We talk about a lot of things as if they didn’t reflect a real person and a real life.
Addiction is one of them. And let me just tell you, every single number is a life and behind every single life is a family.
Statistics are easy to toss around until one of those numbers represents YOUR child.
My son was not an addict. He was a health nut. But he liked his motorcycle and never saw the contradiction between spending hours at the gym then putting that beautiful body on a fast moving, unprotected engine-on-wheels. A helmet was not enough to save him that night.
Addicts don’t start out wanting the life so many of them end up living.
My mother’s death has forced me to relive the early days after Dominic’s death.
While her leaving was not completely unexpected (she had many health issues and was not strong) it was still sudden.
And one of the things I’m reliving is that while this giant life-altering event has turned MY world upside down and inside out, it really hasn’t changed anything for those outside a very small inner circle of grievers.
The weird, weird thing about devastating loss is that life actually goes on. When you’re faced with a tragedy, a loss so huge that you have no idea how you can live through it, somehow, the world keeps turning, the seconds keep ticking.
Life DOES go on.
I had someone ask me a question in church Sunday about a decision that was made a week or two before my mom went into the hospital for the last time. It took me at least a full minute to orient my brain to the question and longer to answer it because I could barely remember anything that happened in the past weeks before Mama died.
It was like that after Dominic left us.
I felt like I was living in a low-budget foreign feature film (think ancient Godzilla movies) where English was simply dubbed over the Asian actors original dialogue and everything was slightly “off”. Words were being said that I SHOULD understand but they didn’t match what my eyes were seeing. It took tremendous effort to comprehend what people said to me and an even greater effort to comprehend the context of what they were saying.
It is a weird, weird thing that time moves on regardless of my shattered world.
It is a weird, weird thing that people keep doing routine stuff like watching favorite TV shows, going to football games, celebrating birthdays, checking the value of their portfolio, chiming in on social media and buying groceries.
It is a weird, weird thing that I grow older while Dominic stays twenty-three-almost-twenty-four. It’s even weirder that his once younger brother is now twenty-seven.
I used to think I had a pretty good imagination. But now I’m not so sure.
I can’t scale Dominic up to what he might be doing now, who he might be dating or married to, where he might have chosen to pursue a career or if he might have done something entirely different than anything he’d done before.