Yesterday tested my skills in friendship more than they have been in quite a while. A friend lay in his hospital bed, after a surgery that may help him become less horribly ill–CHF, cirrhosis of the liver, his body wracked with imbalances and poisons of his own making, and being attended by a hovering ex who has major jealousy issues where I am concerned. He is my friend, but she has not yet moved on, although she says she has, and her leaving him twice and refusing to understand why he would not marry again was the impetus he needed to make the decision to plunge him into a bottle and put the cork in behind him. I sat in the waiting area being excluded from conversation, ignored by her for hours, and when he got back to the room and looked to me for explanations for what was going on, her demeanor sank more and more into that of rage and unrest.
Not really my fault I have a general to good knowledge of just about anything that has ever crossed my thoughts as vaguely interesting–nor that I have a fairly extensive knowledge of medicine due to most of a degree in nursing (that is another story altogether which I may get to one of these days). He has been my friend, bed partner and someone I love for quite a while now-but only as a friend. I have delved deep into his psyche and made him think too, which is how I know his choice to drink started when she left–he told me so himself when I pushed him to think. Something he isn’t all that comfortable with-thinking, that is… So much easier to try for the easy way out. A slow comfortable descent to the pits of both existence and hell–not stopping for the $200 on his way toward death.
But I refused him that right.I told him that it was time to grow a pair and learn to live. That if I have tried overtly to die, he was not allowed to die by inches-and I chewed his ass for it on more than one occasion. His children do not deserve that, nor does his granddaughter, uncle or large slew of friends. I’ve worked with him and he told me he was ready to talk to someone, but since I have not been there each day, he retreated again into fear of opening up. If he is to stop his descent to hell, he must find a therapist who can make him look in the mirror to see what he can be, not what he was, not who he is or what he has “done”. He seems to believe that him “making it happen” for others will guarantee him a spot in Heaven, and a reward of no longer being unhappy, or that life will fall into place being daisies and popsicles in the park. It doesn’t work that way.
Life is meant to be a struggle. In order to see good, we must see bad. It is not God’s way of punishing us-we punish ourselves quite enough. Although I do not believe in the “flames of Hell”, I believe in hell being a state of withdrawal from God and His grace. Of being alone in a way that is so unimaginable that all we can see is grey so dark and thick that nothing penetrates. If only we could make ourselves turn around and see that He stands there, waiting. one step away-the step that we took from Him when we turned off the path He set for us. I pray for my friend, for his family. I pray for his jealous ex-, that they could all see clearly that what he needs is not coddling, not an enabler, or a babysitter. He is a grown-ass man, and he needs to take responsibility for the actions he has taken. He needs to accept what he has done, ask forgiveness and grow a pair in order to do the work necessary to work toward his recovery. They will need to put their own hearts into their own, but I will still be here to offer support and prayers for them as well.
G., I love you. I will for the rest of our lives. I love your girls, your granddaughter and I will gladly be here if you put your hand out and ask for help. But as always, I cannot carry you. My struggles to become who I am made to be are what I must carry. You may lean on me, but my foot will always be there waiting to kick you in the ass should you delve deeper into self-destructive stupidity. Remember, like family, you cannot run away from real love, real friendship. You just have to turn around from your running and realize we never moved. You did.