The Million Hoodie March

Posted on Wednesday 21 March 2012

It is a sad thing that the Million Hoodie March is necessary. The march is a protest to raise awareness of the shooting of Trayvon Martin, a 17-year old black latino youth. He was killed by an older white man, George Zimmerman, who was captain of the local neighborhood watch.

The basic facts of the story are that Trayvon Martin—who was dressed in a hoodie-type sweatshirt—was buying snacks at a convenience store when he was profiled by Zimmerman. Zimmerman later stalked and then shot and killed Martin, allegedly in self-defense. The local authorities have avoided arresting Zimmerman because of his claims of self-defense and a very liberal self-defense law that exists in Florida.

However, witnesses and 911 calls all seem to contradict Mr. Zimmerman’s claims of self-defense and the events in question. Zimmerman called police and told them about a suspicious individual and was told, very specifically, that he should not confront said individual. Yet, Zimmerman stalked, confronted and then shot and killed the unarmed teen.

If the roles had been reversed and teen had been white and Zimmerman had been an African American—I seriously doubt that the gunman would still be free, regardless of any claims of self-defense or not.

I do not see how the authorities can justify not arresting Zimmerman—when it is pretty clear from witnesses and 911 calls that he was the aggressor.

Zimmerman profiled Trayvon as a suspicious person—most likely based on his ethnicity. He then stalked Trayvon Martin, even though the police told him not to confront the “suspicious” individual. From the conversation overheard by Trayvon’s friend—it is pretty clear that Zimmerman followed and then confronted Trayvon Martin and the end result was a dead 17-year-old unarmed youth.

Given Martin’s attempts to avoid any confrontation and his obvious fear at being followed—how do the local authorities justify Zimmerman’s claims of self-defense realistically. Martin was unarmed. It is pretty likely that he was smaller than Zimmerman, given his youth. He was pretty clearly trying to avoid any confrontation with Zimmerman—who had to chase Martin down. Exactly how was Trayvon being a threat.

It will be interesting to see if justice actually prevails in Trayvon Martin’s case. Zimmerman should have been arrested and charged with first-degree murder. He should also be charged with a hate crime.

Dan @ 11:57 pm
Filed under: Events andNews
Visions of Her Future

Posted on Tuesday 20 March 2012

On the Crying Out Now blog, there is a post that I fear will repeat itself with someone I love. The post starts with the following words:

“Like most people, I’m not really sure where or why my life started to fall apart and alcohol started to take over my life.

What I do know is that it did and it was a spiral that took over every ounce of my soul. Every day is a battle and prayers to the God of my understanding are continuous in an effort to relieve me of the bondage of self because sometimes, often times, life and all of my problems are simply to big for me.

I am the daughter of an alcoholic Father and a Mother who just struggled to keep the family together and assemble some sort of peace in the chaos of my Father’s drinking and all of the trauma that went along with it.”

I see this as where Ellie might end up ten to fifteen years from now—though it might take even longer. I don’t think she really understands what she is doing to herself or where it can lead. The words above describe her and her current situation fairly well—except she will probably realize when and where the alcohol and drugs started to take over her life—because I have been telling her for nearly nine months now.

Her family is clearly in denial of her illness, even though it is pretty clear that she, her brother and father are all alcoholics. I wish that weren’t the case, but it is. I find it incredible to believe that her mother is so terrified of her father that she can’t admit that Ellie could have the same illness her husband and son both clearly have. I hope Ellie finally realizes that no one can help her until she admits she has a problem with drugs and alcohol and seeks help herself—only then, can anyone help her.

Over the past nine months, I have done everything I could possibly do for her to try and get the help I believe she was crying out for all last summer and fall. No one else was even paying enough attention to Ellie to see what was going on. Now, I am done with her—if she wants to let her addictions destroy her health, her mind and her future, that is her choice.

No one can help her unless she wants help—and it is pretty clear that, right now, she doesn’t want help. Until Ellie learns to love herself and wants better for herself than to be the drug-addicted, alcoholic shadow of who God meant her to be, she will keep doing the self-destructive things that she has been doing since last June. I pray for her every day, and I hope that she finally opens her eyes to the truth before she injures or kills herself or someone else because of what her addictions are making her do.

I fear she will really have to hit rock bottom before she realizes she has a problem. That may take years, and she will lose any real chance at achieving most of the hopes, dreams and goals she told me about over our years of friendship. It will probably require her to end up in jail, in the hospital or living on the street before she understands what her addictions are doing to her.

If that is the case, I won’t be here to help her—as I will have moved on as the woman who loves me would want me to do. I doubt that the woman that said “Sarangheyo” to me last June would expect me to stay—especially given how she has changed and how horribly she has treated me. I know Ellie loved me or she would not have told me in two different languages so many times last June.

The author of the post I quoted above concludes by saying:

“This journey has taught me about the person that I want to be.

In this process I can’t lose who I am…it’s like my sponsor told me, being an alcoholic is only part of who you are. The hardest part of sobriety is cleaning up the wreckage of my past.

I continue trying to mend relationships with those that I have hurt, trying to get more time with the one thing that I love most in life (my daughter), figuring out my future, recovering from financial ruin, and figuring out who I am but without a God of my understanding, my sponsor, wonderful friends and family, and my AA family, I wouldn’t be here to tell my story.”

Ellie has left a lot of wreckage behind so far…and I don’t want to think of how much more she will create in the ten-to-fifteen years it may take her to come to grips with her illness. She was a devout Catholic, but she seems to have abandoned her faith for her addictions—even as I have adopted that faith out of my love for her. I sincerely doubt that being a drug-addicted alcoholic was God’s plan for her.

I know who Ellie wanted to be…or at least I used to know. We shared our dreams, our hopes and our future goals with each other for many years. We were very close friends and we loved, cared for and trusted each other. I have no idea who the drug-addicted alcoholic that is currently occupying her body is—nor do I want to know her or care to know her.

The truth of who we were to each other is clearly visible in the photos of us—which belie what she has been saying since I confronted her about her drinking last summer. She has never denied what I have said on this blog, and I am pretty sure she reads it, even now.

As far as I know, Ellie has never lied to me directly—instead she refuses to even speak to me. At her core, I think she is still one of the most honest people I have ever known—even if her addictions and her father have made her lie about so much for the past nine months. I believe she refuses to lie to me directly because, deep inside her heart, she knows I am one of the only people that truly loves her and that she loves. One day, she may even remember this or allow herself to admit it.

I do not see a happy ending for Ellie unless she learns to love herself and finds people who love her and care enough about her to want to help her, as I do. Her family and most of her current friends are part of the problem. I doubt that her family will be able to help her—alcoholics in denial are not able to help anyone and her mother is too terrified to do anything but let her self-destruct.

Her current friends will likely abandon her if she gets into any serious trouble. They have no real commitment to her, nor do they really care about her in any meaningful way—if they did, they wouldn’t be helping her destroy herself the way they have been. From what I saw, her friend Chelsey, for all intents and purposes, pimped her out to Jarrod and did not care that Jarrod dumped her like trash as soon as he tired of her. Most of her other friends are little better—caring for nothing but their next buzz or high.

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.

Dan @ 11:01 pm
Filed under: Crying Out Now andLife with Ellie andpv
In Sickness and In Health

Posted on Tuesday 20 March 2012

I’ve been thinking about Gee and Ellie a lot recently. It is strange to think about the two women I love most. In many ways, the relationships I have with them are very different—yet in some ways they share a lot of similarities.

When I first spoke with Gee, I knew I was going to marry her. This was a certainty to me, though we had not yet met. Eight months after we met for the very first time, she was diagnosed with metastatic pancreatic cancer. Out of the twenty-three months and one day we were together, she was ill for almost two-thirds of it. Yet, in some ways, her illness was far easier to deal with than Ellie’s drug addiction and alcoholism.

Gee’s illness didn’t affect who she was to any real degree. It did not make her change her behavior in radical and unexpected ways. It did not affect our relationship in any significant way. We loved each other and we took care of each other. Granted, the relationship probably wasn’t as balanced as it would have been if she had been healthy, but it was still amazing.

Ellie’s illness has changed who she is in many fundamental ways. Her addictions have caused the huge rift between us and caused Ellie to lie about who I am and what we are to each other. I would have thought that the fact that we have known each other for almost twenty years, and been very close friends for almost seven of that twenty years would have given our relationship more resilience. Even though she has been drinking since she was 14 by her own admission—her illness really didn’t manifest itself in any significant way until last summer—where it spiraled out of control.

Right now, I find myself in an unusual position—I am having to grieve for someone I love very much though she hasn’t physically died. Ellie is dead in almost every way that matters, since she has become a casualty of her drug and alcohol addictions. In many ways, the woman I love so very much no longer exists because of those same addictions. She was one of the most honest and caring people I know before her illness took over her life. Now, she thinks nothing of lying to protect her addictions and from what I can tell, she cares little for anything besides her next drink or joint.

It is hard to grieve for her, since I can’t be positive that she is really gone—she may yet survive somewhere beneath her addictions. But, if she does, I have seen no evidence of that. I know the truth of who Ellie was and I was dazzled by it. It amazes me that she did not see how amazing she really was. Ellie was an incredibly beautiful, strong, smart, stubborn and lovable young woman. She had the most amazing hopes and dreams for herself—most of which have probably died with her true self.

I have told her that I would accompany her on her long road to recovery if she asked me to do so—it is what I have promised her—to be beside her in sickness and in health. Unlike so many of the other people in her life, I believe in keeping my commitments and honoring the vows I make. She and her family should know this from our almost 30 years of friendship, but they are in denial.

If she makes her amends and asks me for my helpknowing that I won’t settle for anything less than a central place beside her in her lifeI will help her.

But, she will have to prove to me that she wants me beside her—that she wants me to be a central part of her life and is as committed to keeping me there as I have been to her these past nine months—if she wants my help in her recovery. I doubt that will ever come to pass at this point and I am moving on as she would have wanted me to if she had died—because, in most of the important ways, the woman who said she loves me and “Sarangheyo” is gone.

I still mean to keep the commitment to Ellie—the one I made her on June 22, when I asked her to marry me and she told me she loved me, at least for a while longer. In walking away, I am not abandoning her, though she may think I am—I am not breaking my vows or commitments to her, though she may think I have.

Whether she knows it or not—if she asks me for my help, makes her amends to me and shows me that she wants me in her life before I have moved on completely—I will be there for her as I have promised her and her mother so many times.

I decided to walk away from Ellie two months ago. The decision was not one that was easy to make, because she is someone I have loved, cared for and considered a part of my family for almost 20 years—all of her life. However, she has chosen to stay a drug-addicted alcoholic that lies about so many things.

She has allowed her illness to destroy almost everything that was worth loving about her—her honesty, her beauty, her feisty spirit, her self-confidence, her compassionate and caring nature, and her intelligence. She has become little more than the feral cunning beast that is all her addictions truly allow her to be—she has become dishonest, cowardly, stupid, selfish and does not care who she hurts. She has become a debased creature that I believe the woman I love would despise and loathe.

She has basically prostituted herself last summer and fall because of her addictions over the past nine months—trading sex for alcohol and drugs and thought nothing wrong of it—after all, that was apparently the entire basis for her relationship with Jarrod. And he threw her away like trash when he finally tired of her. This is a far cry from the devout, smart, beautiful, and good Irish Catholic woman I love or what she truly deserves.

While she seems to have given her education the priority it really deserves, she still appears to be drinking and doing drugs, though on a much more limited basis than she was doing last semester. I do not know if it will be enough for her to save her scholarship—which she really put at risk with her abysmal grades last semester.

If she loses her scholarship, it may be the best thing for her—as it may be the safest and softest way of her hitting rock bottom and making her realize that she does really have a problem with alcohol and drugs. While, I really hope she doesn’t lose her scholarship, because I love her and only want for her to succeed—there is a part of me does realize that she needs to hit rock bottom before she will ever seek the help she needs and hopes she loses her scholarship.

I hope someday she finally learns that she is worth loving and learns to love herself enough to want to be more than a slave to drugs and alcohol. I hope someday that she is strong enough, smart enough and brave enough to fight her addictions and admit the truth to herself—both about her illness and about us. This is what I pray for everyday. Her family’s denial of her illness, mostly because her father suffers from the same disease himself, is not helping her.

I know she is strong enough, stubborn enough, and smart enough to beat her addictions should she want to do so. But, before she can do that, she must must admit the truth about her addictions and choose to fight them. I hope she realizes this before much more time passes—the longer she stays the drug-addicted alcoholic she has been for the past nine months—the less likely she will ever make a full recovery and the more unlikely all those hopes and dreams she had will ever come to pass. Until she is willing to take full responsibility for her illness and what her illness has made her do, she will never get better.

Ellie knows where to find me and how to reach me. She knows she will need to make amends and prove to me that she truly wants me back in her life before I will help her. Whether I will be here if and when she asks for my help, I can not say. I am moving on, as I think she would have wanted me to do. The longer it takes for her to ask for help, the less likely I will be here to help her—I hope she realizes that.

I doubt that her family or current friends will be of any real help if and when she hits rock bottom and needs help. None of them cared enough about her to see what she was doing to herself last summer—none of them cared enough to try and get her help. Most of them are part of her current problems, and aren’t capable of being part of her recovery because of 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.

Dan @ 11:30 am
Filed under: Life with Ellie andlife with Gee andpv
What We Can Handle

Posted on Thursday 8 March 2012

I know that God will not give me anything I can't handle.  I just wish he didn't trust me so much.

I was hoping that this year was going to be better than last year. If it is going to turn out that way, I’m having a really tough time seeing it right now. I know that God never gives us more than we can handle…and right now, I’m dealing with everything on my plate, but I really hope he doesn’t have any more bad news for me for a while.

Yesterday afternoon, I got off s/v Pretty Gee to find about half-a-dozen cars, including two police cruisers surrounding her. I found one of the police officers so that I could get him to move his cruiser, since I was supposed to meet my friend Dave for dinner.

I asked the officer what was going on. He told me that he had to escort the family of my marina neighbor and friend, John Anderson, to the marina and let them in because John had been killed in a car accident last Friday morning. I spoke with John’s father and his younger brother, Jim. I gave Jim my phone number and told them to call if there was anything I could do.

This was a real surprise to me, since I was probably one of the last people to see John alive. Last Thursday evening, he and I spent about 90 minutes talking about T-Morn, his sailboat, and roughing out plans for the various projects he had coming up. I had volunteered to help design the new hardtop bimini for the cockpit as well as the new cockpit railing/davits that he was looking at adding.

John had a dozen other projects, including replacing the deck, building a new bowsprit to replace the one damaged in Tropical Storm Irene last year, and expanding the galley and adding a new refrigerator setup. I was looking forward to working with John this spring and summer.

Just before I left the marina that night, John asked me if I could swing by the marina he worked at and look at the WiFi setup there on Friday. Apparently, whoever did the original installation didn’t set it up so that the mooring field he was the manager of got coverage, and he wanted to see if I could fix that.

When I went by the marina he worked at on Friday morning, he never showed up. I called and left several messages but never got a call back. I guess a call from Fiddler’s Green would be too much to expect. This certainly explains why John never called me back or showed up, though no one at the marina seemed to know what had happened at the time.

That’s three friends of mine, all sailors, that have died in the last month. I am really getting sick and tired of losing my friends. While Paul and my other friend John had both been fighting their illnesses a long time–Paul was on an LVAD and had a serious history of heart problems, and John was fighting cancer–John Anderson’s death was completely unexpected, as most car accidents are. I do have to wonder if he would have survived had he been wearing his seatbelt and not ejected from his truck on impact.

Things on the Ellie front aren’t much better, but at least she appears to be making her studies and classes the priority they should have been all along. She appears to have followed the advice I wrote about her courses and isn’t taking all four killer courses that she had been planning on taking this semester.

I think that her taking Accounting, Macro-Economics, Micro-Economics and Statistics all in a semester where she is still trying to get her academic footing back after a losing her last semester to drugs and alcohol would not have been a good idea. She would likely have failed or done poorly enough that she would have lost her scholarship.

She says she is seeing a counselor. I really hope whomever she is seeing will help her address her alcohol and drug addiction problems as well as the underlying self-esteem or anxiety issues that drove her to abuse drugs and alcohol in the first place. However, if she isn’t willing to tell her counselor the truth about what is she is doing, I doubt that she will get much, if any, real help from them.

I doubt the counseling will do much for her, because I doubt that she has admitted to herself that she has a drug/alcohol problem. As far as I can see, she is still lying to herself and to everyone around her–about her drinking, her drug use, about me and about us. Her denial is still too strong and until she is willing to face the truth, very little healing or improvement will happen. Until she is ready to face the truth, no one can help her.

She appears to be drinking and doing drugs a lot less this semester. From what she and her friends have said, she isn’t getting high, drunk or both four-to-seven days a week like she was last semester. She seems to have cut back to drinking and doing drugs on just the weekend. It is an improvement, but she really needs to quit drinking and doing drugs completely. She doesn’t appear to realize that or want to do that yet.

At least the reduced drinking and drug use has allowed her body to recover to some degree. She certainly looked a lot healthier than she did in the photos she posted in early January–she wasn’t gaunt or jaundiced and her eyes weren’t red, teary and bloodshot. One of her new drinking/drug friends at least made Dean’s List last semester, and I hope that means they’ll be a better influence on her than her previous friends–one of whom dropped out of school entirely.

