A Story of Addiction & Loss

Category: finding peace while grieving (Page 1 of 2)

Some Days

Matt,  I really don’t know what brings on this deep feeling of loss.  Some days I feel like I’m doing ok, then boom a memory will hit and then I’m gone.  

Erin got married last weekend.  She had a memorial table set up with pictures of all our family members who are no longer here.  Seeing your smiling face staring back at me was like a cold slap of reality, acknowledging that I would never dance at your wedding.  
I tried to hide my tears, but I was powerless.  

I kept thinking what a blast you would have had with Tommy, Mel’s boyfriend.  He has your same sense of humor.  Your quick wit and mannerisms.  As I watched them interact I kept wondering what it would have been like to have you there dancing and laughing together. 

I remembered you being the best man at your brother’s wedding. You raising your glass in a toast that had everyone cracking up.  You on the dance floor with all the single girls.  

I felt like I was in two different worlds.  The one where you existed and this broken world where you do not.  
These family events are always bittersweet.  Reminding me of what could have been but no longer is.  Even though years have passed, your loss is as fresh as it was the moment I heard you left me behind.  

Joy is intermingled with the pain of your absence.  I’ve learned life goes on.  People live their lives.  But one thing I know for certain is I will carry you in my heart forever….

My Reflections on Trail of Truth.

I remember being home watching the weather like a hawk scans the sky for prey.  I kept thinking how could the report of a strong nor-easter possibly be true as I sat feeling the warmth of the sun on my skin.  

The next morning I woke to a gray day.  I felt the weather was mimicking my soul as my husband said goodbye at the train station.  I could feel the wind beginning to strengthen as I stood on the platform with my friend who decided she wanted to brave the weather after hearing me try to explain the impact of the memorial ceremony to others when there really are no words that could describe the slap to your heart as you stood amongst the angels.

So here we were the three of us sitting together on the train heading to D.C. to be among those involved in bringing awareness to the pandemic that continues to destroy families and lives.  You see, Nicole lost her husband last year and is now a single mom to her beautiful daughter, Chloe.

As the train sped toward our destination, I could feel my anxiety growing.  Memories flooded my brain of my first trip to D.C. 9 months after losing my son, Matt in 2015.  How naive I was then thinking this epidemic would never continue.  I truly believed that losing 42,000 people in 2015 would be enough for those in power to shut down the Pharmaceutical Companies responsible for the carnage. That lawmakers and doctors would be punished for their part in this terrible tragedy that created a disease of massive proportions.

As we arrived at Union Station I felt a calm beginning to settle my heart.  I felt like I was where I was meant to be.  

Walking into the Yotel was like coming home after a long absence. Hearing my name and being surrounded by other mamas who’s faces were so familiar yet now they were in my space and we shared moments of joy mixed with grief as we wrapped each other up in warm, loving hugs.  

Our eyes all reflecting a similar emotion.  No one wanted to be here, but because our hearts were shattered by loss we knew we had to be here to let the country know our children continue to live through us.

The storm was kind to us on Friday allowing our activities to continue as planned.  First the DOJ rally.  The power of being among so many incredible advocates was palpable.  The energy flowed through the crowd.  Our chants stopped passerby’s who asked what we were doing.  I was proud to tell Matt’s story as they listened and offered condolences and compassion.  Sharing their lives had also been touched by this tragedy.

My friend Jen gave a powerful speech telling her story of Christopher as I listened I was moved to tears.  So many who’s stories shared similarities of hope and heartbreak.  

Friday night Susans vigil was held at Union Square.  Once again we came together as one body of broken people holding on to each other as stories were shared.  I was blessed to share Matt’s story with the crowd.  Candles were glowing in the dark representing the lives of our loved ones whose 

lights we will never allow to burn out.

I could hear the rain and wind before I got out of bed Saturday morning.  Ophelia obviously had no idea who she was dealing with as she pummeled D.C. with all her force.  A group had gathered outside our room accessing what we were up against.  We laughed out loud knowing that we had all walked through hell and survived. 

A group of us gathered for breakfast holding our rain gear and making plans to brave the storm. There was no way we were going to allow this storm to stop us from being among our angels.

