Tag Archives: dad

Today was like…

…an emotional roller coaster. It’s Father’s Day, and I usually spend the whole day pretty sad missing, and thinking about, my dad and everything he’s missed out on, and everything I missed out on. But today was different. In fact, I didn’t get sad or teary until about an hour ago. I had other things on my mind. 

For the past few days I have been anxiously waiting for a childhood friend, Nicole, to make it to Vegas so I could drive down and see her. We met in 6th grade. We went to school together and were best friends, hanging out every chance we had. We bonded over the loss of our fathers, and our tough/harsh maternal figures, and NKOTB (what were we thinking?!?)…our lives were very similar back then, with some minor differences. The summer between 9th and 10th grade my family moved out of state. I hated my mom for making us move away (I had no concept of financial hardships at the time) and I vowed that I would make her so miserable that she would send me back “home”. Little did I know how devastating our move was to Nicole. We were inseparable, until our move separated us. We returned to our hometown for a visit the following summer. I don’t remember how long we were in town, but it wasn’t long enough. I was able to get in a visit with Nicole, and wanted to go back every year to visit her. Neither of us knew that we would not see each other again for 25 years. 

We lost contact after that visit. Many years passed and my mom contacted me to let me know that a letter had arrived at the family home for me from Nicole. I got the letter a few days later and responded. We wrote back and forth for a while, and talked on the phone occasionally…and then life happened. We lost contact again. I would occasionally look for her on Facebook, but didn’t have any luck. Just a few years ago she sent me a friend request. Life kept us both pretty busy, but we were better about keeping up with each other through Facebook. Our lives had taken parallel paths, both of us having many similar experiences, even our ex’s share the same first name (yes, I think all men that I have encountered with that first name have been asshats). We are both in a better place. 

I was so stressed out about seeing her today, the first time in 25 years, and I have changed a lot, I guessed that she did too. What if we don’t recognize each other? Which is kinda dumb because we see each other’s pictures on Facebook. What if she doesn’t like me anymore? What if I don’t like her anymore? What if we have nothing to talk about? J and I arrived at her hotel and she was coming down to meet us. As soon as we saw each other we smiled and hugged. It was so great to see her face light up, and I was put at ease. I couldn’t see myself, but I think I lit up too. We walked around trying to find a place to eat and talk. When we finally found a place we started talking like we were picking up where we left off. J said she heard Nicole say things and she thought to herself “That’s exactly what mom would say.”, and she’s right, it was what I would say. We talked about our kids and how both B and J were named after her. We talked about family and struggles and blessings and progress and church. An amazing visit, and the food was good too. We had to say goodbye too soon, but we both agreed to not go so long before seeing each other again. 

As J and I drove home I was replaying the visit and past things people have said to me about every friend I made after her. I have had some real doozies. I have picked some “real winners”. I suddenly came to the realization that I had never had a friend as true, loyal, reliable, understanding, compassionate…the list goes on…as she was to me. In every relationship there is some give and some take. For the majority of relationships I have had, there has always been more giving on my part and more taking on theirs, but not with Nicole. I think we both gave back as much, if not more, than we took. I cannot think of another friend who has been that way with me. 

Forward to an hour ago when I started texting my brothers to tell them happy Father’s Day, since I was traveling, catching up with Nicole, and having dinner with Jay and J, and by the time I got the chance to call the boys, it was too late. I got more emotional as I wrote each text. I made sure to let them know how much I look to up to each of them. I am sad that I don’t have the close relationships with them that I wish I had, and the ones I feel close to, I struggle with because of my emotional hurt. I have to find a healthy way to release grudges and hurts so I can move past the hurts. I miss my dad. I remember being a daddy’s girl. Maybe I remember right, and maybe I don’t, but I remember his love for me. I’m heartbroken, grateful and happy this Father’s Day. Happy Father’s Day to the many men in my life, present and past, who have had a positive impact on my life and the woman I’ve become. 

