My coulda woulda shoulda is that last phone call I had with Charles. Here’s how it goes.
Alter Ego: You missed that last conversation, the one where he texted you, “Please pick up the f@#$%& phone, there is something I need to tell you.”
(my mind usually whines here)
Me: We had already been on the phone for two hours. He was shouting, incoherent and argumentative. I didn’t know where he was. I couldn’t understand him. I said, “I have to go. Bye, bye, I love you.” Then he called again and we talked again.
Alter Ego: But that third phone call, the one that you didn’t take, was your last chance. I think he wanted to tell you he loved you. And you missed it. You’ll never know what he wanted to say for sure. That opportunity has vanished….forever.
Me: But I didn’t know it was my LAST phone call. I thought I’d wait and call him the next day or later that night. I texted him a question and asked him to call me. He didn’t.
Alter Ego: You could have called. You have a phone. Every normal mother would have.
Me: I know, I know. It hurts. We did everything.
Alter Ego: You didn’t answer the phone again, though, did you?
Me: I didn’t know he was suicidal. And I didn’t know then what I know now. He was going through withdrawal and having a depressive episode at the same time. He told me nothing and I couldn’t figure it out…. and I had to be somewhere.
Alter Ego: I see, you had to be somewhere. Was it that important?
Me: I had no control over the situation, no knowledge of what was going on. I know I missed something important. It kills me.
Alter Ego: Do you really think you could have saved him?
Me: Maybe that day I could have. But I don’t think he was going to wrestle out of the grips of heroin. Ever. He was so fragile. And he refused traditional treatment for depression and his self medication had made his depression worse. I remember trying to figure out if he had hit rock bottom. And if so, what we needed to do. I needed time to think.
Alter Ego: It was always hard, wasn’t it? Trying to figure out whether it was mental health, drugs, the sleep disorder or all the above? Trying to figure out what to do.
Me: Yes and the system was so frustrating. It’s like swimming upstream.
Alter Ego: You know you have to drag yourself out of this dark hole. You have to go do something else. Call someone.
Me: I will in a minute. I can’t talk. I can’t breathe. My heart hurts and I want him back. I want just one more chance, one more hug. I want to hear that he loves me. I want to hear that last phone call.
Alter Ego: I know you do
Me: Will I always feel this way?
Alter Ego: You do know he loved you. You know he was not himself and you had little experience with the heroin addiction. He’d had been depressed for so long. He reached for heroin because he felt so lousy all the time. Addiction was new and he was in such pain. He was only living for you guys and that’s not a foundation for survival. You’ve read his music.
Me: I know. But I would give anything for a replay. When will this part stop? And why couldn’t I fix it?
Alter Ego: I don’t know. I’ve never been through this before either. But I imagine it will become less frequent, less painful. And you will forgive yourself. We can’t fix other human beings. We just can’t.
Me: I am not torturing myself as much now. Charles I love you, I miss you. Please forgive me.