I tried to prepare my friend for the impact but I knew from experience there truly are no words.  I watched her walk among the Delaware people searching for her husbands stone.  Tears falling as she held her daughter’s hand looking for Daddy.  Our eyes met and I knew she felt it.  I knew the impact found her soul ripping it apart once again.  The sky opened up as we both searched, her for Walt, me for Matt.  I knew there was no way we were giving up in spite of high winds and heavy rain.  

Finding Matt, seeing his handsome face stopped me in my tracks. I felt like the earth beneath my feet split open.  I prayed for it to swallow me, to take me to a place where grief could never find me.  To give me a reprieve from this excruciating pain that had become my life.  I heard a guttural cry escape from my soul.  I felt arms wrapping around me as another mom heard and came to hold me up.  Never could I have anticipated my response.  The rawness of the grief.  

I knew I was spent. I wanted to run.  Then I saw my friends face and knew she found her husband.  She knew. I knew.  We were both experiencing, living the impact our team had hoped for when forming the Trail of Truth.

Saying goodbye Sunday morning was tough.  I felt surrounded by those who get me.  I felt like we were all kindred spirits finding each other again. 

I still have found no words to describe the feeling when you walk among angels.  As we boarded the train to Delaware my friend leaned over and said you were right.  No words……..💔💔

Forever 37 Forever In My Heart 💜

“I’ve seen fire and I’ve seen rain. I’ve seen sunny days that I thought would never end. I’ve seen lonely times when I could not find a friend. But I always thought I’d see you again”.

Matt, tomorrow July 30th is your birthday. I never thought you would be celebrating in heaven 🙏🏻.

Even though it’s been 8 birthdays without you here, my heart still breaks thinking about what could have been. You always loved birthdays. You were the first one to run your finger thru the icing laughing as I tried to slap your hands away. I can still see your smile and hear your laughter as you ducked while sticking your icing covered fingers into your mouth.

Even as an adult You would celebrate like a kid. Blowing out candles and making a wish thinking I didn’t see you sharing cake with the dogs.
You were a boy in a man’s body and I loved that about you.

You should be turning 45 but you are forever 37. I wonder what you would look like today. Would you have any gray starting to show. Would you have a wife and children. What would life be like for both of us had your disease not won. So many unanswered questions dance through my heart and head…

Tomorrow I will honor you. Tomorrow I will spend the day by the sea that you loved. Tomorrow I will help feed the homeless showing them that their life’s matter and they are loved.

Tomorrow we will serve Italian subs, your favorite food and give out 100 backpacks from A Hug From Matt.

Tomorrow tears will be shed but I will continue to follow your lead in helping those the world forgot. I will tell your story and celebrate your life that was cut too short.

Tomorrow and everyday of my life I will celebrate you my beautiful boy.
Happy birthday in heaven. Forever 37. Until we meet again.
Love you forever. Mom ❤️❤️

It’s So Much More Than Just A Tree

For so many the holidays are a time of cheer.  Decorating homes and family gatherings are a huge part of everyone’s plans.  The expectation of a perfect holiday season is evident every where you look.  From the Hallmark Christmas movies that play 24/7 to the Christmas music that starts before Thanksgiving begins. 

Seven years ago my holiday celebration came to an abrupt halt.  My youngest son, Matt lost his battle with addiction.  I was so broken that hearing  “I’ll Be Home For Christmas” left me running out of the grocery store with tears running down my face.  

Prior to his death, Christmas was my favorite holiday.  I was that person who decorated every room in my house.  I was that person singing Christmas Carols and watching every episode of Home Alone over and over.  I would immerse myself in finding the perfect gift for everyone on my list.  My kids called me the crazy Christmas lady and I loved it. 

After Matt’s death, nothing mattered.  My only decoration on display was my nativity set. I gave away our tree to a needy family and never put up another. The holidays became a painful reminder of his absence.  We were no longer that happy family gathered around the tree in past holiday photos. 

The years went by.  Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years became days I learned to survive.  I’d go to church. Have family and friends over.  Going through the expected traditions all with a broken heart. 

