Wednesday, August 19, 2020

He Was My Person - Losing Someone to Addiction #RememberMyPerson

For years, everyone has been telling me to watch Glee. At least a dozen people left reviews of my Dark Musicals series citing the similarities. I usually prefer reading to television, but I finally gave in. Yes, all the fun musical antics are delightful, but it wasn't the music that made an impact on me. Like the star of Glee, Lea Michele, I lost a man I loved  to addiction. Tonight, I watched the episode of Glee where the cast honored their fallen costar Cory Monteith. The entire show was emotional, but one of Lea's lines touched me more deeply than I can ever explain. Four simple words.

"He was my person."

Ever since he died, I've struggled with how to express my feelings about his loss and how it impacted me. Sometimes I wasn't even sure I was entitled to grieve for him. We were divorced. We both had other relationships. Even though we almost got back together a dozen times, even though he called me two days before he died swearing I was the only woman he ever loved, I can't call him my husband. Yet, he was so much more than an ex. He was my first love, father of my children, sometimes my lover, but always my friend.

He was my person. No other labels required.

Though the good and the bad -- and there was a lot of both -- he was my person. He was the person who sang Uptown Girl (badly) to get me to go out with him. He was the person who maxed out our credit card buying canned goods during Y2K. He was the person who held my hand when our children came into the world. He was the person who explored the deepest parts of my soul and still loved me.  He was the person who broke my heart a thousand times, but he was also the person who gave me twelve years of perfect happiness. He was the person who fought so hard, but who inevitably lost his battle with addiction.

Our world can be such a harsh and judgmental place. People often look down on those who lose their lives to addiction. For this reason, I recently published a novel called Waiting to Fly. This story is fiction.  As with all my work, there are always pieces of me in my characters, but the story line is enhanced for entertainment purposes. However, the emotion in this story is real -- the guilt, the anger, the grief, but most importantly, the love -- it's all real. I wrote this book because I want a piece of my person to live on. I want to share my person. I don't want my person to be forgotten.

When I released Waiting to Fly, I never intended to share that it was personal for me.  But fictionalized or not, this story is as personal as it gets. This book may never be a best seller, and it wasn't an easy tale to spin, but it was a story that needed to be told.  For those who lost someone to this terrible disease, I want you to know that you aren't alone.  For everyone else, I want you to understand our loved ones were more than their addiction. Everyone who dies from an overdose is someone's person, and those of us who are left behind have to face a lifetime without them.

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