Moving On

Posted on Sunday 4 March 2012

“It’s possible to go on, no matter how impossible it seems, and that in time, the grief…lessens. It may not go away completely, but after a while it’s not so overwhelming.”

I am moving on with my life, and it no longer includes my beloved, feisty-spirited, red-headed, freckled Irish lass, Ellie. It is not easy to do this, and I did not think my grief over losing her to her addictions would be so deep. Unfortunately, the only things that can heal grief are time and love. This I have learned because of the people I have lost before—including my twin, David; my late wife Gee; my grandmother; Shelley and now, Ellie.

But, love can also be a source of grief, especially when we lose someone we love. That is the case right now—losing Ellie to her illness has been difficult. It is especially ironic because her love was one of the things that helped heal many of the scars from the previous losses in my life—and losing her to her addictions has caused scars far deeper than the ones that remained.

In many ways, losing her to her addictions is far worse than death—and it has been more difficult than losing Dave, Shelley or Gee—since she is not actually dead. There really is no sense of closure with Ellie—no funeral to attend, no grave to visit. There is also the faint hope that the woman who told me “Sarangheyo” last June and talked about adoring Asians with freckles, and wanted to name our children Kelley and Cadence might still live.

I believe she does survive—trapped beneath the lies and her addictions. I believe that the woman that loves me is too strong, too brave, and too stubborn to be lost to her addictions as it appears she has been. I believe she is too honest to continue to live with the lies she has been telling for the last eight months for much longer. I believe and hope that she will eventually realize the truth and seek help for her addictions and become her true self once again.

I know one reason I walked away from her was to save myself. I could not bear to watch any longer how her illness was slowly destroying everything I love about the incredible, beautiful, smart, confident, and feisty woman I want to spend the rest of my life with—it was slowly killing me. Walking away has allowed me to regain my health, strength and resources, so that if Ellie ever does ask me for help, I will be able to help her as I believe she deserves.

“I have faith that God will show you the answer. But you have to understand that sometimes it takes a while to be able to recognize what God wants you to do. That’s how it often is. God’s voice is usually nothing more than a whisper, and you have to listen very carefully to hear it. But other times, in those rarest of moments, the answer is obvious and rings as loud as a church bell.”

I hope that she is listening when God shows her the answers. I can not believe that it is not God’s Will or Plan for Ellie to remain a drug-addicted alcoholic. If God loves his child—my beloved Ellie—as I believe He surely must, His plans must include something greater than that for the amazing woman I love.

“Love is always patient and kind. It is never jealous. Loves is never boastful or conceited. It is never rude or selfish. It dose not take offense and is not resentful. Love take no pleasure in others people’s sins, but delights in the truth. It is always ready to excuse, to trust, to hope, and to endure whatever comes.”

This quote is based on Corinthians, which describes how I feel about Ellie. I wish she would see the truth—about her illness—what it is doing to her and about us—what we have been to each other. I keep praying that God will give her the strength, courage and, most of all, the will to fight her addictions. I know the woman I love is strong enough to beat them and return to being her true self. If she just set her mind to it, she is too strong-willed and too feisty-tempered to fail.

“In times of grief and sorrow I will hold you and rock you and take your grief and make it my own. When you cry I cry and when you hurt I hurt. And together we will try to hold back the floods to tears and despair and make it through the potholed street of life”

This is what I promised Ellie when I asked her to share our lives together and marry me last June 22nd. Though I did not know she was an alcoholic or a drug addict at the time, her illness does not change how I feel about her or what she’s come to mean to me.

Unfortunately, her addictions do change who she is—the drug-addicted alcoholic is not someone I know—nor do I care to know her. She is everything that Ellie is not—she is selfish; she is cold-hearted; she does not care for people—even the ones she loves; she is dishonest—and does not care who her lies hurt; she is weak; and she is a coward. Most of all, she, the drug-addicted alcoholic, does not love anything but her next drink or toke—she does not love herself enough to know how to love anyone else.

If Ellie wants my help in fighting her addictions, I will help her—the woman I love, if she but make her amends and asks for my help. It is what I have promised her and her mother. I know her mother understands this, even if she is too weak and scared to ask for my help herself. Her last words to me were:

“Dan, I know you will always be there for us.

Why did Ellie’s mother say that? Why do you think she trusted me to help Ellie, her brother and sister for so many years? Why did she ask me to teach the three of them, guide the three of them, advise the three of them, and most of all, protect the three of them? Why did she trust me to take care of Ellie in so many ways. It is because that is the truth of who I am to Ellie and her family—not the lies Ellie has been telling since I confronted her about her drinking. I hope Ellie opens her eyes to the truth before she loses everything—including me.

In any case, if none of this should come to pass, and Ellie is lost to her addictions as I have feared for months—I am moving on without my beloved Ellie—going on with my life. I have to. It is what Ellie would want for me if she had died. It is what is right for me to do, since staying here does nothing for her or her illness.

If, by my moving on, Ellie realizes what she has lost—and begins to understand that her actions and choices have consequences that will change her life—for the worse if she chooses poorly—then my moving on is a good thing. If she never realizes what she has lost, then moving on was clearly the right thing to do.

It is up to her. Whether Ellie has the strength and courage to realize she has a problem with alcohol and drugs; whether Ellie has the will to try and fight her addictions—those are choices she must make for herself. No one can help her until she realizes she has a problem and needs help.

I hope the counselor she is seeing can help her see that she is ill—and help her take the steps she needs to heal herself. She has become an anathema to me—she has driven drunk or high, knowing that it was an underaged-drunk-driver, much like what she has become, that took my twin brother’s life. Even this I can forgive her, provided she gets help for her problems, for I love her despite her flaws and her illness.

The longer she stays an alcoholic and a drug-addict, the more damage those progressive illnesses will do to her brain and mind and the harder it will be to correct the damage they have done and to successfully beat her addictions. Much of the damage the alcohol and marijuana do to her body is cumulative as long as she continues to drink and smoke.

The odds of her getting killed or injured when she is high or drunk are going up—and I am afraid that she will only hit rock bottom if she ends up in the hospital, jail or living on the street—if she survives that long. This is all well known in the substance abuse community.

It is too bad that—like her own family—her school’s faculty chose to ignore the problems she and so many other students are having—ignoring the problems does not make them go away. They have RAs that are playing Beer Pong with under-aged students on a dry campus—yet they do nothing about it.

I hope my beloved Irish rose’s thorns are enough to protect her, since I am not there to do so myself. This was not truly my choice or my wish, but what Ellie and her illness have given me no choice about. She knows where to reach me if she should want me back in her life. She knows she must make her amends and show me that she has made a place in her life beside her—and that she will fight to keep me there—that she wants me there. I will not settle for anything less, but it is up to her. Goodbye, beloved little one.

As always, I ask that God watch over my beloved Ellie, bless her and protect her, even from herself. I ask that God grant her the strength, courage, and will to fight her illness and return to being her true self. I pray that God grant her the wisdom to see the truth—both about her illness and about us.

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