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Rest in Peace

I probably should be more upset, but after the year I’ve had -I find myself being jealous of those who pass on. I’m jealous that they get to leave this world behind and go onto the bigger and better, the unknown, the worlds that lay ahead. They get to be reunited with those who I love, and miss. They get to leave the pain and sorrow and sadness and depressing circles of endless days behind. They don’t have to deal with it anymore. They take their last breaths and with it, they are joined into a world I can only imagine as being the best. Ever.

He was a great guy. He was down to earth. Happy. Open. He loved. He laughed. He lived his dream. He saw a goal -and went for it. He lived without regrets -although I know he had regrets, because he talked about them. Openly. In hope that his kids, grandkids and great-grandkids, wouldn’t repeat the same mistakes. He didn’t let his regrets hold him back -but rather used them to spur him on.

He lived a simple life. A life that made him happy. After years of working himself to the bone, he retired early to live his dream. He was happy there. In the dessert. With no one around. A place he could run free in only his underwear, off grid and away from the world. It was his own paradise -one that made him smile, and left him content. It was simple -as was he. But he was happy…and so were those around him.

At 78 he had been married once. Married young. Divorced. Lost his wife. Then moved on to love many, many others. He would die engaged to the woman of his dreams. He would die happy.

Losing him doesn’t shatter my world, it doesn’t uproot my existence. But it does make me pause -as all deaths do. And remember.

Life is short…yet long. So long. It is a contradiction of itself.

Somehow, he had mastered living between the two worlds. He found peace in the dessert. Happiness for his soul. He had struck the cord between living this short -yet long life -with absolute perfection. And when his time came -he was ready. Truth be told -he was ready many, many years ago…but being the strong, solid man that he was -he lived each day to its fullest, leaving behind a solid legacy.

He will be missed, sure. Not just for who he is -but for everything he brought to life. The world will be a busier, more complicated place without him.

If I am honest -I am jealous. Not just that he is gone, but that he found the peace in the simple things. That he found a way to live out his days -making the world around him a better place. He cared for others -in a simple way. In his own way. In a way that made all the difference.

Rest in peace, grandpa. I know you will. Because you always did.

I’m Here…

“We haven’t heard from you in awhile!” they say. “We thought you left town again, where have you been?” “You haven’t been around in forever!” “What have you been doing -we haven’t seen you or heard from you in a long time?!” And they are right. Each and every one of them. I haven’t been around in awhile. If you haven’t seen me in a long time -you aren’t alone. I’ve been here. I haven’t gone anywhere. I just haven’t said anything. My words have been stuck somewhere between my heart and my throat. It just is easier to remain silent.

It has been a long bit. It isn’t that anything major has happened, it is just the little things that stack up and make everything seem so major. The things that would be easy to handle on their own -if not accompanied by 300 others. I remind myself -almost daily, that my issues are not that big. That I have no right to be this depressed over these things. That I need to get my sea legs back. That I need to do something -big. That these small issues are nothing. I try. Desperately to agree, because I know it’s true. These issues -they aren’t big. But oh, they feel big.

They are crushing blows to my heart, over and over again and again.

A friend who is wading the waters with me -going through many of the same things I am -issues that aren’t big but feel oh so big summed it up well by saying life feels as though it has thrown us the finger. Then laughed. Then thrown us to the ground. Then while we are down kicked, stomped and thrown dirt. As if that would be enough. Life has then laughed to our faces. Dangled the rope of hope and laughed as we lunged for it just as it was ripped away.

It sounds dramatic, but it sums it up. Oh so well. I don’t feel like getting up. I know that life will throw me down again and I don’t know if I will be able to get up again. I don’t grasp for the hope -because I know it will be ripped away. I don’t like good days -because I know I will pay, dearly. Most likely with sanity or a life. Both of which seem equal right about now.

Good people dying. Better people leaving. Evil prevailing. It is all just too much to grasp and so instead I close my mouth and hide under the covers -watching repeats of my favorite shows, if for nothing else to escape reality.

I’m here. I’m just quiet. Because I have nothing to say. I have no words. I have no thoughts.

