So know you know what happened to Amy, the love of my life, my dream girl, the woman I wanted to marry.
The point of me sharing all this is to tell anyone who is reading this, don’t wait. Don’t wait to tell someone you love them. Don’t wait to propose when you know somebody is the one. Don’t wait to have difficult conversations, to confront somebody about their health or struggles, or to talk to somebody about your own. Don’t wait to acknowledge the elephant in the room, the problem, the thing that keeps you up at night.
If you wait too long, you may not ever get the chance to do it.
I never got to propose to Amy. We never got to have our dream wedding, which in my mind would have been in Audubon Park, in a gazebo under the low hanging tree branches by the water, just like her watercolor painting. We never got to have kids, to see each other realize all our dreams, to grow old together.
Amy was an alcoholic, and I enabled her alcoholism by ignoring it, excusing it, allowing it to go on. We both knew she had a problem, and did nothing about it. I know she made the decision to drink, and not to seek help, but I also felt at least partially responsible for her death. I was the closest person to her, lived with her, and knew all her habits, including her drinking. If anyone was in a position to intervene in her life and try to help her get professional help, it was me.
I want Amy’s story to mean something. I don’t want what happened to us to happen to anybody else.
I have been compiling all of Amy’s work and turning it into prints. There was one painting people loved most of all – the patterns that Amy drew after her trip to the cave Grotte Chauvet in France. “La Grotte Chauvet-Pont d’Arc, Ardèche” – I was always amused by the accent she pronounced the name of this cave, and this actually inspired me to create a blog..
I gave most of the originals paints to her family but kept a few pieces that I loved the most, the ones that I could remember watching her paint, or her explaining in her soft voice what they were to me. The painting of Audubon Park (which I bought that night in the gallery when we met before we had even gone on our first date) still hangs above my bed, and I look at it every day and think of Amy.
I set up a website online, telling Amy’s story. Not just about the alcoholism and how she died, but about the amazing, magical person she was. But I don’t gloss over her addiction in the story either, not like how I did in real life when Amy was alive. I sell the prints of her paintings on the website, with her family’s permission, and split the proceeds between an alcohol rehabilitation facility and an arts summer camp for kids. I want to help other people with Amy’s illness since I failed to help her when I had the chance. And I know Amy would love to support kids who had the same dream that she had growing up of becoming an artist.