December Remembers….

Today (12/10)…it has been 7 years…the tears have dried and the sadness waned…but there is an empty space in memories, in pictures, in chairs, at occasions and even conversation…in trips down memory lane the space is filled…but the memories have a cut off date…they stopped for me on Thanksgiving day 2005…some people got a few more days but not much more…It’s amazing how one adjusts to that space…for it can never be filled and it is always there…It has to be…because you’ve lost a person that can never be replaced by another…My brother passed away 7 years ago from a drug overdose…I’ve long compartmentalized parts of my life so I don’t offend people, bring up painful memories, shock and amaze…but I’ve reached a crossroads where I don’t see the point…I’m not saying that I’ll put it all on the table any time soon…However, I wanted to find a way to tie in my other blog with my new blog…so this feels like the perfect segue…I started a blog a few years back dedicated to addiction, grief and all the gunk that comes a long with being related to an addict…but it came to feel like it either would become wallowing or soap boxy…I didn’t think either would be helpful…Below are excerpts from an old entry about the day I found out my brother was gone…

…I hung up the phone…relived the conversation with C…then began speculating the reason for the impromptu jaunt to Columbia…it’s only an hour drive and popular Saturday activity for my mom to shop with me…but I went to far sinister places quickly…Uncle G was with mom – my first thought was that Grandaddy was dead…but then why would Uncle G have driven with mom…someone would need to be with Granny…so then I guessed you were dead…but brushed it off…maybe someone was in the hospital…or these guys just wanted to head down to Yesterday’s in Five Points for dinner…

Mom was sitting on the steps of the apartment building when I arrived…Uncle G was silent except for saying to me…that it was really bad or that it wasn’t good…I knew already anyway…I was just waiting for the words…

“He’s dead,” said matter-of-factly…but really what other way is there to say it…I think I yelled, “no, no, no” or something similar…I remember C’s hand flying to her mouth then immediately backing out of the room…at a loss for words…I hate she was there…not b/c I didn’t want her there but…come on, that’s awkward…

I’m not sure if I lost my vision, my ability to hear (as a result of a mild panic attack and shock), or just immediately tuned out…which apparently is my initial reaction to most things…I immediately wanted to be alone but I couldn’t…they were there and wanted to comfort me…but I needed a minute to breathe…It didn’t come….mom was feverishly packing my clothes…I wanted to do it myself…I know I just needed to control the situation…but I felt like I was watching it happen in slow motion…I was grasping at anything to give myself a sense of control and balance in this chaotic moment…I had to ride with them leaving my car behind and the hope of a desperately needed hour alone to check in with myself…calm myself, make a plan for dealing with two grieving parents and the rest of the family…Mom put her head in my lap and cried most of the way home…we had to make a few calls on that drive some I remember, some I still don’t…

There is a lot that I don’t remember about those initial hours…but I knew our lives would never be the same again…our worst fears had come true…the years of jumping at phone calls that came at odd hours…the wait to see how many days you would go missing hoping that you weren’t in an alley…preparing mentally for the time that the phone or doorbell rang to deliver the news…preparing to help cope…but hoping that the news would never really come…

Years have passed since that day and I look now to celebrating in some small way the life that ended…My brother would have turned 30 this year…and even though he will be perpetually 23…I wanted to mark the milestone with a gift…something fun to remember…so I got a tattoo…I feel that at 33 I have reached an age to finally make lifelong decisions…Music makes me happy…it enters my mind constantly and I can tie a song to most events in my life…so I chose music notes but not just music notes…notes to Green Day’s song Good Riddance…

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Hope you had the time of your life…

There isn’t much you can do about a person sized hole in your life…it’s kind of like the phrase…pink elephant in the middle of the room…there is no way to look around it or ignore it…sometimes it makes other people uncomfortable…even though you’re past the shock of it…but if you’re the person on the path to leave the person sized hole in someone’s life…you can do something about it…If you’re reading this, you still have time…If you think no one cares, you’re wrong…If you think the people you get high with care, they don’t (well not in the way they should)…If you think recovery is hard, you’re right…but it’s possible…being sober won’t solve all of your problems but it could save your life…

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