Life handed me something -something I assumed I didn’t want, and was surprised to discover, that perhaps -I did want it. I accepted life’s offer -and was beaten over the head with it. I no longer want what life has to offer. I don’t want anything good that is has in store. I certainly don’t want any more promises of hope.

I will get my sea legs back, eventually. My words might return. My thoughts will reassemble. But the hope and trust that this world will one day become a better place? Is gone. I don’t think it will ever return. I’m not sure I even want it to. I just don’t want to see what life has to offer anymore. I am tired of being kicked and beaten. I am tired of getting up.

I’m here.

But that’s about it.

Especially Then

Sometimes, if I think about it long enough, it starts to press down. Like a ton of bricks, starting with just the one…and slowly adding two, then three…before long I can’t breath, because there are a ton of bricks sitting on my chest. There is no way to move them, no way to get out from under them. I try not to think about things, especially for long periods of time. For the most part, I do ok. I get up in the morning, we manage our way through the day, picking up things here and there -and then go back to bed.

Day after day. In and out. Up and down.

I can usually pinpoint where things start crashing in, that heavy feeling doesn’t come over night…its gradual. It starts with just a small opening, a simple thought, a what if…and instead of slamming the door shut, I leave it open -just a crack. Because maybe there is an avenue unexplored that would answer the gnawing questions on my mind.

A bad dream, an unsettled answer, a judging look -it doesn’t have to be anything big, just something to get the ball rolling, and before long I am buried, crushed beneath the bricks.

I try not to dwell on it too long, my past, the past, but every so often -it has a way of sneaking up on you. That is the thing about the past -you can leave it behind, but it will find its way in because no matter how hard you try, your past is a part of who you are. It makes you who you are today, it intertwines with your day to day thoughts, weaving in and out of your life, mostly unnoticed -but there. All along. And sometimes -it comes up. In the small, everyday things.

The common questions, the answers that are routine -it is there. Ever present, a constant reminder. You can run, but you cannot hide.

I do my best to avoid. To look to the future, to dwell in the present. To not be blind sighted by the past. But it is a part of who I am, like it or not. It shapes my thoughts, defines my fears and outlines my desires.

It doesn’t matter how much time has passed, it doesn’t matter how long it has been, or how deep the wound has be buried. It doesn’t matter.

I still miss her.

I still miss them.

I still miss them, every day.

california-trip

Even on the days that I don’t realize it. Especially, on those days.

One Year Later

I turn on the news and cringe as the only thing that seems to be happening is more pain and turmoil. In an already shattered world, these senseless acts make even less sense. I answer the phone and learn that yet another life, innocent and young, has been taken. I can’t even browse social media or join seemingly safe groups without hearing about death. In many different forms, but still the same. Death. Finished. Complete. Gone.

My mind understands why, but my heart is much slower these days –and still struggles to keep up.

I wake in the middle of the night –yelling for it not to be true…if only I could go just a bit further then perhaps I would find the solution. The answer. A few more minutes. That’s all I need. I beg for more time before I open my eyes and realize the only one privy to my midnight outburst is the dog…used to my antics, she doesn’t even wake anymore.

I try to do my part –I try to add some good back into the world. I pay for dinner in the drive through for the person behind me. I purchase ten extra cups of coffee. I put together bags and deliver them at the homeless shelter. I smile when I want to cry. I pick up complete strangers and give them a ride. I listen. I hear. I act. But it is rarely enough.

Because I turn on the TV that night and see the news of more pain. More suffering. More hopelessness…and slowly my heart begins to understand just what yours felt.

The pain of this world, is just so much. The burden of others –too heavy. The wish for peace and happiness, impossible.

The thing is, despite having all the knowledge –despite knowing what you felt, what you went through and what you would still be going through – I cannot understand, completely, why. Why it wasn’t enough. Why it couldn’t have just been enough. For one more day.

Much like the reoccurring dream that haunts me when I sleep –I wish for more time. Just one more day, to make everything right. To build that perfect world where only peace and happiness exist. To take you away from this world that caused you so much pain and suffering. To give you the happiness you deserved.

There is nothing I can say that will change the events that took place last July. There isn’t anything I can do that will change the way you thought, but it won’t stop me from trying. Buying coffee and giving strangers rides will not bring you back –but it might just give me a small glimmer of hope in the seemingly hopeless world.

