It is moments like this when it hits me the hardest. In the middle of a memory, but something is missing. I have so many moments like that this year. Our daughter will be graduating from 6th grade and transitioning to Middle School. Our son will be graduating from 8th grade and transitioning to High School. Our oldest boy, he has fell in love, turned 16, gotten his learners, learned to drive and went to Junior Prom. Later this year he will get his first job, his drivers license and attend the Candle lighting ceremony to transition into his Senior year. That’s a lot of memories to miss out on.
Maybe its just because I am the mom, doing what mothers do and worrying about my children. This is a moment that only reminds me of all of those moments to come, the ones when my children will be heartbroken that their father is not there. One day there will be weddings, and a sweet little girl with no father to give her away. Then come the grandbabies and no pawpaw for them to cuddle and play. I cant even begin to imagine what feelings these children hold inside. I only think maybe, just maybe these thoughts don’t cross their minds. All of these thing have come so quickly, its not even been a year since you’ve gone. I know you’d be proud of them, they have so much of your personality in them.
Fairytales Do Come True
See those children I speak of, they lost their father just 9 months ago. It wasn’t some freak accident or another unexpected tragedy. It was to addiction, drugs of evil consumed him way before his time. One boy and I are the beginning of this tale, the heart of the pain and it’s not easy to tell. It most certainly started a story of fairytale sorts, yes the kind that start off Once Upon A Time. This man used to dream of a girl, a faceless girl that always brought him peace, comfort and protection. He talked in such beautiful words describing the way that he felt and the visions he would see. He had lots of time for day dreaming as he was a trucker you see.
As fate would have it, their lives would cross paths, one of those meetings that you know someone greater than you had a hand in. From that moment forward he knew she was the one. She was young beautiful and he was a wild dirty trucker who thought he never had a chance. Little did he know that she was crazy in love with him too. As the days go by, she discovers his book, the stories he’d wrote and how she took on a new look. The dreams now showed a face and that face it was hers. She never really understood the depths of his love, but she never needed too. It wasn’t long before a child was on the way, the first born a son. Suddenly this man changed in a way no one ever expected. He no longer wanted to be just a wild dirty trucker. He wanted to have a family. He proposed and they were married. their family continued to grow and before you knew it there would be three.
It would seem life was going well for the lovers, family that is healthy and happy, thriving job, you would think they had it all. Greed began to set in as he liked the money and what it was providing them with. He thought to himself, what does it hurt to take a little stay awake hit. One pill turned into two and two turned into three. Money started going missing and there was no explanation. Bills not getting paid and come home less and less. He started wanting to send the kids off to the grandparents and throw parties with the young 20 something neighbors on the days he would be home. It was this very behavior that finally gave away to the truth. This young bride and mother of 3 was now watching the man she had loved for 9 years of her life turn into someone else completely. He wanted to be drunk, and was flirting with girls and then it came…Whose got a line of Coke!
A shattered girl turned and walked away, into the darkness of the night, she walked and walked hoping that her nightmare would go away. It didn’t seem to matter how much she walked, the ugly truth awaited her at home. She made a decision not to bring it up that night. She kept it all in and waited for him to leave on the road again. If you are familiar with addiction, you will know that he didn’t even realize there was a problem. Over the course of the next month she tried to talk to him about the missing money, and the unexplained charges and past due bills. She knew the money should have been there, but it was nowhere in sight. He came up with lie after lie trying to just cover up the truth. Eventually he grew tired of her nagging and accused her of cheating, that had to be the answer to all the money missing and she was just trying to blame him as cover up. Frustrated and broken, she gave him one final ultimatum, come clean or she was leaving! He made his choice and told her he was cheating and that’s what it was. She packed her things and left that day.
The Beginning Of The End
I guess he never thought it would drive her away, I guess addicts don’t think about the consequences of a lot of things. You see, he still really did love her, a love so deep that her walking away was going to be the death of him and not even he knew it. He never really knew how to deal with pain. Alcohol and recreational drugs were the answer to that. He put all that behind him when he became a family man, the moment she said, I’m Pregnant, he turned away from everything without even a blink of an eye. Suddenly he was thrust into a world of hurt and pain like no other. He had not only lost his wife, he lost his family, 3 beautiful children that were his world. It was a heartache they didn’t make a strong enough fix to hide. The day he came home, and found her gone, he started going harder and harder on the drugs. It was pills and cocaine and pot and alcohol, every single day. He stopped seeing his kids, and even his own parents for a while.
He jumped into one relationship after another with someone who could provide him with yet another drug to cover up the pain. Each time they failed miserably and each time she came to the rescue and helped him back on his feet. She tried so many times to get him help, to offer him help, to even take him back in order to help him get his life back. It didn’t matter, by this time he was to far gone, he was addicted and now it was even harder to cover up the pain. Then his father passed away and he spiraled out of control. The man who can’t deal with pain, suddenly couldn’t find a reason to live any more. It seemed that from this moment on it was all about trying to find what drug would finally end it all. He went to jail, was in and out of rehab and she still did everything she could to have his back along the way. She tried to show him he was still loved and cared for and that he had a reason to live.