Life changes. Experiences change us. We change. Friends come and go from our lives. True friends may leave our lives, but reconnect as if no time has passed. True friends are selfless and love you for being you. I’m lucky enough to have one. 

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Better Days…

…are not only possible, but they are happening. I talked in a recent post about why T was sent home early from school, and since then I think we may have stumbled upon a routine to help him have better days at school. Every morning before we leave the house I ask him what kind of day he’s going to have today. He usually says “I’m going to have a great day!” Or “I’m going to have an awesome day!” Then, when I drop him off at school I will tell him to “have a great/awesome day today!” So I just remind him in a subtle way what kind of day he said he trying to have today. So far he has had a few great days, and no bad days. I hope it’s not a fluke and that we can keep this going. 

He’s asking about “baptisement” again, something he’s asked about before. When I asked why he said he wants to stop having bad thoughts. I explained to him that being baptized won’t stop him from having bad thoughts. He was so disappointed. I asked him about the bad thoughts, were they ones we’ve already talked about or are they new ones, is he able to not act on the bad thoughts, stuff like that. He said some of them are the same but some of them are new. He said he doesn’t feel like he needs to act on them, but if he does then he’ll come talk to me first. I suggested that he talk to (his therapist) about his bad thoughts during their next play date. He didn’t talk to him about it today, but (his therapist) says they will talk about them next week. 

T is trying so hard to be a good boy, and I know it is so hard for him to do. His dad called the other day and just can’t seem to talk to T without putting him down or trying to convince him to break the rules we’ve set for him. Dad wants to send him music, ICP to be exact. The music is full of fowl language and talks about things no 7 year old should be dealing with. Where his language and inappropriate behaviors have been an issue in the recent past, how could he possibly think that sending this stuff to T will help him behave better? Dad told him to have me explain what the song is talking about, and that he can listen to it in his room with headphones on. No, he can’t. Someone has had to start from scratch to help him fix his behaviors and since that person is me…no, I will not sit by and watch him take steps backwards when we have worked so hard to get some kind of forward momentum going. 

Dad was raised differently. Different rules. Different expectations. Dad, who is not happy with how he was raised, chooses to raise T the same way instead of changing it so T has a chance at a better childhood and a better life. Dad is supposed to be using this time that T is with us to get his life on track and get himself to a better place, emotionally, to take care of T. He’s on prescribed medication to help him get right, yet he’s still smoking “medicine” that is going to cause a drop in his happy hormones, so basically he is setting himself up for failure. I’m at a loss. Am I the only one who has a problem with this? Am I the only one who cares enough about T to protect him? The crazy thing is that he has a great mom, but she seems to not understand, and not see the devastating effect all this stuff is having on him. I feel like mom has been misled by dad, but I don’t know how to help with that, so I keep my mouth shut. If I can’t offer suggested solutions, then I can’t criticize. 

When we decided to take T in, we had no idea how damaged he was. I do not regret taking him in, in fact, I think it’s the best thing for him at this point. He is still such a good boy. We know his behaviors are things he had learned before we got him. I am excited about the good days he’s had, and I hope they continue. I hope he continues to build his relationship with (his therapist) so he has a trusted adult outside the home to talk to. It seems to be helping.

Therapy…Clubs…and Good Days…

…show we are moving in the right direction. We are 2 weeks into therapy for T. We found him a really good one who does play therapy. I pull T out of school a couple hours early every Friday so he can have a “play date” with our new friend (the therapist). Today he said he had a list of things to talk about during his play date, that he didn’t want to talk me about. I let him know that this is what the play dates are for, to talk to our friend about things he didn’t want to talk to me about. He has been so excited for the last couple days about this weeks play date. I love seeing him so excited about something that will be so good for him. 

Last Saturday T talked to his dad on the phone. Actually, dad talked to him. T’s silence was extremely abnormal, as he usually can’t stop talking when he’s on the phone. I knew something was up, but I didn’t want to push the issue that night. The next couple days were full of attitude and anger. I finally sat him down and asked what was going on. He said he didn’t want to talk about it because he didn’t want to get in trouble. I told him he won’t be in trouble for telling me what was upsetting him, he said he knows he won’t be in trouble with me, but he would be in trouble with dad. 

