For years I have wished I had something David wrote before he died. Today I had a powerful reminder that that wish unfulfilled is a mercy.
It’s easy to forget in the fading distance of years what a monster addiction is and what it does to the person you love. You’d think I would never be able to forget, but time does in fact dull the edges. Addiction takes over the mind and body of the person you love—and while the face and shapes are still there as you desperately try to reach them, Addiction is has taken the wheel and is in the driver’s seat. That person will say and do terrible things with the information they have access to in the mind of your loved one—both to you, and to themselves. It’s monstrous.
I was fortunate that in between relapses, when I would tell David about the things he said and did—when I still had hope that maybe this time recovery would stick—he was suitably horrified and ashamed. He had no memory of his words or his actions, and did his best to make amends. But there are things seared into my memories that I will never be able to forget. However briefly though, I was able to see him again. That cycle, as awful as it was, allowed me to see that active Addiction and David were not the same.
I don’t write that to make excuses. The addict is responsible for the harm they cause; I write to try and remind myself of the distinction. The Addict did things David would never do. The addict said things David would never say, and things he did not feel, think, or believe. The Addict was a monster who stole every good thing and a million possible futures not just from me and our children, but ultimately from David.
If he’d written something as he was finally driven off the cliff, it would not have been from David. For the first time, I am grateful for the silent absence tonight.
Peace and mercy to anyone who is familiar with this path. May time soften the edges of your grief, too.