My ex died last night. He was 60.
I know that when we met, he had one year sober in AA, and I had no years sober. I know that he quit smoking cigarettes shortly after our daughter was born in 1985. I know that we all dodged a bullet when people he had shared needles with started dying from AIDS in 1985.
I know that while he was sober, he advanced in his career. I know that at some point, being a store manager was the reason he gave for not attending local AA or NA meetings. I know that he went back to cigarettes around 1990.
I know that some time after he left me and the kids, he stopped paying child support, and he tried to sue his company to get his job back after he was fired for using heroin on company property with another employee.
I know that several years ago his girlfriend died in their apartment from a drug overdose.
I know that he hadn’t worked and looked terrible for the longest time. He had Hepatitis C from sharing needles and COPD from smoking. He was in and out of the hospital and, when his parents died this past year, both in their 90s, he really couldn’t cope with the estate. He was an only child, adopted, which is another story of addiction and failure. I know he has lived off of his parents and the taxpayers for a long time.
My poor kids, and especially my son, is left do deal with all of this mess. Carole and I will help as much as they want us to.
To me, right now, it is such a story of addiction and recovery. I have thoughts about why certain people succeed and others fail, mostly because I failed for so long. Being human I think about it, from time to time, what might have happened to me and my kids if I drank somewhere along the line in my story.
I know that I didn’t drink, and so I’m sitting here writing this, and he is not. And if the phone rings and the kids call I will answer the phone and respond to what they say and I will remember what I say to them and it might even be something good,