Commitments—Past and Future

Posted on Wednesday 2 November 2011

I’ve been thinking a lot about this upcoming Friday, which would have been my 11th wedding anniversary if Gee were still alive. It is pretty hard to believe that it has been 11 years since that amazing day that we got married. I still get compliments on our wedding…and asking Gee to marry me was one of the best decisions of my life. My commitment to Gee started with our first phone call, back in July of 1999, and still continues to this day.

Gee and I dancing at our wedding.

Gee and I dancing at our wedding.

Just before Gee passed away, she asked me to re-marry if I found the right person. She asked me not to close my heart to the world. Earlier this year, I realized that I had met the person she had asked me to look for. This past June, I realized that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with Ellie, an amazing woman I have known all of her life. I did not expect this and she certainly isn’t the person I would have chosen for many reasons if I had a choice, but she is someone I have loved in some form for all of her life and the woman I love most of anyone I’ve ever known.

Ellie and me at Fire & Ice in 2010.

Ellie and me at Fire & Ice in 2010.

After realizing how my feelings for Ellie had changed, I told this amazing young woman I wanted to spend the rest of my life with her. Her response to my asking was very telling. Her first question was whether Gee would be angry or mad at either of us if we got married. I explained to her that one of my last promises to Gee was to re-marry if I found someone who I cared about and loved enough, and that she, Ellie, was that person. The second thing she told me was that she wished she had met Gee and regretted never having a chance to meet her. The last thing she said was that she loved me. It was because of this that I made my current commitment to her.

During the following week, we had started to talk about spending our lives together. We had talked about having children, that she adored asians with freckles, religion, my converting to Catholicism, and many other subjects related to sharing our lives. She asked if she could see the claddagh ring I had bought for her. I don’t believe she would have discussed these subjects unless she was seriously considering my proposal. She also told me dozens of times that she loved me during the week, in both Korean and English—and I don’t believe that she would have told me she loved me unless she did.

Unfortunately, I didn’t know she was an alcoholic and I made the mistake of confronting her about her drinking on June 29th, and we haven’t spoken since. During the months since, I discovered that she has a serious alcohol/drug addiction problem. I tried to get documentation of her illness to her mother so that her mother would help get Ellie the help she needs, but that was blocked by her father, an alcoholic in denial himself. Ellie’s mother is too frightened of her husband to try and help their daughter. Her brother is also an alcoholic/drug addict, though his addictions are under control since he is being treated for his chronic depression, which was the underlying cause for his drinking and drug use.

Right now, I am waiting for Ellie to hit rock bottom. I don’t believe that she’ll ever understand how seriously her alcohol and drug use is affecting her until she hits rock bottom. I am hoping that she fails her classes this semester, as I believe that is the safest and least destructive way for her to hit rock bottom—with the fewest risks and lowest chance of permanently damaging her, others or her future. This would be far better than her getting arrested for drunk driving or buying alcohol using a fake ID, getting pregnant or getting raped, which are all also real possibilities given her behavior since July.

I think this video says how I feel about her and what I’d do for her almost perfectly.

I am someone that has always been there for Ellie. She has turned to me for help many times in the past, and I hope she will turn to me once again when she realizes she needs help. I promised her and her mother that I would be here if and when Ellie asks for my help in her recovery, and have tried to tell them about how strong my commitment to Ellie is. I hope that Ellie will get better and return to my life, so we can begin our life together as we had been talking about prior to her succumbing to her illness.

A photo of Ellie from 2005.

A photo of Ellie from 2005, in her mom's office. You can see the beginnings of the amazing woman she will become.

2 Comments for 'Commitments—Past and Future'

    November 3, 2011 | 7:58 pm

    When I first told Ellie’s mother about how I felt about Ellie and that I wanted to marry Ellie, she didn’t seem surprised and didn’t have a problem with me courting Ellie as far as i could see. In fact, a mutual friend of Ellie’s family and mine told me that Ellie’s mother said something to the effect that she wouldn’t be surprised if our relationship changed from friendship to something more based on how close Ellie and I were two years ago.

    I think the reason for that was that she knows I truly love and care for her daughter Ellie and that I would provide Ellie with something that she herself did not have, someone who loved Ellie unconditionally. Ellie’s mother is trapped in an unhappy marriage, and is terrified of her husband from everything I have seen this past year. She is so terrified of her husband that she is unwilling to even try to help her daughter deal with the alcohol/drug problems Ellie has.

    November 3, 2011 | 10:07 pm

    A friend of mine wrote the following as a response to a recent message I sent them about how this year has been going::

    I’m sorry to hear about so much loss Dan, and about your Ellie and the tough times she’s having. I am certainly someone who understands addiction. I have been to many Al-Anon meetings in my life, and am still waiting for my brother to hit rock bottom.

    He is a recovering heroin addict. Every time we thought it was rock bottom, it just went deeper. Addiction is a very tricky thing and is just as hard I think on the people who love the addict or alcoholic as it is on those who are suffering. We can never know for sure until we walk in someone else’s shoes though, but I do believe it is an illness and they can suffer greatly from shame and self-hatred in addition to everything else.

    It is so complicated and so very hard to see those we love at the mercy of alcohol or drugs, sick with the need to self-medicate. I am sorry you are both going through this. I will pray for you that Ellie finds her way and that you do as well.

    I too am sure it is an illness, but unfortunately, one that does not have an easy cure, and no chance of cure unless Ellie herself realizes she has a problem and asks for help.

    I believe it is her shame, embarrassment and self-hatred that has cause her to tell the lies she has this summer and caused her to push me away. I do not believe she would have pushed me away unless she truly loved me as she told me she did earlier this summer, when we were discussing such matters as the names of the children we wanted to have, the fact that she adores Asians with freckles, and so many other things relevant to our starting our life together.

    Unfortunately, the only person that seems to care enough about her to try and help her is me. Her father and brother are both alcoholics, and deeply in denial. Her mother is terrified of her father and that fear has prevented her from trying to help Ellie.

    I would agree that in many ways the people who love an alcoholic or addict suffer far more in many ways than the addict does. It has been difficult trying to stay aware of what Ellie is doing, and being close enough to her that she will be able to ask me for help, since it also means I can see her slowly destroying herself and her future.

    The Al-Anon meetings have helped immeasurably. Like the TTSGI meetings, one way they do help is that they show me that I am not alone in this situation. Another way they help is the tools and resources that they give me and the insights into the problems that Ellie’s illness causes me because I do love her.

    Part of me feels terrible about this, but I truly hope that she fails her classes this semester, since I believe that doing so is the fastest and least destructive way for her to hit rock bottom. At the same time, part of me wants her to do well and succeed, but knows that if she does, she will never get the help she needs. This is especially true since she, like her father, is a High Functioning Alcoholic, and that is one reason her family can deny her illness so easily. It also makes it far less likely that she will hit rock bottom soon, if at all.

    Like my friend, I pray for Ellie to get better…and pray for her to return to my life, where she belongs.

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