Jeff was a junkie. There were times he would have sold his soul for just one fix. Over the years he lost everything that mattered to him but he was okay with that because he no longer needed them. He just needed that one fix to make it through the next few hours and then he could think about how he would stop using and get everything back. But just that one fix first.
He was a beautiful man with an enormous heart. He made me laugh. Really laugh. I lived for seven years with an alcoholic SO and Jeff lived with us, off and on, for all of those seven years. He kept me sane and whole and alive. He’d stand up for me and I’d stand up for him and somehow we leaned on each other just enough that we could both stand up and face life most days. When my ex would tell me I was garbage, Jeff would tell me I was special. When life would tell him he was not worth it, I would tell him he was valuable. He was my buddy.
He had a childhood filled with the kind of sexual and physical abuse that makes you cringe to hear about. As an adult he never got over it and even with therapy he had a rage inside him he could never make disappear.
I have not spoken to Jeff in five years. Five years. Wow. The last time I saw him was when he called me, strung out and looking like death, needing money. I gave him one hundred dollars and never saw him again.
He died alone. No one looked for him for three days and even then it was his landlord who went searching. No friends calling. No family wondering where he’s at. No one.
No one was searching for him because slowly but surely we had all cut him out of our lives. One by one we all gave up on him and severed the ties. No one could handle the pain of watching him destroy his life. No one could afford to bail him out of the debt he owed his latest supplier. No one could handle the lies he told us just to get a few bucks out of our pockets. A few dollars this time, twenty the next, a few hundred the third, until he knew he’d get no more and disappear from your life. And every one of us would have, and many times did, pay his rent, buy him food, whatever, if that is what he needed it for. But no, it was us working and forking over the cash because he was a junkie and needed the fix. We couldn’t let him look us in the eye and tell us one more lie with that awful desperation in his voice and his sunken face creased with the pain of needing money for drugs. He was past caring who he hurt but it was killing us to let him do it to us.
At a party thrown for my ex when he was getting married last year my family saw Jeff there. None of his friends would talk to him except to be polite. My family spent the night chatting with him because they loved him and missed him and afterwards they said he was almost his old self. That night he told my dad, “My life would be complete if Jawofech came walking in that door right now and gave me a big hug”, but I was out of town and did not make it to the party. Shortly after that he started using again and dropped out of sight.
My youngest sister has a picture taken at a New Years Eve party we had in 1991. It shows her and Jeff, their arms around each other, their foreheads touching, mouths wide open in hysterical laughter. He is so full of life in that picture. He was happy that night. One of so very few times in all of his 39 years that he was truly happy.
It’s not like Jeff never got a break in life. He was handsome and intelligent. He was witty and quick. He could have been something besides a junkie. The breaks his friends tried to give him throughout his life just never came at the right time for him. When he needed the help the most was when he could not take it. He was far too addicted to want the help then. When he stopped using for the short times that he did he was too proud to accept the help and would not take it then either. His breaks in life were just all out of sync with his needs.
I went to his funeral yesterday. It broke my heart. How do you mourn someone that you loved so much but whose death is unquestionably their own doing?
Because he was not found for three days he was cremated due to the condition of his body. I think if there had been a body to see it might have been more real. Last night I kept thinking that maybe he is not really dead. As stupid as it is I kept kind of hoping that he was just making people think he was dead because he owes the wrong person too much money this time and has taken off. Should I prefer he is living that way? Probably not.
My husband thinks it has been unhealthy for me this week to go around pretending this just never happened like I have been so I decided to write this to maybe work some of it out.
This post is in the pit because of what I want to say to Jeff.
Jeff, Fuck You.
Fuck you for not having the balls to quit the drugs. Fuck You for traveling down the same damn path, year after fucking year, when you knew, you had to fucking know, where it would lead. Fuck you for making us all doubt ourselves yesterday, wondering what else we could have, should have, done. Fuck you for making us stand there with your family, who you hated for some damn good reasons, watching them call all the shots on what happened to you after you were dead when every single one of your fucking friends knew you would have been horrified to see the crap going on yesterday led by those idiots. Fuck you for making me weep, something you never would have done in life. Fuck you for making me defend your death to those who’ve said “well, he chose that life, he kind of deserved it”. And Fuck You for choosing that life anyhow. Fuck you for destroying all of Wade’s dreams that one day you would clean up and the two of you could finally be together. Fuck you for making us listen to Wade sob with a grief so raw it killed us to listen to it. Fuck You Jeff. Fuck You because despite everything I loved you so and always will.
Sweet Jesus I will mourn you buddy. I will weep for you for a very, very long time my sweet messed up friend.
I don’t believe in heaven but if anyone deserves to go there my buddy Jeff does. It’d be nice to see him finally get a break he couldn’t refuse.