I have this card I keep in my room.
Adam gave it to me at some point in 2016. I don’t know what stage it was. Was it when he was in outpatient rehab? Was it right before I sent him to his family in Texas because I didn’t know what to do? Was it in July when he got out of inpatient rehab and I “caught” him drinking again?
It doesn’t really matter when. But I know what it says.
“You are my favorite person.”
There’s some other words he wrote, akin to “I will do anything to work my way back, to get well, that’s how important you are.”
Come to think of it, this was likely sometime in February/March, when I followed through on a promise I made to myself. I packed a bag, called my friend Jeanne and asked if I could stay with her.
Adam was pleading. But I had to do it. If there was anything I learned later on in Al-Anon, it was that I deserved a life, too. I didn’t deserve the constant anxiety and fear. I came back and we worked together because I was still just as much in love with him in 2016 as I was in 1999. I was committed to him and our life, as long as he was committed to recovery. But when I left, I didn’t feel he was committed.
He was never checked out of our marriage; the alcohol wasn’t destroying our marriage, but the alcohol was destroying his liver; we’d known that for five years, and drinking meant death. But when the disease gets a hold of you…blah blah blah.
Rehashing that isn’t what led back to the blog today.
I’ve been thinking and feeling lately. Thinking is fine. Feeling is awful. If you follow me on any social media, you’ll know I’m out a lot, out with friends, doing shit, staying busy.
Yes, I’ve always been extroverted, but things have changed in the last years. I don’t like necessarily being alone with my thoughts much anymore. I want to be out hearing other people’s thoughts and sharing mine, but not the ones I have when I’m alone.
It’s because when I’m alone, I’m still likely to be randomly focused on the pain of 2016, as opposed to the 16 years before that. It’s because I still relive those final two weeks, and no one wants to hear that anymore. I still cry thinking of telling him I loved him over and over until he was unconscious, until he was no longer breathing, until I called the doctor to bring his family back because it was over.
I don’t think about wishing he was alive or having that life back. That’s a part of grief I’ve worked through successfully. But when I’m out and laughing, when I’m with my friends, I think of how good my life is now, and how lucky I am, how much joy I have. Someone can mention Adam, and I will laugh without a shred of sorrow or regret anymore.
But alone, I think of telling the doctor to turn off life support. Still. After 4.5 years. Look, I’ve been through this in therapy, I know I’m normal. Grief is a messed up process. I think of a widow friend on Twitter who said “I love my life AND I miss my husband.” It’s OK to miss your best friend.
I just wish I could forget all that. I wish someone would want to hear the things I’ve never told anyone. But I fear that people won’t “get it.” We widows still fear people will say we aren’t “over it” or “stuck,” which we know is the dumbest thing in the world, but it still hurts sometimes. I’m far from stuck. I’m just carrying sadness with me wherever I go, and I still cry a lot and just want to say “why me?”
I sometimes feel like the most stable fucked-up person in the world. But I try to forgive myself because I’ve seen so much death. I’ve watched two people die and then watched my mom dying in front of me just over a year ago. Please forgive me if I still have moments of complete terror about life because I know I’m going to have to go through this all again someday and it’s literally fucking terrifying.
But I had a point.
The point is I had a long talk last night with my friend Mike. He’s been in my Colorado Springs life as long as anyone. We talked about who we are, what we want, where we are going.
And I realized, I would like to be someone’s favorite person again. I don’t know what that means, really, because I don’t want to share a bathroom again (I know, I have three in this house). But even in the worst moments, Adam and I had confidence that we were facing this fucked-up world together. That we had each other’s backs.
That was a good feeling.
So I turned on my grief song. I wrote. Because that’s what I do.