Personally, part of me hopes that these changes aren’t enough to let her bring her grades up and save her scholarship, only because that part of me thinks that losing her scholarship is the least damaging way for her to realize she really does have a drug and alcohol problem. Losing her scholarship and having to drop out of the college she chose for herself is likely the softest, least damaging way for her to hit “rock bottom”.

I don’t think that will happen now though. I also think it shows that it was the right decision to walk away from her. If her cutting back on her drug use and drinking allows her to deny that she does have a problem with alcohol and drugs and she manages to keep her scholarship, then it is enabling her–rather than truly helping her. If she cut back on her drinking and drug use because of what I’ve done or said, then I have enabled her illness–which was not my intent.

Most of me hopes that she does manage to salvage her scholarship, because I know she would be devastated if she had to quit the college of her choice and go to a state school like her brother did. She was so proud of getting into the college she is currently in–and chose it because it is fairly well-respected and a Catholic college as well.

However, from what I’ve seen, she’s still making some poor choices though. The first is that she is still drinking and doing drugs. I would have thought that the drastic drop in her grades last semester would have showed her that she clearly has a problem with drugs and alcohol- Yet, she still seems to refuse to admit she has a problem with alcohol or drugs.

She’s still lying about so many things as well. It is very sad to see that her addictions have turned her–a young woman who was one of the most honest people I ever knew–into someone who doesn’t think twice about lying–even if it hurts people she loves and cares about.

I guess Paul’s advice to me last year is very true when he said, “How do you know when an addict is lying? Their lips are moving. I never thought that would apply to Ellie, but that certainly appears to be the case now.

It appears that her ex-boyfriend–the one who cheated on her at the beginning of last year–is still trying to keep in contact with her. I have to wonder why women do that--why do they stay in contact with men that cheated on them and treated them like garbage? I guess she just doesn’t realize that she deserves better yet–maybe she never will.

Then again, it really isn’t that surprising considering how her father treats her mother–I think she thinks that is how the relationship between a man and woman is supposed to be. From what I understand, bad and abusive relationships are not all that uncommon with the children of alcoholics or alcoholics themselves–and she is both.

I also thought her car crash in January would be a wake-up call of sorts, but I guess it wasn’t serious enough for her to learn from. I don’t call it an accident because if it was drug or alcohol related it was completely avoidable. She was very lucky that another vehicle wasn’t involved and that no one was injured or killed, including herself.

Maybe, if the accident has been serious enough to total her car, she might have taken it seriously, since she just bought the car last summer. But, it wasn’t enough to total the car–so she likely doesn’t think anything of it. I’d guess that she did about $1000 worth of damage to her car. Anything much less, and she probably wouldn’t have filed an accident claim, and anything over $1500 would probably have resulted in the insurance company declaring her car a total loss.

My guess is that the accident happened late at night, when she was driving back to her family’s home after drinking or getting high, and that it was a relatively minor single car crash that left her vehicle damaged by drivable. I think that because no one else was involved and the late hour, the police weren’t called and she wasn’t given a field sobriety/drug test.

If someone else had been involved or if it had occurred earlier in the evening, it is likely that she would have gotten arrested for driving under the influence. Given when she said she took her car in for repairs, it is very likely that the accident happened during the first week of January–where she was high or drunk much of the week by her own admission. The only one who will ever know for certain is Ellie, and I doubt she’s willing to admit what really happened.

In any case, I wish her well no matter what she decides to do, because she is someone I love and only want the best for. However, I don’t see her succeeding at the dreams and goals she had shared with me until she finally gets some real help for her alcohol and drug addictions.

I pray that she doesn’t get injured, killed or kill or injure anyone else on her way down. In spite of the lies she has been telling and the horrific things she has been doing, I still believe that deep down somewhere inside the addict the good woman I love still exists. I know the good woman I love would hate to be responsible for injuring or killing someone else–I doubt the drug-addicted alcoholic much cares one way or another.

Unfortunately, I don’t think she will admit that she has a drug and alcohol problem until she ends up hitting rock bottom–where she ends up in jail, the hospital or living on the street. I don’t think she will really get help until that happens.

This is true for most alcoholics and drug addicts–they will deny what is going on until they end up where they just can’t deny the truth any longer. I doubt that her family will be able to help her if and when she does hit rock bottom. I also doubt that her friends, or what the people she calls her friends, most of whom are part of her problem, will be there for her or help her get better. I hope part of her remembers that I would still help that good woman–the woman I love–if she makes her amends and asks me for help, because I promised her and her mother I would.

However, for me to help her–she has to make a place for me in her life beside her and she has to show that she is as committed to me as I have been to her for the past eight months–because I will not settle for being a second-class citizen of her life any longer. She has to show me that she’ll fight to keep me to be by her side. I have promised her that I would walk beside her on her long road to recovery if she should want me there beside her, but she will have to prove she is worthy of my help–that was not always the case, but her actions over the last eight months have made this necessary.

The choice is hers, as it is for all alcoholics and drug addicts. No one can help her until she decides she needs and wants help. But, before she can do that, she has to admit she has a problem with drugs and alcohol and she has to learn to love herself enough to want to be better than the drug-addicted alcoholic she has been for the past eight months.

Until she does that, she is lost to her addictions. I know she is strong enough, brave enough, smart enough and stubborn enough to beat her addictions if she chooses to do so. The real problem with alcoholism and drug addiction is that they take away the will of the person who suffers from them.

Both drug addiction and alcoholism are progressive illnesses with cumulative effects on the brain and mind of the person suffering from them. The longer they use drugs and alcohol, the harder and less likely it is for them to ever really recover.

The damage from alcohol happen much more quickly in women than it does in men. There is a rule in alcohol rehab programs that says a woman will do as much damage in five years as an alcoholic as a man will in 15 years. I really hope Ellie figures that out very soon–before she does much more damage to her mind, her brain and her body.

I do blame her family for not helping her–especially her father who has enabled her illness, coerced her into lying about me and bullied the rest of her family into helping protect himself. At least her mother knew the truth, or did at one point last summer when she said, “Dan, I know you will always be there for us.” I think that was the last time I heard any of the truth from Ellie or her family.

While Ellie is not my family by blood–she and her family are family to me. They have been such to me, and I to them, for almost 30 years, and all of her life. I have cared for, guided, mentored and protected her and her siblings for all of their lives. I have loved her in some fashion for all of her life. I have known her parents since before they were even married.

The illness she, her brother and father suffer from and the lies they tell to protect themselves from having to admit they are ill do not change the truth of our history together. Lies can not erase the love, caring, devotion and friendship that we have shared for nearly three decades. I guess commitment and genuinely caring for someone has become such a lost and rare thing that it is not understood any more. That’s a sad testament to how badly our society’s values have fallen.

I still pray for Ellie every day. In spite of the horrible things her illness has made her do and say, I do not blame her for it–I can no more blame her for what her illness has caused her to do than I could have blamed Gee for getting cancer. I wish she could see herself through my eyes and realize what an amazing person she is to me. She was, at least before her illness took over her life, one of the smartest, most beautiful, and strongest women I have ever met. That’s probably why her falling to her addictions still surprises and saddens me so much.

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.

Dan @ 9:04 am
Filed under: Events andFamily & Friends andLife with Ellie andMy Life andpv
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.

Dan @ 11:29 am
Filed under: Life with Ellie andpv
Happiness Lost

Posted on Saturday 3 March 2012

“Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace, and gratitude.”

—Denis Waitley

I guess this explains why Gee was such a happy person, in spite of all that she went through. Brad was right when he said, “There are some days you realize what a lousy human being you truly are”…especially when you’ve seen someone like Gee just being herself in her final days…

For a brief week last summer, I thought I knew someone else that was capable of that kind of grace, love and gratitude. I asked this amazing woman to marry me, and it was pretty clear that she was considering it for a week. Then, not knowing she was an alcoholic and a drug addict, I confronted her about her drinking. We haven’t spoken since.

“It is always the false that makes you suffer, the false desires and fears, the false values and ideas, the false relationships between people. Abandon the false and you are free of pain; truth makes happy, truth liberates.”

―Nisargadatta Maharaj

It turns out that if she ever was capable of that kind of grace, love and gratitude—her addictions have destroyed her chance of achieving it. In fact, her addictions have basically all but destroyed the hopes, dreams and goals that this beautiful woman told me of. All that is left is a selfish, drug-addicted alcoholic that doesn’t mind lying about people she loves to get what her addictions want.

Somehow, she mistakenly believes that she can find happiness in the bottom of a bottle of alcohol or by smoking a handful of marijuana. There is no happiness there—except for the inner demons that drive her addictions. She has become a slave to her addictions in so many ways.

Up until last month, it seemed pretty clear that her addictions were likely going to drive her into an early grave. The toll they had taken on her body, mind, and health were enormous. I just hope that she has finally listened to the warnings I’ve been telling her and her mother for months and tried to get some help for herself.

Alcohol and marijuana have been slowly destroying her health, her mind and her body. While it appears that she has cut back on the drug use and drinking—it is pretty certain that she has not stopped. Nor does it seem that has she admitted she has a problem with either alcohol or drugs.

“Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.”

―Aldous Huxley

At least, her reduced drinking and drug use seems to have allowed her body to heal itself a bit, and it seems that it has recovered a bit from how badly off she was at the beginning of the year, from what I saw earlier this week. While she still doesn’t have the confidence I used to see in her when she was younger—she doesn’t look as gaunt, tired or sickly as she did in a photo she posted in early January.

Apparently, she has started seeing a counselor. That is something I had hoped she would do, because I felt that her drinking and drug use were forms of self-medication for an underlying anxiety or self-esteem issue. I still believe that to be the case.

I hope that she speaks to her counselor about her insecurities and self-doubts, for those are what I believe were the underlying causes that drove her to abuse alcohol and marijuana in the first place last summer. I hope she talks about the dysfunctional nature of her family and how much harm her emotionally abusive and controlling father has done.

“I guess if you live a lie LONG ENOUGH.. You will start living your OWN LIES…”

—Tyrese Gibson

Her lies are another reason I had to walk away. If her addictions could make her lie about me, about us for so long… then there really isn’t anything left of her. Her denial of her illness and her father’s denial of his illness are both so strong that they’ve taken her family down the rabbit hole with them. If the truth of my actions over nearly 30 years of friendship isn’t proof enough for them of who I am; what I believe; and how I care for her and her family—then nothing will be.

“When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love have always won. There have been tyrants and murderers, and for a time, they can seem invincible, but in the end, they always fall. Think of it–always.”

―Mahatma Gandhi

I believe that her father coerced her into lying about so many things. I believe that she felt she had no choice—that he would not pay for her tuition if she did not lie as he asked.

“Above all, don’t lie to yourself. The man who lies to himself and listens to his own lie comes to a point that he cannot distinguish the truth within him, or around him, and so loses all respect for himself and for others. And having no respect he ceases to love.”

―Fyodor Dostoyevsky

The longer she lives with the lies she has been telling for the past eight months, the deeper the layers of deception will become and the harder it will be for her to tell the truth from the lies. This is very sad when you consider that she was one of the most honest people I have ever known before her illness took hold of her life. She and I trusted each other with everything—we shared our hopes, dreams and goals—and that is one reason I love her so very much.

“Honesty consists of the unwillingness to lie to others; maturity, which is equally hard to attain, consists of the unwillingness to lie to oneself.”

—Sydney J. Harris

I guess she still needs to gain some more maturity. I never stopped being her friend, or caring about her, or loving her—whether she chose to recognize the truth of that or not. I still want to spend the rest of my life with her as I told her on June 22nd. My choice to walk away was not because I do not love her, but because I do love her and could not bear to see her addictions slowly destroy the woman I love.

“I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. This is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant.”

—Martin Luther King

If she ever returns to being the woman that loves me—smart, beautiful, confident, strong, feisty-tempered, compassionate and gracious—and I know she did love meI hope she will seek me out to make her amends and ask me to be a part of her life once again. I believe that she is strong enough, smart enough and stubborn enough to return to being her true self, if she would only love herself enough to do so. I do not believe God meant for her to be a drug-addicted alcoholic.

I will always love her, as I have all of her life. I have tried to protect her, even from herself, as I have all her life. I have cared for her all of her life, and always will. However, right now, there is nothing more I can do for her—and I have walked out of her life. Right now, whatever happens to her is her own responsibility. Until she is willing to admit she has a problem—no one can help her. Besides me, I don’t think there is anyone else who cares enough to still try.

If she does not ever return to my life, then I hope my part in her life helped her get the help she needs to become healthy. All I have ever wished for her was to be healthy, happy and successful, even if it was not with me as part of her life. I have told her family that, but they did not listen.

I’d leave her with this last thought:

“To be fully seen by somebody, then, and be loved anyhow—this is a human offering that can border on miraculous.”

―Elizabeth Gilbert

This is what I have offered her—my gift to the woman I love above all others. I still believe that she is and always has been a good person at heart, and a honest one at that—in spite of the lies her addictions have made her tell. I would not love her if she weren’t a good woman at heart. I love her unconditionally—whether she chooses to see it or not—I always have.

I still hope that God will grant her the strength, courage and will to fight her addictions and become her true self once again. I keep praying that she will grow into being the amazing woman that I she should be—the one I told her about in the Palanca letter her mother asked me to write several years ago. She is mi querencia, mo chuisle mo chroi, and my true north.

Dan @ 4:50 am
Filed under: Life with Ellie andlife with Gee andMy Life andpv
Accepting Evil

Posted on Thursday 1 March 2012

“He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it.”

-Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

For basically honest people to persist in telling and believing lies that harm others is evil. If someone knows the truth, yet does not speak out to tell it when others are lying is evil. I guess these are some of the reasons alcoholism and drug addiction are such insidious diseases. Not only do they destroy the person who is abusing the drugs and alcohol, but they often lead the person into lies and denial. The lies and denial destroy the social fabric of their lives—without them even realizing they are doing this.

It really amazes me at how persistent lies can be. How can basically honest and good people—or at least I that is always thought them to be as I considered them family—can lie and continue to tell the lies to both themselves and others? I guess it is because it is easier for them to lie about someone they love and care about than it is for them to face the truths about themselves and their problems with alcohol and drugs.

I can understand Ellie’s father lying, because he is in denial about his own illness and both a coward and a bully. He has no use for the truth if it does not suit his own purposes. He has been in denial about his own illness for decades, and apparently can not recognize the truth.

Ellie’s mother doesn’t have alcoholism as a reason. She does have fear though. Her husband is an emotionally abusive person. He treats her worse than most people treat their pet dogs. She has allowed this to go on for so long that she no longer sees anything wrong with it. She is too terrified of him to actually help her daughter, even though she asked me to help last summer.

I think Ellie lies because she is afraid of the truth. She is afraid to admit she has a problem with alcohol and drugs. She started telling the lies when I confronted her about her drinking back on June 29th. I think she is afraid of her father as well—and afraid that he won’t pay for her education if she stops lying and tells the truth. I also think she is afraid of making a commitment to anyone.

I have to wonder how Ellie can possibly believe she doesn’t have a problem with alcohol and drugs after how poorly she did last semester. Most of her life she has been proud of what an intelligent person she was; proud of her academic achievements; and considered her education to be very important. This was apparent when she posted about getting accepted to the college she currently attends two years ago. Her choice of it being a Catholic college was important to her. Her pride in making Dean’s List last May was clear in her post about it. She was so excited and happy to have made it both semesters of her freshman year, especially while taking five courses each semester, when the normal course load is four.

This past fall, it was hard to see any of that. As I warned her and her mother, if she did not get help, her grades would suffer, and they did. Last academic year, she was taking five classes per semester and made Dean’s List at her college easily both semesters. This past fall, when she was only taking four courses, she had trouble not failing, much less making Dean’s List. When asked about her grades in early January, she posted:

>Why ask what my grades are if you have nothing to say? Thanks asshole, stop being jealous your kid’s more educated than you ever will be.

I believe that post was directed at her father, who never having been to college, is the only person in her family that she could say that about. I also believe she posted that because she wanted to say it but not where her father would ever see it—because she knows saying it is wrong and she is too much of a coward to say it to his face.

I think she looks down on her father because he does not have a college education, yet it is his hard work that has given her the comfortable life she has and has allowed her to go to college herself. I may not like her father or how he has chosen to act regarding Ellie’s illness, but he does deserve far more respect than this from his daughter for the good life he has provided for her—even if he is a coward and a bully.

If she does not have a problem with alcohol and drugs, I would ask her what happened when she got in to a car accident earlier this year? From her own admissions, she was high or drunk much of the week previous to taking her car in for repairs, so it is very likely that she was driving while high or drunk. That is not an unreasonable hypothesis, especially given that she probably has been driving drunk or high during much of the last eight months.

I am glad I have walked away from her—because I do not want to see her deceive herself as her illness has made her do. Eventually, she will have to face the truth if she is going to deal with her alcohol and drug addictions. But, until then, she will continue to live in a world of lies and deception. She has become something that I think the woman I love would despise and loathe.

If she ever decides to really fight her addictions and get the help she needs to get better—rather than settling for the help she needs to get by while still drinking and doing drugs as she appears to have done—I hope she will realize all the damage the lies her addictions have made her tell have done. I hope there is enough of the good and honest woman I love for her to regret what she has done and all she has lost—including me.

