The perils of this numb slog are unavoidable and deadly.
Today, I decide to take a stab at “things around the house.” By that, I mean “Adam’s office.” I took pictures of it. I wanted a remembrance of what it was, even though it’s nothing without Adam in it.
First I went through the trash and recycling bin in his office … just to make sure. Just to make sure there wasn’t one scrap of paper that I couldn’t part with. I pulled stuff off the floor; packed programming and design books into a box for the Arc — maybe some young artist or tech person will benefit. I recycled a hundred empty pads of paper, read every scrap of note with his writing on it, weighing the decision for each one: keep or let it go.
I recycled sign-in sheets from classes he taught at PPCC; threw away anything related to the horrible last job he held. I emptied the bookcase, cleaned it, moved it to the basement, then vacuumed.
I cried the whole time. I talked to Adam, asking for his forgiveness; asking him to understand. Of course he didn’t hear me. He’s gone.
Then I came across his notebook from rehab. I knew it was there somewhere, and I have avoided it. It might now be the most precious thing in this house (shit, am I going to need to carry that with me in the backpack everywhere now?) It was filled with the eloquent journal entries of a man trying to find himself; trying to deal with depression and a lack of self-worth. A man who realized alcohol and depression took his art and his music from him. That he wasn’t the same person he was.
I came to a page that had a number of nouns listed on it … an exercise of sorts. He was supposed to write something small about each. This is what I saw:
Relationship: Challenging … but worth it.
And I feel terrible now, that I made things challenging. I can’t even focus on the “worth it” part because all I see is the “challenging” part. I don’t want to admit that even I felt the last couple of years were challenging as he fell deeper into depression and struggled more with anxiety. That I became a different person as I lived in constant dread of him drinking.
I read his words about how my “honey-do” lists or “boundaries I set” were stressing him out more. We were failing in communication there. After all those years of having this perfect life, we were breaking down in communication. I thought I was helping focus him, helping show him little things he could do. I knew he was suffering from depression, wasn’t getting help, and I know the enormity of feeling like you couldn’t do anything. I thought I was nudging him. Instead I was stressing.
So I fall right back into wondering what I did wrong; how responsible I was for everything. I’m ignoring everything else he wrote … about the devastation of being laid off twice, about his fear of failure with his business. I gave him every encouragement I could think of … I would support him with anything he wanted to do, I was with him… probably neither one of use realized exactly how much the alcohol was affecting him.
He was ready to conquer alcohol … his writings showed it. But the real world was more than he could handle.
If you read this, and if he ever told you that he loved me and he cared, please tell me. Because I feel so responsible for everything again right now.
I told him once during the last year that it was OK, that if it was me that was causing the stress, I would go, because I wanted him to live more than I wanted anything else, even if that meant we were apart. He told me something like “absolutely not. It’s not you, you are the one thing it’s definitely not.”
But I continue to focus too much on the negative right now.
12 thoughts on “Rehab Diaries”
I knew he love you very much, he told me on the softball field numerous times!!!!!
Even though I protected him too much sometimes… 🙂
Laura, I only met Adam once or twice for mere minutes, but here is how I know that he loved you: he did the thousand little things that he could do to make your life better. All the electronics, the taxes, the things he would post in the middle of the day that he knew would make you smile. I know that he loved you. I know he cared about you. Trust him. Trust his words. You were the one thing that was definitely not making his world harder. Relationships should be challenging. People are worth the effort. I want someone to care enough about me to challenge me to be a better person. Just because life is hard and we sometimes don’t want to live, he chose to do what he could do in order to live, to be with you. His body wasn’t successful, but can’t you celebrate that he was ready, despite everything, to conquer alcohol? I count that as a success of both of you.
On Sat, Feb 11, 2017 at 7:04 PM, Me Without Adam wrote:
> Laura Fawcett posted: ” The perils of this numb slog are unavoidable and > deadly. Today, I decide to take a stab at “things around the house.” By > that, I mean “Adam’s office.” I took pictures of it. I wanted a remembrance > of what it was, even though it’s nothing without Adam i” >
Thank you, Ann. This is meaningful. Grief is so hard, and sometimes it just overwhelms me, knocks me down and makes me doubt everything about my life.
Oh god. This breaks my heart. I don’t know you and I don’t know Adam. But, in my relationship – I’m the Adam. Every damn word I just read was like my partner describing me, and our own relationship. All I can offer is this: when he said “you are the one thing it’s definitely not” – he meant it. I can feel “stressed” by the nudgings of my partner. I would definitely, after 16 years of being together, describe our relationship as challenging. But I (also an artist) like Adam am well aware that the problems – the real challenge – is the depression and the alcohol. The guilt and shame that comes along with it, we tally it up and it becomes too heavy to carry some days. But it’s never you. It never was. Our shame for not being able to communicate because of the walls addiction builds is the problem. The breakdown in communication comes from drinking and depression, not from lack of wanting to properly communicate. If, from what I read, Adam was in rehab – then he most definitely, more than you know, loved you so very much. I am on the verge of going myself, not just for myself, but for a relationship that means more to me than a bottle of booze. Take care of yourself xo
Fumbling, your reply means so much to me. I have met with many people like me in Al-Anon, but few people struggling with the disease who can give me this insight. You have actually made me want to face the day again. I am keeping up the fight and will continue to fight for people struggling with this disease. It’s taking too many people, and the “system” … insurance, doctors, society … have little idea how to help. I’m trying to figure out how to help because I can’t stand one more person dying from this disease.
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This makes me so happy to hear 🙂 Your post(s) just sound so familiar to me. I hope it brought you a bit of comfort. Keep on keeping on 🙂
I can’t tell you how much my heart hurts each time I read this post (and I’ve read it many times already).
But I can tell you you did the only thing that mattered: you stayed.
And you did it over and over and over again, probably some days you did it too many times to count. Staying isn’t a one time action, and there’s no comparing your endlessly repeated acts of staying to any other single actions you did or did not take. It truly was the choice (that you made over and over again) that made the only real difference.
Do you remember about a year ago when I wrote to you and told you that I wouldn’t judge your decision if you DIDN’T stay? I wouldn’t have, because I know how complicated relationships are, even when neither partner is struggling with anxiety, depression, and alcoholism. And I know what it’s like to be the partner who is. You hate what you are doing to the other person’s life, you hate that you are letting them down on a daily basis, you hate that you can’t be the person that they deserve, the person they fell in love with.
You think things like “life would be so much better for my partner if I didn’t exist.” But your love for that person, your better half, your best friend, your heart, is the only thing that keeps you going, it’s the only reason you don’t outright kill yourself. When you can’t love yourself, you need the love of others to do even the smallest things like getting out of bed in the morning. And you need a tremendous amount of love to do anything as hard as fighting. I know this.
Adam fought because you were there, Adam fought because you stayed.
Fuck, I have so much more I want to tell you. But I’ve already rewritten this “comment” 5 times, so I think I better post it before I lose my nerve or fall back into self-doubt.
I love you, Laura, for who you are to me and for who you were to Adam.
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When Adam and I were good friends back in 2007 and 2008 he would tell me stories about how you met and how lucky he felt to have you in his life. He loved you so much and felt like the luckiest guy in the universe to have a woman like you love him back.
Thank you Elissa.
Laura, he loved you. He really loved you. From the twinkle in his eye that I saw the first time we went to his art show (where he wore the ridiculous red pants!) to the many outings at my house, your surprise party, and look no further than the wedding picture you have posted. Adam’s focus and love was on you. Hugs!
Those red pants were amazing!