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Dear Dad,

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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,

Rachel

Dear whoever cares…

I have had a few rough days here. It took every ounce of energy just to breathe. The doctors tell me its fibromyalgia I just still refuse to believe I have that. It is bad enough dealing with the tumor in my back without having some other crap.

I’ve been having some strange dreams lately. I worry they are trying to warn me of some impending doom…they certainly feel that way when I awake from them. I feel such a dread over myself that I can’t help but use a few moments to clear them out of my mind. I hope it is only stress I’m taking to my dream world and not some serious warning I am failing to see. The dreams have been going on for a few months now and they seem to be getting more intense.

How fitting to be listening to Zombie by the Cranberries as I started to write this entry…

A few times in the past few months I have felt like a nervous break down was just one moment away. I’ve had a hard time with my father n law being sick with pancreatic cancer. He is at the nearing end and I’m not sure how to be the rock for my oldest daughter and husband when the final moment happens. I worry about him suffering with pain and I worry about what his wife will do when he’s gone too. What about Anna? I worry about these things constantly these days. It feels too close to a very difficult loss of my own over my dad who passed away with cancer in 1996.

I’ve had a downfall over changing my career. I found out that disability will cut me off if I try to attempt to go to school for photography. I am a writer, nothing special though so don’t get too excited. I’m not putting out stuff I use to dream about putting out. No New York best seller, and not even close to the Pulitzer Prize. I have big dreams, big goals and it seems I’m stuck being mediocre at best. I wanted to try to start something new like photography in hopes 2 find the thing I’m excellent at and something I can try to do with my disability. So I’m stuck writing mediocre novels, and poetry I’ll never make dimes writing.

It really upset me because I feel like I’m living this life of a stranger. This life I am stuck in isn’t mine. I am a volleyball player, hip-hop dancer, and a karaoke singer, full of life and energy to do shit with my family and on my own…however that is a dream life for me. I have been disabled since 2005 and I still can’t seem to be the new me. I walk with a cane most days and I still can’t get over the fact I do that…I just can’t accept the limits I have now…why do I have to be limited? Of all people…I’ve always been ambitious. I am a determined woman with goals set all the time. Any idea what it does to me when I’m hindered? I am very unhappy with now in my life.

Don’t get me wrong I love my family and that is not anything I’m depressed about. I just wish I could contribute more to my family…I would feel more accomplished in being able to do so.

If only they would have done the MRI in 2001! I didn’t have healthcare at that time so it was a test they avoided to do…they did X-rays which didn’t show the tumor on the nerve. So from 2001 until 2005 the tumor grew and became inoperable. Now I’m left with the life I am forced to live with no chance of EVER being any other way. When it gets to the point where they will have no other choice but to remove the tumor I will be left in a wheel chair and colostomy bag. I blame the government for this situation because if there were some sort of health coverage I would have had access too the MRI would have been done and removed before the nerve braided throughout the tumor. Bastards!

I was 22 then…

Sometimes I even push myself to try to be normal and then I hurt even more afterwards. I push myself to get out into the garden in spring and summer. I push myself to do what little housework I can do but pay for it later. I’m limited to how far I can even drive. Long trips in the car are very difficult for me due to the back pain. So forget about the road trips I use to take…vacation drives I use to dream about like seeing Yellowstone. That is over for me and boy it really depresses me to a level I’ve never known.

I try to write it out, and try to stay positive but in the midst of my life it’s hard because everyday I’m reminded how limited I am now. Every move I make I am reminded what has been taken away from me.

I pray that God gives me strength to change the things I can and accept the things I cannot. I need him because I’m close to something I don’t want to be close to right now in my life…