Dear Dad, 04/30/2015
It is nearing the end of my first semester of community college. I have a long way to go still but I’m finally doing it! It feels good dad. I think about you so much and I wish so much that you were here. I miss you every day that passes. It is 2015 now. You have been gone now for 19 years. That is such a long time dad and so much has changed with the world, technology, your grandchildren, and our family.
I don’t get back home very often. It still didn’t feel like home being back there last summer. There is this void with you gone. I guess it will always be there. When I went back home I went to bury Drew. Yes, that boy I swore I’d love my whole life and chased around the neighborhood. The boy’s initials I carved into the bedroom furniture you were furious about. Oh yeah and the closest door frame too. I know you remember him…how could you forget him right? That was very hard on me to do. I did love him so much. To walk down the isle of that funeral home knowing it would be the last time I’d kiss him good bye broke my heart so bad dad. I still feel bad I never thanked him for saving my life in middle school dad…I know that was when you loved Drew too…when he came forward over that crazy gun nonsense and saved me…you were different towards him after that…he was about the only boy allowed to come see me…I never thanked him for telling me not to stay in Mansfield either when I asked him if I had any reason to…that is one part of growing older really sucks dad…the loved ones you have to bury. Learning how to live on without them is tough. The toughest for me of course has been living with you gone.
I have had to make up for so many missteps I made after you died. I thought the day you told me you had cancer in that stupid gray Corsica that I had time to prepare…maybe not long but at least a few months…we ended up having a year and still I fucked up so badly…I lost myself so much that I’m not even certain I ever found her…even today. I think she died with you dad and I have accepted that…I guess maybe that is what happens when you lose someone so valuable. I thought I would have been fine, solid as a rock…thought I was so smart and had my shit together…what a fool I was…what a waste…so much wasted time…talent…I’m so sorry daddy…I am so sorry…if I could only go back…if only…
The first five years you were gone I walked around numb. I did everything to feel things like I had before you died but I just couldn’t. I moved all over in search of somewhere to belong, a place I could FEEL alive again. I wasn’t even sure I wanted to live anymore in the world without you in it. I just didn’t know how. It took so long to feel anything after you died dad…your granddaughter Courtney, when I gave birth to her; she gave me this need to live, this want to try to live. She still does along with her little sister.
They are so beautiful dad. Kylie reminds me of you once in a while. I’m sorry they never got to meet you. It isn’t fair but there isn’t much in life that is right? Courtney is 14 now! She is so much like me dad and I am so happy our relationship is very close…I am so glad it didn’t turn out like mine and moms. She is so smart too. She is an A student and she already speaks fluent German…she actually just came back from German camp not long ago. She is thrilled about college in her future. I could not be more proud dad and let me tell you right now…if it was not for having you as my dad I would not be such a great mother to her. I would not have been able to get clean and really pull myself out of that dark shit I got myself into at the beginning of my adult life. I never told you but you were a wonderful dad…even with the bad things that happened to me dad, they were not your fault and you couldn’t protect me from everything…you were my hero…you ARE MY HERO!! So thank you.
Little Kylie is a mini me by looking at her. She is just adorable dad. She asks a lot about you. I think she is sad she never got to meet you too. I show her pictures. She is really smart too. She is so creative dad…she writes these amazing stories like I did at that age. Remember that story I wrote about the old woman under the apple tree? I remember you talked about that story even when I was in high school and I wrote that in grade school. Well, Kylie has that same talent. I think she will be a writer if I do things right by her and she doesn’t get messed up in life like I did. I am still working on my writing. I still plan on having my memoir published and my novel series too…I have more to learn that college is helping with before I get there.
God I sure do miss you ….I can’t even explain the feeling dad…I just miss you so bad…
Even though I miss you dad I feel good about life…I’m clean and for a long time now…I love my life except being sick all the time with chronic pain, fatigue etc. I push through though. I love going to school…it feels right… it feels the same way it felt when I started driving bus…like I am just supposed to be there. I am excited about my future. My kids are so excited too. Courtney tells me every week how proud she is that I am in college. She brags to her teachers and friends she says. I sure have traveled a long way dad and that is thanks to YOUR PARENTING…you remember that!! I may have screwed up and may have taken a little longer but I am doing it dad. Not only am I setting examples to others who want to get clean or straighten their life out by showing them IT CAN BE DONE but I am setting an example to my kids to not give up on a dream and that anything is possible. I learned that from you.
I love you so much dad and I wish I had told you more when you were here. I miss you and think of you every day. I will carry you in my heart for the rest of my life and I will make sure you never fade with memories I continue to share with my children. I hope you are at peace where ever it is you are…I will write again.
