To Love and Lose an Addict

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1948
Anna Collins lives and works in Upshur County while raising her three-year- old daughter, Kimora.

They say you only truly die once. 

When your heart stops beating

no way to resuscitate you

Flat lined — no brain activity. 

The essence of who you are

is stripped away.

You no longer exist

in physical form. 

But I don’t find that to be true. 

I’ve died many times. 

I’ve died while still breathing

while blood was still pumping

through my body. 

The first time I died

was when you relapsed.

— I couldn’t understand

I died while screaming

and begging you not to walk out that door.

But you did anyway

I died again and again

every time you left home to get high.

…Waiting by the phone

to hear it ring,

to know you were okay. 

I died watching you come home

and withdrawal in pain,

begging to be saved. 

I died knowing I couldn’t save you. 

I died when I had to tell you to leave,

That I was done

Didn’t want you to come home.

I died when I got a phone call at 10am

that you were really gone this time.

Not coming back.

Just gone. 

Flat lined.

– no brain activity.

Now, I die every morning,

waking up without you. 

I don’t believe we only die once.

Physically, yes,
and then you’re at peace. 

But, I’m still here, in Hell. 
– a walking corpse

with a heartbeat.

Anna Collins lives and works in Upshur County while raising her three-year- old daughter, Kimora. She wrote the poem above after her boyfriend died from a drug overdose.