Vodka Water Bottle.

Vodka Water Bottle.

Did you know there is no such thing as a high functioning alcoholic?

I really hate that term. It implies that somehow an alcoholic or drug addict is “functioning,” because they can keep a job, do well at a job, drive without getting a DUI, make their kids dinner. Those things.

When Jesse died it felt like I had been bludgeoned to near death. Like someone had cracked all my ribs and broken my knee caps. When I walked I would literally collapse. I wanted to vomit looking at the constant pain in my children’s faces.

In the hospital not many people were allowed in because of COVID bullshit. (Yes I said bullshit, its not even political, but when someone is dead some things just become more important in your head than a pandemic).

At some point “a visitor,” was present in the room with me.

As I sat there in disbelief over the situation, I spent much time reflecting on the things Jesse had said to me just a few days before he died:

“ I bought alcohol… it’s in the car… Shell I’m going to go drink it please throw it away from here.”

“I will see Wren. I will get sober. She will know me. I’m not going to let this win.”

“I’m scared to leave the house. When I go by the gas station I’m going to want the drink. I’m not safe out there.”

“I want to change, I don’t want to do this anymore.”

“I am so addicted. I am so addicted” (said while hysterically crying over his dinner).

He wanted to be different but he literally couldn’t. He didn’t understand it either.

So when I saw him laying there in the hospital bed, blood dripping out of his mouth because it hadn’t been drained in awhile, I thought: “You have some peace now. This isn’t what we wanted, but you are safe now.”

It didn’t bring me any comfort, but I thought “you are finally sober, Jesse.”

Until the visitor dipped *its* hand in *its* water bottle and rubbed it on his lips.

I was too upset to notice that the entire time I sat by Jesse’s side, this visitor was wasted. This visitor was wasted and another visitor, I shall call visitor number two “enabler,” continued to bring visitor water bottles. So many water bottles.

No harm in water… but when it happened it felt weird. Something wasn’t right. So I asked, like I normally do, “is that water?”


Visitor replied in a whisper.

My heart sank. Was everyone around Jesse this tone deaf? Could they not see how much he struggled? Could they not see how tired he was? The sadness in his face? The abnormality of bringing a vodka water bottle to a hospital?

Or the abnormality of putting the exact thing that he hated, cried about, forcefully in his mouth? Why? Why would you do that?

I wish it was grief related, but it wasn’t. This was a reoccurring theme long before Jesse died.

The visitor and the enabler don’t seem to comprehend the difference between social drinking and addiction. Social drinking as in maybe at dinner or out with friends you grab a drink, addiction being bringing a mother fucking water bottle of vodka with you to get through a normal day. Hiding it. Pretending to be sober when you wreak of that pungnent smell. It’s mind blowing. Mental illness is at large between the two of then yet nothing is done. It’s easier to pretend I made this all up.

I have come to realize that there is really no way for that dynamic to stop because there is no outlier. When one is surrounded by addicts and enablers, the behavior doesn’t look bad, it’s normal. The whistle blower is the one that looks weird. The one trying to ‘ruin the good time.’ Not the one who is drunk at 10am and trying to hide it. Jesse was a black sheep, and I was a neurotic outlier.

I suppose ill take that over dysfunctional crazy lying drunk.

Unfortunately I have come to the conclusion that while friends of the visitor are definitely enablers, they were hand picked. Nearly all of the visitors friends have a common theme about them: low self esteem, like incredibly low. Desperate to have a friend, so they will do anything to maintain their very unhealthy relationship. Unsightly, for the most part. Extremely overweight. Low education. Illogical.

When the visitor was done giving Jesse vodka, I took the opportunity to *figuratively* wipe it from his lips. I took my ivory cardigan sleeve and pretended to wipe his eyes, then his lips so it wouldn’t be obvious.

Just thinking to myself. Am I really in ICU doing this right now? Yes. Yes I was.

And it didn’t stop.

At Jesse’s funeral, there was a handful of people as well as the visitor from the hospital completely trashed. So I stood by Jesse’s side for 4 hours straight. People kept telling me to sit down as they were worried, I didn’t not because I didn’t want the break but because I felt like a guard dog. He was finally sober.

So leave him the fuck alone.

And no surprise (even though I continued to be surprised) the drunken comments continued to follow after he died.

Comments such as:

1. I was nothing but Jesse’s little girlfriend.

2. That I was a lazy parent.

3. That my kids were out of control and Jesse would have never let it get like this if I died.

4. That Jesse wanted to leave me.

5. That I grieve publicly for attention.

6. That I am manipulating things.

7. and a recent comment that, and I quote: “I am sad that you seem to say that you are so much better now he’s dead.”

