I am a natural fixer. I want to make things better. If someone is hurting, I want to fix whatever is wrong so their pain goes away. But I am not God, nor do I have magical powers that can do this. I am just Donna. I can tell you that I spent years of my life trying, however! I tried so hard to help others, that I neglected and lost myself to the point of near ruin.
Five years ago I had to make a choice to save myself from a downward spiral. This required saying goodbye to someone I really cared about, loved. Someones whose life was now being ruled by alcohol, consequently our lives. Not an easy thing to do when you still care , and you feel that your actions to date have somewhat protected him from himself. This to many, and in Al Anon is described as “enabling”. To shield, protect, defend the alcoholic of the consequences of his own actions. So I did just that. I stopped all protecting, and I watched from the sidelines and heard descriptive details (small town gossip) as his life quickly became more and more unmanageable, and I prayed, and I prayed, and I prayed… I had always feared that he would die of this disease, or worse, that he would end up imprisoned or killing someone else under the influence. And on, and on, and on. As much as you see it coming, as much as you fear it, as much as you detach yourself from it, you cannot grieve. Because as long as they are alive there is still hope. Hope that they will seek help, find sobriety, return to their senses, themselves…and behind that hidden somewhere for me was a hope that he would one day return, that we could resume our life together from what it used to be, long before alcoholic took over, long before progression. Yet you go on with your life, you move forward, new relationships, a new life, yet you never forget, and you never stop praying for the recovery and health of the person you once knew.
When you hear that your fears have come true, that they have died of the very disease that tore the two of you apart, and took nearly your life too, it is still a shock. At least it was for me. On one hand there was relief, that the downward spiral, the battle, the hell was over, yet on the other the reality that though the disease is now gone, no longer present or prominent in your loved one, it has in fact stripped you of all hope, and of the person you loved, or once loved. Now I start to grieve. I grieve for the person I fell in love with, I grieve for the man who was once sober and whom alcohol had NO grip on during that time. I grieve for his life that touched MANY including mine, for his parents, his family, his many friends, I grieve for myself for all that was and could have been, and sadly what was hidden, what I had hoped would be again. I grieve like my heart has been bludgeoned because for all intensive purposes, it has.
Eventually this cold winter will pass, acceptance will come and all will be placed in its proper perspective, place, which will not be in the fore front, but placed behind all the positives of today. Will it ever go away? For some yes I suppose. For me, no. It is a lesson, an experience too deep into my flesh to ever fully forget, but that does not mean I will not go on to live a happy full life. This is my goal, this is my promise to myself. To love fully again, to trust, to begin anew not with the grief of yesterday but with the knowledge and the strength that yesterday has given me. My heart is an amazing entity…