Who am I?

“There comes a point in life, when you wake up one morning, look in the mirror and ask “Who am I?”

Earlier this week, while my mom flipped through the TV channels, there was a tag line for a new movie that went something to the effect of the above, and it really caught my attention. Not the movie, the tag line.

I wonder just how true it is, just how many people reach that moment in their lives when they wake up and ask themselves “Who am I?”

I know I have asked the question, numerous times. Ive stared in the mirror yelling at myself, as if somehow I would be able to respond with an answer that would satisfy my wondering…

“Who are you?”

I used to have it all figured out, or so I thought. It wasn’t even a question that taunted my waking moments. It wasn’t something that even bothered me, I knew who I was, where I was going, and was ok with the way things were, even if they weren’t ideal. It didn’t matter to me that I wasn’t ranking high, or scoring big. I was making myself happy, and that moment, that was really, all I cared about. But as the years ticked by, who I was, changed. I was a husband. I was an employee. A brother. I began to mean something to someone besides myself, and that, that right there, was more than I could ever hope to accomplish.

And at the highest moment in my life, when I would look in the mirror and wonder who I was, I could remind myself that I was…somebody. I was a father, to a little girl whos smile could light up a room, and laugh could change any mood.

Reaching the peek is as high as you can go, before the experience of coming down, takes place.

Shortly after Emmy passed, someone asked me how I could look in the mirror each morning. How could I live with myself, everyday, all day long…and being the smart ass I was, I quietly responded that I didn’t. I avoided mirrors. Which was far from the truth. Every morning I participated in what I referred to as mirror therapy. Where I would stand in front of the mirror, and remind myself that I was nothing. That I had nothing or no one to live for. I fed myself thoughts and ideas that led to the downwards decent, and most often, these sessions would end with some form of self inflicted pain.

Atleast, I told myself, it was something I could control. I could still control myself.

The other night when that phrase came across the TV, I was a bit stunned to hear some of the same words I had used all those years ago. Its not something Ive thought about a lot lately…those months after Emmy died. Its not something I care to remember, or remind myself of. But every so often, I like to look back. Tonight its different. Tonight I look back, and I shake my head at that person all those years ago, I ask myself just what was I thinking, what was I planning, what was going on in my head?

The truth of it isn’t that I was simply wallowing around in self pity, trying to attract attention. I had been stripped, derailed, demoted, from the highest position that I could have ever been given. I failed at what I given a shot at, and to be honest, I don’t think I will even forgive myself completely.

Today when I ask myself “Who are you?” it takes me a few minutes to remember who I am…and then I will quietly state my name. That much I know, I hear it every day. All day long. It drives me nuts, makes me cringe, makes me smile at times, and makes me look the other way. It reminds me that I have a purpose here, a reason to stay around a while. It wakes me up in the middle of the night with bad dreams, or wet sheets. It makes me want to run off the end of the world, and drive away at times. But it always brings me back, makes me remember, and gives me something to hold onto…and when paired with the three hardest words to say, I remember just why I do what I do, and why I do it today. “Uncle Dave? I love you”

While being a father was the highest level of success that I could ever have hoped to reach, being an Uncle falls just short of that.



  1. I have never experienced the death of my child and that is truly something that I cannot imagine. I will not tell you that I know how you feel, I don’t. One thing I do know is your pain was multiplied because you had to deal with it alone. Emmy’s mom was not there for you to grieve with. Emmy’s mom who shared your love for her and was the only other person, who would know, really know the pain of losing Emmy. I think that would have helped you move through the grieving process to a place where sadness and anger and questions that will always remain unanswered give way to memories of the joy loving Emmy brought to you.

  2. “I had been stripped, derailed, demoted, from the highest position that I could have ever been given.”

    I agree you must have felt stripped, derailed and demoted from the highest position (gift) that you had ever been given.

    “I failed at what I given a shot at, and to be honest, I don’t think I will even forgive myself completely.”

    Dave! How did you fail? Why do you need forgiving?
    You have every right (and it is perfectly normal) to feel sad and even feel sorry for yourself, when someone you love dies.

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