8. I am “spewing hate.”

I was never able to rebuttable. Because most of these things were never said to me. They were said to everyone else (except that last one). Then when I would see these people, they were either quiet or I was told how wonderful I was. It’s also quite possible that the visitor, enabler, or the lackeys of said visitor don’t even remember saying it because of intoxication. Also. They are all just liars.

I tried really hard for months (Really years) to keep the peace, but then I ultimately decided the visitor, enabler, and lackeys should never be around us again.

I like my children alive. I want a thriving life. I cannot do that with dead toxic weight around.

I don’t want my children in gossipy, negative situations. Even my own children had made comments that they were sick of it.

It’s interesting because these comments are not unique to me. This is a very common theme for widows to experience, especially addiction widows. Regardless, I am offering a rebuttal to the claims above as I will never get the chance to do it privately; therefore it will be done publicly:

  1. (I was just a girlfriend) Jesse and I wanted to get married but were not super worried about it. I wrote a whole blog on this (See Marriage). But even if we didn’t get married, are girlfriends just nothing then? If you are a girlfriend and your boyfriend dies does that diminish your feelings or importance to him? Likely not. Not a very well thought out premise but I’d expect nothing less from them. This is called “ad hominem fallacy,” where you attack me personally instead of the matters at hand.

2. & 3. (Jesse wouldn’t let the kids be out of control) I am putting these together because they are pretty similar and equally hilarious.

Yes. Please tell me how the fentanyl-using, alcoholic, who had to pass out for hours at a time, lost multiple jobs, was in multiple car accidents (insert more chaos here)… would have somehow upon my death just got his act together after years of struggling and excelled at being a widower to three children.

The delusion is absolutely insane. Was Jesse a fun, loving father? Absolutely. Did he try his best? Absolutely. But to say that someone who spent half of his life in active addiction would have handled grieving better then a sober stable graduate student is absolutely insane.

Ironically my children have brought up this hypothetical also… except they all speculated that Dad would be more trashed than ever. That he would never be able to handle it. But what do they know? They only saw him every day *in the present* for 12 years.

Minus the fact that none of these people were ever widowed at 30 with 4 kids. But yes proceed to tell me about child grief.

4. (Jesse wanted to leave me)This statement isn’t true because something was left out. Like it is every-time its told. Jesse 100% said he wanted to leave me… AND THE KIDS. That’s right. The latter part is always left out. He said quite a few times he was poison to his family, that he wanted to get in the car and just drive- so we could have a normal life. Addiction wrecked us. He knew this. He loved us. It was more of an attempt to be a sacrificial lamb, but we wouldnt leave him behind.

5. (Me grieving for attention). This one was said by enabler- and I was waiting for it. A simple minded person would absolutely say that. Predictable.

But yes. I do this for attention. I absolutely do. I have to get everyones attention. I have to scream from the roof tops about addiction and grief because when I did it prior to Jesse’s death I was just a crazy person.

But let me tell you. I think the real reason I’m so angry is because these people are still alive. Still alive with no accountability. Still getting hammered. Still lying. Lying is a huge theme.

But Jesse isnt. Jesse tried to break free of how he was conditioned. He was accountable. It took much trial and error but he did try.

6. (That I manipulate things). I think what they really mean to say is that I think before I speak. None of my blogs have been done out of emotion. sure, I wrote them when I was emotional, but I check them and edit them when my head is clear. When I finally left the hospital and returned back to my home without him, my first thought was “FUCK! now I have to fucking explain all of this shit because you died. I can’t be quiet. How do I do it?” and I knew if I just said “hey everyone he’s a druggie!” no one would care. It would be his fault. I had to make sure people knew the Jesse I knew, so they could see what addiction does to people. Again, really talk to any addiction widow, I am not unique. All of their husbands have the same story as Jesse again and again.

7. (I’m better because Jesse died). No. I’m not dealing with an active addiction anymore. The man I am with now is the exact opposite to Jesse and yes I am thriving. I am allowed to thrive instead of be a care taker to a sick person. It doesn’t negate my grief. It doesn’t make me okay. When my now boyfriend read that comment he literally laughed and said sarcastically “yeah because you totally don’t cry everyday.” I just have an awesome support person now. He does things for me, things Jesse wished he could do and couldn’t because he was sick. Should I be miserable because I am with someone healthy? Should I go pick someone with an addiction again? I am healthier because addiction is gone, but I am still sad. I still grieve. I still am sad for my kids that their once beautiful father got so fucking sick.

8. (I’m hateful). Truth hurts mother fucker. I am only getting started. In what world do you live in that you think an abusive person should be protected? When you see a serial killer, and people comment “how could he!” is that also hateful? No. Some people are garbage. Me exposing garbage isn’t hateful, it’s a baptism. I am cleansing myself of poison I had to carry. I’m not going to stop, so you may want to shut your eyes

I have a lot to say and weak attempts to get me to stop will not work.