Love your only daughter,
(This is my second draft of a memoir essay I am turning into my Freshman Composition class. The names have been changed, some things have been changed to protect identities and locations…some of this is from real life events. The essay assignment has to be a minimum of 1,000 words and I chose to use a memory of a day from my past to write about. The day I decided to leave my hometown to get clean.)
It was hot, the kind of hot that made it difficult to breathe. As I walked the street alone, the sweat ran down my face and neck, leaving a huge wet spot on my turquoise t-shirt. It appeared as if I just left a wet t-shirt contest I was drenched in so much sweat. Where was I going? I had no idea. I just knew I had to go somewhere and clear my head, figure things out, so I walked. It was just the road, my muddled thoughts and I. The freshly tarred black pavement absorbed so much heat from the blistering sun it felt as though my shoes were nonexistent. The pungent smell of the tar below my feet made this walk more like a chore than an escape to clear my head. The sound of little critters echoed from the woods to my right and the popping tar bubbles below my feet filled the area around me as dehydration surely began to set in slowly. The side streets to the neighborhood were to my left as I trudged my way up Hahn Rd. I grew up on those streets and now I faced the choice of dying on them as a drug addict or leaving them behind for good.
Those woods to my right I spent majority of my childhood exploring them, pretending I was some extraordinary scientist on another planet looking for some other form of life. I climbed those trees. I fell out of those trees. I rode my bike on the trails there. Many of the scars I have today were received from the branches from those huge oak trees, or from the huge boulders sticking out from the hilltops, or from the uneven trail tracks I raced down. I built forts in those woods. I sat in the shade and wrote some of my best poetry and short stories there under the huge oaks. I became lost in thought. How did I become this pill popping, opium using, drop out, walking to God knows where, and in search of who the hell knows what? Who am I? WHAT THE FUCK AM I DOING? HOW AM I GOING TO GET OUT OF THIS ONE!? How did I end up here? I better figure something out…
The top of Hahn road on the right sat a quaint little convenience store named Phans Grocery. Really just a hole in the wall that consisted of three isles of groceries, a deli that gave the neighborhood four options of bologna, ham, salami, and what looked like bologna with pickles in it and a corner cold section with milk, soda, and beer. The store stood there for generations. Mr. Phan watched my four brothers and I grow up in the neighborhood. He knew us by name.
“R, hi there, what can I do for you kiddo…”
No matter how old I got, he still insisted on calling me kiddo. Mr. Phan was always a kind man, who looked aged. His wrinkles told stories of worries and stress and his gray hair told stories of loss. I stood in the entrance propped against the rusted metal door framing.
“Mr. Phan can I use your phone? I have to make a call to my brother in Indiana? I will pay you for the long distance I promise?”
His brows furrowed in concern as he nodded his head yes. I approached slowly being overwhelmed with exhaustion from the walk. The blazing sun for the last half hour probably dehydrated me and depleted me of any energy. I inched closer and closer to the deadline of becoming sick if I didn’t get some drugs into my body soon too.
“Your brother in Indiana…didn’t J move over there? How is he doing anyway? I haven’t seen him around here since your dad’s passing…again I’m so sorry for your loss…your dad was a good man R…neighborhood isn’t the same without Dan around.”
Mr. Phan stretched the phone across the counter to me. I breathed heavily trying to catch my breath.
“J is doing well. He hasn’t been there long actually. He moved there a few months ago from ….. I’m having him come and get me out of here actually. Thanks for letting me use your phone.”
I didn’t want to focus on thoughts of my dad. It hurt too much. Hell, my dad dying got me into the life I was living. It was the last thing I wanted to think about it, talk about, or especially comfort anyone else about. I couldn’t even comfort myself, let alone a man who watched me grow up in the neighborhood.
The phone started to ring. Sweat still ran down my face and neck profusely. I kept switching the phone receiver from my left hand to my right hand, left ear to my right ear, the sweat made it impossible to hold onto. Come on, answer the phone. Answer the phone J. I need you to answer the phone, I thought to myself, as the anxiety built in my stomach. My stomach began to churn and I began praying that my drug dealing husband, at that time, didn’t figure out where I was come and get me.
