Grief is so hard… no one can tell you how you are going to feel or when it will strike. Grieving isn’t a linear process. It seems to me that each additional loss brings back the previous ones, almost as if they are echoes of each other.
This summer, I am grieving for Ellie. It is hard to believe a year ago, she and I were talking about what we wanted to name our future children, and where we would get married and all the other things two people who love each other talk about when thinking about getting married. For a week, we spent part of each day doing the mundane things that couples do together–cooking, eating, shopping, and just being with each other. We also spent much of our time together talking about all the topics that matter when you think about sharing your life with someone.
I didn’t know things would turn out the way they have. I didn’t know that she was an alcoholic and a drug addict whose addictions were gradually taking over her life, and had been doing so very seriously for a month at that point, and now a bit over a year now. I didn’t realize that one of the strongest, smartest and most stubborn women I have ever loved could fall to her addictions so quickly.
Losing Ellie, and her family, all to her addictions has brought up memories of some of the other people I love and have lost. Gee is probably the foremost among them, because in many ways, I think Ellie is the woman Gee asked me to seek out after she was gone 11 years ago. I only realized this last year, even though I have known Ellie over 20 years now.
Friday, June 22, will be exactly one year from when I asked Ellie to marry me. It will be one year from when I realized I wanted to spend the rest of my life with her. No matter what else happens, I hope that Ellie knows that I love her and have all of her life in some fashion. I hope she knows that I have kept my promises and vows to her, never broken the commitment I have to her or her faith and trust in me. I have not stopped caring about her, loving her, or being her friend. She has done all that.
I hope that if my beautiful Ellie survives and is still there, trapped beneath her addictions, she realizes that I do love her and always will. I hope she knows that when she finally realizes she needs help and no one else is there.. I will be, just as I have promised her I would. I could not abandon Gee when she was ill, and I will not abandon Ellie just because of her illness.
While I may have walked away, it is only because I do not think Ellie even exists any longer. If Ellie, the woman that loves me, should find she needs me and wants my help and wants me back in her life–she knows where to find me and how to reach me. I have never cut off lines of communication with her. She is the one who did all that.