Matt, I’m still shaking after hanging up. I can’t believe I was begging for my life. How did we get to this ugly place. There is no way I’m going to accept this as our last conversation before I make one of the biggest decisions of my life. I have to see your face. I have to look into your eyes and know that you understand that this is no joke. Lucky for me Ray is traveling on business and will be out of town for a week. With no job to worry about I can make a quick trip between PT appointments. I plan my strategy before heading to the beach. I go back and forth trying to decide if I call and give you a heads up or just show up like I used to when I was the Mom police. I’ve been trying to play the cool Mom, but after finding out that our little piece of heaven in now in jeopardy I’m not quite sure which Mom I need to be.
Ray leaves for the airport and I grab my bag telling myself that everything will be just fine. It’s feels like it’s been forever since I made this trip alone. Memories of my last visit with your grandmother flood my brain and that familiar sensation of choking begins again. How did we ever get to this place. How foolish I was to think that your back surgery was the answer to our prayers. That once you healed, the pain would magically disappear along with the poison pills. Never thinking those little white demons would lead you on this path of self destruction dragging me along for this ugly ride. That poison flowing from you to me like a river that could not be stopped. How would we ever survive the constant assault on our relationship. You and I become ugly when we fight about your demons. Now here I am coming to you to plead my case. To beg my adult, addict son to please allow his mother a little piece of normal, a little slice of happiness in this oh so ugly, unpredictable world that your addiction has pulled us both into.
As I get closer I feel that familiar tightness starting to strangle my chest. I roll down the windows to allow the sea air a chance to ease my fear of what I will find when I reach you. Once again I start talking to myself, my traveling companions me, myself, and I think about and practice our little speech. I no longer care what passing cars think when they look over and see me talking to no one. I just smile and let them pass, thinking how great it would be to be someone else doing something else instead of being me having to face and fix my addict son.
I finally arrive and try to get myself to breathe. Your truck is in the driveway. I knock to show you some respect. I don’t want you to come out fighting about my lack of respecting your privacy by using my key. I wait and knock again, finally realizing it is quiet. The dogs aren’t carrying on letting the world know someone has disturbed their quiet day. Putting my bag back in my car I head for the bay. I see you in the distance playing with the dogs in the surf. How handsome you are. Looking at you from afar my heart feels such joy, such hope that maybe you meant what you said. Maybe just once you would really try to get clean. To rid your body of the poison that was killing us both. I close my eyes and allow myself to remember happier times before the demons found you. Allow a bit of hope and joy to soothe my anxious soul. I stop not wanting to disturb you. I want to remember this moment forever. To have it burned into my brain. My son and his dogs playing in the surf. A moment of normal, a glimpse of happiness in the chaos of our world. Oh God, please let this be a sign of things to come. Let me have Matt back. Let us be that happy, healthy family that my heart so needs us to be. Please give him the strength to want freedom from the hell that comes at the bottom of his bottle. I start to walk, the dogs catch my movement and come bounding to me. Wet sloppy kisses and sandy paws greet me like the old days. Happy pups spending time with the master they love. Hey Mom, I didn’t know you were coming. You wrap me in that hug and tell me how good it is to finally see me. You examine my wrist and laugh. Only you Mom, as that smile once again melts my heart and dissolves the anger and anxiety I felt thinking about what I might find by the sea. Oh Matt, I’ve missed you so much.
We sit and talk about life. Ray and the wedding. We laugh as I tell you the reaction I’ve gotten from florists and bakeries when I say yup, you got it, the wedding is in six weeks, yup this September. We are absolutely cracking up when I tell you that my cake and flowers will be coming from Costco and our reception will be in a tent and catered by Famous Dave’s. God, it felt so good to be talking about normal life and not your addiction. Just us laughing like we had no cares in the world. Like we weren’t hiding our dirty little secret, like we were just a mother and son sharing the funniest of stories. This shared laughter was just what my broken spirit needed. Me and you once again just being us, in our favorite place by the sea. Hey Mom, I’m walking you down that aisle. Hey Matt, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
We walk to the house, we are both happy and relaxed. Oh God, how we needed this little piece of normal to get us back on track. We order dinner and make plans to get your life in order. The mortgage, your bills all need tending to but for now I bask in how it feels to make plans with my sober son. For now you are here, a part of this planning to save both of us from further damage. A mother and her son planning for the future. My heart so full of joy, ignored the warning my mind was screaming. Too good to be true. Be alert, Don’t let your guard down. You promise me things will be ok, you promise to stay clean. You tell me you and Lisa are working it out. Foolishly, I forget I’ve heard those promises before. I forget that addiction tricks you into thinking you have control. Let’s you think you are safe before it rears its ugly head and drags you back into the abyss. Shattering hopes and dreams and destroying whoever dare stand in its path. Just this once I allow myself this fantasy of you and me survivors of hell on earth looking forward to a beautiful future. Please God, please…….