach me like a scared little boy.  It’s ok Matt, the crazy lady is gone.  We sit and let the silence hug us like a warm blanket.   You reach for my hand and I put my head on your shoulder.   Matt, we can’t do this anymore.   We can’t be these hateful, ugly people.  I don’t want this to be us.   I don’t know what to do to fix this.  I am lost and broken.   Matt, our house by the sea must go.  I’m sorry Mom.  Please don’t hate me.  Matt, I could never hate you.  We sit together.  I can’t look at you.  My tears are falling and I don’t even try to hide the fact that the wetness dripping onto your hand is coming from my broken heart.    Addiction destroys everything until there is nothing left to destroy………

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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