Monthly Archives: August 2007
(Married on the same day my dad dies…an explanation of the events.)
I was seventeen. A few short months and I was going to be eighteen. I couldn’t wait. I always said when I turned of age that I was out of there. I couldn’t wait to get out of that house and away from her.
I was an angry girl. I was pissed at her for not being the mom she should have been all the years before. I was pissed at her for not making things a little easier on my dad. I was angry with her for her illness that seemed to mess everything in our family up. I was angry with her for just being her. Most of all I was angry that my dad was dying.
My dad was battling cancer and he was losing. It was my senior year of high school. It was hard to get up everyday and attend school, but I did it for my dad. I also did it to get away from her. We were at each other’s throats everyday. The screaming matches that took place unsettled my dad’s peace. What peace he had, given the circumstances. There were times he couldn’t sleep over the screaming that took place between her and I. I swore when I turned eighteen I was moving out, and that is what I did.
February came and I finally reached eighteen. I took my clothes to the laundry mat to wash since the laundry at the house was piled sky high. She never wanted to do laundry. While at the laundry mat I thought over all the fights. I thought over all the things said over the recent times. Mostly I thought about my dad dying and leaving me there with her.
I was sitting on the faded cracked chair folding a blanket I had been given by my dad. I was thinking about it being time for me to leave that house. It wasn’t going to be a home when he was gone. This much I knew. I just didn’t know how to tell him.
I reached in my pile of change to grab out a quarter. I walked over to the pay phone that was attached to the wall by the back door. I put the quarter in and punched in the number. She answered and the words just flowed out, “I’m moving out. I’m not going to be coming home.” I didn’t give her time to reply I just hung up the phone. I still hear the ching sound the phone made as I hung up the receiver.
I was relieved not to be going home to her. I was tired of screaming. I was tired of watching my dad die on the couch. I wanted him to have some peace before he left the world. I figured he would get that if I left home. If I left the screaming would stop so he could rest.
I was young and thought I had found love in a guy. I thought he was everything. In hindsight I realize he was only an escape. It wasn’t love at all. We were to be married that July. It was his apartment I ran to after I called home to say I wouldn’t be returning.
Before I moved out, my dad bought dresses towards the end of his life for that wedding. I can still see the beautiful white gown he bought for me. I remember the proud look on my dads face when he shown it to me. We were hoping he would live long enough to walk me down the isle. We talked about how I wanted things done. I was caught up in the fairy tale and the want; the wants of wanting my dad there to walk me down the isle. I believe my dad was also caught up in it all.
I still remember the night I called home to talk to dad like yesterday. He asked me to come home. He said to me in a stern voice, “Rachel, come home where you belong.” And all I could say back to him was, “I can’t dad I’m sorry.” I wish I could have told him why. I wish I had explained why I left. I didn’t want to burden him with the problems I had with her. I just wanted him to die in peace. I wanted him to have no worries on his mind at his final breath. I kept my feelings inside and didn’t breathe a word of how I was feeling to him on the phone that night.
The next morning I got up and went over to see my dad. When I got there I saw a blanket lying on the floor in front on the couch. He had a pair of pajamas I had bought him. The blanket was there because he couldn’t walk to go to the bathroom any longer. It broke my heart and it still breaks my heart. I sat down beside him and asked him how he was feeling. His arm was on his knee with his head resting in his left hand. I remember his look. The peach fuzz he had on his head. I remember the tired looked in his eyes. I remember the rasping in his voice.
“Rachel, if you aren’t going to come home then you need to make it right with God. You can’t just live with the guy.”
I was silent. I was scared. I was unsure. I just kept my gaze on him for a few moments burning his image into my memory before I got up to leave. I didn’t know what to say. I was so mixed up inside. I wanted to come home to him because I loved him so much. I wanted to stay away because I knew what it would be like if I returned with her. I wanted to be there when he drew his last breath. I wanted to be so far away when he left so that I would ensure keeping my mind.
In the end I made the decision to marry the guy instead of going back home. He was a few weeks from being eighteen so we had to travel over state lines to get it done. The day before my dad passed away we left out in hopes to be gone one day and back before my dad died.
I think about that trip often. I remember the snow coming down in blizzard form on the highway that night as we drove. I remember screaming inside my head, “Stop the car! Turn around! I can’t do this!” Not a word left my mouth though. Everything on that trip was telling me to not do what I was about to do. I wouldn’t listen though and today I wish I would have.
We reached a town and realized we were lost and way off where we wanted to be. It was late by this time and we had to rent a room. When we got in the room I called home to see if dad was OK. I told them I’d be home tomorrow afternoon and things would be set right. It was a brief phone call.
Morning came and we started to get ready to head out. We had to travel further south in the state to be where we needed to be. The car was started and warming up. We realized the keys were locked inside. This was yet another sign I refused to listen to. I knew that if I didn’t marry him I would most likely have to go back home with her. I wasn’t about to have that. My resentment for her was so much that I’d take a chance on what I thought was love.
Eventually the car was unlocked and we headed out. We got to the courthouse as it was closing. The judge gave us a few moments and I explained the situation to him. I explained that my dad didn’t want me living with this guy. I explained we were planning to get married in July but my dad was dying of cancer. I told the judge I wanted him to know that I made things right before he left. He agreed to marry us and it was done.
When the service was over I asked the judge if I could use his phone to call home. My aunt R answered the phone and all I could get out was, “It is done, tell dad I made it right. Dad there….let me talk to him…” she handed the phone to my mom. She yelped out, “He’s gone Rachel….” I collapsed onto the floor sobbing like a little child. It was hard to breathe. I couldn’t talk. I was numb. The date was March 7th.
