A Story of Addiction & Loss

Tag: grief over loss of health

Missing The Me I used To Be

Matt,   There are days I don’t recognize myself anymore.   I though grieving you would be the biggest hurdle of my life.   I’m finding that grieving who I used to be is becoming a hurdle that seems impossible to jump over.  

So much has changed in these last two years.   You have been gone 6 years and I’d begun to think I had finally found stable footing.   Funny, I look back now and laugh at how I foolishly thought my life had stabilized.   

Nothing could have prepared me for the avalanche of grief that was waiting right around the corner for me.   Being diagnosed with cancer was something I never saw coming.   It was another of those rouge waves that hits with such force you are left helplessly struggling to break through the surface of the water fighting to find your breath.

I never realized how much I took for granted.   When the waves of your loss would hit I would get on my bike and physically exhaust myself until I felt a semblance of calm return to my soul.   If the weather was bad I would grab my yoga mat and find my zen place as I stretched my muscles holding poses until I could no longer feel the chest tightness or racing beats of my heart.

Today, my physical body has endured the brutal treatments to help me beat this ugly disease.   My back is no longer able to bend or twist.   I am full of rods and screws.   My bike hangs in the garage.   It’s become a symbol of the independence I’ve lost.   My days of beating back the grief has disappeared like the woman I was before your death.

Don’t get me wrong.   I’m very grateful this disease was cut out of my body.   I’m grateful for the radiation that was guaranteed to kill any ugly cells left behind.   I just wish I had known how the reality of my treatments would have impacted my ability to handle the anxiety that comes when the reality of your death hits me head on.   I’ve lost my physical ways of coping.   The best I can do is walk and I can’t walk long enough or far enough to make a dent in my grief.

Now I depend on my daily dose of xanax or my THC or CBD.   I hate who I have become.   I never understood your dependence on pills.   I foolishly though that you should have handled your anxiety with physical activity like I did.   Little did I know how debilitating back surgery was and how it impacted your life.   For that I apologize to you my beautiful boy.

I hate walking around with that lump in my throat.   I hate how my mind has taken over and fills me with fear of what my future might hold.   I hate that some days all I can think of is death and leaving everything I love behind.   I hate that you’re not here to help me through my dark days. 

I hate that PTSD has become my constant companion.   I long for those days when we were both healthy and life was a breeze.   I miss our endless walks on the beach.   Our laughter as we remembered your antics as a kid.   We were so much alike.   I wonder how you would have reacted if you were still alive knowing I had a potentially life threatening disease.   

I survive by praying for healing of both my mind and body.   I pray that you have found your peace and one day we will once again walk on a heavenly beach together both healed from our diseases filled with peace and joy.   Until then memories of who we used to be will carry me until we meet again.   

 

The Blessings Of Incidental Findings

Matt,

I must admit when you died I was so pissed off at God.   I felt let down.  Abandoned.  Like my prayers to keep you safe fell on deaf ears.   That my prayers weren’t good enough to be answered.   God and I had many ugly conversations as I sat in the dark and said things that would have had my grade schools nuns running for the Holy Water to wash out my mouth.

I was shocked at the depth and power of my anger.   Growing up in the Catholic church attending Catholic School I knew I had better straighten out my thoughts and get control of my out of control mouth.   I dared God to appear to me and explain why he let you die when I prayed you would beat your addiction and recover to live a beautiful life.

I was a spitting mad grieving mom and nothing would ever convince me that Jesus knew what was really happening in your life when I just had my fantasies of how you were living.   All I wanted was you back.   Under any circumstances.  I really didn’t care if you were suffering from your disease, I just wanted you back.

I remember going to your garden at our church and sitting under the cross.   Seeing your name carved in stone was like another slap from God.   Seeing your name, birth date and death date was having my soul ripped from my body and shattered into a million pieces.   No mother should ever see her precious child’s name on a cold stone.

I took my anger and turned it into an advocacy against those who poisoned you with their pills.  I was relentless.   I held nothing back.   I named names and called people out for who they truly were.   I began helping those who reminded me of you.   Fighting for them as I fought for you.   Four years of advocacy work culminated in six bills that would change how Delaware treats those who suffer from your disease.  I surrounded myself with the best advocates Delaware had to offer and channeled my anger into leaving a legacy to honor your life.

Little did I know that once again my life would be turned upside down.   Looking back it’s really not surprising.   My friends kept telling me to take a much needed break.   To just enjoy the fact that summer was here and Legislative Hall was out of session.   But advocacy is in my blood.   Hard to turn it off when people are calling for help to find treatment.   No way was I not going to do everything in my power to get another mother’s son or daughter in a safe place.

Well, it seems that God had another plan for me.   Funny how God just decides to take the stubborn bull by the horns and say enough.

I know you know.   I have this crazy uncommon cancer.   Of course why not?   You and I were always the misfits.

Except this time I have no anger against God.  I have never felt closer to Jesus in my entire life.   It seems Jesus has been beside me all this time.   I just ignored him.   My grief blocked his peace.   My anger did not allow me to feel his presence.   He was knocking all along.

Jesus has taken over my care.   He has placed me in the hands of experts.   Jesus has saved me from the wrong diagnosis.   He has saved me from an extensive surgery that might not have been the best first step in my fight.

Matt, I know you are here.   I feel you and see your smiling face.   You gave me such a gift by getting your message to me to fight.   You told a friend you still wear your ball cap backwards.   You told her about my cancer and my advocacy.   You talked about your brother by name.   So many messages I know it’s you.

So just like Jesus you never really left me.   I just needed to let my grief open to see the most amazing light shining through.   I have a peace like never before.   I feel totally confident that Jesus has both of us in the palm of his hand.

Matt,  you were always my beautiful boy.   Now I know you are my guardian angel.   I know that you will be watching from heaven.   I know you are at peace and that is the most beautiful gift I could have ever received in the middle of my storm.

Blessings continue to find me.   Ray is amazing.  My friends, those precious few who stood by me after your death are carrying me through this new journey.

Blessings totally unexpected but so welcomed.   I continue to learn from you my beautiful boy.   I now sit and remember our conversations when your wisdom shined though.   Believe me Matt, I’m going to enjoy those little things I always overlooked.   I see you in the stars,  I see you in the sunsets.   I know Heaven is your beach and you my son are enjoying a peace by your precious sea.

I will fight for you and my family.   But when my time comes meet me by the sea.   We will run through the surf together.   You wearing your ball cap backwards and me with my crazy curls.  Together forever one day.   Godspeed my boy.   Tell Jesus your mom says thanks for not giving up on her.

 

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