What?!?! Wow! Now I have to know. We have been working on not keeping secrets, and in one phone call, dad puts a stop to all of the work we’d done. Apparently, according to mom and dad, he misunderstood the “conversation”. Dad said he told him that “Auntie (that’s me) is the only person you can trust. Don’t talk to anyone else. Don’t trust anyone else.” Now keep in mind that dad knows what’s going on, and knows that T is going to therapy, which by the way, I was told by both mom and dad that I had to be in every session with him, which I refuse to do, because this little boy has been through so much and he needs to be free to talk about any and all of it if that’s what he wants and needs. 

Back to the phone call…what the heck was dad thinking? Why bring up who T is “allowed” to talk to unless you’re trying to keep him from talking? Unless you have something to hide? Who am I kidding? Dad has a lot to hide. But that’s on him, and little T should not be forced to carry the weight of his dad’s burdens. T already knows more than he should about drugs, and suicide, and being the adult.

Wednesday was a not so good day at school. T hit 3 kids, punched them. All for different reasons. Then he dropped the F bomb in class. Privileges were revoked for this unacceptable behavior. He accepted responsibility and loss of privileges, so I know he realized he messed up. Uncle took T along to visit our son Sean, who had a brilliant idea to tell T about “The fresh boys club” and told him he could be part of it only if he can show he can control his anger and his language. 2 great days later, and he’s trying to earn his way in 🙂

Much too much, and much too overdue…

…for a reality check. 

I’ve been wanting to post this for a while:
June 29, 2015

Daughter, sister, auntie, mother, mom, grandma (Umma), friend, confidant…these are just a few of the titles that I am very proud of. I assume that many share these, and similar titles (son, father, dad, brother, uncle, etc.) 

These are a part of who I am, and while carrying these titles is sometimes difficult, I wouldn’t have it any other way. 

Recent events have led me to evaluate and reevaluate why I have these titles and why I choose to continue to live in this difficult and harsh world despite the hardships that I face in life. Life is full of choices, and every choice (good or bad) has consequences. The consequences of holding a child in your arms and telling them that you love them may range anywhere from a small hint of a smile to a tantrum with that child screaming that they don’t love you, and everything in between and beyond. 

I want to talk about one choice in particular that has had an impact on my life and the lives of everyone I know. Suicide. 

Now, I know that some of you will read this and say to yourselves “I’ve never considered suicide” or “I don’t know anyone who has killed themselves”, but I promise that it has still impacted some aspect of your life. 

My dad made this decision almost 31 years ago. I was 8. I don’t know if he realized what an impact this decision would have on the people in his life until it was too late. I don’t know if he considered the impact this choice would have. 

I have spent many nights (and some days) blaming myself for his choice. I know, I know, it’s not my fault. But let me tell you something. I was not good enough for him to live for. Do you want to know what else? Neither were my brothers, my mom, his siblings, his nieces and nephews, his friends. No one was. If only I wasn’t such a brat. If only I didn’t roll my eyes when he told me he loved me, if only I had not told that lie and gotten caught, if only I had not thrown a jealous fit over something my brothers got praise for, if only…if only…if only…

For those who wonder how my dads decision has impacted their lives when they never even knew him, let me clarify. I know that the choice was his, and it was a choice, regardless of what led to it. In my mind, and in my heart, I know he made this choice not as a result of anything I did, but as a result of his feelings of depression, desperation, and despair. That doesn’t remove the blame that I placed on myself at the age of 8, and some part of me still finds reasons to take the blame. I am a different person because of his decision. I approach people differently, I have a different outlook on life, and I handle situations differently than I imagine I would have if he had decided to stick around. My attitude about life and relationships is different. That has had an impact on the lives of everyone I have come into contact with. Based on the 6 degrees of separation (look it up), his decision has impacted you too. You may, or may not know someone who has contemplated, or decided on, suicide. You may, or may not know that someone close to you has thought about it. 