The ride back to Mansfield I was silent the whole time. Not a word fell out of my mouth. My face was flush and cheeks soaked with tears. We drove straight to my moms. I enter into the kitchen door and not one of my family members reached out to hug me that was there. It hurt like nothing before. Not only had I just lost my dad, and my best friend, but also I was shunned by who I thought would be my pillars, my family.
I remember my mom almost collapsing in my arms. In that kitchen for that brief moment I felt nothing but heartache and love for her. I held her in my arms so tight. I felt her pain and wished I could have wiped it all away. I loved her like a mother. I held her like a mom. We wept together like little children at our loss. In that sad but beautiful moment no one else existed in that kitchen but the two of us holding one another. We had forgotten all the harsh words. We had not thought about the bitterness that grew between us. We only knew that in that moment we needed each other like no other could.
A lot of family had no idea what had gone on behind closed doors as my dad laid on the couch dying. Most of the family had no idea the talks I had with my dad about moving out. Most family didn’t know half of what they thought they knew. That family treated me coldly after my dad passed. It hurt like hell and I still have not forgiven that completely. Someday I hope to and I try everyday. When I think of the funeral I remember the only one on my moms side of the family that hugged me in that church. Just one. Boy did I need those others to hug me. I needed them to tell me I could count on them. Boy did I really need those hugs.
So here I was married at eighteen and burying my best friend, my dad. Life was not going to get better any time soon either. The next chapter only details more heartache and mistakes that I can’t undo. I can only write about them in hopes to find some sort of peace with them all.
(This is a part of a memoir I am writing- just one chapter of many- I’ll post the following chapter to this soon. Please don’t be afraid to leave comments and feedback.)
It has been a while since I last written. I have been very busy with the baby and moving! Yes moving! We finally got our house! I am very happy about that.
I finally got caught up with my E-mail tonight and noticed my Aunt had written to me a few days ago. I was so happy to have gotten her letter. She is my dad’s sister and I love her deeply. As I read her letter I remembered how my dad and her would argue with one another…brothers and sisters will be brothers and sisters. (Of course they weren’t serious arguments most of the time) Yes, I have a lot of great memories of her and dad.
Although her letter struck me with happiness it also brought about a terrible sadness. She had said in the letter that she was proud of my writings but she cried when she read the one I had written to my dad previously. The sadness came for many reasons of course. One reason, because I am far away from my hometown and family there. Two, I am far away from my hometown but feel no urge to go back. And, finally I was sad because I know how much dad meant to her as well and I felt sort of bad that reading my letter to him made her sad. I am happy she is proud of who I have become and I am so pleased she enjoys what I write. I hope she visits this page more often to read the other stuff I have.
That aside I want to discuss the reasons for the sadness.
ONE: I am originally from Mansfield, Ohio. I live in the twin cities in Minnesota now. That is pretty far away. I miss a lot from there at times. I miss some of my family. I miss my nieces and nephews a great deal too. I miss talking with family members about dad even though it hurts like hell. I miss stories about dad through them. I miss the house and being able to remember fond memories. I miss aspects of the town that bring joy to me too.
TWO: I hate Mansfield for many more reasons. The loneliness there with my dad gone is just the tip of the iceberg for hating that place. I made a lot of mistakes in that town and when I go there they haunt me. The worst mistake being my first marriage to that psycho bastard! I am disappointed with many things there concerning my younger brother and going there just depresses me. I am VERY much against what my mom is doing right now and it just disgusts me to no end so going there would only bring out the angry side of me. I do wish to avoid that side at all costs now not only for my health, but for the well being of my daughters.
THREE: I can see in people’s faces how much it hurts them that my dad is gone. The expression they show breaks my heart even more then it is already broken. The house really holds emptiness now…and the stories hold such despondency, how ever nice it is to hear them. It tears me apart at the same time. I know my Aunt’s who were my dad’s sisters are shattered at the loss of him…and to see this and know this only makes me grieve harder. I wish I could heal all of our hearts.
So I’ve covered the reasons…I have to get this out.
I am torn over that God forsaken place. I have been since my dad had passed. Unfortunately as I get older I feel less of an urge to go there. It isn’t that I don’t miss some of my family. I certainly do! I miss them terribly. I just don’t think I am strong enough to continue to endure what it is that place holds for me when I go. It is all too much for me now and quite frankly I sometimes wonder if I’d make it through the visit not cracking up. Cracking up, of course meaning, going out of my mind. There is so much that Mansfield holds about me that I have not even begun to touch on here in my journal. I am sure someday I will but for now I just can’t. I lack the bravery to go that far. As I have stated before I am a book of secrets and some of those secrets are the darkest you could ever imagine….I am not proud of those secrets in any way, but they do exist. They exist in Mansfield…
When I go to Mansfield those secrets haunt me. They torture me! My eating disorder is there. That is only one secret and not even close to how bad the others are…I hope you are understanding my stance on that place.
It is a toxin to me, a toxin even though I have wonderful family there. Some of my family is also a toxin to me. I wish it wasn’t this way, but it is. I will have to write about the time I left that toxic city and explain some of the reasons why someday soon…just so you people understand.
I hope my family there understands why I don’t rush there. I hope they understand why I don’t want to really come there. Sadly some of them will hold it against me for not coming…and to them all I can say is I am sorry you don’t understand yet; someday you will I hope.
It is too hard to keep pretending. I can’t just keep pretending that I think so highly of my own mom (it breaks my heart and has sent me into therapy) when unfortunately I don’t feel that way in the least. It isn’t just her though. I can’t keep going there pretending that my once strong family isn’t torn apart since my dads death.
There is so much I want to just spill out right now but I just can’t. Just know that Mansfield is cursed in my eyes and that place, to me, is like hell is to the Christians.
Until next time….