The day tragedy struck
He pushed her as far out of his life as he could, he did everything in his power to make her hate him and, Trust me she did. He was on Meth so regularly that it became difficult to tell when he was and wasn’t high. It just took more and more to kill all those feelings that never went away. It was now showing in every way that he had destroyed his body. She tried to tell him to get help, see a Doctor, anything because if not he was going to die. He told her every time, “Nothing can kill me.” Then came the day she got that phone call. Even though she knew he looked like death, it was still a shock she will never forget. “Jim is in the hospital, it’s bad, he may not make it.” This is not a phone call anyone wants to get. Especially not when you have to turn and say those words to your children at 11, 13 and 15 years old. She thought She was going to hate him forever just because she was going to have to say those words to his kids.
She anxiously awaited news of his status and prepared the children for the news. The call comes in and its still bad, he is headed to Abingdon hospital. That didn’t last long, he is on his way to Johnson City. By the end of the night all we knew was he is in ICU and on a Ventilator and they said it is drug related. The next day at the hospital she walks in to see him weak and helpless and something in her heart just shifted. She couldn’t be angry, as much as she wanted too. Her heart simply broke for her children because she knew now it would be true. He came around and was taken off the vent, His children visited him and he struggled to share some private words with them. Then he listened as the Doctors talked to his mother and her. He had gone for a long enough time and done such a large amount of drugs that it had destroyed his body. His heart was in no shape to survive among the many other issues he had.
He didn’t believe the Doctor when he told him he had 6 months or less to live. In fact he argued then that nothing could kill him, and he would walk out of the hospital. That night he would be on a ventilator again. It seemed like forever that this continued and finally people started asking for decisions to be made. His mother didn’t want to do this even though we all knew his wishes. I talked the Doctor into getting him off the vent one last time and making him answer those questions. They did, and oddly enough it turned into a wonderful day for him. He told them no more vent and he didn’t want to be on machines and to list him as DNR. He still told them he wasn’t dying though. He ate like a king that day and spent time with all of his family including two special people from his past who had came to show support and love. She would sit by his side every morning and every night holding his hand while he cried out in pain, until the day he decided he wanted to go home.
Then your pain was no more
They told him he could only be released on Hospice and that they would get it all set up. He still didn’t think he was going to die. Upon her arrival to the hospital that morning she was told the news, he is being released to hospice, “do you know if his mother is on her way?” She contacted his mother and then began asking questions. She told them he can’t go home with her, she just cant take care of him and he doesn’t need to be around the drugs. She knew she needed to take him home with her, so they began to set it all up and explained to him what was happening. The nurses then explained to her that he didn’t have 6 months, they would be surprised if he made it 2 weeks. He once again had a wonderful day, he enjoyed time with his children and had some long over due meaningful conversations with her. He told her not to feel responsible, but that he was sorry he didn’t do better. He was sorry he ruined his family and he was most of all sorry he didn’t know how else to deal with the pain of losing them. He told her in all these years, its always been about covering up the pain of losing them. He loved her so much, that he couldn’t face what he had done.
Over the next 3 days, he quickly faded, but she knew in her heart she did the right thing. He finally had his family back, and he found peace in her forgiveness. She took care of him and provided him with that place of peace, comfort and protection that he had long ago dreamed of. She still isn’t sure if it was confusion, or the heart talking, but in the final days he needed her, her asked for her and he found comfort in her. She was his wife again and he referred to her as so. He went to sleep peacefully with her by his side holding his hand. The next morning, she new this was it, and she called his mom to come. They talked with the children and they all surrounded him with love. She held his hand and wiped his forehead calmly reassuring him that it was okay. He took his last breath and she kissed his cheek and whispered I love you.
Suffering of an addiction
This didn’t put an end to their pain, it simply was the beginning to a whole new pain. She didn’t know how to feel after losing him. She didn’t understand why it hurt her so bad. She felt for her children, but she didn’t understand why she felt more. Slowly she learned that it was all meant to bring a sense of peace. She feels him with her often and always in times when she needs guidance and comfort. He is protecting her now. She feels sad for the memories that he wont share in, and she wants their story to live on in the children. She has vowed to share only the love and the good so his grand children will know the man he once was. His children will grow older, and every day look more and more like him. They will move on to become someone and his memory will live on.
His name will not be forgotten, and his death was not in vein, he sacrificed a great deal, because he offered his life for her to understand the precious value of real love. See she never really understood it, not until those final days. She always wondered why she wasn’t good enough, and how a father could abandon their child. Now she understands his pain, and knows that even though he was weaker than the love, his love was real and true. She understands now that she has value and deserves a love that’s grand. She knows he found his peace and his life ended just the way he had always wanted it too, by her side and holding her hand.