THE FORGIVENESS FIX – Baby Steps
When the only one who can forgive you is you.
My nephew overdosed last spring. He was 31. I dislike using the word “nephew” because he was so much more. From the day he was born I knew he would always hold my heart. As my late sister’s first born son, his birth was a big deal in our family. The first grandchild! I had the honor of Godmother. A title I took seriously. We were close, always. He would say to me “no matter what we’re always cool Aunt Budd” “Aunt Budd” two dd’s not one. A nickname I somehow inherited and loved. As he grew up to become a young man he still wanted to do things with me. Not many young men want to hang out with their Aunt. He did. He would call just to chat. Musically he was genius. Self-taught piano, bass. Acoustic guitar. He wrote songs. He sang them. He was in a band. He wrote beautiful music pieces and would send it to me. “Think of a name for this piece Aunt Budd.” So much talent; so much beauty within.
His mom, my beautiful sister and I were two peas in a pod. Always, since forever we were so close. Baby dolls, Barbie, we always played together.
We had a childhood filled with parent’s anger at each other. So heavy at times it felt like a presence lurked inside the walls poisoning any chance of a happy childhood. Fighting, insults flying, abusive to each other. Toxic together. Toxic apart. Getting back together “for the girls.” Splitting up again.
”Your father’s moving out!!” “What did your father say about me?” Joyless. A scary place to be, still. To this day. But I had my big sister and as long as I had her I could endure anything.
Sisters and best friends. No one “got” me like her. Older by a few years than me she was always there and “had my back”. There was nothing I couldn’t tell her and more often than not we ended up in a giggling heap when visiting. Sadly, she was diagnosed with MS after the birth of her second son. It progressed quickly but she never complained, even when years after diagnosis she was literally trapped in own body. She was not left alone very often by this point; something as simple as propping herself up was impossible.
On THAT day, THAT beautiful summer day I was to stop by after work. Her youngest boy’s birthday, 18 years old! He took a walk to the store assured I would be there momentarily. Only I didn’t go to her house directly from work. I had a very bad day at work and wanted a break (me, me, me) before going to what was starting to feel like a second job. If I’m being honest, at times I resented her. So I needed a break (me, me, me).
But oh what that break cost me. Of course she couldn’t escape the flames. It happened in minutes. Those precious minutes. My big sister. Gone.
My nephew, my beautiful Godson, 25 years old at the time was already going through what I can only describe as something “dark.”
He needed help.
It became clearer.
He was going through something torturous.
I didn’t know how to help him.
No one knew how to help him.
It got worse.
He got worse. Some days he was a shell of himself.
Some days he was unreachable. Those beautiful brown eyes. Vacant.
He spiraled. He lost hope. He overdosed. He died.
I’m not “Aunt Budd” (two d’s!!) anymore.
I didn’t save either of them. The two people I loved so much, I couldn’t save them. So many people have told me I should take comfort. “He’s now with his mom.”
I am not comforted. I know for certain I will never be the person I was. Too much loss. I hurt inside. My heart is shattered beyond repair. Severed.
I was diagnosed with MS last winter. The same type as my sister. I know exactly what it means to tell your body to do something and it does not. Trapped within yourself. Maybe this is my price to pay. And that’s ok with me.
I am working on forgiving myself. Baby steps. I still cry every night for my beautiful Michael. Baby steps. My beautiful sister. Baby steps. My family severed.
My heart severed.