I didn’t start this game but I will finish it.

Beautiful People.

Beautiful People.

After being reminded via text to take care of my son’s hamster this morning by someone who isn’t family, I felt compelled to write about this aspect of grief. Despite the clear negativity that is also present.

Jesse and I really became engulfed in the cycle of our lives. Unless it was pertaining to his work, our immediate family, or law school, it was unlikely we were going to have the time for it. We had friends stop by, but a random vacation out of town for 4 days with friends was just out of the question.

Sadly, this ordeal has reminded me how much support we have. Overwhelming support and how many friends we both had. A GoFundMe was made for me by his cousin when bills were the last thing on my mind. My phone almost got shut off and Jesse’s income wouldn’t be coming in anymore. Any assets he has, I still don’t have control over because of various reasons (they have to be probated, the company needs a death certificate, etc). On the last day when Verizon sent me a reminder to pay the bill, I was able to pay it because of the GoFundMe. Additionally, so far we have our mortgage paid until June and I am hoping this week to have the mortgage paid up until December. That gives me a year with our largest and most stressful bill gone. Hopefully I will graduate on time and get a job. I also plan on refinancing the house next year because Jesse and I had knocked out all of our credit card debt, and that should make our mortgage more manageable. My kids have needed numerous “distractions,” ( Okay, so it’s always on our mind, but toys make them forget for a second or an activity), and I’ve been able to get them things they need. I still keep restrictions on it, but like I ordered R an Ant Farm that should be here this week. He’s really into taking care of creatures. I am hoping this offers him some solace as he cares for his ants and hamster.

My previous employer, a personal injury firm, who I haven’t worked for in 3 years has been supporting me without me even having to ask. The girls from my work paid my electric bill and have been in constant contact with me, letting me cry to them at 4am if I need to or vent about whatever it is I feel sad or angry about. My old boss, who is one of the best men in the world, along with his co-counsels and their spouses have made sure I am moving towards grief counseling, even offering to pay for it. Jesse’s employer, again which was already supportive to us, has made sure to help us anyway they can.

My law school has been checking in on me periodically. They have been working on a game plan so I still graduate but are being receptive to my needs. They have always been supportive anyway, just because I have children and am not a “normal” student. But the school and students have reached out offering to help me study, or ensuring I will pass the bar. They are reaching out and finding out who is in my class and who will be able to get me through each class, without any prompting.

A group of friends from middle school, which I probably haven’t seen in 15 years, had custom blankets made for me and children with Jesse’s photos on them. I have had countless people wash my dishes, make us dinner, and just talk to me while I sit on the couch. My house is messy and generally I haven’t showered, but they don’t flinch.

Jesse’s best friend and my children’s uncles/aunts have tried to make the kids feel a little normal by doing things Jesse would normally do with them. Whether it be putting a toy together or cooking something in the oven. My family and closest friends have spent countless hours at home with me so it wouldn’t be so silent here. Extended family has reached out to me offering what they can, a cousin of mine in Ohio sent me a drawing she did of Jesse and I by hand and it was very touching. Jesse’s extended family came down also and it is too bad they had to return home because their company was something I really enjoyed.

Our immediate family is struggling, but is still trying to hold it together. We are all pretty much just big clusters of messes trying to help other big clusters of messes. So having the support from friends is truly amazing. Our family is also doing the best they can to help me, while navigating their own grief. None of us had the “Losing Jesse 101 Handbook,” so it’s a little messy sometimes.

Despite COVID and the restrictions it put on the funeral- it was nice to see how many people came to Jesse’s funeral. I didn’t sit down for four hours because there was a revolving door of people. I wish he could see all of this. He would be upset at the pain but amazed at the people and so thankful to them for taking care of us.

I also get an influx of text and messages everyday. Which I can’t always reply to, but I read them and it offers me a moment to think about that text instead of other painful things. It also allows me to “schedule people out,” so I don’t have to be alone all the time. I was with someone for 13 years and he was just ripped from me in an instant. You don’t realize how deeply intertwined your relationship is with your spouse until they aren’t there. My friends who are very empathetic, have sent me the most poetic of words and understanding. I don’t feel rushed with them and that is nice.

There is a lot more than this too, but I am starting to get tired and I need to try and get an assignment done for school before I slip back into not caring. I think I am making progress, but it’s weird because if I make progress then I am essentially forming some sort of “new self,” one that Jesse doesn’t know about and that feels weird. I guess I will just have to remind myself that he knew me in my core, so he did already know how I would be and what I would do. He actually said if this ever happened I would be fine. He had utmost faith in me, except sometimes I think he was too confident.