As the one year mark of Sean’s death quickly approaches, I am thinking more and more about how I hate being a widow. I miss being a wife. I didn’t ask for this life. Grief was thrust upon me and my children so unexpectedly, so unwaivering. Recently, I was asked if I’d want things to go back to the way they were- without hesitation I said that I’d rather be in my apartment in Texas right now with my husband and children- my completed family, than sitting here widowed and my children fatherless.
But then I got to thinking- I don’t know if I wish to go back to how things were. At least not in that last year.
It’s ugly but it’s true- Sean was an alcoholic. But I was a good wife, so I didn’t say anything. When you love someone, you’re willing to look past their faults. I thought to myself- well the bills are paid and it’s his money so what does it matter that he spends $150+ a month on alcohol? He doesn’t get violent and he seems happier when he drinks so what’s the matter with that- he’s an adult, right?
He told me he’s not an alcoholic, he just enjoys drinking so it must be true. I am a good wife, I trust my husband. He stops cold turkey to train for record PT tests- if he was really an alcoholic, he wouldn’t be able to stop right? Alcohol doesn’t stop him from completing his responsibilities as a soldier, father and husband- so what if he drinks a fifth a night? He has a high tolerance.
Of course I’ll buy you a fifth on the way home from work. Because I am a good wife. Wait- what happened to the fifth you bought yesterday? I don’t ask this though, because I am a good wife and I don’t want to nag my husband about his drinking. Instead, I’ll just dump some of it out when he isn’t looking so he doesn’t drink as much. I’ll just wait until he’s too drunk to notice and hide the bottle.
I plug his phone in and leave Ibuprofen and water on his night stand, I have been doing this for years. Because I am a good wife.
When you come visibly drunk to one of our son’s morning soccer games, I lie to the other parents and joke that you had one too many mimosas at breakfast this morning. Of course, this isn’t true. You were taking shots of vodka before 10 a.m. and I can feel the judgemental stares searing through my core, but I stick to my story and defend you- because I am a good wife.
I lose my ever loving mind when I come home from from dinner with a friend and you’re passed out drunk in our bedroom with the door locked, and six year old Luke is watching TV past his bedtime. We start fighting, I apologize, because you’re right-it was an accident, I shouldn’t have lost my temper even though your actions put our child’s safety and well-being at risk. What if there was a fire? Of course, I don’t say what I’m really thinking- because I am a good wife.
It’s the day before Christmas Eve and you’ve been drinking all day, but it’s a holiday, and you’re off work, so I don’t say anything because I don’t want to ruin your good mood- I am a good wife. You get depressed and agitated suddenly, I continue to plead with you to get help, because I love you and want you to be well. You continue to get angry, things escalate, you use the bathroo see em and then start putting your shoes on. I don’t say anything at first because I know from history that you need time to cool off and then you’ll be back home. I know this because I know you, I’ve spent years getting to know you because I am a good wife.
It’s been an hour and a half. You’re still not home, you left your phone- it’s been ringing but I don’t answer it because I respect your privacy because I am a good wife.
But now you’re dead.
I was a good wife….but I was also an enabler.
Even as I write this, I reconsider publishing it, sharing your substance abuse problem with the world, because I am good wife and I respect you.
But I am no longer a good wife.
I am a widow.