Dan @ 4:13 am
Filed under: Life with Ellie andpv
Message In A Bottle

Posted on Saturday 25 February 2012

This weekend, I was thinking of Gee and Ellie, the two women I love most…and decided to watch a movie that reminds me of them both for a lot of reasons. The movie, Message In A Bottle, is one that Gee and I saw in a movie theater when it still playing.

The second time I saw it was on cable, at the hotel, when I was out in Seattle working the 1999 WTO meetings. Gee had just dropped me off at the hotel, and I turned on the TV after checking into my room, the movie was just starting. The last time I saw this movie before today was on Gee’s birthday in 2001, with Gee.

To all the ships at sea...

In the movie, this was Catherine’s letter to Garrett, and Gee said much the same to me on her birthday in 2001. She had finished her final round of radiation therapy and we were celebrating. This is what she wrote in the card she gave me that day:

My dearest Danny,

This day is very special for me. Not just because it’s my birthday or Valentine’s Day. It’s my last day of radiation treatment. You’ve told me all along these five weeks that I would make it w/ flying colors. And you were right. I did it and I wouldn’t have been able to do it w/o your unconditional love & support. I thank God every day for finding you & having you in my life. You make me feel like the luckiest woman in the world. I always treasure the moments we have together & I’m looking forward to spending many more to come. I love you now & forever.

xoxo G.

In many ways, Gee and Catherine represent the past, and Ellie and Teresa represent the future, and I, like Garrett, have to figure out how to move from one to the other.

Like Garrett’s third and final letter, I too felt that my life had ended when I failed to save the woman I love, and thought that hanging onto memories of her could keep us alive. But, like Garrett, I have come to realize that in order to truly honor my love for Ellie and my last promise to Gee, I need to let go of Gee. I just hope it is not too late.

I know that Gee would bless my love for Ellie, and know that is what she asked me to do. I still hope I can spend the rest of my life with Ellie, as I asked her on June 22nd, as that is my greatest wish. If not, then at least, I hope Ellie will remember how much we loved each other some day—and know how lucky I was to have her in my life as long as I did. I hope Ellie will realize what it means when I told her I love her more than I love Gee, and how hard it was for me to say that. I pray that she will realize all that I tried to do for her was done out of my deep, unconditional love for her.

I hope my beloved Gee rests in peace, knowing that I have moved on as I promised her so many years ago. I hope that Ellie returns to being her true self soon and still wants to share her life with me as it seemed she was planning to do before her illness took hold of her. I hope that Ellie still wants to have those Asians with freckles that she so adores.

As Teresa says at the end of the movie:

If some lives form a perfect circle…others take shape in ways we cannot predict or always understand. Loss has been a part of my journey. But it has also shown me what is precious. So has a love for which I can only be grateful.

I truly believe this, because my life has taken shape in ways I did not predict and did not understand. My love for Ellie is a perfect example of that, for she is not someone I would have chosen—yet, once I realized I did love her, it made perfect sense to me.

If I were to send Ellie a message in a bottle, this is what it would say:

Ellie—

Know that I have loved you all of your life and always will. I have cared for you and protected you all of your life as well. I have never broken faith with you or your trust in me, even though you have broken faith with me and lied about me. I forgive you for what your illnesses have made you say and do.

I have never stopped loving you, caring for you, or being your friend—even if you chose not to recognize the truth of this.

If you should ever return to being the compassionate, beautiful, strong, smart, feisty, and ambitious woman that I love—the woman who told me “Sarangheyo”—I will honor my promises to you. I still want to marry you and spend the rest of my life with you.

If we should never see each other again, I hope you know that you are very much loved and that my heart will always be with you—forever and a day. You are mo chuisle mo chroi, mi querencia and my harbor of refuge.

Always yours, with all my love. Dan.

May God watch over my beloved Ellie and protect her—even from herself. May He bless her and grant her the courage, strength and most of all, the will, to fight her addictions and heal herself. May He return Ellie to being the amazing woman I love once more. May He show Ellie her way home.

Dan @ 8:01 pm
Filed under: Life with Ellie andlife with Gee andMy Life andpv andThoughts
Common Denominators

Posted on Friday 24 February 2012

Someone recently asked me if I love Ellie because she reminds me of Gee. That was a question I hadn’t heard before. The answer is no. While there are some things about Ellie that do remind me of Gee, I would say that they are more the common denominators of all the women I love.

All of the women I love are intelligent. I need to be with someone that can hold up their side of the conversation and that can think for themselves. I think this is a necessity because I want a partner—someone to share my life with—and an equal. I want someone that can give as good as she gets in a conversation—someone that is quick-witted enough to put me in my place when necessary. Finally, I want to be with someone who is intelligent enough to be a resource and collaborator in achieving our dreams and goals—hers, mine and ours.

All of the women I love are strong-willed and stubborn. I think this is a necessity because I am such a stubborn person. I think they need to have a pretty strong backbone to deal with me. If they weren’t strong-willed and stubborn, I think I would steam-roll them, and that would not allow us to be equal partners. This too is important—if she can’t stand up to me, she can’t tell me when she thinks what I am doing or thinking is wrong—and I want the woman I share my life with to be a check and balance for the things we do.

All of the women I love have been independent. I want a partner to share my life with. I want someone that when I am with them, we are greater than we could be apart. I want her to be with me because she wants to be, not because she needs to be. I believe that any successful relationship needs to have a hers, mine and ours… and that if she is not independent, that is not really possible. I would point out that a relationship with an independent, intelligent, strong-willed and stubborn woman isn’t always easy, but it is most definitely worthwhile.

All of the women I love are beautiful. I do not mean the traditional definition of beautiful. My definition of beauty requires that they have a good heart, and be a good person. Grace, compassion, kindness, generosity, and caring are all part of what makes a person beautiful in my definition. I have met far too many physically gorgeous people that were shallow, selfish, self-centered and vain—a spiritual ugliness that transcends any mere physical appearance. Also, physical looks eventually will fade—some of the people I grew up with as role models showed me that the inner beauty of a person will always show, no matter what.

All of the women I love have a great sense of humor—and most are quite mischievous. I think that a good sense of humor is a requirement. I also think that if they love me, God must have given them a good sense of humor.

Dan @ 4:00 pm
Filed under: Life with Ellie andlife with Gee andMisc. andMy Life andpv andThoughts
Ash Wednesday

Posted on Wednesday 22 February 2012

Today is Ash Wednesday. It is the first day of Lent. For Lent I have given up cookies. This is this is the first time I have given anything up for Lent. I was not raised in a religion that required giving up anything for Lent.

In fact, the religious make up of my family growing up was quite diverse. My mother was a lapsed Catholic. My sister, in her late teens became a practicing Roman Catholic, because she was engaged to someone Irish. She remained a practicing Catholic and eventually married an Italian, who is also Catholic.

My father was a Methodist, who was for a while a practicing Quaker. My grandmother, my father’s mother, was a Zen Buddhist that became a practicing Baptist. My twin brother was an Episcopalian. Growing up I had also been exposed to Judaism, Hinduism, and several other forms of Christianity. I never went to an Islamic service until I lived in Washington, DC.

I, for the most part, was a Methodist. I became a Methodist mainly because of Shelley’s family. The church they went to was a Methodist one, and her family was relatively devout. Given the time I spent with Shelley, especially during the last six months of her life, it really isn’t surprising that I became a practicing Methodist by default. In fact, the church Gee and I were married in was a Methodist Church.

One reason I am giving up cookies for Lent is because I am keeping my promise to Ellie, to convert to the Catholic faith. It is something I decided to do last summer, and it is part of my commitment to her, as well as something I chose to do for myself.

In some ways, Ash Wednesday is especially significant for me this year since the ashes themselves represent mourning, and I am in mourning for Ellie. I really do not know what has become of the amazing woman that I love, but she is no longer a part of my life at the moment.

Whether she has really succumbed to her addictions, or she remains buried beneath the horror of her what her addictions have turned her into—still fighting to once again be the amazing woman I love, I do not know. I guess only time will truly tell.

I pray for Ellie twice a day. Once when I get up, and once, just before I go to sleep. I do not know if God is listening, but I still pray and hope for the best. I have done everything I could to try and get Ellie the help I believe she needs—that I believe she was asking for in her own way—to no avail. I was the only person that cared enough about her to see what she was doing to herself last summer and fall, and to try and get her help.

Her family is in denial, mostly because her father and brother are both alcoholics in denial—but also partially because it is easier to deny that Ellie could be ill than it is to try and help her. Her friends, at least the ones she has been surrounding herself with since last June, seem to be a big part of the problem. I seriously doubt that when Ellie hits rock bottom, if she ever does hit rock bottom, that they will be there for her or try to help her. I do not think she has any one besides me willing to help her at the moment.

I do not know what God’s plan is for Ellie, but I am certain she is the woman that Gee asked me to seek out before her death 11 years ago. Even though I have chosen to walk away from Ellie, it does not mean that I have broken faith with her or that I do not take my commitments and vows to her seriously. I still love Ellie—I always have and always will. I still want to marry Ellie—to spend the rest of my life with her and raise the Asians with freckles that she said she adored. But, given how things have gone, I doubt that will ever come to pass.

Ellie seems to have lost herself in drugs and alcohol. I have not seen anything of the amazing woman that told me she loved me in months. That is one reason I chose to walk away. Another reason I chose to walk away is because I could no longer tell if what I was doing to try and help Ellie was actually helping her or enabling her.

The last thing I want to do is enable her illness in any way and prevent her from hitting rock bottom and realizing she has a serious drug/alcohol problem. The sooner she hits rock bottom, the more likely it is that any help she seeks will be effective. Alcoholism and drug addiction are both progressive diseases that change the way her brain works—the sooner she seeks help, the more likely she is to actually beat her addictions.

I am giving up cookies because I honor my commitment to Ellie. I want to honor our religious faith—the one she has believed in all her life and that I have recently adopted.

I am trusting in God to take care of the woman I love. I do not believe that God’s plan for her is for her to be a drug-addicted alcoholic, but she has free will and if she chooses to remain one, that is something that not even God can prevent.

May God watch over my beloved Ellie, 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.

Dan @ 11:15 pm
Filed under: Events andFamily & Friends andLife with Ellie andMy Life andpv andReligion
I miss you

Posted on Monday 20 February 2012

and I have to wonder if you miss me.

I have loved you in some form for all of your life, and I will always love you. I hope you are getting help and getting better. God bless you and watch over you.

Dan @ 1:48 am
Filed under: Life with Ellie andpv
What I Wish…

Posted on Saturday 18 February 2012

Ellie—

and

I hope you’ve gotten help for your addictions and are getting better. I hope you’re studying hard and getting good grades, so you don’t lose your scholarship. If you want my help, all you need to do is make your amends and ask me. I am pretty sure you know how much I love you, even if you aren’t willing to admit it to yourself. I know you love me—or did when you told me “Sarangheyo” last summer. I hope you still do.

Spring break and your birthday are both fast approaching, and I really wish I could spend them with you. Remember when we talked about going down to the Caribbean for your spring break. I’d still take you, if you want to go—but only if you’re healthy or getting there. I love you, but not the drug-addicted alcoholic you’ve been for the last eight months.

I miss you. I have your Christmas gift, your Valentine’s Day gift, and most of all, your claddagh ring all sitting in the safe. I have had them all since last summer, but I doubt you’ll ever see them. I still want to spend the rest of my life with you, if you ever get better.

In any case, know that I love you. God be with you. May He watch over you, the woman I love and protect you, even from yourself. May He give you the courage, strength and will to fight your addictions. May He show you the path back to your true self—to being the incredible, beautiful, smart and strong woman I love. May He shower you with His Grace.

Dan @ 1:41 pm
Filed under: Life with Ellie andpv
Happy Valentine’s Day

Posted on Tuesday 14 February 2012

Wishing all my blog readers a Happy Valentine’s Day.

More importantly, I want to remember the beautiful woman I married on what would have been her birthday. To me, today will always be first and foremost Gee’s birthday, and then Valentine’s Day.

Remembering Gee’s birthday was always easy—since Madison Avenue makes sure I have six weeks of reminders starting January 2nd. I only got to celebrate her birthday with her twice, but February 14th will never be just Valentine’s Day to me ever again.

Gee was born in Niagara Falls, New York, on this day and claimed she was the ultimate 1960s love child. I can’t disagree. She is the most gracious person I have ever known. The way she cared for other people always amazed me, even when she was going through some of the worst life has ever dealt a person.

One event that sticks out in my mind is when she was in the hospital, a week before she died. My friend Brad had flown down to Virginia to visit us, knowing Gee didn’t have much time left. It was Monday, June 4th. I went to the airport to pick Brad up and then drove back to the hospital, where I had basically been living for the previous week.

When Brad walked into Gee’s hospital room, she greeted him by saying, “Brad, how was your flight? You look tired.”

Now, to understand how significant this was, you have to imagine that you’ve been in the hospital for over a week now; have died twice and somehow managed to come back to the man you love; you’ve got four central lines in; are on two IV infusion pumps, an oxygen cannula and and a feeding tube. You’re on enough narcotics to down a rogue elephant, but are still in pain, and you know you are dying. This is what Gee was going through when Brad walked into her hospital room.

Even in spite of all this, Gee’s first concern was for our friend Brad and how his flight was. That was who my Gee was. That was one reason I love her so much.

She came home that Thursday for the final time. She said one reason she had fought so hard to get better in the hospital, despite the massive bleed outs she had experienced that left her technically dead twice, was because she wanted to say goodbye to me at the home she had made for us both. As I carried her into the house, what she said to me was bittersweet. She said, “I’m sorry Dan, it isn’t the cancer that’s killing me, but all the complications. I wish I could keep the promise I made to you when we got engaged, but I don’t know if I can.”

The next morning, Friday morning, Brad was flying back to Boston. We knew it was the last time he would see Gee. She called him into the bedroom where she was setup in a medical recliner and an oxygen generator. She said to him, “Brad, I’m sorry I haven’t been a better hostess. I hope you have a safe flight back to Boston. Take care of yourself.”

Brad walked out to the my Explorer and got in. He started to cry as I loaded his luggage into the back. We drove to the airport where I dropped him off for his flight. As he got out, he said to me, “There are days you realize what a lousy human being you truly are…” I know he was referring to how high Gee set the bar and what kind of person the woman I married was.

I gave him a hug and wished him a safe flight back to Boston. I thanked him for coming down to see us and being there for us. I wished him an early Happy Birthday, for Saturday was his birthday.

Three days later, Monday, June 11, 2001, at 11:00, just seven months and seven days from when our wedding started, the beautiful and gracious woman I loved from the first time I heard her beautiful voice was gone.

Rest in peace my beloved Gee. Know that you will always be in my heart and thoughts. Thank you for watching over me and my friends and being my personal weather goddess. I love you, Gee. I always will, for love is eternal. The light and love you brought into my life will remain with me for the rest of my days.

I miss you every day, and I try to be the man you love everyday. I hope that before I die, I can be one-tenth as gracious, even in the worst of circumstances, as you were. Thus far, I have failed.

Gee, I want you to know that I believe I have found the woman you asked me to seek out just before you died. I truly believe Ellie is the one you meant for me to find. Like all the women I have loved, she is smart, stubborn, feisty-tempered and beautiful.—I think you would have liked her, at least when she is healthy. I would ask that you watch over her and protect her, even from herself, because she is someone I love. Last summer I asked her to marry me, and still want to spend the rest of my life with her. Please help her find her way back to me.

P.S. Look out for Paul, John and Lois. Paul and John are friends of mine and newly arrived, while Lois is the twin to my friend Mez, and she and Mez share your birthday.

Dan @ 9:44 am
Filed under: Life with Ellie andlife with Gee andpv
A Rose Named Ellie

Posted on Monday 13 February 2012

“You are beautiful, but you are empty. One could not die for you. To be sure, an ordinary passerby would think that my rose looked just like you—the rose that belongs to me. But in herself alone she is more important than all the hundreds of you other roses: because it is she that I have watered; because it is she that I have put under the glass globe; because it is she that I have sheltered behind the screen; because it is for her that I have killed the caterpillars (except the two or three that we saved to become butterflies); because it is she that I have listened to, when she grumbled, or boasted, or ever sometimes when she said nothing. Because she is my rose.”

The Little Prince

The Little Prince and his rose

The Little Prince and his rose

Ellie is my beloved Irish rose. She has thorns and I hope they are enough to protect her, since I am not there to do so myself. I have loved her in some fashion for all of her life. I have protected her and cared for her all of her life. I have seen the worst she can be, the best she can be and everything in-between and love her unconditionally, despite it all.

There are many things I want for Ellie—things I hope for, things I wish for and things I pray for…

I hope she has finally realized that the alcohol and drugs are no good for her. I hope she has gotten help for her problems with alcohol and drugs. I hope she has realized how the drugs and alcohol have been damaging her body, her brain, her mind and her spirit.

I hope she realizes how close she has come to losing the bright future she had before her last summer and all of her hopes and dreams. I hope she has re-focused her priorities on her studies and grades once again and takes pride in being a good student and the intelligent woman she is once more.