The things I do are for you.

They are the things I do when I’ve spent another sleepless night trying to make sense of this senseless world. They are the things I do when I want to bury myself under the covers and never look out again. They are the things I do when I to and make sense of what you felt. They are the things I do when I can no longer try and convince my heart to understand what my mind already knows –when I no longer want to. They are the things I do when I miss you…when I am sorry.

One year ago I whispered to you: I’m sorry. I’m sorry it wasn’t enough. I’m so, so sorry.

One year later –I am here with the same whisper: I’m sorry. I’m sorry it wasn’t enough. I’m so, so sorry.

The Truth of Forever

I need to believe he was happy, but at what cost?  Perhaps I always needed to believe this, perhaps that is where the rose colored glasses came in at.  Perhaps.

I shouldn’t have gone looking through pictures, shouldn’t have forced it.  I shouldn’t have tried to convince myself, yet again, that he was happy.  The truth -the hard, cold, honest to goodness truth is that he wasn’t happy.  Regardless of what I wanted to see or believe.  If he were happy -he wouldn’t have done what he did.  If I hadn’t forced myself to believe that somehow, he was happy -maybe, just maybe, he would still be here.

My mind so badly wants to believe that somehow -regardless of how true it is -that he was happy.  Of course the pictures show he was happy -why wouldn’t they?  I’m not the type to snap pictures of sad or miserable people -I take pictures of things I want to keep, memories I want to hold onto.  The few pictures I do have don’t speak as loudly as the ones I don’t.  The gaps in between the ages and pictures tell a story louder than any picture ever could.

He wasn’t happy.

Yet I still want to believe, somehow, that he was.  Even if it means changing history.  Rewriting the past because I cannot live with knowing that he wasn’t happy.

But history doesn’t lie.  The missing pictures, the few smiles scattered in between tell a story loud and clear.

I found what I was looking for -I found my answer.  I just didn’t find the answer I was looking for.

Sure, I found one or two pictures that have him, smiling.

But between the lines, the missing pictures, the lack of evidence tells me everything I need to know -louder and clearer than any smiling picture ever could.  He wasn’t happy.  I didn’t want to believe.  I still don’t want to.

Yet instead of being able to do something about this -I am left to live the rest of my life knowing that he wasn’t happy and I failed to notice.

I give

I am not the kind to admit this stuff easily, or to just anyone. I am a firm believer in ‘fake it until you make it’ kind of stuff. I hate admitting that I am failing, or on my way down and often will continue digging myself into a hole so deep that I might as well tunnel through because there really is no point in turning back.

But the truth is I am struggling and I am failing -quickly. I’m losing whatever grip I have on reality and quickly sinking to places I don’t want to go.

The truth is, I have been sober for nearly eight years. Something I have struggled with in the past is attempting to drown myself in whatever I could get my hands on. It isn’t something I am especially proud of, but it is what it is. I sobered up for one reason…and now that reason is gone, and in its place is a boat load of things that I simply don’t know how to handle.

Truth is, I have turned back to drinking. Truth is, it isn’t working…and instead of getting out while I am ahead, I head deeper into the spiraling hole calling my name. A few friends have picked up on it -yet no one has called me out on it, which makes it easier than ever to spiral myself out of control.

To be honest, I don’t know why I am even admitting it. Perhaps so one day I can look back and critique myself. Perhaps as an attempt to slap myself into shape. I don’t know. All I know is that I am falling, and I am falling hard. There is no security net to catch me this time. There is nothing to stop me from going all out, all back. There is no point in sobering up this time. No reason to turn back.

I am, simply put, exhausted.

Going to sleep provides no reprieve and instead leaves me waking up in the middle of the night in a heavy sweat with my heart racing and mind running rampant. Staying awake only leaves my more exhausted and more frustrated. The only way I can get any relief is by turning back to my old ways…ways that I swore I would never return to, but can’t remember why.

I’m tired of fighting so hard for so little. Tired of getting up only to be shoved down. Tired of whining and complaining. I’m tired. I’m hurting. I’m struggling. I’m failing.