I too have contemplated suicide when life has been difficult, but I have also taken time to consider the consequences and the impact it would have on those I love. I have considered what I would miss out on, what I would force others to miss out on. This is where I return to those titles I mentioned earlier. Based solely on my decision, my brothers, mom, children, nieces and nephews, granddaughter, friends would not have me to turn to in times of happiness, sorrow, or need. They would not be able to text or call me when they have something to share. Sure, I could take away my earthly pains by choosing to take my own life, or I can choose to live, realizing that these earthly pains are just a reminder of where I came from, how much I’ve grown, (and even though I find it hard to admit at times) how much I love my life and value the relationships I’ve made. 

Recently I had a very close friend tell me he wanted to take his life. He has a young son, T, he has raised alone for most of the boys life as his way of supporting his wife’s Navy career, and he has done an amazing job. His boy is not perfect, but man is he smart, and full of piss and vinegar. My friends life has not been easy…full of disappointments, abandonment, addiction, prison…the list goes on and on. But despite his very difficult life, he was able to marry an amazing woman, have a son, and raise him to be one of the most respectful 6 year olds I’ve ever met. This boy is my friends whole world…yet, while his boy was in his care, he chose to try and end his life.

I drove over 26 hours, by myself, to go pick T up. When I got there, my friend asked me why his life is so hard. I told him, and I believe every word of it, “because God knows what a strong person you are, even if you don’t.” I reminded him of the many pity parties I had as a teenager with him on my porch swing about how I blamed myself for my dads decision. I pointed out his son, and the burden he would be placing on his son if he took his own life. Then, he had the nerve to ask me a question. He asked “What about me?” I felt the blood rush to my head as I responded “What about you?” I mean really! You choose to give up with no regard to the consequences everyone else has to live with, and you really want me to answer that question! Honestly! I told him his life hasn’t been about him since his son was born. As the sole caretaker of that boy, and claiming that his boy means everything to him, he made a decision to leave his boy and attempt to end his life…had he succeeded, had his wife not called me to ask for help, his boy (his world) would’ve ended up in foster care with the potential to follow his dad’s difficult life path. 

He had lost his dang mind. I knew he needed to have his mental state evaluated, and the stress was sending him into seizures. I chose to call an ambulance. I needed to do whatever it took to protect his son, who, by the way, was telling me what “medicine” to give his dad to help him recover from his seizures, and where to find it. I had to argue with a 6 year old about the best way to care for someone after a seizure. The sheriffs department arrived first. My friend has NEVER had a positive experience with officers before. I explained that to the officers and they were able to miraculously put his mind at ease and he had a conversation with 2 officers for the first time in his life. (Thank you officers Jace and J.J.) They asked him to go to the hospital to be evaluated. I was in shock when he said yes. Relieved, but shocked. After arriving at the hospital, I let him say bye to his son, and we started on the long drive home. I now have temporary custody. His mom deploys in a few months, and wants him to be in a stable environment while she’s away. 

Last night was the first night he’s stayed over with us in a couple years. He had a meltdown, not because he is here away from his dad, but because he knew what his dad had done. He asked me what’s going to happen to him if his dad kills himself. He is worried that he will never see his dad again, and he’s worried about the “house” they lived in, and what will happen to their stuff. A 6 year old boy worrying about how he’ll get food, and take care of himself. No matter how much I tried to tell him I would worry for him, he couldn’t let go of that stress he had been carrying around since he witnessed his dad’s first attempt to take his own life. T told me of 3 separate instances that he knew about.

The messages I want to send to anyone who may read this…

  1. Suicide is a choice.
  2. Suicide is a selfish choice
  3. Suicide affects everyone
  4. It’s not all about you
  5. The world revolves around the sun…it does not revolve around you
  6. Your life may be very difficult, but someone else has it worse
  7. There is help out there, and you can find simply by asking
  8. You are not alone
  9. If you are thinking about suicide, even just a little bit, talk to someone