These are the thoughts you have…

  1. Why are all these horrible people still living when Adam is dead?
  2. I don’t give a fuck about Donald Trump being president anymore. I don’t care about politics. I don’t care. I don’t care. I don’t care.
  3. Wait, I care. I can’t imagine other people being in serious pain because of bigotry or violence.
  4. Nope, right now I don’t care.
  5. Maybe I do.
  6. Is reading The Name of the Wind now after so much resistance an honor to Adam or a slap because I resisted so long?
  7. Does the pit in my stomach ever go away?
  8. This was the worst day so far.
  9. Tomorrow is the 17th anniversary of our first date. Way to get that one out of the way quickly. This was our real anniversary.
  10. Adam tried to break up with me six months after we started dating. I talked him out of it. Literally. Of course I did.
  11. Fuck. I’m stuck caring about Nebraska football for the rest of my life.
  12. I can’t make plans in advance right now. I can’t even plan a shower.
  13. These Pringles are making me thirsty. I need a Coke.
  14. I hope they let me work Air Force football again next year. I’ve really let them down this season.
  15. I’m going to eat this whole can of Pringles. Maybe I won’t need those new pants.
  16. Can I just fast forward through this whole year. I know I can’t.
  17. Please don’t call this a journey. Patton Oswalt is right. It’s a fucking numb slog. It’s not a fucking journey.
  18. Am I going to piss people off my using the word fuck all the time? Well, I guess not if you know me. It’s my favorite word.
  19. Is there crack in Pringles?
  20. Adam finishing the taxes was his last great gift to me. I love him so much.
  21. Seeing life go on around you is very hard. Seeing people smile is hard. Seeing couples happy is hard.
  22. Is it better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all? These are the moments that test that stupid cliche. Are only people who have never loved the ones who say that?
  23. I’m still not going to watch Doctor Who.
  24. If I hadn’t decided to be sober 90 days ago, I probably would be drunk all the time right now. It doesn’t solve anything.
  25. I don’t know what my relationship with alcohol will be in the future. I just know now is not the time to make the decision.
  26. I’m going to have to find someone else to drag to musicals.
  27. Adam sort of kept me in tune to hip music. I am going to be even less hip than I ever was now.
  28. Brenna, did they find the plane while I wasn’t paying attention? #neverforget #mh370
  29. Once again, why are shitholes still alive while Adam is dead?
  30. Why did this happen to me? It’s because I got everything I wanted in life, isn’t it?

Mornings and Harry Potter

Shit, they weren’t kidding. Mornings ARE the worst.

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Thanksgiving 2015 at Barbara’s house

Shit, they weren’t kidding. Mornings ARE the worst. First, you have been in bed for 10 hours but you don’t think you slept ever at all. Every time you wake up, you think “Adam is dead. He’s not coming back.” Then you will yourself to go back to sleep.

I don’t eat well in the morning over the last week. I used to love a big breakfast. Now I just hope to get hungry.

Came downstairs, and my mother-in-law had Harry Potter on. Reminded me of Adam in a good way! He always settled on Harry Potter if there was nothing on, or even if there were choices. He loved those movies. He never read the books, so it was always fun to go see each movie with him because he had no idea what would happen! Bummed that he can’t see Fantastic Beasts with me.

I’m worried about coffee. Adam tried to teach me about making a pot, but I could fucking never get it right!!!! He made the damn perfect pot of coffee. While he was in rehab I gave up and resorted to Starbucks Vias. His mom does a pretty good job, so did my sister when she was here. Should I just bag it and live with Vias? Should I keep trying? What’s the magic scoop to water ratio on a good strong pot of coffee?

Way too much crying today. Today, I am mad at Adam for leaving me. I’m not afraid of being alone. I’ve spent more of my life without Adam than with him. I just don’t want to live without him right now. I get it … I’m in shock, trauma, the worst stage of grief … that doesn’t make it better.

So thankful that I have friends here finishing up house projects that Adam never finished or couldn’t get around to. I’m realizing the depth of his depression that was mixed in with the addiction. I try to think of what he did that he enjoyed over the last five years. He wasn’t biking, doing pottery, playing music. He had his gadgets, his computer, sometimes he had work.

Why didn’t I realize that he was still drinking as much? Keep needing to remind myself that deceit/lying wasn’t a character flaw, it was part of the disease of alcoholism.

Who will kill the spiders?

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Who will save me from the dark side? Because I’m all light.

Oh wait, I will. You know why? Because Adam was the absolute worst at killing spiders. You have to COMMIT! I stopped asking him to do it.

But there ARE things that are going to go haywire without him around.

