Avoidance

They always talk about the stages of grief. Denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. You know the part that is really dreadful though? The Avoidance. I’m not in denial. I know you’re dead. But now- I avoid. I see family post videos, pictures, memories, and cries for support... and I avoid. I feel uncomfortable. I want them to stop. Because I know you’re dead. Then there is this shitty stage of guilt and empathy that seems to come with tragic loss. You felt so alone all the time... you reached out to everyone. Called all the time- and yet there were times I avoided your calls. Times I was anxious or felt like I didn’t have the energy. Now I’m sitting here feeling lonely, and feeling your absence more than ever, and it fucking sucks. This is what you felt, isn’t it? I’m sorry. I’m sorry I let you feel lonely. I’m sorry I didn’t pick up. I’m sorry I let you down. I’m sorry you had a needle when all you needed was someone to be there. I’m sorry I am avoiding you, even in death...

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I’m back to the stage of gut wrenching anger with your death. They caught your dealer on a DUS. More details are coming out and I am back to wondering if he murdered youYou let him stay for free, because you cared about other addicts. But suddenly when you tried to set boundaries and make him leave, your last text saidcome get me ASAP” and in one of your last phone calls you said you were scared of him. Your drug of choice was meth, not fentanyl. Their stories about where they were while you sat dead do not add up. Your apartment burned down that very next week and they went and claimed red-cross. But no one is willing to investigate the death of “a junkie.” No one really cares. They avoid dealing with the details. You deserved better. I’m sorry that your kind heart was used by so many, up to the very end. I’m so sorry for what he’s getting away with. If you’re reading this, somewhere out there in the universe, just know that I won’t avoid you anymore. Your life mattered. We won’t forget you, or what they did to you. I love you.

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Here I am again, reflecting back to this empty space where I feel like I can talk to you. Your mom is gathering evidence for the prosecutor, trying to get justice for what they did to you. One of his friends told another friend that he admitted to giving you the fentanyl and admitted to leaving you when you overdosed. Just like he did with his wife. But a friend of a friend doesn’t hold up in court, if that friend of a friend doesn’t testify. You were loyal to a fault and you didn’t believe in being a narc. But I hope they are not loyal. I hope they turn against him like hungry ravenous animals. Before they become the next son being buried. I don’t demonize dealers, but I demonize this man. I demonize him because I know you’ve rarely done heroin. I know your choice of drug is meth. I know your death report said fentanyl and methamphetamine. I know that they look the same. I know that he deals them… And I know you. I know the sweet boy who was always so trusting of other people because his autism caused difficulty reading social cues and his big heart just wanted to be friends with everyone. I know the boy who always went along with peer pressure because he wanted acceptance and for people to not be mad at himI know you were afraid of him. What I don’t know is how it happened. Did he pressure you? Did he lie to you and tell you it was meth? Did he want you to overdose? Was he just too cowardly to call an ambulance? Were you scared? Did you beg for help as you faded out? I know you hated to be alone… Did you feel alone? These unknowns are haunting me, because I know you so well. I feel so much despair when I think of you being scared and alone. I want to rip my heart out, gather all your ashes, and bring you back to life. I don’t want you to be scared and alone. I don’t want this to be your ending. Your life has been so fucking hard and I just want you to be happy. I never want you to feel alone again. I never want someone to use your kind heart again. But I will never truly know and I will never get what I want, because he took your kind heart and he stopped it from beating. He killed you. You’re gone. I’m dying inside. I can’t breathe. I miss you. I despise him. I’d give my life for you, if it meant you wouldn’t have to die alone. Take my heart, my lungs, my eyes, and my ears. Hear our loved ones crying out for you and go home to them. I’m so so sorry. I’m so sorry I couldn’t be with you like I have been your whole life. I love you, I love you

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Your sister sent me a video of your brother nodding off last night. Blue lips. You know, he thinks you killed yourselfI no longer know what to believe but I refuse to let my mind go to that place. I could not survive it. Sometimes I wonder if he’s walking a tight rope between wanting to join you or want to get his life right for youIt must be so much for him to bear. I sometimes wonder what your life would have been like had your bother and sisters not been addicted. You were the only one working on your sobriety. You always seemed to fall down around them and you were aware of that, but you were so loyal and you loved them to a fault. You wanted to be with them. One of your biggest demons since we were little kids was that you longed for and tried so hard to fit in. You never really did, but everyone fits in when you share a needle… Now you don’t fit anywhere and your brother is being eaten alive by addiction. I feel so helpless to help him. I do my best to try and be supportive but not enabling- I got him a room for a night to get him home when he ran off to Cali after stealing thousands from his boss, but I refused to do any more than that. He had no money. He’s fucked up so many times, searching for the answer to all of this, and I don’t think there is one. Because even sobriety won’t bring you backI wish you were still here, even though this outcome felt inevitable. I wanted to be 26 with you, and now I’m almost 27. How many birthdays do I have to go through without you? Would you have stayed if I’d never left? Would you have spent more time with me and less time trying to fit in with them? Would we be playing outside instead of sitting together at your headstone? Or would we be sitting at that same headstone with your brothers date etched in instead of yours? I don’t think you would have lasted longI hide all of these thoughts behind composure, but my eyes are growing sadder, as I try to help them and come home to an empt room where I keep my lonely grief. I’m saving space in that room…I keep his eulogy in my phone

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