Grief, Additions, and Relationships; Seeing the Light in the Darkness
Some relationships are very complicated especially when there is addiction involved. This was the relationship with Bob and myself summed up in the short version. The long version is very long from the time we met. I was just barely 18 years old and Bob was close to 22 years old. Both of us were so very young. As in all great love stories it was so full of love and hope in the beginning. But the addiction part got in the way. Bob had a very difficult childhood filled with the pain of alcoholism from both parents. His mom found sobriety which was a gift that she would give me later on down the line. This was my saving grace of a 12 step program. His father was a cop in San Francisco. He was a very commanding personality to say the least and in the end died of alcoholism. A family disease is truly what this is and Bob was greatly affected by this until the end of his life.
As for me; I had grown-up differently with my own issues of caretaking, anger, dysfunction and my own additions. Not necessarily to any given thing; mostly I was addicted to the addicts and always seeking approval from them, whatever it looked like at the time. I always truly lost myself to whoever I was with. Never fair to myself or the other person, and especially not fair to my children.
With this combination of who we were made for a perfect beautiful storm filled with highs and lows that lasted for almost 17 years. When I look back I think about what if we could have rewritten our story to have the happily ever after that we both wanted? I can’t really answer this because there are so many possible outcomes. Someone said don’t look in the rearview mirror, and I added especially with regret. Now I look at this as, maybe we were just put in each other’s life to heal somehow this lifetime.
Our journey’s split into two separate journeys. I did heal from this by Marie bringing me to my first 12 step meeting oh so long ago. I have expanded this journey of healing in many other areas and forms of healing then in turn when others are ready I can help them on their journey also.
Bob’s journey so sadly ended as his father’s did dying from this awful dis-ease of the mind, heart, body and soul. This hurts very much not only for the love that I still had for him as a human but also for the children that we had together. As the mother of his children, this was never what I wanted for them either, wishing somehow I could have magically changed this for them, but again this is not in my power. They all have their lessons to learn and journey to walk. I can walk with them when they want me to, but I can’t walk it, for them.
There is such pride of who these adult children have become and how they walk through their lives. Kristine, Michelle and Nick are truly the best things that came from Bob and my relationship. They honored their father in the end. The girls took such good care of him each in their own way, showing up for him even when I knew it was so difficult for them to witness what was happening to their father. My dear son, who had been very angry for a while, went and visited his dad in the ICU which I know was difficult. All I can say is that from that day until the days left he visited him every day. This was a gift for both of them to heal the hurts of the past making room for love and compassion to be felt. My oldest daughter Kristine is an ICU nurse her instinct is so spot on with what needed to happen, and her husband Joe who is a caring man, took Bob into their home for a very short week of hospice until his passing. Michelle is an amazing woman that is truly a force of nature that stood by her father’s side and helped with cleaning, shopping, cooking and whatever else she could do. All of their relationships were different with their father so they all will grieve differently. But they all came together to honor and support Bob in his death. They let friends and family say good-bye to him, took care of him, gave him love that he was finally ready to receive but not until the end. I wish I could truly understand why people hate themselves so much that they never feel worthy of love. All I can say is that it has to be a dis-ease of the mind, heart, body and soul.
As any good co-dependent it is easier to talk about everyone else. I truly had no idea of where I fit in this last part of Bob’s story. This was the one thing that I never wanted to be witness to or part of because of the pain that is involved for what was said or not said, that was done or not done, so long ago. So much water under the bridge so to speak, we had come to a place where we could be kind to each other. I had forgiveness in my heart for what had happened during that perfect beautiful storm that we shared. I had compassion for his struggles with addiction but always had hoped he would have found sobriety. I think I forgave him easier for the past then I forgave myself, still holding on to my part wishing I had done things differently. But the truth is when you are dealing with addiction, whatever I did would have never been enough to fix things or make things right in the past to change this outcome.
What was my part and kept asking myself as Bob moved through his last few months and then the last few weeks? This was his journey to walk. I knew that I could support my adult children if they needed it. They are wonderful humans and better at being adults than I am most times. Showing up for them was what I could do when they needed me. But what about Bob? I loved that movie and had to get it in there somehow:) I had spoken earlier about how I’ve done 12 step work and expanded this into other areas of spirituality. I have been a Reiki practitioner for many years now, also other forms of healings and clearings. I did all of the healings and visited him at the hospital in the ICU. I was also at my daughter's house to help with cleaning and cooking. I sat with Bob for many days. We watched the SF Giants game and did Reiki by holding his hand and touching his head. We talked some before he couldn’t anymore, remembering the past when we had those good times. I told him I loved him because I did and I was grateful to him because I was. He kissed my hand and kissed his. I knew then if we could have done things differently we would have but that wasn’t our journey this lifetime. I did heal this lifetime which in turn healed our kids maybe not perfectly but they are all three better than both Bob and myself combined.
I truly hoped that with the combination of what Kristine, Michelle, and Nick did for their father, plus what I could do at the end, gave Bob the peace and love that he always deserved even if he fought it for so long in his life.
I know it may seem as if I’m looking at this through those rose colored glasses that I love so very much, but that is not it. I do see who he was and what he did very clearly and none of it was very nice or pretty being one of the people that it was done to. But what I am seeing is that until we let go of and surrender to the pain of what once was, then step into the new we will never heal from it. I wanted healing this lifetime so I always choose to take the higher road, maybe not the easiest road but the one to make me stronger on this journey of life.
I do believe that we come into this world from love and then we are returned to love. I’m hoping that by Bob leaving this plane of existence surrounded by the love that he deserved that this somehow healed him too. Maybe this was our path for this lifetime? We came together in the end so I could show up for him and our children with love and compassion. Maybe not the epic love story that I had always wanted as a young girl but still we had love between us and for the children that we had. Addiction and dysfunction is messy, ugly and filled with heartbreak. On the other side of it is a grace and peace when forgiveness and compassion fills your heart instead.
The one thing I’ve learned about grief is it takes a long time to process and the more complex the longer it takes. I will continue to work on this process knowing that we both did the best we could with what we had. Being able to accept this part, eases my heart and makes room for forgiveness.
Love and Light always,