On August 3rd, 2019, my 36th birthday, I woke up to the worst morning imaginable. I was on the sofa. I was woken up by my four year old asking me to help him wipe his butt. Really, on my birthday!?! Isn’t that your dad’s job, on my birthday? Isn’t this the one day I don’t have to have that job? Sure I’ll help, but when your dad wakes up I’m really going to let him have it. This is what I thought was going to be the worst part of my day. What I would give now for that to be the worst part of my day.
You may be wondering why I was waking up on the sofa, and not from my comfortable bed. That’s because I was upset with my husband. You see he had been partying the night before, and when he came to bed he began to snore. He was snoring so loudly I could not make him stop no amount of poking, yelling, or shaking would make it stop. This wasn’t that abnormal for him after a night of partying. So instead of lying miserably in the bed unable to sleep I decided to move to the sofa where I could at least sleep, even if I wouldn’t be as comfortable. Strange thing is this was the first time in our almost 12 year marriage I had decided to move to the sofa.
When I was woken up I decided I would just let him sleep off his party from the night before. Making sure he was good and sober when he woke up. I was prepared to tell him it was time to go back to rehab, except this time he would be going for drug recovery not alcohol. You see what I never believed was that alcoholics and addicts have the same disease. I believed people were one or the other. Jason’s “drug of choice” was after all a bottle of cheap vodka. I was totally wrong in this belief. You see if someone has the disease of addiction they will find a way to escape and numb their pain any way they can. Sometimes they are able to get sober, and find healthy coping skills. Other times they aren’t.
Jason had not touched a drop of alcohol since going to rehab the previous September. He was so close to almost an entire year alcohol free. I was so impressed, so proud, so so happy for his accomplishment. I couldn’t believe he was doing it. I believed we were back on track. We were getting a second chance at marriage, a second chance at life, and a second chance at being the family I always wanted.
At some point about 6 months into sobriety we decided he was doing well enough to try some “non addictive recreational drugs.” What would be the harm in that? It would allow him a little escape, without being ” too risky.” Boy were we wrong! What went from a little pot here and there quickly escalated to hard core drugs. I was so blinded by how well he was doing not drinking I didn’t even realize how bad it was getting. One thing about addicts is they are tricky and super sneaky.
Four days before my birthday I started noticing that Jason was acting different. Some of his old habits were showing up. He tried to get out of a family birthday dinner for my niece, he was talking with a little bit of a different inflection in his voice, he was withdrawing from the family. Something was going on, but I could not quite figure it out. After each day I became more and more suspicious of what was going on. Reaching out to friends, and asking if they knew anything I didn’t know. I first noticed the behavior on a Tuesday evening, on Wednesday I caught him with white powder in his nostril at the family birthday diner, and by Thursday I was only speaking to him through text message. I told him I stood by his side and supported him whole heartedly while he went through rehab, and battled sobriety, I was not going to go through it again especially with drugs. He admitted it was a problem, and told me he was going to stop.
Well Friday came, and I saw he had withdrawn $800 from our savings account. I could no believe it. I was livid. We were not well off, and never would just spend that kind of money without a very long discussion. When he got home Friday evening he was acting the strangest he had all week. I got the kids to bed, and went to spend the rest of the evening in my bed away from him. He was doing all sorts of strange things like listening to terrible music that he never listened to, going in and out to his car all night, and he even cleaned a toilet that night. I decided I would just go to sleep and talk to him in the morning once he slept everything off.
Well August 2nd, 2019 was he last time I saw my husband alive, and the last night he went to bed. At 9:00 in the morning when my daughter woke up I sent her in to wake up her father. I was cooking bacon, and it was close to time for breakfast. She came out of the bed room and told me “I tried to wake him up, but he wouldn’t move and was super cold.” I knew immediately this wasn’t good. I ran in the bedroom to see him already spotted black and blue bruises, vomit all over the pillow, and no life left in him. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing, I didn’t want to believe what I was seeing. I grabbed his face and yelled to him “what did you do, why, what did you do?” I then looked at my precious babies and told them to “get out of the room this is not good.”
After that things started happening so quickly, and simultaneously in slow motion. I called 911, and nothing could be done he was gone. Just like that I lost my husband of nearly 12 years, by best friend of 15 years, my children’s father, my partner, my lover, my life. Nothing would ever be the same.
It’s now been fourteen long months, and I have slowly been putting the pieces of our lives back together the best I can. The pieces I can’t put back together I try to mend the best I can or add new ones that will hopefully fit. I have worked daily to help myself and my children survive the enormous grief of this loss. I am so proud of how far the three of us have come. This has not been easy, and it sure hasn’t been pretty, but I didn’t expect it would be. With continued work and support I am at a point where I can say with confidence we will survive this. We will survive this, and we will be prepared to survive other hardships that come our way.
I am here to say today I am happy. I am also heartbroken, and that’s ok. I have learned to live with the heartbreak, learned it is part of me, learned it will forever live inside me. I have also learned it doesn’t have to be a life sentence for unhappiness and misery. I have learned to feel joy, give joy, and receive joy. I want more than anything for others to know they can do the same. This has been the most difficult journey of my life, but I am a survivor. I want to help other young widows, especially those with children, not only survive but thrive through this painful beautiful journey. Your journey wont be like mine, I promise, but I am willing to walk beside you through your journey. I will help you write your own story of survival. Reach out and let me know your story. Let me know how I can help you.