Matt, I’ve spent the last 6 years grieving your death. I’ve also spent the last 6 years beating myself up with guilt. It seems my emotions swing between the two, but lately the guilt has been weighing heavily on my heart.
I continue to use my heart as a punching bag. Blaming myself for your death. I continue to see you as a helpless child instead of a grown man.
There are days I sit quietly and allow the film of our struggle to replay in my brain. I feel like I’m split in two. My brain tells me that I did everything humanly possible to save you. My heart tells me I should have done more.
Lately I’ve been trying to forgive myself. I had no idea how powerful the opioids really were. Six years ago I did not have the information that is readily available today. Had it been, you might have had a fighting chance.
I’m trying to place some responsibility on you as I have carried the full load of guilt for so long. I’m trying to remember all the times I fought with you to get you into treatment. I remember all the times my phone rang and you were on the other end telling me you were signing yourself out. I remember the feeling of hopelessness and of being so angry that once again you decided what was best for you without any thought to how your decisions were impacting me.
Even though you are gone, my struggle continues. I feel like I’m walking on a broken road. Some days I’m able to avoid falling into those crevices where the guilt lies waiting to wrap itself around my heart. Other days it seem like those crevices are unavoidable. Days when a memory will surface. Days when I hear of one of your friends having a baby. Days when I am drowning in the what if’s or I should have. Days I wonder how you would look 6 years older. Days I wonder how life would be had you lived.
So now I must find my way to forgive myself for something I could not control. As parents we live under the illusion that we can control the behavior of our children. I think the moment we become mothers that guilt gene takes over.
I go back to when I was your age. I remember my mother trying to tell me how I should live. I remember her attempts at controlling my comings and goings. I also remember I did what I wanted to do despite her attempts to guide me. As I look back, I now know how right she was.
Sadly for us, you will never have the opportunity to look back and understand my intentions were for your own safety. So now I walk this new journey alone. Learning to navigate this new road that hopefully will lead to forgiving myself. I know this journey will somedays be nothing more than baby steps. I know there will be days I slip into those waiting crevices. I know this road will be long and treacherous. I also know that I must find my way through……….