I hope she believes in herself again—and realizes how strong, beautiful and smart she is. I wish she could see herself through my eyes and see what an incredible person I see when I look at her—beautiful, strong, funny, smart, wise, lovable, confident, sweet and so much more.

I wish she would remember that I love her and did all that I did because I love her. I wish she knew what I meant when I said I wanted to spend the rest of my life with her. I hope she still wants the Asians with freckles that she adores. I hope that she will make her amends and come back to me.

I pray that God watches over her and protects her, even from herself. I pray that she finds the strength, the courage, and most of all, the will to fight her addictions. I pray that she realizes how much I love her and still want to marry her. I pray for her everyday.

In any case, I hope she has a Happy Valentine’s Day…a day I wish we could have spent together.

Ellie, no matter where you are, I love you—I have loved you all your life, and always will.

“If ever there is tomorrow when we're not together... there is something you must always remember. you are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is, even if we're apart... I'll always be with you.”  —A. A. Milne

Dan @ 6:57 pm
Filed under: Life with Ellie andpv
The Two Women I Love Most…

Posted on Sunday 12 February 2012

As Valentine’s Day approaches, two women are on my mind. They are the two women I love most of all, and both are in my thoughts every day.

One was born on Valentine’s Day and I was lucky enough to marry her. She passed away over a decade ago and I miss her every day. I only knew Gee 23 months and one day, yet the impact she has had on my life is enormous. We met on a blind date—setup by a mutual family friend that really didn’t know either of us. I knew I was going to marry her the first time I spoke to her. We were married on a beautiful autumn day 12 years ago, and I realize how lucky I was to have her in my life.

The other is the amazing woman I was hoping to spend this Valentine’s Day with, and asked to marry me last summer. I love her more than I love Gee, but that is understandable given that I have known her all of her life and have loved her in some form for almost 20 years. I am certain that Ellie is the woman Gee asked me to seek out just before she died. Ellie is beautiful, smart, strong-willed, feisty-tempered, with a mischievous sense of humor. I have cared for her and protected her all of her life, especially the last six years, when her parents saw fit to check out of her life.

Her illness has forced me to walk away from her because I couldn’t stand to watch her addictions destroy everything I love about her. I hope she has stopped drinking and doing drugs. I hope she’s concentrating on studying and working on pulling up her GPA so she doesn’t lose her scholarship. I pray for her and miss her every day. I hope that she realizes how much I love her someday.

I hope she knows that I still want to marry her and spend the rest of my life with her. I want her to know that my walking away from her was not because I wanted to do so, or that it means that I have broken the vows and commitments I have made to her. If she should ever become herself again, the incredibly beautiful, strong, confident and smart woman that loves me, I will keep those promises to her if she should just ask me to.

This song pretty much describes how I feel about her still… I hope she is safe and gets better soon.

Dan @ 11:23 pm
Filed under: Life with Ellie andlife with Gee andpv
Fiddler’s Green Calling

Posted on Saturday 11 February 2012

Damn… two good ones sailed off for Fiddler’s Green.

My friends Paul and John, both passed away yesterday. I knew the two of them through the sailing forums.

Even though Paul switched to powerboats after he got an LVAD implanted, he was always a sailor at heart. I guess his heart finally gave out on him. He was cranky old man, but you could always rely on him and he was a straight shooter, which is pretty hard to find now-a-days.

John was a multihull sailor and battling cancer. His signature line on the sailing forums really said it all:

“20 MPH ain’t fast unless, you do it in a 1000 sq. ft. house on 10-foot waves”

Both were always good at giving sound advice, sharing their wisdom and good friends.

They will both be badly missed for their advice, wisdom, sense of humor and friendship. I know my beloved Gee and my twin will greet them with open arms when they get to Fiddler’s Green.

Dan @ 12:48 pm
Filed under: Events andFamily & Friends
Tomorrow

Posted on Tuesday 7 February 2012

I miss Ellie…and this pretty much says it all…

Tomorrow, by Chris Young

Tomorrow I’m gonna leave here.
I’m gonna let you go and walk away like every day I said I would.
And tomorrow, I’m gonna listen.
to that voice of reason inside my head telling me that we’re no good.

[Chorus]
But tonight I’m gonna give in one last time.
Rock you strong in these arms of mine.
Forget all the regrets that are bound to follow.
We’re like fire and gasoline.
I’m no good for you.
You’re no good for me.
We only bring each other tears and sorrow.
But tonight, I’m gonna love you like there’s no tomorrow.

I’ll be stronger.
I’m not gonna break down and call you up when my heart cries out for you.
And tomorrow, you won’t believe it,
but when I pass your house,
I won’t stop no matter how bad I want to.

[Chorus]

Baby when we’re good, you know we’re great.
But there’s too much bad for us to think that there’s anything worth trying to save.

[Chorus]

I’m gonna leave here.
I’m gonna let you go and walk away like every day I said I would.

I hope Ellie knows that no matter what, if she makes her amends for the lies she has told and asks me for help, I will be here to help her. If I see that my Ellie is trying to get better—that she is fighting to be herself once again—there is nothing I wouldn’t do to help her, except enable her addictions. I have never loved anyone as much as I love my Ellie. I have never loved anyone for as long as I have loved my Ellie. If she hasn’t understood that by now—from what I have done; what I have been through; and what I have written—then she never will.

I know she loves me. That is why I have been steadfast in my vows to her—that is why I have the commitment I do to her. I still want to marry Ellie. I still want to spend the rest of my life with Ellie—even if it is helping her walk the long road to recovery that she has in front of her.

If she asks me to, I will happily do that—to guide her when she feels lost or confused; to support her when she stumbles or falls; to carry her when her strength fails her; to protect her when she feels threatened or scared; and most of all—to love her—more, each and every day. This is what I promised her back on June 22nd, when I first told her I wanted to marry her and how my feelings for her had grown. She is mi querencia. She is mo chuisle mo chroi. She is my home and haven. She is my partner and better half. I can not abandon her. I will not abandon her. This I promised her and her mother. But I need to know she still exists. I need to see that she wants what I have to offer her and is willing to fight for herself—fight to get better. She needs to decide if she wants me in her life once again.

Dan @ 12:29 am
Filed under: Life with Ellie andpv
What If…

Posted on Monday 6 February 2012

There are times when you make decisions and the results make you ask “What if?” Those “What Ifs?” can drive you crazy.

One such decision for me happened nearly 25 years ago, when my twin left on a drive back to San Diego, headed back to school. This is the first time I am writing about his death to any real degree.

I was supposed to go with him. I had a bag packed and sitting in his car, and airline tickets waiting for me in San Diego, to fly back. It took him an hour to convince me not to go. It was a Friday morning. Little did I know it was the last time I was ever going to see my identical twin—that less than 24 hour later he would be dead—killed by a drunk driver.

Dave’s argument was pretty simple—I had been out of college on a medical leave of absence, having had to go through months of physical therapy and learn how to walk again for the second time. It had been almost nine months and this weekend would be the first quarter I could register for classes and return to college myself. If I went on the trip to San Diego, I’d have to put off returning to school for another three months. He wanted me to get back to school and get on with college—and this would be the first chance I’d have to do that. I couldn’t argue with him—he was right.

The medical leave of absence was pretty simple—I couldn’t walk any more. The muscles in my left leg and hip had atrophied and weakened to the point where walking, even with crutches was just not reasonable. All this was the result of a car-bicycle accident six years earlier, where a 1976 Granada turned me into a bumper sticker and left my bicycle 150′ down the road from me one day on my way home from school. I had done months of physical therapy starting not long after the car accident for the exact same problem twice before—about seven months every two years. This was the third time I had to go back for physical therapy.

So, I bowed to my brother’s request and let him drive off without me. It was the first time that he was going on a cross-country drive without me. We had driven from San Diego, to Los Angeles, and then to Las Vegas and continued onto Colorado, to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and finally to Boston earlier that summer in his 1969 Mach I Mustang. I grabbed my bag out of his car and saw him drive off. He had promised to call me when he got to San Diego—a phone call I am still waiting for.

Dan and David with their paternal grandmother.

Dan and David with their paternal grandmother.

Early Saturday morning, I woke up from a nightmare, screaming, drenched in sweat, and knew that my twin had been killed. The dream was at the exact time of his accident and was probably very close to what he would have seen in his final moments of life. I couldn’t get back to sleep. This was before the age of cellphones, so there was no way for me to contact him and see if he was okay. I knew he was gone because the little voice that I had always had in the back of my head that told me how he was and what he was doing had gone silent.

About three hours later, I heard my father come up the stairs and he entered my bedroom. As he turned on the light, I said, “What happened to Dave?” He never understood how I could know something had happened to my twin over the more than a thousand miles he had traveled since that morning. It’s a twin thing I guess. He told me that my twin had been in a bad car accident and was in the hospital, in surgery, and they didn’t know anything more than that yet.

One of my friends, Lisa, was starting at school at the same university I was returning to. I had promised to help Lisa move into her dormitory the previous day, since I wasn’t going to be going to California. I called Lisa and her mother early Saturday morning and told them what had happened, and her mother told me to come over. I’ll always be grateful to Lisa’s mother for being there for me that weekend. We packed up Lisa’s stuff and drove over to the dormitory and started moving her in for the school year.

I’d point out that I was friends with Lisa and her mother mainly because of my twin. Lisa was one of his adopted little sisters, and I only really knew her because she was friends with my twin brother first. Around 11:00 that morning, a campus police officer came to Lisa’s dorm room looking for me. My father had called the campus police with news that my twin had died on the operating table. I had already known he was dead hours earlier. What had been on that operating table hadn’t been my twin, just his body.

The accident was a pretty common one. My brother’s car had a problem—exactly what we will never know—and it had broken down on his way back to California just west of Nashville, Tennessee. While he was looking under the hood of the car, trying fix whatever had gone wrong, his car was hit by another doing over 70 miles an hour. The impact was so hard that it crushed the bumper of his 1969 Mach 1 Mustang in past the rear wheel, pushed the car up and rolled it twice—with my brother’s upper body and head trapped in the engine compartment by the engine hood—which had slammed down on him at the time of impact.

The driver of the other car was mostly uninjured. He was drunk. He was under-aged. This was his third major offense if I recall correctly. I took the Nashville police department over five years to arrest the man. In the intervening years, the police department had lost the results of the blood alcohol test and the eyewitness, a hitchhiker that my brother had been giving a ride to from what I read in the accident report. The drunk driver that killed my brother got 90 days suspended for killing him.

For years, I agonized over my decision not to go with him the previous morning. I told myself that he might still be alive if I had been there. I told myself that I might have been able to warn him in time for him to get clear of the car before the drunk drive hit it. I told myself that I might have been able to fix whatever was wrong with his car or spotted the problem before it had gotten bad enough to make the car stop.

I also blamed my father for many years. Now, I have to explain that my father is one of the most knowledgeable automotive engineers in the country. He is a former section chair of the Society of Automotive Engineers and on their board nominating committee. The fact that my brother hated him and moved 3000 miles way to get as far away from him as possible and wouldn’t let my father anywhere near his car has always haunted me.

I will always wonder if my twin and father weren’t so bitter and angry at each other—whether my father would have spotted whatever was wrong before my twin left on his trip. For most of that summer, most of what I did was keep peace between my twin and my father. That was the best I was able to get from the two of them.

The “what ifs?” surrounding my twin’s death nearly cost me my life. I owe my life to my second fiancée, Su, who saved me. Lauren Elizabeth’s father introduced me to Su about a month before my twin was killed—August 14 to be exact. She was one of the few friends I had when Dave died that wasn’t devastated by his death. It took me nearly seven years to recover from his death in so many ways.

Flash forward 14 years. I’m now living in Northern Virginia, and working for a major news company in Washington, DC.

Two years earlier, I had gotten engaged to the incredibly beautiful and gracious Korean woman I had met on a blind date. We had gotten engaged on the twelveth anniversary of my twin brother’s death—something I am sure she had planned. Just before we got engaged, I had moved Gee to Seattle, Washington, so she could attend the graduate school she had been planning on going to before we met.

Six months after we had gotten engaged, right after Gee moved back to Northern Virginia because she didn’t want to be apart from me any longer, she was diagnosed with stage four metastatic pancreatic cancer, on Easter Sunday. She had her Whipple operation at Johns Hopkins that May and went through her first round of chemotherapy over the summer leading up to our wedding. Seven months and one week to the hour after our wedding started, she lost her battle with cancer and died. Most of our story is found in the Life With Gee pages of my website.

Gee and Dan at Gee’s new apartment in Seattle.

Gee and Dan at Gee’s new apartment in Seattle.

For months following her death, I asked myself what I did wrong? Should we have used a different chemo drug? Should we have tired a different treatment center? Should we have tried to get Gee onto an experimental trial? These were all more “What Ifs” that made me wonder if there were anything I could have done to save the woman I love.

Fast forward to this past summer, June 2011. I realized that I have known the woman Gee asked me to look for just before she died for almost 20 years. Lauren Elizabeth is someone I’ve known and loved in some form since she was born. She is much younger than me, but I am certain that she is the woman Gee meant for me to find.

On June 22, 2011, I asked Lauren Elizabeth to marry me. She didn’t answer my proposal, but responded by telling me four things.

The first was a question: “Would Gee be angry at either of us if we got married, if I got re-married to her?” I explained to Lauren Elizabeth that the last promise I had to keep to my late wife was the one that I would re-marry if I met the right person. I told Lauren Elizabeth that she was the right person, and that I was certain that she was woman Gee had asked me to seek out over ten years earlier.

The second thing Lauren Elizabeth said was that she wished she could have met Gee. I have talked about Gee and her impact on me and my life for many hours with Lauren Elizabeth, often in response to some of the questions about love and life that Lauren Elizabeth had asked me. I wasn’t really surprised that Lauren Elizabeth wished she could have met Gee.

The third thing Elie said was that she regretted never having had a chance to meet Gee. This is something that many of my blog/website readers have told me in comments and e-mails.

The fourth thing and final thing Lauren Elizabeth told me before we left the restaurant was “I love you”. This was a very simple and clear declaration of her feelings for me. Given the circumstances, I believe she meant that she loved me much the same way I love her—as two people who want to share their lives love each other.

Lauren Elizabeth giving me bunny ears at Fire & Ice on her 18th birthday

Lauren Elizabeth giving me bunny ears at Fire & Ice on her 18th birthday

For a week, we talked about every issue that might touch upon our starting a future together and getting married. She started that afternoon by telling me she adored “Asians with freckles” and what she wanted to name our first two children. We talked about postponing any wedding until after she had graduated from college. We talked about religion and she was surprised to hear that I was planning on converting to the Catholic faith as part of marrying her. It really wasn’t a surprise to me, given how important her religion is to her and her family—something I have learned over my 30 years of friendship with her family.

We talked about the gold claddagh ring I had bought for her and how it would be replaced by a platinum one that I was designing for her wedding ring. We talked about how the gold one would go to our eldest daughter. On June 28th, six days after I asked her to marry me, she asked to see the claddagh ring. I told her I would bring it over the next time I was supposed to see her. I never got the chance.

The following day, June 29th, she posted something about going down to Cape Cod and going there to drink. I asked her not to drink or use the fake IDs she had shown me the previous day. She and I haven’t spoken since I confronted her about her drinking. At the time I did not realize she was a drug addict and an alcoholic. No one did—not even her family.

For the past seven months, I’ve tried to get her the help I believe she has been asking for and that she needs to no avail. For much of the last three months I have been asking myself if there were anything I could do differently. I have been wondering if there were anything I could have done to prevent the rift between us from forming or prevented her descent into her addictions.

Finally, I have realized that there probably was nothing I could have done that would have prevented all that has come to pass. I have also realized that I need to walk away from my beloved Lauren Elizabeth because I can not stay and watch her addictions destroy everything I love about her.

I have finally realized that the “What ifs” provide no comfort and no answers. They only force us to doubt ourselves and our actions—even when we have done all we can for the people we love. In some cases, changing anything would have just resulting in more death or tragedy. I am pretty certain, from a perspective of almost a quarter century’s hindsight, that probably would have been the case with my twin. If I had gone with him, I’d likely be dead as well. But even knowing this—human nature still makes us ask “what if…” as I have about Gee and Lauren Elizabeth both.

With Gee, we had gotten the best surgeon in the country for the Whipple procedure, possibly the best in the world, to operate on her. We had gone with doctors that were experienced in treating pancreatic cancer—in fact our primary oncologist’s father had the same illness Gee had. We had taken the best care of Gee that was possible—otherwise how was it possible that she went from 88 lbs. to 103 lbs. while undergoing chemotherapy leading up to the wedding. Her father, a pediatrician, had trusted me to make the right medical decisions for Gee and later told me that no one could have taken better care of his daughter than I did—something I consider a great honor.

With Lauren Elizabeth, I have done everything I could possibly do without help from her family. I put together the documentation of her illness as her mother asked me to do. I have tried to get that documentation to her mother, and given it several others that I hoped might be able to help Lauren Elizabeth get the treatment she needs. I have tried for seven months to get Lauren Elizabeth to realize how she is destroying her health, her future and everything I love about her. I have lost her and her family to the illness that consumes her, her brother and father. So, I have finally walked away—not because I don’t care about Lauren Elizabeth—not because I don’t honor the vows and commitments I have made to Lauren Elizabeth—but because I can do nothing further until Lauren Elizabeth herself asks for help.

