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March 30, 2007

The Unanswered Questions Part Two

I waited until I returned home and called him back…my fingers trembling so much that I had to dial his number several times before I got it right and when he answered the phone I took a deep breath and so began the dialogue I had wanted and feared for so long.  Our conversation began slowly…gingerly tiptoeing about around the conversational landscape, exchanging pleasantries and sharing updates on mutual acquaintances and loved ones.  The anticipation of delving deeper gripped my throat and my heart ached as it beat faster and faster.  And then it was finally time… the words rushing out of my mouth, my heart bracing for the response…”What was David like when you first met him in those early days of recovery just weeks and months before he died,” There was a long pause as  he gathered impressions from now some five years past.  He began cautiously at first seeming to choose his words with great care not wishing to share something that he felt would cause me more pain and suffering.  He didn’t know that the pain had already ready begun for me and that I knew more would be required before our time this night was done.

“I first noticed David standing on the edge of the room, sort of on the edge of recovery.  He had that look of not being entirely sure yet if he needed or wanted to be there.  He was not standoffish but more confused…perhaps scared, and yet working almost too hard at presenting a front of self confidence or adolescent macho.  I eventually went over and talked to him but he was like most young guys early in recovery.  The kind who show up at meetings well after they have started and then leave in the middle to go have a cigarette and never come back in, just hanging around outside smoking….” 

I listened intently as Christiaan’s thoughts and memories poured forth… my mind taking each one…examining it…turning it over and over trying to fit it into the painting in my mind that until now had been an unfinished work…a vague outline on the canvas that was David in his last days.  And slowly, painfully the image began to emerge, the picture of my son, unsure of whether he could exist in a world without drugs or alcohol, a young man caught between the two worlds of sobriety and using with more questions than answers…a young man not knowing he was standing on the edge of a precipice, not knowing how dangerous his thinking was, still believing he could control his use, manage his addiction and that bad things only happen to other people.

We talked for the better part of two hours and at times Christiaan apologized for sharing anecdotes that he worried might be difficult for me to hear but at each of these junctures I would always pause and reassure him that there was nothing that he could not say to me.  What I didn’t say was that I wanted it all no matter what the price…and in the end the price was heavy.  When we finally said good night; I thanked him for his candor and just before we hung up he said “I love you Kim.”  I told him that I loved him too and as I put the phone down I was swept back to Dave’s last words to me….”I love you Dad”.

I went to my room and lay down on my bed and wept.

March 30, 2007 at 03:50 PM in The Odyssey | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack