By Mary Cucarola – 2/5/20
“May you build a ladder to the stars, and climb on every rung, and may you stay forever young, may you stay forever young.” ~Bob Dylan
My son was in and out of the hospital several times for detox and overdose during the year before he died. I prayed every day I wouldn’t get that dreaded phone call from the hospital or police, but I did get it, only it came from Cody’s father on a Wednesday morning, September 25th, 2013. It swallowed me up and is still spitting me out piece by piece after 6 1/2 years. It’s been a slow process putting the pieces back together.
This is the 7th year I have had to celebrate his birthday without him. He died when he was only 26 years-old – I read the lyrics to Dylan’s song, Forever Young, at his beautiful mountain burial service in Telluride, Colorado.
The last time I saw him was Sunday night, September 22nd, when I dropped him off after a weekend with him in and out of withdrawal from opiates. I told him I loved him, but I couldn’t take it anymore. This is the scene I play over and over again in my mind; him standing in the parking lot of his dad’s produce company, hunched over in his baggy hoodie, picking up his oversized duffle bag to put in the company van, defeated by his disease and the life he could not stop living and me watching him self-destruct and feeling helpless.
Should I have put him back in treatment for the 6th time or was his fate out of my control?
This question will haunt me for the rest of my life. As I grow in my understanding of addiction and evolve spiritually, I lean more toward the latter. I have realized I don’t have the influence I thought I had over the natural order of life, no matter how much I try. It has evolved into a form of surrender to accept what has happened instead of questioning it. Letting go, instead of dragging myself into the darkness.
Yesterday, I found this prayer I wrote about a year before Cody died, in the fall of 2012, right before he went to treatment for the last time. In it, I was finally starting to understand my place in his disease. I want to share it with you today on his birthday.
“God, be with me now as I deal with my son and his problems. I want Cody to have a happy and full life. Yet, sometimes my efforts are misunderstood. Help me learn what is important to demand and what is best left alone. Keep me from criticizing so that my son can learn on his own about his weaknesses. Help me praise him everyday for his strengths. Keep me from making all of his decisions so that he can learn to solve problems on his own. Keep me from interfering so he can develop responsibility. Help me appreciate and accept my son as he is, not as I want him to be. When I grow discouraged, remind me that he is Your child, too. Protect both of us, sheltering us in Your care, surrounding us with Your love and goodness.”
I wish I could hug my son today. All I can do is hope to feel his presence, be grateful he is free of his beast, and move forward one day at a time.
“May you grow up to be true and may you always know the truth and see the lights surrounding you…..and may you stay forever young.”
You are missed and loved by so many – a countless number of messages sent to me today. I am going to go to Buffalo Wild Wings or maybe I will make some homemade gnocchi in your honor tonight. Happy 33rd Birthday, Cody Joe!
Mary Cucarola – 2/5/20