I like the analogy of the waves and grief; how in the first days and months of grieving the waves are 100 ft high and they just keep coming, you can’t catch your breath and you feel like your drowning. That’s the reality and how I felt for almost the entire first year after Derek died.
The waves still come but they are smaller and they don’t come as often now. But when they do it takes me back to the day that I lost my beautiful Son. The other night I took Derk out before we went to bed, as soon as we got outside it started raining pretty hard and I looked up at the sky and I lost it. The tears were pouring as hard as the rain and I fell to my knees asking Derek why? Why did you have to go? It lasted for about 10 minutes and the tears stopped as quickly as they started.
I think of Derek all of the time, several times of every single day. Sometimes the memories make me sad and sometimes I still don’t believe that he’s really gone. He’s just living in Philly, with Sam, and he’s busy with work and that’s why I don’t hear from him. Sometimes when I remember him I remember the emaciated addict that hasn’t showered or eaten for days and I feel a pain in my heart because I knew that he was in so much pain and I couldn’t take it away.
Have you ever really looked into the eyes of an addict in active addiction? The pain, the sadness, the despair is all right there for you to see and there’s absolutely nothing that you can do to help them. Just let them know that you love them and that you will do everything to help them in recovery. Derek knew that I loved him but he couldn’t figure out why I loved him, he thought that he wasn’t worthy of my love; he didn’t understand that a Mom loves her child no matter what! He could have been a murderer and I would have still loved him. I knew that the things that he did in active addiction weren’t really him.
Whenever Derek had a little bit of clean time I knew it because I could see it in his eyes…his smile was back in his eyes. I loved seeing that and I would tell him so. He would send me pictures of him hanging out with his friends, in recovery, and he always looked so happy. Or when he would spend time with his best friend that had moved to Jersey…he knew that he could have fun without drugs because he did it. Then the shame and guilt of his addiction would start haunting him and he would start using again so that he didn’t have to feel any of it.
I’ve always thought that something traumatic happened to Derek, when he was a little boy, and that’s why he started self medicating; we talked about it once while he was in rehab and he said he didn’t remember anything. I can’t think of any other reason why he started drinking and drugging at such a young age. Unless addiction is genetic and he was born that way and as soon as he took that first drink and smoked that first joint it was all over for him. Alcoholism was rampant on his Dad’s side of the family and my Dad was an alcoholic and heroin addict. What could a young boy be so troubled about that he started self medicating? Another question that will never be answered.
Sometimes when I think of Derek I see him with his boys or his niece and nephews; always smiling and having a ball with them. Derek’s profile picture, on Facebook, is one of him taking Alexander trick or treating. He was so happy to be able to do that that year and you can tell by the smile on his face. He loved his boys so much and spent a lot of time, on the phone with me, crying because he wanted so badly to be able to spend time with them, help raise them, go to school functions and just watch them grow up and he didn’t know if he was ever going to even see them again. I think those feelings caused a couple of relapses too.
Like Derek didn’t choose to be an addict I didn’t choose to be the grieving Mom of one but this is my life now and I’m learning how to live my life without him. It’s painful, it sucks but I have no other options. I will always grieve for Derek but there will be a day when I learn to live with it better and I will always love him and always be his Mom. He was an amazing Man and I’m proud to be his Mom.
I love you Derek and I miss the hell outta you