It is strange. There is no wind tonight and no waves—the boat is strangely silent. The normal sounds of the boat are missing—no wind whistling through the rigging; no waves slapping against the hulls; no halyards rattling against the mast.
The boat is also unnaturally still. The normal movement of a boat on a mooring are missing—there is no gentle rocking of the boat to the waves; no yawing or swinging of the boat to as the wind shifts.
The sounds of shore life are more apparent and intrusive without the wind and waves to mute them—the wail of sirens as fire trucks go screaming down the highway; the rumble of trucks passing over the bridge. It is amazing how well the sounds carry over the glassy waters in the still night air.
I can’t sleep. I fear going back to sleep will lead to dreaming of the impossible once more. I awoke from a restless sleep and remember dreaming about Ellie and our daughter again. It was a dream much like the one I had almost a year ago—the dream which made me realize how much my love for Ellie had changed and grown—and showed me how I wanted to spend the rest of my life with her.
There were some differences—pronounced and tragic differences though. The Ellie of this night’s dream was not the carefree Ellie of last year’s dream. Years of addiction and drinking had clearly taken a toll on this Ellie. While still beautiful, Ellie was scarred and weakened by her addictions and her eyes were shadowed by the horrible things her inner demons drove her into doing. Regret, sorrow, and guilt have etched lines into her beautiful face.
She is not the same—though she is still a beautiful, smart and stubborn woman I love—she is less than she should have been; less than what she was before her addictions took their toll on her. In some ways, the tragedy of her fall to her addictions has made her wiser and given her greater compassion and a broader foundation as a person—but only at a high cost.
She is physically weaker, but spiritually stronger. She has become far wiser, having been through the bad choices and their consequences. I love her all the more for fighting her way back to me—to our future together. Yet, the implicit trust I once had in her has been damaged by the lies and actions her addictions forced her into telling and doing.
Our daughter was also different. She was not the bright-eyed innocent of last year’s dream. She was wary and haunted by some of the things her mother had done while under the influence of drugs and alcohol. She had learned hard truths no child should ever have to learn. She had seen her mother fall to her addictions. She had paid the price for her mother’s failings.
The only real constant between last year’s dream and this one was my deep abiding love for Ellie and our daughter. That love is still there—I still love my amazing Irish rose and wish that she could she herself through my eyes. That I still want to spend my life with Ellie and marry her, as the dream seems to foretell, is true. Even after this past year of horror, lies and the self-destructive and degrading things she has done to herself because of her addictions, I still love her. I always have and always will.
The only reason I have walked away from her is because I believe that Ellie—the amazing woman I love and who said she loves me in two different languages so many times last summer—no longer even exists. She has become a casualty and victim of the addictions that her self-doubts, insecurities and inner demons gave the power to destroy her. If I saw her fighting to save herself, I would still be there fighting to help her. I have a life-long commitment to the woman I love—but it appears that she is gone as surely as if she had died.
I hope I am wrong—I hope that Ellie is still there fighting to return to who God meant her to be; fighting to return to the future that she and I talked about last June; and fighting to return to me. I hope my feisty, strong-willed, stubborn, beautiful and smart Irish rose still lives. As I have promised her and her mother so many times before, I will be here for her if she is still alive and asks for my help.
But now she will have to prove that she is truly herself to me. I no longer blindly trust this woman I love. This is not to say I don’t trust Ellie—but she has broken faith with me and must redeem herself. She will have to show me that she loves me and that she has made a place for me beside her and that she is willing to fight to keep me there. She will have to show me that she is as committed to me as I have always been to her. She will have to make amends for the lies and all the damage her behavior of the past year has caused.
If she truly loves me, she will be able to do this because it is the right thing for us. It won’t be easy—because her addictions have made a disaster of her life and cleaning up the wreckage her addictions have left behind will take hard work. But, she won’t have to do it alone. If I see she is committed to making things right, committed to me and that she loves me—I will help her in all things as I have promised.
Right now, I have walked away, because she has left me no choice. I fear she will have to hit the hard, desperate rock bottom that most addicts and alcoholics have to hit before she will be able to admit the truth to herself. I pray and hope that in doing so, she does not destroy her future or get hurt. I fear she will end up in the hospital or jail before she realizes she has a problem with drugs and alcohol. I fear she may seriously injure herself or some innocent bystander before she learns the truth of what I have been trying to tell her.
I hope she can live with the consequences her addictions will bring upon her. I hope she will find the wisdom to see the truth of what is really going on with herself. I hope she will find the strength, humility and courage to ask me—the man that loves her—for the help he has promised her. I hope she will fight to have that future that includes the Asians with freckles she said she adores.
I hope all this because I still love her, much as I have all of her life. I keep dreaming about the future that Ellie and I talked about for that amazing week last June. I still believe in my beautiful Irish rose and hope that she is as strong, brave, and smart as I think she is.
If she does not return to being her true self, I wish her all the best and hope she finds some degree of happiness. I hope she does not regret the loss of all her hopes and dreams. I hope she does not loathe herself for being so weak to fall to her addictions or for settling to be so much less than she should be. I will always love her and I hope some day she remembers that.
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.