I have no words, no thoughts.

They say to reach for help -to call someone who will help -but when you call and no one is there, when the only voice you hear is your own, echoing back -it is hard to imagine there might be something worth living for.

For perhaps the first time in my life, I give up.

I just give up.

Full Circle

Ten years ago, I sat in a cold room holding my two year old daughter as she took her final breaths. I begged anyone who would listen to let me go with her. Yet despite my overwhelming desire to lie down and never get up –I am still here.

Less than a year after her passing, I took in my niece and two nephews. For the next two years I would fight to gain custody of them –despite being told, countless times, that I shouldn’t. I couldn’t even tell you why I tried –something about giving life one final shot, I suppose. Despite all odds –I was awarded full custody of them.

I didn’t want to love them. I didn’t want to open my heart to them. I didn’t want to live this life. Yet somehow, I did. Somehow. Over the past eight years I have chosen to look at them as my second chance at life. My reason. My life. I have chosen to try and see a silver lining, even in my daughter’s death. I have chosen to get up each and every day and put aside all desires to give up. Because –despite ALL odds –I had them. And that had to be enough.

I chose to love them as my own, raise them to the best of my abilities and let go of everything else.

One year ago I drove to work. It was supposed to be another day. Just another day. As they all are. But it was anything but normal. My oldest nephew didn’t show up to school. He didn’t come home that night. Or the next night. When they found him they didn’t expect him to live. But he did. Only to spend the next year fighting every minute of it.

…and then nearly five months ago – after spending a year in and out of hospitals and youth homes, he was granted his final wish.

People often ask me to tell them that it gets better –assuming that after ten years, I would have some insight. And five months ago –I would have told you that it does. That somehow, it does. Except now –it seems as if the past ten years have all been undone. That instead of being able to see the silver lining –all I can see are the mistakes I have made. The things I should have done –and most importantly, the things I shouldn’t have done.

I should have lay down ten years ago and never gotten up. I shouldn’t have taken on something this big. I shouldn’t have assumed that it was for the best. I shouldn’t have accepted this as my second chance.

It took me so long to come to grips with losing my daughter that to do it all over again seems nearly impossible.

Somehow, I am expected to move forward.

Somehow I am supposed to forgive myself for making what could easily be classed as the biggest mistake of my life. To accept it, and move forward. Somehow I am supposed to come to grips with this being life. Somehow I am supposed to cling to the hope that it does get better…when the only thing it seems to have done is come full circle.

When Enough, is Enough

The past few months, despite what it would appear –I have written so many things. Mostly, broken bits and pieces here and there, the fleeting thoughts and momentary feelings that threaten to drown me alive. Things that don’t make sense or connect, things that drop off mid-sentence and start up somewhere else. Things that one day, I hope to burn, destroy or delete. Not because they don’t make sense –but because they are deeply personal and come from a time in my life I hope not to remember one day.

The one thing that is the common thread, ripping between the mismatched sentences and half-baked thoughts is one word. A word I rarely use and hardly ever admit to. A word that runs so deep and so far that I am not sure it will ever go away completely. Fear: Ironically, the very word that puts fear into me, is the one word that runs deep within.

To be quite honest –I am terrified.

Terrified to drop back into a life that is still waiting for me –regardless of how far I have run from it. Terrified of the way things will be. Terrified of the months to follow. Of trying to raise another child. Again. Now.

There are things that people fear: Spiders, the dark, thunder, storms…even death.

I fear life.

I fear that life will take every last person that I love. Destroy me from the inside out. Take away every last person that I care about and leave me to rot. As if punishing me –death is not kind enough to take me, but rather will take everyone I love and make me watch. Helplessly. Forcing me to live –without the very ones that make my heart beat.

I fear that death will leave me here, once it has taken everyone else.

I fear going home.

I fear facing reality.

…I fear 2 am, when the thoughts are heavy and I am alone. When they haunt me, hunt me down and torture me. As if to say losing them wasn’t enough –now you must be tortured by the thoughts that you should have. Could have. If only.

I fear choosing wrong.

I don’t honestly know, how to get up. I don’t know how to move on. I don’t know how to recover. I don’t know if I even should try. I don’t know when to throw in the towel and scream with my last breath “Enough is enough already!”