  1. Shit, all those caps and lids. I am terrible at putting lids back on things. Everything dries out because of me. He could follow me around putting the cap back on toothpaste or correctly closing the pickle jar.
  2. How do I work the Nest? I have no idea about how to control the heat in my house.
  3. Who will save the lizards from the dog??????
  4. Who is going to fix the security certificate on our email?
  5. Dammit, I have to go back to being fucked over by mechanics.
  6. It’s a good thing I’m not drinking because I can’t open a wine bottle.
  7. The dishwasher will never be loaded efficiently.
  8. I have a new hair dryer. The cord is tied up and I can’t remember to get the scissors to cut it so I lean into it on eight inches of cord. Adam would have fixed this by now.
  9. Who will explain to me what kind of tree that is? What crop is growing there? My Nebraska boy knew it all.
  10. Who will shovel the driveway?
  11. Who will get me to work if I’m afraid to drive in the snow?
  12. I have no CLUE how to use the barbecue. I still can’t work the Soda Stream, and we’ve already covered a good pot of coffee.

 

Bringing Him Home

Today, I brought home the ashes of my beloved, Adam Michael Curry, who died on November 3, 2016, at the age of 43.

I don’t know what I would like to do with the ashes. They are just in a plastic box now until I find the appropriate Star Wars container for them. I think he would like that. Star Wars brought us together, Star Wars ran through our lives. Deciding on the exact Star Wars container will be the hard part. It’s not like I’m going to put him in something with Jar Jar Binks on it.

I received the death certificate with the ashes, and I was too curious not to see what the cause of death was, even though of course it was all related to cirrhosis of the liver. There were four causes listed:

  • Multi-organ system failure
  • Hemorrhagic shock
  • Variceal bleed
  • Cirrhosis due to alcohol abuse

None of this was a surprise to me. Adam had been fighting alcoholism … true alcohol dependence … for a long time. I read on the CDC website that only about 10% of excessive alcohol drinkers are actually dependent. Of course, the doctors and counselors all knew Adam was of that 10%. His brain had been rewired by the disease, he tried to stop and was successful multiple times, but kept going back even though he had been originally diagnosed with cirrhosis in 2011.

I tried everything … sort of a dumb cliche, because I finally had to learn his addiction wasn’t in my hands. Rationally, I know that, but it’s still hard to not want to play the blame game with myself: what more could I have done? I left him, gave him ultimatums, he went to rehab. Eventually I realized I would never desert him. I told him I would never leave him and would stay by his side forever as long as he kept fighting and trying. And he did.

When he died, he was 72 days sober. We were at the Anschutz Medical Campus, part of UC Health in Denver, for liver transplant evaluation. We were being evaluated despite not having the six month sobriety rule most transplant centers have. We were so lucky to have that opportunity; we were told it was because of the support system Adam had … and because our GI doctor believed in him, too. I was his biggest advocate. I knew his disease inside and out. Our motto was “Follow instructions; do what the doctors say.” Adam had decided he wanted to live. As a friend said, he was rewriting his story on sobriety. It just turned out to be too late.

We were deferred from the transplant list of course, and we accepted that. They wanted to see just more counseling and see the commitment to sobriety. But on the day we were deferred, he took a turn for the worse and never left the hospital. I kissed him good night on Oct. 26. We were watching the World Series. We were going home on Thursday, counseling appointments set, ready for the next fight.

On Oct. 27, when we arrived at the hospital, we couldn’t wake him up. He was having an episode of hepatic encephalopathy. Hours later, they called a medical emergency as he was struggling to breathe and there was evidence of another variceal bleed. The MICU and liver doctors saved his life that night, and I am so grateful, even though I just had a week more with him.

He woke up long enough on Nov. 2-3 to talk with me and his family. We shared our love for each other. He was so glad to be off the respirator. I’m not sure he really understood he was dying, as his brain was never quite clear. I hope he didn’t. I told him we were making it and going home again. I have no regrets in that.

I remember these words from him: “We’re going to be O.K., honey.”

I lay in bed with him for hours, listening later as he talked nonsensically. I hardly left the room or ate for two days. I held him as he breathed his last at 10:42 p.m., his mom, dad, sister, my sister, his step-mom, step-brother, and 3-week old niece by his side.

Now I am alone. A widow. My future crushed. We had no kids, just our dog Bixby. We had no big plans in life; we just enjoyed each other, expected to grow old together. Now, I’m left wondering what my life is and will be.

I have wanted to die with him many times in the last week. But I’m an atheist. I know death will not bring us together; it just is an absence of pain. Adam knew the pain he was causing me, and I know he wants me to be free. I will love him forever, have a hole in my heart forever, but I am going to fight. Fight for happiness again.

I will not go quietly into the night. (I’m quoting Independence Day here, and Adam would love me for it. Mostly.)

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Adam and I in the hospital Oct. 26. We were encouraged and optimistic. The beginning of the end started after I kissed him good night.