Sep 15, 2010
This entry was written by John Flint. John Flint is a name, and more importantly, a person, very dear to my heart. He has been like a personal Savior to me and my family. Even before Lucy died, he was always there, helping us with whatever was needed. Encouraging us, supporting us, and above all, letting us know that we are important and loved. John Flint was the Bishop of our ward in Park City when we were newlyweds. He was our Bishop while Vic was unemployed and looking for work. He was our Bishop when Lucy was born and I was so depressed I couldn't sleep, eat, or get out of the house. He was our Bishop when Vic found a great job. And the day he was released, was the day Lucy choked. He was speaking from the pulpit when we took Lucy out of the room. He even spoke about her, about seeing her grow up. Moments later, he was at the firestation watching and helping as they carried her body into the helicopter. He spoke at her funeral. He has literally and figuratively held our hands over the past two+ years as we've ridden the rollercoaster of grief. John was also Tracie's Bishop.
If you haven't guessed by now, John is an angel on earth.
Last October I wrote about my dear friend, Tracie on my blog. About how I finally found her. After I visited her in the hospital in November and she visited with Debbie and I in December, she went missing for a while, but I found her. I found her in a casket, at her parents' Ward house. She died from an overdose. Her fragile, broken down heart couldn't take "one more time, one more high, one more feeling of freedom." She was 28. She was a beautiful person. She was someone I loved with all of my heart. She was someone who taught me to "keep going" in spite of all things difficult and hard and sorrowful.
I would have given all of my earthly possessions to Tracie - my Park City home, my little sports car, my Tahoe and even my bike that I built myself - if that is what it took to cure Tracie from her addiction. In return for these things I would have taken Tracie's addiction and all of the heartache and sorrow that addiction caused. I would have taken all of her pain. All of her sin. All of the bad things and just left her with the good things - her three brothers, her wonderful mom and dad, and her daughter, Riley. I would have given her all I had if she had asked. Tracie died just when I thought she was through the worst of things. The sun had just begun to peak over the mountains after her long cold night.
The darkness began when she was just a teenager before she could even drive. It started with a little curiosity, may be a little rebelliousness not unlike every other teenager who has lived on this planet. The drugs and the friends gave her something - a certain feeling that I couldn't understand. (No one can understand that feeling except those who have to have it. Tracie tried to describe it to me.) "The feeling" creates a mighty craving that can't be quenched no matter how much you feed it. Tracie described periods of time where she would stay in one room for 30 days with the sole purpose of remaining high. She wouldn't even leave to eat or use the bathroom. The lows after the highs are painful. Tracie and all addicts try to avoid them by staying high as long as its physically possible.
What would life be like when your first waking thought was a question, "where am I going to find my high, today?" The second question being, "what am I going to have to do to get it?" The answer, "anything I have to."
There is the dark side of addiction-- But it doesn't always keep a little light from shining through, up from a person's soul. I relished those moments with Tracie when her light still came through. Those moments were usually at the jail. We would talk over a phone with a thick piece of glass between us. There were other moments - at her graduation from rehab, in the hospital, and in my home when she brought her new boyfriend for Debbie and I to meet. It made me so happy to see her happy.
There was a surreal moment with Tracie that I will never forget. She came into church one Sunday looking for me. She needed some money and some gas for her car - actually a very old Jeep Wagoneer I had found for her. It needed a muffler. Like usual, she found my emotional soft spot, and I agreed to help her. I went and found AJ, my son, and we all three proceeded to get in the Jeep and drive down to the gas station. I could tell Tracie was a little "loose" mentally, probably after coming down from a high that morning. She drove. She had one foot on the gas and one foot tucked up under on the seat. I was in the passenger seat and AJ was in the back. We had to create a place for ourselves to sit. Off we went. Too fast. "What am I doing?" Tracie put in a little music. It happened to be Al Green. His first hit album. The first album I had ever bought in my life. The song was "I'm Still In Love With You." I remember thinking to myself, "This is crazy." I had to chuckle a little picturing the whole event in my mind as if I was watching it from a movie seat. Now, I had "the feeling" not quite like Tracie's, but still the feeling, that life is just a movie and I am just going to sit back a little and laugh at how funny it can be when you are not thinking of how serious it is.
That little moment was Tracie's gift to me.
I had been worrying about Tracie because she hadn't called me for a week when her dad called me to tell me they had found Tracie dead. Her heart had stopped. My heart stopped. The next time I saw her was looking into her casket. Her father came up and thanked me for all I had tried to do for her. I was crying. I tried to comfort him, when he said, "John, don't worry about me. This is the first time in many, many years I won't have to worry about where Tracie is tonight."
The funeral was a chance for me to hear about Tracie when she wasn't an addict. Her brothers told many stories about how kind and thoughtful she was. I remember seeing pictures of her when she was just a little girl. She was so cute.
Finally, a little moral to the story that Tracie taught me through her life: She was adopted. Her birth mom was an addict. Tracy was born on a bathroom floor. She was taken away from her mother. Her adoptive parents are some of the best people I have ever met, but I can't stop thinking about how Tracie felt about herself and how her mother's own addiction might have created a little tendency in Tracie's body to be addicted. I have come to believe that life isn't a race. We don't all start in the same place. We have different obstacles. We have different mountains to climb. There is no room and no real reason to compare our lives to others' and others' lives to ours. We must not give up on each other. We must love people for who they really are - as they are, not as what we want and hope them to be. We must reach out to people who live lives we are afraid of and not accustom to.
I can honestly say to myself, despite the disappointments, the relapses, and all the heartaches that I never gave up on Tracie, not even for a second. I loved her with all of my soul to the very end of her mortal life. I love her now.