I am tired of sitting by, watching the ones I love die. I am tired of saying goodbye. I am tired of picking up the shattered pieces of my heart and reassembling them. I am tired of trying to make people believe I am ok. I am tired…of being so fearful.

I have plenty of thoughts. Plenty to say. But everything I want to say is riddled with the deepest fear that this life just isn’t worth it. Everything I have to say goes beyond the holly-jolly time of year. It goes against the grain of life.

There just aren’t any more ways to say: I am tired. I am scared. I am done.

To Be Ok

I don’t need good. I don’t need really good. I don’t even need sort of good. I just need ok. I just need things, life, to be ok. I say it –over and over again. I say the word like it takes no effort. As if saying it enough will somehow be ok. I say it because it seems like it is within grasp. Reasonable. Reachable. Doable. Ok.

But it is anything but, ok.

I don’t want good. Good ends. Good leaves. Good dies. Good hurts. I don’t want good. I don’t need good.

But ok. I can handle ok. I can do ok. I can be ok.

Sometimes it seems that ok is out of my grasp. That I am just one small step away from being so not ok.

I just, need to be ok tonight. And I’m not. And I don’t know what to do.

I am so…tired of not being ok. I want to be ok –so badly, that I hold onto the blind hope that there is something to be ok.

So this is me. Not being ok. Because that is the closest I can get to being ok. And right now…all I need is to just. Be. Ok.

I Failed Him

I never realized that something that seemed like it could be so good –could end, so bad.

Something that had so much potential to be good –could end in such disaster. Could go from being something that should have ended well, to something that should have never started to begin with.

Most will say that they saw it coming. That from the outside looking in, they knew. Because they always know. They always know what is going to happen, after it happens. They always have the answers when it isn’t any of their business and can always set you straight –so long as you would listen.

I suppose I was blinded by my pride. Blinded by the fact that I wanted this, so badly, that I didn’t care to think of any other options. That perhaps if I had honestly stopped and looked at things through a different perspective, I too, would agree: It wasn’t ideal. It isn’t that I ever thought it was, it was that I consider it to be the best option –for all involved. Instead of listening to sound logic, the voice of reason, a little bit of common sense perhaps –I carried on. Not thinking that others, or someone in particular, could be hurt in the process.

How could it?

I suppose you could say the only thing I did is prolong the inevitable. Clinging to blind hope, and wishing on falling stars is no way to live…and it isn’t any way to raise a child. Yet that’s exactly what I did.

He asked me months prior if I was upset with him. If I was disappointed in him. The truth is, I’m not. I am not angry with him for his decision. I am not upset that he couldn’t see another way out. I am not disappointed in him, or with him, or at him. That isn’t to say I’m not disappointed or upset. Because I am. Just not with him.

Rather, I am disappointed and upset that I failed him. When he was needed someone most –I let him down the hardest. When he needed help –I walked away. When he needed understanding –I didn’t understand.

I failed to get him help sooner. I failed to see things differently than I thought. I failed him. I failed him because I wanted to believe that it would be ok. I wanted to believe so badly that he was ok. I wanted to hold onto the blind hope, the falling stars, the invisible ropes –I wanted to hold onto them so badly that I failed to realize that he was dying right before my eyes.

I never realized something like this could or would end so badly –and yet I should have. I should have listened, I should have seen, I should have paid better attention to the warning signs that were coming years prior. I should have…and yet I didn’t.

Countless times I flew on the blind hope that everything would be ok –because it had to be. As if wishing would change the course we were on. As if.

I wish I could say it weren’t true. I wish I could say I did everything I could, but I didn’t. There is help. There is awareness, support, answers and solid help for this. And yet. I failed to realize just how badly he needed help.

I failed him.

I failed him.

The very thing I said I would do, the very thing I promised, the very fight I said I would fight –I failed to do.

Because when it comes down to it –I should have seen it coming, far before anyone else. While others gather around saying that they saw it coming, that they saw it coming for years. That they knew he wasn’t ok and wouldn’t be ok –I held to my invisible hope that flying blindly would work.

Because it had to.

And yet it wasn’t.

It never was.