Monday, September 9, 2013

Betrayal, Hurt, and Gratitude (A Letter)

Dear Blake,
Hi Sweetheart. I wanted to write to you because I thought a lot about the drugs today. We never had a chance to talk about it and there is so much I have to say. It was devastating to find out that the person I loved more than anyone was fighting a battle I knew nothing about. I want so desperately to know what you went through, how you felt, and what I possibly could've done to be there for you. But it's impossible now. I think that's the part of all of this that hurts the most.

So in an attempt to connect to your struggle, I wrote a poem today about OxyContin. But the truth is, it felt really phony afterward. How can I write about something I know nothing about? I often try to put myself in your shoes, think about what it felt like for you, and figure out why you did the things you did, but I'll never actually know. I wish we could've talked honestly about it. I wish you would've let me in. I would have listened. I wouldn't have judged you. 

Or maybe I would have yelled. Maybe I would have thought you were out of control and given you ultimatums. I know I would have been scared, might have looked at you differently. But I think you knew all of that. I think that's why you kept this part of yourself from me. I'd like to think I would have been there for you unconditionally, but the truth is I'm not sure I would have been strong enough. That whole world is so foreign, so scary, so unlike anything I've ever experienced. It's truly heartbreaking that you, of all people, were using drugs. Especially after all that you went through, what you overcame, and the conviction in your voice when you told me you wanted a better life for yourself. 

Part of me sees this as a betrayal. I mean, how could you look me in the eyes and tell me you were in love with me, wanted to build a life with me, protect me, care for me, when you knew you were hiding a secret that would've changed everything? Did you ever really think we could live together? Get married? Raise children? This was our future. How could you let us paint such a beautiful picture of it if you knew you were withholding vital information?

I truly do have all of those questions, but after my obsessive quest to learn about addiction, another part of me sees our situation in a completely different light. In my heart of hearts, I believe you always loved me the best you possibly could. And somehow, that meant shielding me from your struggle. I'm not saying that was the right way, or the smartest way, but it did come from a good place. Although it hurts that you kept your drug use from me, I do forgive you. I know in your clouded mind it all made sense and I trust that it was out of love. 

But a new part of me is wondering why I even believe you need my forgiveness. Is it self-centered of me to make this about me forgiving you for how your addiction has affected me? You were the one coping with the insurmountable pain, yet every day you prioritized showering me with love and affection. You always made a point of making me feel special, even while you were struggling for your life. Maybe I should be apologizing or at the very least thanking you. Hiding your addiction from me was just a selfless (but misguided) attempt to protect me so I didn't have to take on the stress that was consuming you. 

I feel a certain amount of anger for the way you broke my trust, upset and confused in wishing you would've shared your burden with me and wondering why you didn't, and deep gratitude for the way you continue to surprise me as I uncover new layers of your selflessness. It kills me to think about how badly you must have been suffering, My Love. I know I'll never fully understand what drugs do to a person, but I do know you didn't deserve to carry all of that pain, especially not alone. 

It's unfortunate that one of your most beautiful qualities, generosity, lead you to give everything you had to others, but neglect yourself. I wish you would've let me take care of you like you took care of me. You deserved to experience all the happiness that you brought me and everyone else who knew you.

I pray every night that we'll see each other again in heaven. Maybe instead of harassing you with all of my questions when I get there, I can give you the thank you that you deserve. Although to some degree I feel betrayed and my heart is still filled with incredible sadness, I couldn't be more grateful that I was loved by a man who taught me so much.

I will love you forever,

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