I have no regrets about my decisions with respect to David, Gee or Lauren Elizabeth. I have done all I could, given the circumstances and the information I had at the time. If I had to do it all over again, I probably would do much the same as I have had, even knowing how things would turn out. These three, along with Shelley and my grandmother are the five people I love most in my life. I will always love them, and I miss them every day. I don’t have these regrets or doubts about Shelley or my grandmother because I had no part in making decisions for their care—I was merely someone who loved them and lost them.

I hope someday, the pain of losing Lauren Elizabeth Kelley will fade as much as the pain of losing David or Gee has. It has taken almost 25 years for the pain of my twin’s loss to be as bearable as it is, and over a decade for Gee’s loss—both of whom I think of and miss every day. Right now, it is too soon to know if that will ever be the case with Lauren Elizabeth. I mourn her and grieve for Lauren Elizabeth and the loss of our future—the Asians with freckles that our children would have been—and the amazing young woman that said “Sarangheyo” to me this past summer.

Dan @ 10:00 am
Filed under: Life with Ellie andlife with Gee andMy Life andpv andThoughts andTwinless Twins
Winter Projects 2012

Posted on Monday 6 February 2012

This week I’ll be starting the winter projects on s/v Pretty Gee. The two big projects are the new cabin sole lockers on the starboard side of the cabin and the new cabin overhead.

Cabin Sole Locker

The centerboard trunk on s/v Pretty Gee is offset slightly to the port side. As designed by the factory, along the port side of the centerboard trunk is the fresh water tank. It raises the sole about a foot compared to the starboard side of the cabin sole. My plan is to glass in the area alongside the starboard side of the centerboard trunk to match. This area really doesn’t require full standing headroom, especially since this same area is where the cabin table is normally located.

The cabin would still have six feet of standing headroom forward of the centerboard trunk/mast support post and aft of the centerboard trunk by the galley and nav console. This should allow enough room to change in and out of foul weather gear, as well as allow standing room when cooking in the galley.

Raising the cabin sole on the starboard side of the cabin alongside the centerboard trunk will give me nearly five more cubic feet of stowage in the cabin—centrally located down low. By storing heavy items, like tools and equipment, in the new locker will help keep the boat trim and balanced.

I plan to break the space up into three lockers, one of which will have the existing access into the bilge in it. The three lockers will be watertight, and will effectively convert the internal hull liner and aft-most locker into a crash bulkhead of sorts. If the main hull is holed, but the interior pan liner is not, the aft-most locker and hull liner pan will prevent water from filling the cabin—limiting it to the bilge and the third locker itself.

In normal use, the lockers should keep the contents dry and prevent them from moving in the case of a capsize.

While I am doing this, I will also be adding a partition across the entrance to the head compartment. This will convert the sole of the head into a suitable shower sump and allow me to setup a shower aboard s/v Pretty Gee in the head compartment. The drain for the shower is already plumbed, as I had requested the factory do this when the boat was built.

I will also be glassing in a protective housing for the knotmeter transducer, which is currently not protected from impact and installed through the cabin sole forward of the mast support post and water tank on the port side of the cabin, aft of the head compartment.

New Cabin Overhead

When I installed the new hardware to lead the halyards and other control lines aft to the cockpit, I had to cut away much of the vinyl cabin overhead liner. Instead of replacing it with the same material, I plan on glassing some furring strips to the cabin overhead. The furring strips will allow me to attach 1/8″ plywood panels to the cabin overhead. The plywood will be epoxy coated and then painted white and attached to t-nuts embedded in the furring strips by socket head screws.

In the space between the furring strips will be 3/8″ foam insulation and conduits for wiring. Along with large panels covering most of the cabin overhead, there will be smaller panels that will allow access to the deck hardware, which would be much more difficult to do with the vinyl type overhead. This will improve access to deck hardware for maintenance and repairs, increase the comfort of the cabin by adding insulation and make running wiring much simpler. There will also be several panels which cabin lighting will be mounted to.

Daniel @ 5:06 am
Filed under: Boat Projects
Honoring Commitments

Posted on Saturday 4 February 2012

image

Two symbols of commitment—the wedding band that Gee gave me and the turkshead bracelet I made for Ellie.

I wear them both to honor the memories of these two amazing women and to show the life-long commitment I made to each of them. Last summer, before I realized the extent of Ellie’s addictions, I promised to wear the turkshead bracelet until I could give it to her—the person it was intended for. While I doubt I will ever have a chance to give it to my beloved Ellie—I will still wear it as a symbol of what we once shared and of how much I love her and care for her.

I was looking forward to spending this Valentine’s Day with Ellie, but that I doubt that will be possible. I don’t even know if the beautiful young woman I love even exists any more. As far as I can tell, she has become a victim of her addictions and nothing is left of the feisty, stubborn, smart, strong and confident woman I love. I could not stand to see what her addictions have made her do—how they have destroyed everything I love about her—how her drug use and drinking is destroying her health, her mind, and her beauty.

I hope she realizes what her addictions are doing to her soon, while there is still a chance for her to save herself and the bright future she had lying before her last summer. I hope she acts in time to save all the hopes and dreams she had once told me about.

If she does as badly at school as I have predicted, it is very likely that she will be forced to drop out of the college she is at after this semester. I doubt, given her declining grades and erratic, drug-addicted, alcohol-induced behavior, that the school will give her a second chance at keeping her scholarship.

I am guessing that she will need to hit rock bottom before she ever admits she has a problem. The fact that she didn’t make Dean’s List last semester, that she didn’t even come close to making Dean’s List even though she was only taking four classes instead of the five she had been taking each semester her freshman year, doesn’t seem to have made it clear to her that she has a problem.

It is a sad fact that the staff at her college cares little or nothing for the students there. I had reached out to them to try and get help for Ellie and several of her friends, who are also in serious trouble with drugs and alcohol, to no avail. One of these friends I was concerned about has apparently dropped out of school and gotten a full-time job and an apartment, and is continuing to drink heavily and do drugs, much as Ellie has been doing.

Of all the people in Ellie’s life, I think I am the only one who hasn’t given up on her. Even though I have walked away, it doesn’t mean that I have given up on her. I have realized that she must make her decisions and live with the consequences of them. This is something she has to do for herself. I trust Ellie and believe in the woman I love, and I know she will do the right thing if she is capable of doing so.

But, when all is said and done, it is her life—and she can choose to live it or to destroy it. It is her choice to seek help or remain an drug-addicted alcoholic. She can choose to fight her addictions and try to save herself, her health, and the bright future she had before her last summer or she can choose to remain a pale shadow of her true self—limited by drugs and alcohol. Whatever she decides—I have honored my commitment to her—I have done all I can for her. I have tried to protect Ellie, even from herself. I can not help her or do anything more for her until she realizes she needs help and asks for it.

I hope Ellie knows that when I said I love her, I meant for forever and a day, because forever just isn’t long enough. I have loved her in some form for all of her life, and I always will love her. Love is eternal.

I have no regrets about making the decision to move on. I am moving on—for my own good and because it is what I think she would have wanted for me. If she wants me back in her life and decides she needs my help—Ellie knows how to reach me. She still has my e-mail addresses, cell phone number, and knows where I live. She has almost every possible way to contact me.

Just because I am moving on, it does not mean I have broken my vow to her or the promises I made her—if she should ever return to being the person I made those vows and commitments to I will keep them. She knows what she must do to make amends and that she needs to show me that she is serious about wanting me in her life. I will not settle for being anything less than being first and foremost in her life and sharing our lives together.

May God watch over her, 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.

Dan @ 2:46 pm
Filed under: Life with Ellie andlife with Gee andpv
Would I Do It Again?

Posted on Tuesday 31 January 2012

The Serenity Prayer or Neibhur’s Prayer starts with an almost universally recongized:

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

My friend Grant wrote that being a twin isn’t always easy, but he wouldn’t trade it for anything. I replied that that was true for most worthwhile things.

Losing my identical twin to drunk driver was very difficult and took me years to recover from. Yet, I wouldn’t trade being a twin for not having to go through all the pain and grief losing my twin brother caused me—because the joys of being a twin and being able to do things like pretending we were just him when talking to his girlfriend on the phone, or taking exams for him in high school… were too priceless to give up.

Being with Shelley after she was diagnosed with leukemia and helping her through her battles with that illness was very difficult, especially given our youth. But, in many ways, it was Shelley and dealing with her cancer that taught me what it meant to be committed to someone. Shelley also taught me much about what I know about unconditional love—both through loving her and seeing her love for me. The experience also proved invaluable when Gee was diagnosed many years later. In many ways, cancer is cancer, and what I learned about how families deal with it with Shelley made dealing with Gee’s illness so much less difficult.

After Gee’s death, when she finally lost her battle with pancreatic cancer, as we knew would likely be the case when she was diagnosed, an acquaintance asked me if I would do it all over again… For me, there was only one answer—“Yes.”

If I had to do it all over again, even knowing that I would lose Gee the way I did—I would do it all again because every day I spent with her was a gift to me—rare, priceless and unmeasurable. Having known her, having been blessed with her in my life was amazing.

It is hard to imagine that someone I knew only 23 months and one day would have such a deep and lasting impact on my life. Even though she has been gone for almost 11 years, six times as long as we were together, the changes she made in me still continue. My hope is that by the time I die, I am able to be one-tenth as gracious as the beautiful woman I married 12 years ago.

In many ways, losing Ellie parallels my losing Gee. Both were lost to illnesses that I could do nothing about. I had asked both to marry me before they were diagnosed—and both were most likely ill when I asked them to marry me. I think that the impact Ellie has had on my life does not seem as great as the one Gee had for several reasons.

A lot of the reasons why Ellie’s impact on my life has not seemed as great is because of how long I have known her. I have known her almost 20 years—so the impact she has had on me has been spread out over a far longer period of time.

Second, it was only in the past seven years that Ellie and I had become very close friends—much before that my relationship to her was more distant. Only when she grew older, and outgrew “THE BITCH” phase of her childhood, were she and I able to really be friends on our own terms.

Finally, much of what I could have learned from Ellie, I had already been taught by Gee, Shelley and my twin.

Unlike Gee or Shelley—most of my time with Ellie was not spent as part of a committed couple. In fact, she never did answer my proposal—not directly, probably because I confronted her about her drinking before she got a chance to see the ring I had bought her. It seems pretty clear to me that what she had done meant that she was at least seriously considering it as I have mentioned in previous posts. My commitment to her was based on her words and actions during the week following my asking her to marry me.

I have been asked if what the last eight months have cost me has been worth it—if my commitment to Ellie despite her addictions was worth the pain—emotional, spiritual and physical—that it has caused, and the price—financially, emotionally, spiritually and physically—it has incurred. While the answer isn’t as clear cut as it was with Gee, Shelley or David, I would still have to say yes.

While I do not know the final outcome yet—if all that I have tried to do for Ellie, including telling her how my feelings for her have grown and changed, help Ellie find the strength, will, and courage to beat her addictions—to return to being the incredible woman I love so much once again—it will have been worth it.

“You’ve changed so much. I guess that’s what happens. I wish you knew how much you changed me. I wonder if I changed you, if your life is different because of me. Because mine’s different. My God, you taught me so much, and now we don’t even talk to each other. I guess that’s what happens.” -anon

Unfortunately, most of the changes in Ellie, at least from my viewpoint, aren’t good ones. They have been caused by her succumbing to her addictions and are slowly destroying everything there was to love about Ellie. I hope that I have had some effect on Ellie—that somewhere deep beneath her addictions and lies—she still exists and the love we share has made a difference.

I love Ellie enough to want her to be healthy, happy and whole, even if it means she isn’t a part of my life any longer. I love her unconditionally, and having her in my life is a condition. I love her enough to let her go. I guess this anonymous quote, which I’ve edited slightly, says it all.

“Yes I love her. I love her more than anything else in this world and there is nothing that I would like better than to hold on to her forever. But I know it’s not for the best. So no matter how much my heart is going to break, I’ve got to let her go so she can know just how much I love her. Maybe if I’m lucky, she’ll come back, but if not, I can make it through this.”

I hope she knows that when I said I love her, I meant for forever and a day, because forever just isn’t long enough. I have no regrets about making the decision to move on. Just because I am moving on, it does not mean I have broken my vow to her or the promises I made her—if she should ever return to being the person I made those vows and commitments to, I will keep them. If she should want me back in her life or need my help—she knows where and how to find me and what she needs to do.

May God watch over her, 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.

Dan @ 12:47 pm
Filed under: Family & Friends andLife with Ellie andlife with Gee andMy Life andpv andThoughts
Wisdom From A Fox

Posted on Friday 27 January 2012

“Here is my secret. It’s quite simple: One sees clearly only with the heart. Anything essential is invisible to the eyes…It is the time you spent on your rose that makes your rose so important…People have forgotten this truth. But you mustn’t forget it. You become responsible forever for what you have tamed. You’re responsible for your rose….” said the fox.

I will miss my beautiful Irish rose and hope her thorns are enough to protect her, for I am not there to do so. I am responsible for her and I have done all I could for her. I have no regrets about making the decision to move on. Just because I am moving on, it does not mean I have broken my vow to her or the promises I made her—if she should ever return to being the person I made those vows and commitments to, I will keep them. If she should want me back in her life or need my help—she knows where and how to find me and what she needs to do.

May God watch over her, 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.

Dan @ 10:37 am
Filed under: Life with Ellie andMy Life andpv
A Handful of Dust

Posted on Friday 27 January 2012

I will show you fear in a handful of dust

—The Waste Land, T.S. Eliot

I don’t think that most people actually fear death, I think we fear that no one will notice our absence—that we will disappear without a trace. Ellie need never fear this, because she will always be missed by me. Though she still lives, in many ways, the woman I love appears to have passed on as surely as if her body had died. I would not call being a slave to the drugs and alcohol that she is addicted to living in any real sense.

In many ways, death is so much harder for those left behind, than it is for the person who dies. Gee knew this. Just before she died, Gee said she was sorry that the complications from her cancer were killing her. She apologized because she thought she would not be able to keep the promise she had made me the day we got engaged. I think this is why the Japanese have a saying:

Death is lighter than a feather, duty is heavier than a mountain.

Because, for those left behind, carrying on without their loved one is far more difficult than dying—yet it is what the ones they have lost would want for the people they loved.

I know this is true for Gee, as it is for my twin David and for Shelley, the first woman I ever lost. However, it is hard to say what Ellie wants. Unlike Gee, David, and Shelley—Ellie is not dead. She may still survive, buried somewhere under the layers of lies and addiction that have seemingly consumed her.

Part of me thinks that Ellie would want me to wait for her and be here to help her as I have promised. But I don’t even know if the Ellie I love even still exists. It certainly seems that she has fallen a victim of her illness—since I have seen no real sign of the smart, strong, confident, beautiful and stubborn Irish woman I love.

I still see glimpses of what might be the woman I love—but they are so fleeting it is hard to say whether they are really her or not. Little things—like collaging her jewelry box lid, buying fuzzy slippers with jingle bells on them, stopping for geese to cross the road and such—are tiny glimpses of the woman I love, but I do not know if they are real or just echoes of who the drug-addicted alcoholic used to be. These glimpses have gotten rarer and farther between as time has passed and I haven’t seen any in the most recent months. Like echoes, they are fading as they get farther from the woman I love.

Yet, I know she loves me and would not want me to stay if she is gone. She would want me to move on and get on with my life. If she has been lost to her addictions, as appears to be the case, she would not want me to waste time on the drug-addicted alcoholic wretch that is all that is left of her. She would not want me to see what her addictions have reduced her to—to see how far she has fallen from the strong, incredibly beautiful and confident woman I love.

I have been grieving for my beloved Ellie for a week now. It is still hard for me to accept that such a strong, stubborn and intelligent woman could have fallen to alcoholism and drug addiction as seems to be the case. It is hard for me to believe that my beautiful feisty-tempered, strong-willed Irish lass has let her addictions destroy who she is, destroy her health, and ruin her chance at the hopes and dreams she had told me about.

Part of me still hopes that she is as strong, smart and stubborn as I believe her to be—that somewhere beneath her lies and her addictions, she is still there—fighting to overcome her illness; fighting to once again become the amazing woman who loves me; fighting to save the bright future she had last spring.

I am moving on as I must, because I can not stay and watch Ellie’s addictions destroy everything I love about her. I know it is what Ellie would have wanted for me—because she loves me. However, Ellie knows where to find me if she wants me back in her life—if she wants my help in beating her addictions. If she proves herself by making amends for the lies she has told, and seeks me out and shows me that she wants me in her life—and has made a place for me beside her, I will return to help her as I have promised.

Even though it appears that Ellie has succumbed to her addictions, I am still as devoted and committed to her as I have ever been. If she ever shows me that she still exists and asks me for my help—I will help her fight her addictions and walk beside her on her long road to recovery. This is what I have promised the woman I love. This is my duty and responsibility to the woman that said “Sarangheyo” to me last June.

I was looking forward to spending this Valentine’s Day with Ellie. It would have been our first together as a couple, rather than as friends. But, I doubt that will ever happen now. I am still certain that Ellie is the woman Gee asked me to look for 11 years ago. I think it was not coincidence that Ellie’s first thoughts when I asked her to marry me were of my late wife Gee. The fact that I love Ellie more than I love Gee also says much about who Ellie is to me. I do not know why things have been so difficult for us, but I hope and pray for Ellie to become healthy again and to remember who we really are to each other. I trust that God has a reason for the trials he has put Ellie and me through.

