Twelve years ago today, I was asked if I wanted to cancel my engagement to Gee by her father. Gee had been just diagnosed with pancreatic cancer–and though we did not yet know it, it had already metastasized through her lymphatic system. I looked at my future father-in-law and said, “Gee’s illness doesn’t change how I feel about her, what she has come to mean to me or who she is— and why— in God’s name— would I abandon the woman I love, when she needs me most.”
I could not even imagine abandoning Gee. It simply is not something that would have occurred to me. I guess, in many ways, I am very old-fashioned about keeping my commitments, especially those I make to the people I love. It is just how I was raised.
Since the day she was diagnosed, Gee and I actively fought her illness. We were partners in trying to beat her cancer. Gee actively fought her illness with every piece of her heart, mind and spirit. She kept fighting it until the minute she died.
In fact, when the doctors took her off of the machines and drugs that were supposed to help keep her alive, her vital signs–her pulse and blood pressure–got stronger for the short time before she passed away. Gee never regained consciousness after the machines were disconnected, but she did respond to me–squeezing my hand when I spoke to her.
Ellie, like Gee, is a woman I love. She is the only woman I have ever loved more than Gee–and like Gee, I can not see myself abandoning her. I think the only reason I have walked away from Ellie is because she is not there fighting to get better beside me. I have spent much of the last ten months fighting for Ellie; fighting to get the help she needs; fighting to get her to see she is ill and needs help–even as I think she has been crying out for help–I can not do it any longer. I can not fight for her if she is not willing to stand by my side and fight for herself too.
This does not mean I have abandoned my beloved Ellie. But, until she realizes she has a problem and seeks help for herself no one can help her. Until Ellie is able to admit she is ill and willing to accept help I can not be there for her. Until she loves herself enough to want to be more than the drug-addicted alcoholic she has been for the last ten-and-a-half months Ellie will not be able to love anyone or accept anyone’s love for her–even mine.
If the amazing woman that loves me returns, makes her amends, and shows me that she wants me by her side–to help her and walk beside her on her long road to recovery–I will be there for her as I have promised. It just doesn’t seem very likely to happen as every day she remains a drug-addicted alcoholic the less likely it is that the woman I love survives and will return to being who God meant her to be.
Ellie has spoken about God’s Will and God’s Grace and said that God’s Will will never take you anywhere God’s Grace can not protect you. Yet, she has clearly forgotten that God gave Man free will. If she chooses to go where God did not Will, God’s Grace can not protect her from herself.
I seriously doubt that it was God’s Will for her to become the drug-addicted alcoholic she has been for the past ten-and-a-half months. I doubt it was God’s Will for her to turn away from and lie about the man she said she loves–the man that loves her, wants to marry her and has fought for her for so long.
Unlike Ellie, Gee knew the dangers of her illness and knew that it was likely to kill her. Ellie’s illnesses are also very likely to kill her, but she seems totally unaware of that fact. Ellie’s use of alcohol is damaging her brain, her heart, her digestive tract, her liver and her kidneys. Her use of marijuana is changing the way her brain works, damaging her ability to learn and changing her personality.
Ellie used to be one of the most honest people I knew–yet, since her problems with alcohol and marijuana have taken over her life, she has lied about pretty much everything to everyone around her. She hasn’t lied to me yet, at least as far as I know–but she has only managed that by not speaking to me at all since I confronted her about her drinking back on June 29th.
As much as it hurt me to see Gee slowly lose her battle with cancer, it hurts far worse to see Ellie become something that the woman who loves me would despise and loathe. If she wasn’t under the influence of her addictions and could see what she has become, I do not think she would like it. Unlike Gee, Ellie has a choice about what happens to her–she can choose whether she wants to remain a drug-addicted alcoholic or whether she wants to reclaim her life from her addictions.
This youtube video was put together by some of the amazing women that have fought addiction and come out the other side. Ellie doesn’t have to stay a drug-addicted alcoholic. As the women on the Crying Out Now blog have proven, it is possible for Ellie to reclaim her life–she just has to choose to do it.
This isn’t to say that reclaiming her life and fighting her addictions will be easy–I know it won’t be. But I know she is strong enough, brave enough, and stubborn enough to do it if she chooses to do so. She is smart enough to see where her addictions will take her–if she is brave enough to take an honest look at herself and what she has been doing. Once she is brave enough to look at what she has been doing, she would know how her addictions will destroy all of her hopes, her dreams and her goals–the ones she used to tell me about late at night.
If whatever Ellie has become is too stupid to realize the danger her addictions pose to her brain, her mind, her body, her health and her future, then the woman I love is truly a victim of her addictions. That is also true if the drug-addicted alcoholic she has become is too cowardly and weak to fight her addictions. If she doesn’t recognize the lies she has been telling for most of the last year for what they truly are–lies–and can not see how the truth of what and who she and I were to each other–how much we loved, cared for, and trusted one another–she is lost to her addictions and the woman that loves me might as well be dead.
I want Ellie to know that she isn’t alone. I want Ellie to know that if she wants to fight her addictions there are people willing to help her. I want Ellie to know that even after all the horrific things she has done because of her addictions, I am still willing to fight for her.
May God watch over my beloved Ellie. God bless her and protect her, even from herself. May God grant her the strength, courage, and will to fight her illness and return to being her true self. May God grant her the wisdom to see the truth—both about her illness and about us.