Losing someone sucks. This was only my 2nd family member I've lost in adulthood. Shit, that makes it sound like I've mislaid them, I haven't. They are dead; they "passed away"; or as the obit said, "walked into the loving hands of the lord ".
One of the toughest parts about all of this (and there are so many) has been seeing my little cousins just devastated. I say "little", but they range from about 13-19. For some of them, it is their very first run in with death. For the others it is certainly their first run in with such a young death. My youngest cousin who came to the viewing had to leave because he "was just waitin' for Taylor to jump up and chase him around". Another cousin and I spoke about how an addict's funeral is hard because the person who may have supplied the drugs may be there. Someone who is there may have been able to save your loved one's life, but didn't. And now they are there, grieving, like a wolf in sheep's clothing. I told her that I know rationally, I can't allow myself to think that way because Taylor is who did it. Taylor is who relapsed. This other person did not do it to him. But I pointed to my heart and told her, "but I just can't control what I feel in here".
For me, loving an addict has been so painful and heartbreaking. I live a couple of hours from my cousin who overdosed and so did not exactly see it happening real time. I know that it is a problem in the area he grew up in, but I guess I just hoped it wouldn't be his problem. I did not know any of this was happening until he almost overdosed a couple of years ago.
He went to rehab once. He then lived at a halfway house in the north of our state. He was doing very well there. He was happy. I was still so sad. I was sad he was going through it. I was so sad for his sister, mother, step father, etc... But I was also very hopeful. He was away at least a year.
He'd been back for a year. Clean for years at this point. He politely kicked his old friends out of his apartment owned by one of his grandmothers. She told him he "could live there until he was 102". He made it to 25.
I don't think this has been much about loving an addict, I think this has just been more about loving. Loving someone my entire life. Growing up with someone I thought I'd grow old with and never getting the chance.
(I want to give a shout out and thank you to all of you who posted on my post last week about my cousin's passing. He was super special, this time has been so hard, and I've been really distracted from the internet because I've been with family so I hadn't gotten to actually thanking each of you personally, but thank you for your kind words.)