Well, honey? It's been five years. Five whole years since you left this earth for better things. I was so ticked off that you abandoned me here to fumble along on my own. I was convinced I had finally found my shield. The one that would defend me against life's struggles. The one that would guard against the humanity that frightened me so. I just didn't know how much you, yourself, struggled.
I knew that you were sick. I knew that your drinking was but a symptom of greater things. I knew that sober, you were a fantastic and energetic man. But you just weren't ever clean. Anything you could take to block out life, you ingested. I didn't know quite how serious it was until it was too late. That black night in North Carolina, when I called your mother crying, to ask what I should do, was one of the darkest nights of my life. I felt like I was telling on you. I felt helpless. I felt like I wasn't enough. I wanted to be enough for you. I wanted to be special enough for you to stop drinking. But at the time, I didn't understand addiction. I didn't know it didn't have anything to do with me. I didn't know that no matter how much I gave, you would continue to take. And take in an abundance I didn't understand.
I held you. Oh, I held you so tightly that you asked to be freed. Those nights when you tried to not. You'd shake. And sweat. And swear. You'd be sick, and stumble back to bed, helpless in your own way. And I promised you it would get better. I didn't know, but I promised anyway. And then you WERE clean, and I was disgusted with you. They told you that at the last treatment center, that I might be mad. And I was. But I let you kiss me and touch me and hold me anyway. And we stumbled through.
You body those last days just hurt me to see. The rashes that told me your skin was done. The blood you threw up before you'd take another drink. The one drink that made you puke and then the next one that calmed your soul. It hurt to watch. But watch, I did. As one by one, your systems shut down. I couldn't hold you tight enough to make it stop. I tried. I really did try. I begged and pleaded for you to get help. I clutched your hands, your soul. And it wasn't enough. I know now that I would never be enough to stop it. It had to come from something bigger than me. That something you didn't want to embrace.
How I missed you on my own journey. When I finally got sober. I wanted you to see and feel the pain I felt when I saw your ravaged body. I wanted you there to witness how hard I tried to stay sober. I wanted you to acknowledge how hard it was and to congratulate me on my new journey. But you weren't there. You were dead. You gave in to this disease that I continue to fight every day of my life.
Sometimes I wish you were here. I want to hold you. Touch your face. Cuddle on the couch and watch a bad movie. Sometimes, I meet people in meetings that I know you would have loved and listened to, but it was too late for you. And sometimes I wish it was still too late for me, but its not. Because I'm here. I'm alive. And I'm sober. For what its worth.
And I love you. Still, I love you. I will never forget that instant attraction. I will never forget lying in your arms. And I will never forget you challenging me to live my life. Well? I AM living my life today. And I hope you would be proud of me. I am not the woman that you met those many years ago, drunk out of her mind and insane. I am considerate, full of life, vivacity and love. Oh, I have so much love.
Those letters I found last week? Compel me to remember just how smitten we were with one another. There is no other word for it. There is no other love I can compare it to. We both knew in that instant that there was no other. And we made it so. I miss you. I miss you so much sometimes it hurts. And I love you. Still. For who you were and are to me. You don't come as often to see me anymore. And I regret that. But I know that's life. That's moving on and that's healing. Sometimes I forget what your voice sounds like. I don't dream about you anymore and I know that looking at pictures is a lesson in humility that I don't really need on dark nights. But I still love you. I will always love you. You are of my heart. And I am grateful to have known that love.