Last week, Friday, was supposed to be Sean’s 29th birthday. It was a hard day, as expected. It is difficult to not envision all he could be doing with his life. He seemed so close to successfully dealing with his mental health. He was working, close to having enough money to get an apartment of his own. When he died, he had 400.00 on his bank card. Which if you knew Sean…., that was astounding.
We have a beautiful voice message from him the day before he died. We made plans to have dinner on that fateful Tuesday. We were going to meet up, share a meal. I was calling him at the point he overdosed. The phone call couldn’t rouse him. I called again, and by then he was in the ambulance.
So, I can’t help but, think on these birthdays and anniversaries, what if the Narcan had worked, what if they had more than one dose on hand. What was he using? What did he think he was using? Cocaine? Heroin?
These are the questions that will never be answered. His friends have weighed in, overwhelmingly, not aware, that he may have relapsed with opiates. They say he went into the bathroom, to get ready to meet up with us for dinner. He said he would never go back, that was years in his past. Too many of his friends, had died from overdose, he was not going to let that happen.
Were the needles his? Did the scene get “cleaned up” as the police suggest..
This is opiate use disorder is a powerful shackle, not easy to fully break free from. Maybe he was excited to be having a day off and decided to celebrate, spend his paycheck..
We can’t know the answers. We can celebrate the time we did have with him. The four years after the months lost in the Bronx, when we thought he was lost forever. How he survived that time, it was a miracle. For better or for worse the years that followed were a gift. The time he spent in jail, in the last year of his life, was a time of reconciliation. Time we needed to reconnect. Time to see us, his family as on his side. Time for us to learn how to love him disease and all. The last month, we connected in spite of his circumstances. That was a present, in retrospect, so soften the blow.
He has left us with beautiful gifts, a treasure chest of memories. He left us his poems and his letters. The cards from the last year were so heartfelt and so moving. He even left us a 15 page diary. Someday, I hope to be able to get through the diary, which he titled if “For my Mother, for all the sleepless nights” The story of Liam Blake. (We were going to name him Liam, I was worried that the name was too unusual, I think he would have liked it better).
Someday, the memories will outshine the what ifs, not quite this year, not yet.