Another Year

Posted on Tuesday 6 December 2011

This month marks another year that has passed by. This particular time of year is among the most difficult for me for many reasons. This year it has been the most difficult of my life thus far in many ways, and this year–2011–is one that I will be very happy to see end…for 2012 must surely be a better year than this one has been.

Since June, I have lost Ellie and her family–five people I still consider family and have for almost 30 years–to her father’s cowardice and the illness that affects three of the five people. While they are not dead, I have lost them almost as surely as if they had died. In some ways, this is worse than if they had died, because they are still there, but I no longer can be in touch with them. In addition, I have had ten funerals or memorial services to attend in the last five months–for close relatives of friends of mine, friends of mine and one of my favorite cousins. Given that I’ve already lost Ellie and her family to her illness, I really don’t see how 2012 could be worse than this year has been.

The holiday season is difficult for me because I traditionally spent my holidays with my identical twin brother when I was growing up. We’d often head out on ski trips or to visit friends rather than be with our family. Since he was killed by a drunk driver nearly a quarter of a century ago, the fact that our birthday occurs between Thanksgiving and Christmas and that he is gone makes this time of year even more difficult.

I tried to find other people to spend it with, but the most important of them, Gee, is gone as well. She was one of the few that instinctively knew to honor and recognize that it was my twin’s birthday as well as mine. I never realized that doing something twice could make it a tradition, but somehow, many of the things that Gee and I managed to do that in the short time we were together had become traditions for me. She is one of the only people I really loved to spend this time of year with.

Much of the support I have found through everything that has happened this year are friends I have met through the internet, whether it was a sailing forum, Facebook, or even older online communities, like the long-defunct Argus. Some of these people I have met in real life, others I know only through the online contacts we’ve had. Some have had interactions beyond the online communities but are still not people I’ve met in person, like my friend Julia, who gave me advice when my friend, who was mentioned above, was diagnosed with cancer.

This year, I was hoping to spend this time of year, especially Thanksgiving, my birthday and Christmas with Ellie, but that wasn’t to be. I am hoping that next year, I will be spending as much of this time of year as possible with Ellie, and that she will be on the road to recovery from her time spent under the influence of alcohol and drugs. When she is healthy, she is truly an amazing person to spend time with.

Over the past six years, there have been many days where Ellie and I have done little but just spend time in each others’ company with no real need or desire to be doing anything else. I hope that we can once again be together again in the near future. It will require her to realize she has an illness and ask for help in recovering from it, and making her amends to me. I believe in Ellie, and hope that she will realize that she needs help soon, ideally before the year end, so that she can get help before she starts back at school for the next semester.

I hope that tomorrow will be the start of a better year. The main thing I really wish for–more than anything else–is for Ellie to realize she has a problem with alcohol and drugs and ask me for my help in getting better. I have promised her and her mother that I would be there to help her, but I don’t really know if she understands how strong the commitment I have to her really is, or how much I really care for her. I know that her recovery will be a life-long process, and that she will probably, almost inevitably, have relapses and take wrong turns on her road to recovery, but I still want to spend the rest of my life with her–if need be, helping her along that road to recovery–because I love her.

I guess I will have to see what happens tomorrow and in the following days, though given some of the things that have happened today, I’m not very optimistic at the moment.


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