I don’t remember when my heart began to heal.  I don’t know how or why I began to feel joy.  Or when the memories of prior holidays began to become less painful.  I do know it snuck up on me.  Hearing Christmas music while grocery shopping no longer sent me running for cover.  Seeing trees brightly lit caught my attention as I stood before them remembering trees that once graced my hallway. 

My healing has been a slow process. I’ve read that losing a child demolishes you.  If you have ever witnessed a demolition you know that what was once whole has been completely destroyed.  The process of rebuilding especially when it’s a life can and does take years. 

I’ve learned grief has no time frame. Grief doesn’t up and leave after you survive all those firsts as society wants you to believe.  I’ve learned I had to acknowledge my loss, live my loss, feel every bit of my pain before I could once again begin to feel the joy the holiday season can bring.

This year a beautiful tree graces my hallway.  The white lights remind me of twinkling starts.  My Nativity set is at home on the mantel. Santa’s and snowmen have found their way out of boxes to fill once empty spaces.

I know Christmas Day will continue to hold a painful reminder that Matt won’t be home to celebrate.  I know there will be tears.  This year there will also be joy as I sit near my tree that symbolizes not only Christmas but my healing heart.  ♥️🎄

Kicking & Screaming Into The Holiday Season

Matt,   Christmas is in twelve days.   This will be the seventh Christmas without you.  Funny how I fooled myself into thinking this year would have to be easier than the past years.  After all, how long does this grief hang on.   

I’m finding that once again grief has the upper hand.  This time of the year we are bombarded with commercials of perfect, smiling families.  Everyone gathered around the big, beautiful tree surrounded with thousands of presents.   Then the Hallmark channel drowns us with unrealistic portrayals of the “perfect family” and of course the “perfect Christmas”.   

I’m finding these unrealistic expectations of “perfect”  add to my anxiety,  and regret.   I feel like society wants me to wrap up my grief with a beautiful bow and put it in the back of the closet so others won’t be uncomfortable when I’m around.

There are days when I do feel joy.   When I hear a song that connects my brain to a happy memory of our past life.  Days when the tears stay away and the holiday season doesn’t feel like a knife in my heart.  Then for whatever reason, another song leaves me a sobbing mess.  Those waves come out of nowhere knocking me off balance.  Seeing Christmas cards knowing there will be none from you.   Thinking about what to get for your brother and remembering I will no longer be putting a gift under the tree with a tag stating your name.

I decorated your memorial garden with a wreath and poinsettias.   Holiday lights are wrapped around the cross.  Your stone is surrounded by angels.   It’s my place of peace.   I feel close to you there and can talk freely about how Iso deeply knowing that you won’t be home for Christmas.

I did put up a small tree this year.   Ray wanted a little something to make the house look festive.   I decorated, placing a few of my favorite things around the house.  It looks sweet when the light glow illuminating the Nativity set on the mantel.  

The saddest thing is how Covid has changed the way we celebrate.   I have no idea if anyone will come to visit.  The lack of family highlights the loss I feel when I remember how the holidays used to be.  I wonder how you would have handled this pandemic.  

I try to remind myself of the true meaning of Christmas.   How the most important thing is acknowledging the birth of Jesus.  I remember sitting with you and your brother reading the Christmas story teaching you that Christmas was about much more than just Santa.  

The biggest hurdle for me is accepting my reality and letting go of the fantasy I thought life would be.  Accepting that you are really gone is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do.  There are days I have to allow myself to just sit closing my eyes while picturing you sitting by my tree with your children.   I see your handsome face and beautiful smile as you help your babes unwrap gifts from me.  I picture you drinking coco in the kitchen as we talk about life and the coming year.  Some days those fantasies are how I survive.

I don’t know if my grief will ever lessen as I survive the holidays with a broken heart.  I will go to church Christmas Eve.   I will wear your fingerprint close to my heart.  I will cry as I’ve done every year as I see families with children fill the pews.   

For Christmas I will pray for my peace and acceptance.   I will pray for the strength to welcome another year without you in it.   I will pray that past memories will bring more joy than pain.  I will pray that you are at peace, healed from your demons and celebrating the birth of Jesus in the beauty of heaven.  

 

 

 

« Older posts

© 2024 Mother's Heartbreak

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