I think that losing Ellie to her alcoholism is some ways is more difficult to deal with as losses go than losing Gee to cancer. While I do love Gee and Ellie both, it was a shock and a surprise to realize that I love Ellie more than I do Gee. Brad had a good reason for this–it is simply because I have known Ellie far longer than I knew Gee, and loved her for a much greater period of time as a result.
While death is terrible, especially a painful and horrific death like Gee’s to cancer, at least it was an end–a conclusion. There is no doubt as to whether Gee is still there, trapped by her illness. With Ellie, though she is lost to me, I still have to wonder if she is still there–whether that beautiful and amazing young woman who loves me is trapped behind the layers of her illness.
In many ways, alcoholism reminds me a lot of Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, because the person still physically exists, but they are not really themselves. Their actions, their behavior, and their relationships to the people they love can be all affected by the illness and drastically changed without any rational cause.
Another terrible aspect of alcoholism is it allows for hope–that the person you love who was affected by this disease may return. You hope they will recover and once again become the person you love, and that loves you. With death, there is no hope–there is no chance that they may recover or return to being themselves ever again–which is much simpler and easier to deal with in many ways.
I believe in Ellie. I believed her when she said that she loves me. In fact, I know she loves me, because she would not have said it otherwise. I trust her and believe the strength and courage that she has will eventually allow her to fight her illness and become the woman I love so much once again–though this may take some time. I don’t believe that she would have pushed me away so strongly and fiercely if she did not love me.
While some people I know think I should give up on her, I can not, because I can not believe what she has said or done under the influence of her illness. I can not hold her responsible for those actions and words, and until I hear from her, and not her illness, I will abide by the commitment I have towards her. I do not hold what her illness has caused her to do and say against her and forgive her for these things because I do love her.
Ellie, please know that I love you and am here for you.