“The pain pushes you until the vision pulls you.” ~Reverend Michael Beckwith
I came across a piece of Cody’s handwriting the other day – a neatly written list of his goals on notebook paper. It painfully yanked me back to yet another time he was trying to stay sober.
He didn’t know what was to come that year and neither did I. He would go to jail for 2 weeks and then out on bail to rehab (Narconon #1) for the next 6 months. If only we could return to that moment of unknowing, that innocent moment he was alive with goals, dreams and hopes, enough to write them down. He would never be the same after his arrest. As I re-read the list, my thoughts lingered there for a while and then the “what if” questions surfaced.
What if Cody was alive?
Would he be in recovery or still struggling with his addiction? I am certain there would have been another rehab or more. In fact, I regret not sending him back right away after he overdosed a couple months before he died. I knew he was in trouble again.
What if I was still trying to save him?
Would my life be better or worse than it is now? I am not certain of the true answer. I know I would be continually waiting for the next shoe to drop. It’s a part of the stressful life of a parent of an addict. I do know that because I did a whole lot of work on myself over the past few years, I would be able to handle it better.
Cody was my greatest teacher, both in life and in death. He taught me lessons I didn’t want to learn. I resisted until I couldn’t anymore. He changed me in the deepest sense of the word – for the better. I am grateful for that part of this tragedy.
I believed the solution to our collective pain was for him to get sober. For all my time spent fixing and saving him, it didn’t end the way I wanted. I learned the meaning of bittersweet – to desire relief from my pain and at the same time digging myself in only to perpetuate it further. Before he died, I was learning not to dig myself in so deep.
I was left to pick up the pieces of my broken heart. Not alone, but without him. Without my only child. Without the person, I loved the most in life. I will never be the same, nor should I be the same.
Having my son here with me would be my first choice, of course. But, perhaps there was a higher purpose and plan in play, one better that I could have orchestrated. My “what if” questions changed as I began to think about a bigger vision, instead of only the pain.
What if all of the bad things that have happened to me in my life are leading me to my purpose?
The process of adapting to change and loss takes energy. It can be draining or invigorating. I can choose how to direct that energy – either into more pain or into finding meaning. I can think about my life vision or I can think about my pain. I am trying to consciously choose to think and talk about my vision more than my pain. I believe what I focus on is what I become, and I am moving beyond victim mentality. I continue to accept and evolve in my new normal.
What if everything is working together for my good?
I want to manifest love, compassion, hope, and purpose. I want to trust that the change taking place in me is good.
I don’t want to let one more child die from a drug overdose or let one more parent go through the anguish that I’ve been through. With that vision in mind, I am lending whatever energy I have left to giving a voice to Cody’s disease, but from a place of purpose, not pain.
What if Cody was alive? I have to trust we are both where we are meant to be for now. One day I will see him again.
Mary Cucarola – April 20, 2017