My husband then, Dick, roamed the streets looking for me. We will name him Dick here for purposes that fill me with joy. Dick was obese, malodorous, drug dealing; abusive man. I would have not given him any chance to be with me if it had not been for my dad being diagnosed with lung cancer. Dick had the drugs. I wanted to run away from all the pain and reality that my dad was going to die, and he was going to die soon. I ran off and decided to marry him in a Kentucky courthouse on this spectacular high I was on the day my dad died. Yes, that is what I said, on the day my dad died. If that wasn’t a sign this guy was bad news there were plenty more I ignored along the way simply because Dick was my door to the drugs. I got what I wanted, when I wanted them, for free. I came close to giving up on my brother J answering his phone when suddenly his deep southern accent was in my ear.
I was temporarily comforted to hear J’s voice on the other end of the telephone.
“J! You are there, thank God!”
“R…what’s going on? Is everything OK?”
“I’m in trouble J…the worst kind…I need your help man…you gotta get me outta here…”
I started to whimper.
“Hey…what do you mean you’re in trouble? Where are you?”
“I’m at Phans store. He let me use his phone. I walked here from moms. J you have to come get me man or I am going to die…please…I know it’s a lot to ask but you’re the only brother who can help me….”
“R…what have you gotten yourself into? What about R?”
“I need to get out of here…you are the only one who can help me with that…R can’t help me with this…you’re the only one…and I can help you too…I want to leave everything here J…I got mixed up with drugs…the worst one…I want to get clean…”
I expected him to yell but his reaction was the opposite. He had a stillness I never knew existed in him.
“You’re doing smack!!? …what the fuck..”
You could hear the trepidation in his voice as he released a quivered sigh and a moment of silence brought pause to our conversation.
“J…I’m not on the needle…I do smoke opium…pop pills…snort them sometimes…smoke weed…I gotta get outta here man…they are everywhere and I’m hooked bad man…I can get clean if I leave here and I can help take care of your kids after I do while you and J work…I can’t get clean in Mansfield, I need to completely change my life J…”
Terror gripped me as I worried his answered was going to be no. I asked him to drop everything in his life to not only drive over to Ohio and pick me up, but bring me home with him to live and deal with me detoxing all the while living with blind faith that I would actually keep my word that I would get clean and stay clean, which most addicts have a hard time with.
“Where are you staying? You staying at moms?”
“I am at moms yes…but I know Dick will be there trying to get me to go back to him…I have to get outta here J…please help me…”
“I have two days off work…I will be there in three hours…be ready.”
We hung up. I was overcome with happiness that the thought of becoming sick from not having drugs was the farthest thought from my mind in that moment. I wiped the phone receiver off from the sweat deposits I had left and turned to thank Mr. Phan.
“Mr. Phan thank you so much for letting me use your phone, you might not understand this now but you just saved my life. My brother is coming to pick me up and taking me to Indiana. I will stop by before we head out to pay you for the phone call.”
I gave him a hug.
“You don’t worry about that phone call R and I know I saved your life with that call. That is why I let you make it. You go and get well. Be the girl I thought you would grow up to be and the girl your dad thought you would grow up to be.”
I started to walk down Hahn Rd. back the way I came. I headed back towards my mom’s house and Mr. Phan yelled from his store entrance before I reached the freshly paved road.
“R when you are tempted to look in the rear view mirror at life, keep going, it isn’t a sign to turn around and come back…you remember that!”
I have been honored with an award from Nancy, Gentle Hugs, I am very happy that she found my BLOG one she thought deserved such an award.
I am now going to take time to search through other BLOGS and choose 15 that I can pass this award on to…maybe your BLOG will be one of those 15. My next post will contain the 15 I choose.
As acceptance of this award, the following criteria should be met:
1. Accept the award, post it on your blog together with the name of the person who has granted the award and his or her blog link.
2. Pass the award to 15 other blogs that you’ve newly discovered.
3. Remember to contact the bloggers to let them know they have been chosen for this award.
Again, thank you so much Nancy for this honor!
Things have been up and down with me the past few weeks. I’ve had some post op situations I’ve had to take care of. I’ve had quite a few bouts of fibro attacks to deal with. I also have had to try to get as much gardening done as possible. Not to mention taking care of my kids while all this is going on!!! Boy was I running on empty for a while.
Sorry I have been so neglectful here at JustOrdinary. Hopefully that will change soon.
I have however started writing part five of The Seed Of Infidelity. It should be finished soon for those of you following that story. It has been an interesting story for me to write….hard at times of course…but also nice to have something flowing out of me.
I just wanted to update you all on what is going on in my hectic life and what will be coming to JustOrdinary soon! I know some people are just waiting for the next piece. Sorry it has taken me so long to get back to that story. When life takes over what can you do? You know.
Well, hope all is well with my readers. I’ll be posting for you again soon!