Tuesday, July 30, 2013

What's Haunting Me

May 1, 2013- 3:16 AM
"hey briana are you there i need to speak with you immediately"
"Call me as soon as you get this"

I woke up at 6 AM to get ready for work and saw these messages on my phone. Why was Blake's roommate contacting me in the middle of the night? My heart started racing. I knew it had to do with Blake, or else why would he be contacting me? We had met several times at that point, but were definitely not close enough to message each other about anything besides Blake. What was wrong?

I messaged back. No response. I called. No answer. I texted.

I waited.

This went on for hours throughout the day. I tried to leave voicemails. I took every opportunity to send a quick text during breaks at work. I even sought the guidance of one of my coworkers. What should I do? Should I just ask Blake what it was or wait a while to give his roommate the opportunity to tell me before alerting Blake that he went behind his back?

I had been texting Blake throughout the afternoon, but nothing abnormal about the night before had come up in our conversation. After I had fallen asleep the previous night, he sent me a few paragraphs worth of ranting about an argument he had just gotten into, how frustrated he was, and how he didn't know what to do. After waking up that morning, I calmly explained how I could see both sides, he was going to be ok, and that things actually were working out for the better.

Around lunch time he finally responded. He didn't mention anything about the fight he was in, or my reflection on it, but instead just said: "I love you so much baby doll. I want to be able to just come home to you. I would do anything." I thought this was sweet, but not out of the ordinary. He was always good at sending me messages like that. He went on: "Baby I want to hold you and just hold you. I never want to leave you."

What I didn't know at the time was that he almost did. In the middle of the night he had overdosed for the first time. His roommate's frantic messages to me at 3:16 AM were because Blake wasn't breathing and had to be taken to the emergency room.

It wasn't until 6:30 at night that I finally caved and just asked Blake what happened. It was clear his roommate had no intentions of responding to my calls, texts, and Facebook messages, so I might as well just ask Blake why I was contacted in the middle of the night.

When I asked why his roommate messaged me at 3 AM he cooly responded "Oh, it's because I had an allergic reaction." He went on to explain that they were watching movies downstairs and his roommate accidentally gave him something that had nuts in it (he is very allergic to nuts). He said the reason his roommate probably wasn't responding to me now was because he was so embarrassed that he made a big deal out of nothing.

A big deal out of nothing?

I try my hardest never to think about this, because I know it's one of those "what ifs" that only torture you and never lead to anything positive. But every once in a while, the events of that night and the day after take over my brain and haunt me.

What if I was awake to receive those messages at 3 AM?

What if his roommate responded to me and told me what happened?
What if Blake was honest about the overdose?

Would everything be different now?

Would Blake have realized the gravity of his drug use?
Would he have gotten help and gone back to rehab?
Would it have worked this time around?
Would he be alive and healthy?
Would I still be able to see him and touch him and hold him right now?

I can't wrap this post up with a positive message about how I believe I can eventually stop thinking about all of this. But maybe that's not the point? I think this will always haunt me. How could it not? I know there is nothing anyone (or I) can do or say to make this better. It will always be horrific and there's no way around it.

But can I be at peace with it? I think so. This peace started with me not blaming myself, his roommate, or Blake. I realized pretty quickly that there would be no point in that. Pointing fingers and casting blame only leads to anger, resentment, and more pain. My heart is already heavy enough with sadness, I can't add all of those feelings to my load as well.

What happened, happened, as awful and unfair as it all seems. I will never be able to change the events of that night or the way it unfolded the day after. What I can do now is learn a lesson from it. For the rest of my life, I will ALWAYS inform the family of a person who is putting his or her life in danger, by their drug use, lack of eating, risky behavior, or otherwise. If I ever feel like I'm not close enough to the person to make that call, I will tell someone who is. If I ever feel like I'm not knowledgeable or strong enough to handle what they are going through, I will tell someone who is. It is through our silence and our inactivity that these problems quietly grow worse.

And maybe after you've told someone else, things still keep progressing in the wrong direction. That happens. But at the end of the day, what matters is that you can look inside yourself and be at peace with the fact that you did everything you could.

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