May God be with Ellie and watch over her for me. I hope that God grants her the strength, courage and will to fight her addictions. I pray that God brings my beloved back to where she belongs—by my side.

Dan @ 9:33 am
Filed under: Life with Ellie andlife with Gee andMy Life andpv
Her Silence

Posted on Wednesday 25 January 2012

Update: Ellie has locked her social media accounts, so that confirms it. The woman I love is truly gone. If any part of her were still there fighting, she would have left that line of communication open, but it seems that she has finally succumbed to her addictions as I suspected. Goodbye my beloved, I miss you.

Ellie has gone silent in so many ways. I do not know why, but she has basically stopped posting for the most part—only posting five times in seven days, rather than five times a day, which was more the norm for her. If she thinks that she is getting better by not writing about what she is doing, she is mistaken. I seriously doubt that her silence means that has stopped her drinking or her drug use—just that she has stopped writing about it. If she truly wanted to get better, she would ask for help. I do not believe she has asked anyone for help.

In so many ways, her sudden silence is a confirmation that she is still doing what she has been doing for the past eight months. I can only hope she has finally realized how destructive the things her addictions have been making her do really are. I hope that she finally understands why I can’t stand by and watch what she is doing to herself any longer. Maybe she is finally embarrassed at what her addictions have made her do and what she has become.

Just because she has stopped posting about what her addictions have been making her do does not mean that she is no longer an addict—just that she is no longer honest enough to admit what she is doing to the world. Only by telling the truth—by facing the truth—can she ever hope to get better. The only real path to healing and recovery starts with admitting she has a problem and asking for help.

Unfortunately, there is a strong social stigma to alcoholism and drug addiction, just as there is with many of the mental illnesses that are often the underlying causes of drug addiction and alcoholism. This stigma is often stronger for women in this society than it is for men. There is the idea that boys will be boys which tolerates and explains such behavior in young men…but there is no such equivalent for young women.

In her brother’s case, the underlying cause was clearly his chronic depression. Once he began treatment for the chronic depression, his problems with alcohol and drugs stopped almost completely. In some ways this is good—he has managed to get back to college and keep a job finally. However, he has never admitted to having a problem with drugs and alcohol and probably does not believe that he has one, since his addictions are currently under control. This will probably come back to haunt him later—since he isn’t taking any steps to prevent a relapse into addiction. If his depression ever becomes uncontrolled or the treatment he is currently using fails, it is very likely that drugs and alcohol will take over his life once again.

Her new silence is just confirmation that nothing is left of the amazing woman I love. I believe she was keeping lines of communication open to me so that she could ask for help if she needed to. It appears that she isn’t even capable of that any longer. It confirms my decision to walk away as being the right one. If anything were left of the amazing woman I love, she would have sought me out—asked me to help her. She has not. If she honestly believed that I would abandon her, she really doesn’t understand how I feel about her or what she has come to mean to me.

Silence is denial. Silence is keeping things buried and in the dark—hidden from the light of discovery. There is no need for the truth to be silent—it can stand being examined in the light. Lies require silence. Denial requires silence. It is far easier to say nothing than it is to admit the truth—especially when one is an addict or mentally ill. It has always been far easier to stay silent than it has been to admit the truth. This is especially the case when the truth is ugly and harsh.

If Ellie truly wanted to get better, then admitting the truth of what she has been doing is only the first step. Admitting that she is an alcoholic and a drug addict is a necessity for her to get better. There is a reason that the first step in most of the twelve step recovery programs, like Alcoholics Anonymous is:

We admitted we were powerless over alcohol – that our lives had become unmanageable.

In many ways, I think her denial of her illness is one major reason she pushed me away. I was the only one who cared enough about her to tell her the truth, and she did not want to hear it. Of course, admitting the truth is the first step in fixing almost any problem—whether it is drug addiction, alcoholism, cancer, depression, faulty brakes on a car, bad wiring in a house, failing grades in school. If you can not admit what the problem is—then you can not ever begin to correct it.

Ignoring a problem will often have serious negative consequences in the long run—drug addiction and alcoholism are progressive diseases that destroy one’s brain, mind and body; cancer left untreated often becomes untreatable and kills, as does depression; faulty brakes on a car will put lives at risk; bad wiring in a house can lead to deadly fires; failing grades can lead to losing a scholarship and having to drop out of school.

The sooner one breaks the silence and admits the truth, the sooner one can get help and often the more likely it is that the problem will be easier to fix. This is especially true of progressive diseases like alcoholism, drug addiction and cancer—the longer they go untreated, the deeper the damage they do goes and the less likely it is that a recovery is possible.

Ellie is the woman I love. I trust her and know that she will do what is right if she can. I am leaving her to make her mistakes and to learn to make her own decisions, even if the consequences of those decisions may cost her. I must trust her and have faith in her. As much as I want to protect her, I can not. Her addictions are something that she must handle and choose what to do herself. No one can help her until she wants to help herself.

Ellie—I wish you were strong enough, brave enough, smart enough, and stubborn enough to fight your addictions. I always believed you were. I have faith in the woman I love—I know you are smart enough, strong enough, brave enough and stubborn enough to beat your addictions if you only wanted to. But, as far as I can see, you didn’t survive what the last eight months of being a drug-addicted alcoholic have done to you.

As I have said before—I have loved you in some form for all of your life. I will always love you. I just can’t stand to see what your illness has done to you—how it is destroying everything I love about you and making you so much less than you should be. There is a window for you to get help before you destroy your chances at the bright future you had last spring—before you lose your scholarship—before you ruin your health—before you lose yourself. The window is closing though, and I do not believe that you will be able to do anything to help yourself unless you start getting help soon—in many ways I think it may already be too late. Once that window closes, I will be gone—there will be nothing left for me here.

One reason I decided I have to walk away is that I can not tell if the things I have done are helping you or allowing you to stay in denial about being an addict and alcoholic longer. I can no longer tell what is enabling your illness and helping you keep yourself in denial that you are sick. If my last attempt to get you help results in you figuring out how to drink and do drugs in a way that doesn’t so adversely affect your education, then I will have enabled you, rather than helped you see you are ill. I do not want to be responsible for prolonging your illness, helping you deny that you are ill. If your silence is a result of the things I’ve said and done, then I have not helped you. The last thing I’d ever want to be is a part of your destruction—to ever bring harm or hurt to you. I have spent most of your life protecting you, caring for you and have loved you for all of it—but your illness makes it impossible for me to continue to do so.

This is who I love. This is how I want to remember you.

Ellie--cool, confident and beautiful--and she knows it as you can tell from her Mona Lisa smile.

Ellie--cool, confident and beautiful--and she knows it as you can tell from her Mona Lisa smile.

One thing that makes walking away from you so difficult is that I can not believe that someone as strong, stubborn, and smart as you could be so easily vanquished—I find it impossible to believe that your addictions could so easily overwhelm you. So, part of me holds out an impossible hope that you still exist—that you are still there fighting to save yourself, fighting to come back to me. But I can not stay—I can not help you—until you ask me to.

Goodbye Ellie. I miss you every day. I will always love you. I will pray for you every day, as I have for the past eight months. I pray and hope you will get better and come back to me, but I doubt that there is anything left of you—certainly nothing that loves me or cares for me that I can see. I will grieve for you, mourn for you and pray for you. May God watch over you, my beloved Ellie.

If you do still exist and do ever decide to fight for yourself—to fight to get your life back and become more than the drug-addicted alcoholic you have been for much of the past year—I will help you as I promised. You must make amends for the lies you have told—as I know the woman I love would want to do—and ask me for help. If you do so, I will walk beside you on your long road to recovery as I promised you and your mother. But it is up to you—you must come find me, make your amends, and ask me for help.

I will no longer be watching over you—I can not. It is your choice—your decision—one that only you can make for yourself. If you truly love me, you will come find me when you finally decide you need help. If you love me and want to see the future that we had talked about in June come to be—you will seek help soon—before you destroy everything.

Dan @ 10:18 am
Filed under: Life with Ellie andpv
Ellie RIP

Posted on Monday 23 January 2012

May my beautiful and beloved Ellie rest in peace.

For the past seven months, I’ve been holding out hope that she still lives—that the incredible woman I love and wanted to marry was not destroyed by her addictions. But it seems that this is not the case—it seems that my Ellie is truly gone. I had a conversation with an acquaintance about alcoholics and drug addicts. They believe that once an addiction takes a hold of a person they can never again be who they once were. If that is true, then the amazing woman I love is gone. I have certainly not seen any sign that she still exists since July.

I still find it hard to believe that someone who was so strong, so smart and so stubborn could be vanquished by her addictions in only seven months. But, I have seen no evidence that the proud, brilliant, beautiful, and sweet woman I love still survives. I was hoping that someone as smart, strong and stubborn she was could still be fighting her addictions—fighting to save herself; fighting to save the bright future she once had; and fighting to be with the man she loves once again. That is pretty clearly not the case.

My Ellie was proud of being a good student. She considered getting a good education very important. Her choice of colleges was very important to her—going to a Catholic college was important to her. Back in May, shortly before she succumbed to her addictions, she posted that she was proud to have made Dean’s List at her school two semesters in a row—her entire freshman year—while taking five courses each semester instead of the normal load of four.

Last semester, she was only taking four courses and did not make Dean’s List. Whatever her addictions have left has no anger, no outrage, no sense of shame at how poorly they did academically. Whomever she has become doesn’t seem to care that she is putting her scholarship at risk, or realize that if she loses the scholarship, she will have to drop out of the school she is at for financial reasons, if nothing else. Considering how important going to the particular college she is at was to her, she must surely be gone if she isn’t going to fight to save her scholarship.

My Ellie cared about herself. She cared about what other people thought of her. She cared about how she treated people—especially the people she loved. Whomever is inhabiting her body doesn’t care that her addictions are destroying her health and her beauty—both physical and spiritual. Whatever she has become doesn’t care that she is destroying her future. Whatever her addictions have turned her into doesn’t care that she has hurt people she loves; lied about people she loves; and disappointed the man she loves. It is pretty clear that she no longer cares about anything other than her next drink, her next blunt, her next buzz or her next high.

The photographs she has posted of herself clearly show how the drugs and alcohol have taken a toll on her. In her most recent photograph, she appears a bit jaundiced with red, watery, bloodshot eyes, and an almost gaunt, almost-anorexic appearance to her once-beautiful face.

Ellie posted this after a long night of work, drinking tea with her mother, and smoking weed--in her own words, she said: "Tired af...worked mad, smked mad, shower bathrobe bedtime night *"

Ellie posted this after a long night of work, drinking tea with her mother, and smoking weed--in her own words, she said: "Tired af...worked mad, smked mad, shower bathrobe bedtime night *"

The change is very dramatic, especially if you consider how different she looks from a photograph she took only a seven weeks earlier or so.

Ellie dressed to kill for the Harvest Ball in November.

Ellie dressed to kill for the Harvest Ball in November.

I am sure that the reason she has let her addictions gain the hold over her the way they have is because she no longer believes in herself—she no longer sees herself as the amazing, confident, strong, smart, and beautiful woman she truly is. She has let her self-doubts and her insecurities turn her into a pale, unhealthy, drug-addicted, alcoholic shadow of her true self. She has allowed her addictions to make her so much less than the woman I love. She has allowed drugs and alcohol to steal the love she has for me from us. It doesn’t seem to matter that I believe in her—that I know she is smart, beautiful, strong, confident, desirable and amazing in so many ways.

If Ellie can not see the damage she is doing to herself—if she can not see how her addictions have affected her as a student and are destroying any chance she has at the bright future and all her dreams and hopes that she once had—then surely, she must be dead. If she does not care that her addictions are destroying her health, her body and her looks—then she surely is a casualty of her addictions. If it does not matter that her addictions are hurting the people that love her, then all that is left is her body, and that is slowly being destroyed by her addictions.

Ellie—if you still exist at all—if you still love me as you told me dozens of times in two different languages—if you still love yourself at all please fight for yourself; fight for us; and fight for that future we talked about—the hopes and dreams you had told me of. Show me that you still are there—that you still love me—that you still want to make that future we talked about come true. I know you are smart enough, strong enough, and stubborn enough to beat your addictions—but only if you want to. Only you can fight your addictions and ask for help—no one else can make you do this—you must do it for yourself.

If you ask me to, I will walk beside you on your long road to recovery as I have promised. Please ask me to help you get the help you need—please let me help save the woman I love.

That you do not fight to save yourself; to fight for the love we have for each other; to fight to save the future we talked about tells me that you are a casualty of your addictions. Because either you are a casualty of your addictions or you do not think the love we have between us is worth fighting for—and I can not believe that.

I know the woman that loves me would fight for me just as fiercely as I have fought for her. I did not think there was anything that we could not face together. Together, you and I, are so much more than we could ever be apart. I guess I was wrong.

Unfortunately, I do not think enough of the woman I love survives to help herself—or to ask for help. I do not see you asking me for help in time to save yourself, your future, or your scholarship. I truly believe that if you lose your scholarship and have to drop out of the college you have picked for yourself, you will turn even more heavily to drugs and alcohol and likely seriously injure or kill yourself in the process. I can not stay and watch you do that.

I have done everything I can for you—more than anyone could rightfully expect—and there is nothing I can do now but walk away, since you will not help yourself.

I hope you wake up one morning and regret what you have done—at the pain and suffering you have caused—at how you have hurt me—and realize that the only reason I did all I did do was because I love you. I hope that some day you realize what you have thrown away. Somehow, I doubt either of those things will ever happen—because whatever it is that you have become doesn’t care about anything beyond her next drink or blunt. Whomever it is your addictions have made you is willing to sacrifice everything, including herself, to feed her addictions.

That is why I believe the woman I love is dead and gone—only her body, the physical shell she once lived in, remains. And, if God is merciful, that too will be gone soon. I doubt that my beautiful, caring, compassionate, smart, stubborn and sweet Ellie would want to live out her days for long as whatever it is your addictions have made you. This is not the path God would have chosen for you. You chose this path for yourself, and the woman I love would never have done that—she would have fought to save herself.

I can’t tell you how much I wish that you were here beside me—fighting to get better, fighting for us, and fighting for the future we had talked about in June. I am lost without you. Eventually, I will find my way again without you—but it will take time.

Ellie—I hope that you know I will mourn for you and grieve for you as I have for no one else—not even my own twin. While I was born a twin and will die a twin, it was never something I had a choice about. I chose you because you were so beautiful—in mind, body and spirit. I chose you because you could make me laugh and smile like no one else I’ve ever known. I chose you because you had grown into such an amazing woman—smart, strong, confident, beautiful, sweet, caring and gracious. I chose you because I have never loved anyone as long or as much as I love you. I have cared for you, protected you and guided you all of your life. I have loved you all of your life in some fashion—I always will.

I am moving on because it is what you would want for the man you love, because you love me. I am moving on because I can not stay to watch your addictions destroy what is left of you. I am moving on because I can not bear to see all your hopes and dreams that you had told me about die with you. Most of all, I am moving on because I can not bear to see the loss of our future together that we had talked about—like the Asians with freckles that our children would have been and will now never be.

Ellie—I pray that God loves you enough to grant you peace and show you mercy. I am sure that you are not on the path that God would want for you. I am sure that being a drug-addicted alcoholic is not God’s Will. I know that the woman that loves me would despise and loathe the thing you have become. I will pray for you as I have been doing and hope that you, my beloved, find peace.

Dan @ 4:20 am
Filed under: Life with Ellie andpv
Etta James, RIP

Posted on Friday 20 January 2012

Etta James, probably best known for her song At Last, just passed away. It’s sad to hear for me because Etta and At Last were what Gee and I picked for our wedding 12 years ago. We didn’t even have to discuss it…it was the first choice for both of us.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_1uunRdQ61M

Even today, over a decade later, I still get the occasional compliment on what a perfect wedding we had—how storybook perfect it was—even though there was a lot of chaos behind the scenes, like losing track of the wedding license in the confusion and running around of the very busy day. I was so proud of Gee because she was so strong and beautiful that day. Her gown was almost 40 lbs. of matte satin silk and freshwater pearls, but she carried it off. Most guests didn’t even realize that she had just recovered from her first round of chemotherapy earlier that fall. It was the happiest day of my life so far.

Gee and Dan dancing at their wedding reception, November 2000

Gee and Dan dancing at their wedding reception, November 2000

My real thanks go to my sister-in-law, Michelle, who had been living with us since that August. She was one of the real reasons I was able to keep my promise to Gee and why Gee was so healthy and strong that day.

I miss Gee everyday, but I know that my weather goddess is watching over me. I see her hand in the weather and hear her laughter and voice in the wind; feel her tears in the rain; and see her beautiful smile in the sunshine. She is one of my two guardian angels, and I know she is watching over Ellie as well, for no other reason than I love Ellie too.

Dan @ 9:12 pm
Filed under: Events andlife with Gee andMusic
Moved In—Moving On

Posted on Wednesday 18 January 2012

Ellie—

all moved in ! redesigning my pandora bracelet

I see that you’ve moved in to your dormitory. I see that you don’t care that your drinking and drug use affected your grades last semester. If nothing else—the fact that you don’t care about your grades, don’t worry about losing your scholarship and don’t care about your education—means that the amazing woman I love is surely lost to her addictions.

