We didn't Pay Attention and Now You're Gone
For me to write about my loss, I must go back and explain what I’ve lost and why…
Sixteen years ago, a young woman walked into a restaurant outside of Atlanta, Georgia to interview for a job. What she didn’t know was that her life was about to change. Inside that restaurant sat a young man who was enamored by this woman and made it a quest to become part of her life. It didn’t take the two long to realize that they were going to be together and they were meant to be together. They worked together, played together and lived together and not because they had to, but because they wanted to be in each other’s company more than anything. Being in the restaurant business, they lived the restaurant life, visiting the bar after hours and having a great time with friends when they weren’t working. Then… they had a baby. She was the light of their life and the absolute apple of her Daddy’s eye. The young couple resigned from the restaurant business, got married and began a new life. One with grownup responsibilities and grownup stresses. With their new lifestyle came time to themselves and with time to themselves came cocktails to enjoy the evenings.
As the years went by, their love only grew. They brought another daughter into their hearts and home. With two beautiful daughters and one beautiful wife, the man was determined to succeed in life and provide for the family he adored and cherished. He worked hard to climb the inevitable ladder of success and did so rather rapidly. He was good at his job and was still very determined to succeed so that he could give his family everything he thought they deserved. With his hard work and corporate climb, came stress and with stress came cocktails to unwind.
Several times throughout the years, the determined man, saw what was happening and tried to stop. He attended several meetings, but thought he didn’t fit in, and since he wasn’t sleeping on street corners or blacking out, he hadn’t lost his family, job or anything, he could heal on his own. And he did…for awhile.
Despite the amount of love these two shared, life still threw them curve balls. But their love still stayed strong and continued to grow. When the man decided to start a business, they, like many others, thought it was the ticket. This, now middle aged man put all of his heart and passion into his work and the business. He hated to travel, which meant being away from his family that he truly loved, but they decided the sacrifice now would be worth the life later. With his passion to succeed in the business came pressure to perform and with pressure to perform came more cocktails to keep going.
Three years and the business still staggering, he put no less heart or passion into his work. They believed in the company and more so the man who dedicated his time to keep his family going. Times were tight and tough, but they held on to each other and knew better days were coming. Before the better days could reach them, they lost the first house they ever owned to a computer error in which the mortgage company said they could do nothing about it. That was the proverbial “straw”. With losing the house you love and feeling like you failed your family comes more cocktails to keep the depression away.
The crazy thing is…even through all the rough times, the couple’s love never faltered. Not once. Over cocktails or wine, they talked of better times, retirement and what they’d do when the traveling was over. They laughed with their daughters, attended every school and sports function and stared into each other’s eyes. Then ever so slowly, little things started happening, but you don’t think anything of it because it’s little….
The man, now in his early forty’s, started losing weight. Then his balance became off, his memory wasn’t as sharp as usual, he noticed his eyes were crusty, and his stomach just wasn’t right. Any of these things were common to many people with a lot of stress in their lives. All the while he maintained his career, love for his family, and continued to have cocktails.
On June 2nd, 2013 after days of denying something was wrong because they didn’t have the funds, the man and his beloved wife dropped their two daughters at a friend’s house and went to the emergency room. Since an ER trip isn’t too unusual on a weekend, they figured they would be back by dinner after the doctor ran a few tests. The doctor ran tests and wanted to admit the man to monitor him for the night. The couple joked to each other while they waited for a room, kissing and holding hands. After they got the man settled in the room, the woman went to get the girls and bring them to say goodnight. When they returned the nurse informed her that they were taking her love to the ER where he could be closely monitored. Still believing he was in for only the night, they kissed him good night and left for home.
Then the woman’s *ell became a reality. On the second day, the gastroenterologist informed the woman that the love of her life had Alcohol Hepatitis and the survival rate was four to six months. Couldn’t possibly be true… he didn’t drink THAT much. There were plenty of people who drank more and were fine…
One by one, his internal organs began to fail, but for seven weeks, that man fought with all his might to stay alive. He didn’t want to leave his family. When he could talk, he was adamant that he wasn’t leaving his family. The doctors were amazed of his drive and determination. They started talking about rehabilitation centers that took dialysis patients and which would be the best. He then contracted pneumonia and couldn’t breathe. He died four days later. Now his beloved wife is a widow at age 45 and his daughters will grow up without a father.
On July 18, 2013, I had to terminate my husband’s life. The doctors said he had a 2% chance of living. Not a full life, just living. That meant dialysis and hooked up to machines for the rest of his life. I knew that was NOT the life my husband would choose and therefore had to make the most difficult decision of my life. I lost the love of my life and my absolute world to the disease called alcoholism. I know for a fact that if he would have known that what was happening was so severe he would have NEVER let it go that long. He thought he could control it. He NEVER wanted to be without his family and his family NEVER wanted to be without him.
If you think the outcome of this story couldn’t possibly happen to you or someone you love please think again.