Since you clearly don’t care what I think anymore, and probably aren’t reading this blog any moreit is pretty clear to me that it is time for me to move on. It is what you would have wanted me to do if you had died—which you have in so many ways. You wouldn’t want me waiting around for the drug-addicted alcoholic you’ve become—because you wouldn’t think she is worth the pain, hurt and trouble that she causes me.

If redesigning your Pandora bracelet is the most important thing on your mind—then the woman I love is truly dead. She would be worried about her grades; how she did last semester; possibly losing her scholarship; and worried about how her drinking and drugs are affecting her health, her mind and body. These are pretty clearly things that you do not care about anymore..

The woman who loves me wouldn’t think much of the drug-addicted alcoholic that you’ve become. She wouldn’t want me to have anything to do with what you’ve become. She would agree that what you’ve become is nothing like the amazing, beautiful, smart and confident woman I love. She would be horrified at the things you’ve done and what you’ve become—at how you’ve hurt me and how you’ve lied about me.

The woman I love is proud—proud of herself; proud of her heritage; proud of her intelligence; proud of being a good student; and proud of her religious beliefs. She wouldn’t need to rely on alcohol and drugs. She wouldn’t doubt herself like you do. She wouldn’t let her insecurities and self-doubts feed her addictions the way you have.

The woman I love is intelligent—she knows that using drugs and drinking heavily is bad for her health; and she knows that education is important to her future. She would realize that she is destroying her future, her health and her body with the drugs and alcohol she has been abusing. She would realize she is risking her scholarship and future because of how the drugs and alcohol have affected her grades. She would stop for these reasons—to save her health, save her future, and keep the scholarship so she can stay at the school she chose for herself.

The woman I love cares—she cares about her health; she cares about her friends and family; she cares about her education; and she cares about what others think of her. She would care that she has lied about and hurt people who love her. She would care that she has disappointed people she loves. She would care that she did badly last semester and would want to prevent it from happening again this semester.

The woman I love is a good person—she is honest; she is compassionate; and she is generous. She would not lie. She would not hurt people she loves—who love her. She would care about what her actions have cost her friends and family. She would not have betrayed our friendship or the love we had for each other.

You are pretty clearly not the woman I love any more. You are clearly not the woman that loves me. She is strong, beautiful, smart, courageous, strong-willed and feisty. Whatever it is that you have become is weak, cowardly and apathetic.

The woman I love isn’t the drug-addicted alcoholic that lets people treat her like trash—or allow them to throw her away when they are tired of her.

The woman that loves me isn’t stupid enough to put her education or future at risk—wouldn’t trade that bright future for the temporary high of drugs or buzz of alcohol.

My beloved Ellie wouldn’t lie about the people she cares about. She wouldn’t hurt the people who love her. She wouldn’t let her addictions ruin her life, her looks, her health or her future. Most of all, my beloved wouldn’t give up on herself the way you have—she is too strong, too feisty, too brave, too smart and too proud of herself to be anything less than the best she can be.

I wish you good luck this semester. I doubt my wishes will do much, against your drinking and drug use. You will likely do so poorly that you lose your scholarship and when that happens—you will have no one to blame but yourself. When you have to drop out of school because you can no longer afford to go—you will have no one to blame but yourself. When your health starts to fail you because of the damage you’ve done to your body from your drugs and alcohol—you will have no one else to blame but yourself. When you hit rock bottom and end up in the hospital, in jail or living on the street—you will have no one to blame but yourself.

Finally, when you realize that there is no one that will stand by you—remember that you have pushed away the only person who loved you enough to try and get you helpthe only person that cared enough to see what you were doing to yourself, the only person who stood by you. Your family is one of alcoholics in denial—they can not help you. The people you call your friends right now are part of your problem—I doubt they will help you or stand by you—they have no commitment to you.

Everything I had predicted about your drug and alcohol use has come to pass…I warned your mother that if you didn’t get help before going back to school, you would spiral out of control and your grades would drop. I doubt I am wrong now. I know you far better than you know yourself in many ways—because I can see the truth—the truth that your addictions are blinding you about. I also love you, and that love gives me an insight into you that you no longer have—because you no longer love yourself.

I have tried to warn you. I have tried to help you. I have tried to protect you, even from yourself and your own addictions. I love you and always will. There is one last thing I can try. I will do this because I love you. Even if you hate me for doing it, it can not be any worse than what your addictions have done to us.

If by any chance, you do find the strength, will and courage to fight your addictions and need my help—I will be here for you, at least for a while longer. All you need to do is make your amends and ask me. You know how to reach me. I will not watch over you any longer. If you want my help—it is up to you to seek me out. I doubt this will happen. Everything I have seen has led me to believe you are truly a casualty of your addictions and that nothing remains of my beautiful, beloved, red-haired Irish woman but her body. She has died—though her body lives on—slowly dying in so many ways.

Be warned—I will not be here forever—I will be moving on. It is what you would want me to do, because who you used to be loved me and only wanted the best for me. That is why I asked you to marry me—to share my life with me—and to be the mother of our children.

Good luck and God be with you my beloved. May he watch over you, because I no longer will. I do not believe he can help you unless you help yourself. I would like to close with a prayer, one much like I say every night and every morning—one I will continue to say for some time to come, but not forever.

God Bless Ellie. May God be with my beloved Ellie. May He watch over her. May He guard her and protect her—even from herself.

May God grant Ellie the strength, courage and will to fight her addictions so she can again be the amazing woman she was once.

May He show her the truth about herself—so she can realize how incredible she truly is.

May He show her the damage drugs and alcohol are doing to her looks, her body and her mind.

May He return Ellie to the people who truly love her. May He show her how much i love her. May He bring Ellie, my beloved, back to me.

I pray that He deliver Ellie from evil—for drugs and alcohol surely must be evil.

And, if God can not do this, because Ellie has free will and has chosen to stay on the path of alcoholism and drug addiction she has been on for the last seven months, may He grant her mercy and peace.

Dan @ 4:40 am
Filed under: Life with Ellie andpv
Last Chances

Posted on Tuesday 17 January 2012

Ellie—

I don’t even know if you still read my blog. Given that you haven’t said anything or done anything about what I’ve tried to tell you, I am guessing that you aren’t reading my blog any more or don’t care what I say anymore.

If, by chance, you are still reading this blog and care about what I have to say, please read all the posts and comments I have written for you.

I know you are brave enough, strong enough, smart enough and stubborn enough to beat your addictions once you realize you have a problem with drugs and alcohol. I know if you get angry enough about what your addictions have done to you—how they are destroying your health, your future and making you so much less than you should be—you could easily fight your addictions with your feisty spirit and stubborn will.

A card for Ellie

click on image for a larger version

Please help yourself. Please ask me to help you. I hope you will click on this image and print it out, so that you can remember who you truly are supposed to be. I hope that you will carry it with you to remind yourself of how strong, confident and beautiful you really are. I hope that you will read it and remember that I truly do love you just because you are the amazing woman you are.

I think this may be your last chance to save yourself. I truly believe that if you start classes tomorrow without having gotten help, you will fail your classes and lose your scholarship. I know that if you lose your scholarship, you won’t be able to stay at the college you have chosen to attend. I hope you recognize that you have a drug and alcohol problem soon and ask for help when you do.

This may be the last chance for you to salvage your future, your health and the courageous, beautiful, smart Irish woman I love. Whether you realize it, you are doing damage to your brain, digestive tract, liver, kidneys, lungs and heart. Some of this damage is permanent. Some of it will reverse itself if you stop doing more damage—but you have to stop.

This may be the last chance you have to save the future you and I had dreamed about back in June. You said you love me—if the woman who loves me still exists—please save yourself. If you want to see the adorable Asian with freckles children we would have—ask me for help. If you want to marry me still—fight for yourself.

This may be your last chance to stop drinking and doing drugs before you lose your scholarship, destroy your future and any chance of keeping all hopes and dreams you once told me about alive. If you still care about your education and have any pride in being a good student, please do something to help yourself.

I have removed a majority of the Life with Ellie posts from my blog. I will be removing more of them tonight and tomorrow. A few of them will remain as reminders to you—should you ever need or want them—reminders of who we are to each other; reminders of the love you and I have shared; and of the truth you have been denying since July.

If you decide that you ever want to read the rest, let me know and I will give access to them. I doubt you ever will. I doubt you will ever read any of these posts, since your addictions have taken too strong a hold on you. I really doubt that you, my beloved Ellie, have survived the last seven months of drug addiction and alcoholism.

If you should ever find the strength, courage and will to fight your addictions—if you make your amends and come see me, I will be here for you, as I have promised. I will always love you—as I always have.

This is all I have to say to my beautiful Ellie today. There is only one more day before classes start and I must walk away.

This is not to say I am abandoning you, my beloved Ellie. It is not a choice I have. I simply can not stand by and watch you complete your downfall—see you ruin the bright future you once had open before you—see you destroy all the hopes and dreams we had once talked about—see the destruction of all I love about my beautiful red-haired Irish lass—watch you throw away the future we talked about together.

I would like to close with a prayer, one much like I say every night and every morning.

God Bless Ellie. May God be with my beloved Ellie. May He watch over her. May He guard her and protect her—even from herself.

May God grant Ellie the strength, courage and will to fight her addictions so she can again be the amazing woman she was once.

May He show her the truth about herself—so she can realize how incredible she truly is.

May He show her the damage drugs and alcohol are doing to her looks, her body and her mind.

May He return Ellie to the people who truly love her. May He show her how much i love her. May He bring Ellie, my beloved, back to me.

I pray that He deliver Ellie from evil—for drugs and alcohol surely must be evil.

And, if God can not do this, because Ellie has free will and has chosen to stay on the path of alcoholism and drug addiction she has been on for the last seven months, may He grant her mercy and peace.

Dan @ 3:28 pm
Filed under: Life with Ellie andpv
A Card for Ellie…

Posted on Monday 16 January 2012

Ellie—

I don’t even know if you still read my blog. Given that you haven’t said anything or done anything about what I’ve tried to tell you, I am guessing that you aren’t reading my blog any more or don’t care what I say anymore.

If, by chance, you are still reading this blog and care about what I have to say, please read all the posts and comments I have written for you.

I know you are brave enough, strong enough, smart enough and stubborn enough to beat your addictions once you realize you have a problem with drugs and alcohol. I know if you get angry enough about what your addictions have done to you—how they are destroying your health, your future and making you so much less than you should be—you could easily fight your addictions with your feisty spirit and stubborn will.

A card for Ellie

click on image for a larger version

Please help yourself. Please ask me to help you. I hope you will click on this image and print it out, so that you can remember who you truly are supposed to be. I hope that you will carry it with you to remind yourself of how strong, confident and beautiful you really are. I hope that you will read it and remember that I truly do love you just because you are the amazing woman you are.

Look at what your drug use and drinking is doing to you:

  • how your addictions are taking a clear toll on your beautiful face and body;
  • how your drug use and drinking are causing you to destroy your dreams and future;
  • how drugs and alcohol have made you something so much less than the smart, beautiful, confident, strong woman you once were—something other than the woman I love;
  • how the path drugs and alcohol have led you down has turned you into a selfish, materialistic creature that cares only for her next high or next buzz;
  • how your addictions have made it possible that you could trade your beautiful body for the drugs and alcohol they require;
  • how drugs and alcohol have made you lie about and hurt people you love—who love you;
  • how your addictions have made you try to be someone and something you truly are not—you are not the gangsta bitch you’ve been trying to be the last seven months.

Wake up and see what your addictions are doing to you before they rob you of your bright future, ruin your health, and destroy your beautiful face, body and mind.

You’ve always been proud that you were a good student and prized a good education highly. Last May, before your real problems with drinking and drugs started, you posted:

made ***********’s dean’s list 2nd semester in a row taking 5 classes each time :)))) makes the shadows from yesterday seem not so important !

Ask yourself what happened to your grades last semester. Did you make Dean’s List this past semester? No, I didn’t think so. Yet, you were only taking four classes from what I know.—so why do you think that is?

I know religion was important to you. In fact, going to the college you are at was so important to you that you posted about it. You said:

sweet how my dad thinks i want ******** just for the name. going to a catholic school actually means something to me

You posted about God’s Will and God’s Grace—yet do you really think God would want you—one of His beloved Children—to be a drug addict and an alcoholic. Is that what you think God’s plan for you is? Have you become that fucking stupid? Whose plan do you think it was for you to be a drug-addicted alcoholic—if it wasn’t God’s?

Look at your recent photos? Do you look healthy in them? Do you look happy in them? Your eyes are bloodshot and watery in most of them. You look like you’ve been crying and have unshed tears in your eyes? Why is that?

You have always prided yourself on being a healthy person. Why do you have trouble sleeping now? Why do you need to smoke marijuana just to get some sleep many nights? Why do you look gaunt and almost anorexic in your most recent photos?

You have always been a fairly happy person. You’ve posted recently that you love your life. So why aren’t you smiling in the recent photos I’ve seen of you—not the fake smile that you have been doing since July, but your real one, where your whole face lights up and it brightens the room you are in.

You were in a car accident recently—that’s the only way you could have a rental car—because you’re too young to rent one yourself. What were the circumstances of the accident? Were you drunk, high or exhausted at the time it happened? Do you realize how lucky you are that you weren’t seriously injured or killed?

There are so many clear warning signs, yet you seem to be ignoring them all. Why are you being so fucking stupid? Why are you letting your insecurities and self-doubts destroy you? Why are you letting yourself become a drug-addicted alcoholic?

Talk to your local parish priest before you go back to school. I have. I gave him the documentation your mother asked me to put together this past summer, so your mother could read it. He read it and was worried about you too.

If I sound angry at you, it is because I am. I hate the fact that you’re allowing your addictions to destroy the woman I love—you. I hate that you have gotten so weak and uncertain about what an incredibly strong, beautiful and smart woman you are that you are allowing your doubts to feed your addictions.

I am angry because I am scared of losing the amazing woman I love to drugs and alcohol. I am angry because the thought of losing you to your addictions and having to walk away and abandon the woman I love most terrifies me. I am scared that you will get killed in a drunk driving accident—and that I will have no one else to blame but you—because you were driving drunk yourself.

After I told you I wanted to marry you, you said you loved me in two different languages dozens of times. You talked about adoring Asians with freckles and what you wanted to name our children. We talked about waiting until you graduated from college to get married. We talked about starting a life together. You asked to see the claddagh ring I bought for you. I can not believe that you would do all this unless you wanted to marry me—spend the rest of our lives together. I am sure that is why you pushed me away when I confronted you about your drinking.

If you don’t remember who we are to each other—what the truth of our relationship is—that we have loved each other, cared for each other, and been friends for all of your life—I would ask you when was the last time you truly laughed the way you do when we are together?

This is who we are together—who I am to you:

  • Who else would offer to help you out of the green slime in the pool if you fell in, but only after laughing about it?
  • Who else loves you and knows you well enough to blow raspberries on your sleek, beautiful stomach to wake you up in the morning?
  • Who else would want to kiss every one of your freckles to count them?
  • Who would bake you cheesecakes and bring you iced coffees because he loves to see the smile on your face when you see that he has brought them for you?
  • Who else would go through all the pain and suffering you have caused this summer and still love you?
  • Who else would put up with the lies you’ve told and the horrific things you’ve done and still want to marry you?
  • Who else would stay up late saving the files off your broken computer and getting them to you so you’d have them to study for your finals?
  • Who else would give you a safety kit so that you can take care of yourself and your car in an emergency?
  • When was the last time someone loved you enough to tickle you and tease you the way I do?
  • Who else would give you a red fleece cape and walk in the midnight mists with you down on the Cape?
  • Who took you to Cracker Barrel and so many other places, just to spend time with you and spoil you rotten?
  • Why would you rub my shoulders and neck to ease my pains and hurt if you didn’t love me?
  • Why would you text me half-a-dozen times to make sure I would be at your birthday dinner that evening if you didn’t want me there?
  • Why would I drive the hour from Fairhaven to Boston to be at your birthday dinner if I didn’t love you?
  • Who else would you tell all your secrets, dreams, hopes and ambitions to—talking until the sun arose behind us?
  • Why would you squeal with excitement and delight when you see I’ve brought you a gift from my travels?
  • Why would I stay up late at night worrying about you, and praying for your safety?

This is what we mean to each other. We care about each other, we love each other—if you can’t see it, then your addictions are blinding you to the truth. I love you, I love your smile and I love your laughter most of all. While it isn’t me tickling you in this video, it is my fault they are. I really should have rescued you, but that was before I realized how much I truly love you.

We are better and stronger together than we are apart. You make me want to be a better person than I am without you. I know you want to be a better person when you are with me than when you are alone. We are so much greater than ourselves when we are together, because we love each other. This is so much more than the broken partnership your parents have. Your father is not capable of loving anyone the way I love you.

This is all true—so, if you do love me—fight to come back to me. Fight for the children we would have—the Asians with freckles you so adore. Fight for the future we had talked about. Fight for the dreams and ambitions you have always told me you had. You can do it. But only you can do it.

If you should ever realize you have a problem with drugs and alcohol, and you want to get help—I hope you will remember my vow to you. I love you and will help you if you make your amends and ask me for help. I can not help you unless you make your amends first—because of a choice you made.

You will have to show me that you have made a place for me in your life—right beside youand show me you want to be my partner and friend once more. You must show me that you want me beside you—sharing our lives and working together to help you get better. You must show me that you are as committed to me as I have been to you.

If I see you have come back to me and are fighting your addictions, there is nothing that will stop me from being with you—walking your long road to recovery with you as I have promised. There is nothing I will not do to help you get better—to help you beat your addictions.

If you ask me to I will guide you when you feel lost or confused; support you when you stumble or fall; carry you when your strength fails; protect you when you feel threatened or scared; and most of all—to love you—more, each and every day. This is what I promised you back on June 22nd, when I first told you I wanted to marry you and how my feelings for you had grown.

This is what I have done for you almost all of your life—with the difference that I want to now do it as your soulmate, your partner, your husband—rather than as just your friend.

You are mi querencia. You are mo chuisle mo chroi. You are my home and haven. You are my partner and better half. I can not abandon you. I will not abandon you. This I promised you and your mother. But I need to know you still exist. I need to see that you want what I have to offer you and that you are willing to fight for yourself—fight to get better. I need you to decide you want me in your life once again.

School starts soon, and I fear for you.

You are moving back to school today and it seems unlikely that you will get the help you need before your classes start. I wish you good luck and hope you do well, but if you are drinking and getting high like you were last semester, I doubt my wishes will do much for you.

I hope you realize you need help before the semester is too far along and while you can still salvage your grades, your scholarship and the pride you normally have in your education and in yourself as a student.

Act now, time is running short—so act soon—before you destroy your future, your health, and yourself—the woman I love.

I know that God can not help you Ellie unless you choose to let him. Unless you seek help first—no one can help you—not God, not me, not your family. It is a choice you have to make. It is a decision with consequences you will have to live with. I have tried to warn you of what the consequences of your choices can be.

You can choose to be the drug-addicted alcoholic you have been for seven months.

You can choose to fight your addictions and be the amazing woman I love once again.

Those are the two choices that I see before you. You have to choose. You have to live with the consequences of your choice. Not choosing is a choice in itself—it will leave you on the path to self-destruction through drugs and alcohol that you are currently on.

This is all I have to say to my beautiful Ellie today. There are only two more days before classes start and I must walk away.

This is not to say I am abandoning you, my beloved Ellie. It is not a choice I have. I simply can not stand by and watch you complete your downfall—see you ruin the bright future you once had open before you—see you destroy all the hopes and dreams we had once talked about—see the destruction of all I love about my beautiful red-haired Irish lass—watch you throw away the future we talked about together.

I would like to close with a prayer, one much like I say every night and every morning.

God Bless Ellie. May God be with my beloved Ellie. May He watch over her. May He guard her and protect her—even from herself.

May God grant Ellie the strength, courage and will to fight her addictions so she can again be the amazing woman she was once.

May He show her the truth about herself—so she can realize how incredible she truly is.

May He show her the damage drugs and alcohol are doing to her looks, her body and her mind.

May He return Ellie to the people who truly love her. May He show her how much i love her. May He bring Ellie, my beloved, back to me.

I pray that He deliver Ellie from evil—for drugs and alcohol surely must be evil.

And, if God can not do this, because Ellie has free will and has chosen to stay on the path of alcoholism and drug addiction she has been on for the last seven months, may He grant her mercy and peace.

Dan @ 6:09 am
Filed under: Life with Ellie andpv
Insecurities and Self-Doubts

Posted on Sunday 15 January 2012

I found this on Facebook. I think that Ellie really needs to read it and listen to what it says. I have edited it slightly for grammatical and spelling errors.

INSECURITIES!!!

Insecurities are not feelings we are born with, but some feelings we pick up during our lifetime, based on other people’s opinions about us, which to be honest are from people who are not happy with themselves in anyway or have their own issues and struggles. They have to make us feel inferior so, they can connect with their own issues and imperfections. Telling us how imperfect we are, they avoid looking at themselves.

Where does that leave us in our own insecurities? It is time we start to put our foot down and say NO MORE, we will not carry around other people’s opinions about us. Especially when they are only true from their point of view. It is time we cast out all our old Insecurities and embraced the new us that we are meant to be.

One good way to do this is through affirmation—to know in your heart you are worthy of love, kindness and affection, just the same as anyone else. We are the only ones that can protect ourselves from insecurity and others opinion….

Affirm yourself every morning—I am intelligent, successful, beautiful and unique. There is no other person like me on this world and God doesn’t make MISTAKES!!!!

Let your soul soar and fly high! MY SOUL IS LEARNING to soar and fly high come with me is beautiful!!!!!!

I have known Ellie for her entire life. She is one of the most beautiful, smart, successful and amazing women I have ever met. That is why I love her so much. That is why I have walked through fire and pain for her. That is why I have tried to help her. That is why I want to spend the rest of my life with her. That is why I asked her to marry me.

At one point, she clearly knew she was beautiful, strong, and smart. It shows in her face, in the way she carries herself and in her smile. This photo, of all the ones I have of her, shows it the most clearly in my opinion.

Ellie--cool, confident and beautiful--out for dinner with me and her family.

Ellie--cool, confident and beautiful--out for dinner with me and her family.

Yet, something happened, and it appears to have happened in the last year, to cause her to doubt that she is beautiful, lovable, desirable, intelligent and strong. She is no longer comfortable in her own skin—no longer comfortable being who she really is. She hides behind drugs and alcohol and tries to be something she was never meant to be. And doing this is killing the amazing woman I love.

I blame Ian, her first serious boyfriend for cheating on Ellie. That happened about a year ago as I understand it. I’d point out that Ian’s inability to be faithful to a beautiful and intelligent woman like Ellie says far more about him than it does about her. It is his weakness and flaws that caused him to cheat, not anything Ellie did or any flaw of Ellie’s. Some men just don’t know how to be faithful or keep a commitment. The woman he cheated on her with was nowhere near as beautiful as Ellie, though some might say my opinion is biased.

I blame some of the “friends” she has. People like Chelsey, Jarrod, Suzy and LeeLee, who have all fed her addictions without any regard to what doing so was doing to Ellie.

Of course, she has chosen to surround herself with these people—to call them her friends. She has forgotten something I’ve told her time and time again.

Let go of those who bring you down and surround yourself with those who bring out the best in you.

Instead, her addictions have made her surround herself with people that bring her down and feed her addictions, and push away the people who love her and want the best for her.

I want her to know:

The only people worthy to be in your life are the ones that help you through hard times, and laugh with you after the hard times pass.

The people she has surrounded herself with now will never standby her. They have no commitment to her and do not love her. They have used her and made her so much less than she should be.

Most of all, I blame her family for not giving me a chance to help the woman I love. I blame them for not supporting me in trying to get Ellie the help she needs. They are the people that should love Ellie the most. They are the people that should want to help her the most.

I blame them because they are all in denial of Ellie’s illness, even though her mother asked me to talk to her brother about his drug abuse, alcohol abuse and chronic depression just two years ago. It amazes me that they can not see what she has been doing to herself. I blame them because the did not care enough about Ellie to see the kind of people she was bringing into her life—the ones that have the same problems with drugs and alcohol that she and her brother have.

I blame her parents, who have abandoned their parental responsibilities to her since she was 13 or 14.

I blame her father who has been emotionally abusive to her mother and her for most of her life. The fact that her father has this same clipping up in his office says a lot about his attitude towards women, especially his wife.

The Good Wife's Guide from 1955

The Good Wife's Guide from 1955

I blame her brother for not being able to see past his own illness and recognize that she has the same affliction.

This is what she has let herself become:

420 is stoner slang for smoking marijuana, and it certainly looks like Ellie is toking on a joint.

420 is stoner slang for smoking marijuana, and it certainly looks like Ellie is toking on a joint.

This shows the toll her addictions have take on her looks.

Ellie posted this after a long night of work, drinking tea with her mother, and smoking weed--in her own words, she said: "Tired af...worked mad, smked mad, shower bathrobe bedtime night *"

Ellie posted this after a long night of work, drinking tea with her mother, and smoking weed--in her own words, she said: "Tired af...worked mad, smked mad, shower bathrobe bedtime night *"

The damage to her spirit, mind and internal organs can not be seen, but is there nonetheless. Does she look happy? Does she look confident? Does she look like she even cares? The answer to all that is no.

Now, that photo was taken at 0230 in the morning after a long day…so one might think that is the reason for her appearance. But I know it is not. Here is a photo of her taken even later at night after an even longer day.

Ellie wearing the fleece cape I gave her around 0300 in the morning.

Ellie wearing the fleece cape I gave her around 0300 in the morning.

While she is clearly tired in this photo, she doesn’t look apathetic or exhausted—she looks happy. This photo was taken at 0344 in the morning, after we had come back from a long walk in the early morning mist while down at the Cape. She was comfortable with who she was then, even though she was heavier and less physically fit than she is now—she was far healthier in so many ways. In my opinion, she is far more beautiful in this photo than she has been in any of her recent ones.

Ellie used to have such great goals for her life. She had dreams and ambitions.

Steve Jobs on crazy dreamers

Steve Jobs on crazy dreamers

She was one of the people that Steve Jobs talked about—one of the ones crazy enough to change the world. She wanted to leave her mark on the world and I believed in her. That is why I always supported her dreams and wanted to help her make them come true.

All those great dreams, those great goals, those lofty ambitions, have died because of her addictions. It isn’t that she doesn’t have them anymore. It is because her addictions have changed her into someone that doesn’t have the will, the courage, the strength or the drive to accomplish them. What her addictions have made her doesn’t even have the courage to try or love herself enough to want to change.

Why she has forgotten how beautiful, smart and strong she is I can’t understand. I have always told her what an incredibly beautiful, smart, stubborn, feisty spirited and strong woman I see in her. She has something most people will spend their lives searching for and many never find:

The greatest challenge in life is to find someone who knows all your flaws, differences and mistakes and yet still sees the best in you.

The greatest challenge in life is to find someone who knows all your flaws, differences and mistakes and yet still sees the best in you.

The tragic part is that she has someone that knows how incredible she is—even though he knows all of her flaws, her differences and seen the mistakes she can make. She has someone who knows she is beautiful, smart, and strong. She has someone who believes in her and will always help her do whatever she sets her mind to—me.

Even now, I still see the incredible woman I love beneath the damage her addictions have caused. I have been one of her closest friends for many years. She has trusted me with her dreams and secrets. I have known her all her life. I have seen her at her worst, and yet still I want to marry her—spend the rest of my life with her. Still, I love her—even after all the horrific things her addictions have caused her to do and say. I have seen her when she was younger, playing the part that earned her the nickname “THE BITCH” from her family—and I still love her.

I wish she would: Work her hardest. Think her smartest. Dream her biggest. Be her greatest. Love her fullest. Smile her brightest!

But she has stopped working to be her best. She has stopped thinking. She has stopped dreaming. She has stopped loving anyone, including herself most of all. And I have not seen the beautiful smile since June—the smile that I would do anything for her just to see it light up her face.

One recent post I saw said:

Love which has been tested by distance and obstacles, and has passed, is called true love.

I think the love I have for Ellie has been tested enough to claim the right to be called true. The commitment I have shown her, the loyalty I have towards her and how I have fought against all odds to try and get her help say it all.

I wish she would believe me. I wish she would see that I only want for her to realize she is ill and ask for help in getting better. She is destroying everything I love about her. She is letting her addictions turn her into something that she should despise and be horrified by. She is letting her addictions destroy her future, her health and her body.

If she wants me to help her, all she needs to do is show me that she wants my help by making her amends for the lies she has told and then asking me to help her. If I see that she is fighting to get better, there is nothing that could stop me from helping her. But she has to ask. I can not fight for her alone any longer. I have tried that for seven months. It has cost me in so many ways.

If she is not willing to fight to save herself, I can not help her. She needs to be there, fighting alongside me.

Even God can not help her if she is not willing to help herself. I doubt that it was ever God’s Will that she become an alcoholic or a drug addict. I doubt it was ever God’s Will that she not know what an amazing person she is. After all, she was created in His image. But, she was given the gift of free will, and she has chosen to follow the path of addiction and alcoholism that she is on. God’s Grace can not protect her from herself.

In three days, I will give up on my beloved Ellie. That is the day she starts back to school. I am sure that if she has not gotten help by then, she is truly lost. Her addictions will cause her to lose her scholarship and she will no longer be able to attend the school she is at. She will be forced to drop out because she can not afford to go there any longer. The blow to her self-image, given how important attending this college was to her, will be enormous. I fear that she will turn even further into self-medicating with alcohol and drugs. I will not stand by and watch her destroy all that I love about her.

So, I have started to put away what I have written about her on this blog. I do not believe she is reading any of it any more. Even if she is, it is pretty clear that she doesn’t care about what I have said, that she doesn’t believe the clear evidence I have tried to show her. Her addictions are too strong. I would not believe that my strong amazing stubborn Irish lass would fall to them.

I need no reminders of what I have lost—of what we have lost. I need no reminders of the tragedy that has befallen the woman I asked to marry me back in June.

I need not see the words I have written to try and warn her to get help—to ask me for help—knowing that if she loved me enough she would. What I didn’t realize is that drug-addicts and alcoholics love nothing but the drugs and alcohol their addictions crave. Unless she finds the strength, courage and will to stop being a drug-addicted alcoholic, that is all she can be.

I know she is strong enough, courageous enough and stubborn enough to beat her addictions. What I don’t know is if she will ever find the will to try. I keep hoping she will. I keep hoping she will see something is wrong and ask me for my help.

One recent post I saw said:

Have you ever noticed that the more special you treat someone, the more that someone takes you for granted? as if you won’t ever change.

I guess that’s been very true for me and Ellie. She has taken me for granted. She doesn’t realize that I love her, but will walk away when it appears that she has become a victim of her addictions. Even as much as I love her, I can’t stay and watch her slowly die.

I have failed my beloved Ellie. I do not know what I could have done differently, but no matter, I feel that I have failed the amazing woman who loves me. I know this doesn’t make much sense—I know that I have done everything I possibly could have to try and get her help; to try and get her to see that she is ill and needs help. But, nevertheless, I still feel I have failed her, much the same way I felt I had failed to save Gee. I keep thinking that maybe if I had loved them both more perfectly or cared about them more, things would have turned out differently. I know that isn’t true.

Nothing could have saved Gee—and nothing I can do will save Ellie. She must save herself. I can help her, but she must be the one who starts the process. She can ask me for help—but unless she does, I can’t help her any more. That she doesn’t love herself enough to save herself is why I have to walk away.

It is proof that the woman I love—the proud, courageous, strong, ambitious, smart, beautiful, stubborn, feisty, and sexy woman I love doesn’t exist any more. If she did still exist, her anger at how she did last semester should have outraged her and caused her to want to change—forced her to face the reality that her addictions are affecting her mind, her ability to learn and her education—all things she was proud of.

Aliens erased my brain with Weed and Alcohol.

Aliens erased my brain with Weed and Alcohol.

She may think this when she finally realizes she has a problem, but in reality the only one she has to blame is herself. No one forced her to drink or smoke weed. She’s far too stubborn a woman for that to have worked.

But she’s not angry about her grades—not that I can see. She’s not angry about how Jarrod had used her and thrown her away. She’s not angry about how Ian cheated on her.

The woman I love would stop drinking and doing drugs because:

  • it affects her ability to learn;
  • it affects her mind;
  • it makes her lie about the people she loves;
  • it makes her hurt the people who she loves most;
  • it drives away the people who love her most;
  • it is destroying her beautiful body and face;
  • it is damaging her health—destroying her brain, her liver, her lungs, her digestive tract, her heart and her kidneys;
  • it has made her become something I know she would despise—something I can not stand—a drunk driver;
  • it has made her so much less than she should be; and
  • most of all, because it has made her doubt herself and not love herself.

She has not, and that is why I believe that my beloved Ellie is a victim of her addictions.

That is why I have to walk away from the wretched thing she has become. She is no longer Ellie—the woman I love. She is no longer Ellie—the woman that loves me. She is no longer the beautiful, confident, smart, ambitious, feisty-spirited, fiery-tempered Irish woman I love. She is just the abandoned shell. In so many ways, she is already dead, but her body just hasn’t finished dying yet.

I know that Ellie would want me to move on, to continue with my life—because, like Gee, Ellie loves me and only would want the best for me. So I will learn to live without her—someone who has been a part of my family and my life for nearly 20 years—someone I wanted to spend the rest of my life with.

I will mourn her and grieve for her as I have mourned and grieved for no other, even as she continues to destroy herself. I have never loved anyone as much as I love my beloved Ellie, nor loved anyone as long as I have my beloved Ellie. I doubt I ever will. I will not stay to watch her complete her self-destruction. Then again, I do not believe Ellie would want me to see what her addictions have turned her into—after all, that is why she pushed me away this past summer—because she loves me and did not want me to see.

May God be with my beloved Ellie. May He watch over her. May He guard her and protect her—even from herself. May He grant her the strength, courage and will to fight her addictions and return to being the amazing woman she once was. May He deliver her from evil. May He return her to the people who truly love her. May He bring her back to me.

Dan @ 11:08 am
Filed under: Life with Ellie andpv