Anybody want a drink before the war?



I know I probably shouldn’t and I know it’s probably not good for me. And I am prone to fear and anxiety but I am sitting here trying to not have the significance of this coming week come crashing down on me and I am letting it. Not on purpose of course, but I can’t avoid it or maybe I don’t know how.

It was 2 years ago next week that my father died. And the weather, the sun and the way the season of autumn all combine to put me back in those sad, terrible days.

Only this time around it feels sharper, more acute and striking. Because I am alone now. Back then I was still with my daughter’s mother (who was wonderful and strong for me and I’ll never be able to properly show my gratitude) and I was still in the midst of my addiction. So I could numb it down. Pack more insulation on the machine so to speak.

Death takes so much from us. But I think the thing it does most is it irrevocably changes us. Rewires us and alters our chemistry. I have been through death before and they were less immediate and less the stark hammer my father’s death was. After all he died of a drug over-dose. And even they sort of turned my dials and tuned me different. But my father, he went and tore down the whole thing and left me to pick up each piece and put it back together. No instructions, no blue prints and no experience. So I am this little lone man standing before the great machine and I am trying fit one piece into the next to see if they fit. To see if I can get the machine to run again. And it is so lonely and there is nothing you or anyone else can do to help. I need to take each rusty, greasy piece in my hands and feel them out, roll them around and stick them back on the chassis.

I do what I can I guess. Some days I feel more than others. And I am willing to give more. And oh my Lord! I am healing, I give this to my faith and the slow gentle love of some friends  and my church. I was so broken down after my Dad died I ended up having a breakdown and being hospitalized for my own good about two weeks after.

God has been good enough to give me the space and time to come together slowly and honestly. I am never going to be one that grieves in a sudden burst and never again or at least never again visibly. My face and heart are so out in the open. There is nothing I can do to hide. And were I to act alright, if I told you it’s okay I’d be lying. And you’d know. Even those who only ever read my words. You’d know.

So today I get my little girl for a bunch of days and I try to stay here in the world of the living. And I experience her vitality and her exuberance. And I try to keep the ghosts at bay. And I try not to lose too much ground in the war.


4 responses

  1. Shelley

    While you are putting back the pieces of your broken machine, remember that a couple of things don’t need to be fixed. 1. You are Ruby’s Daddy, and anyone who knows you knows the love that you have for that little girl. 2. You care about the world and the people in it. 3. You can feel gratitude towards your ex, even when you don’t get along (that takes a lot.)

    October 16, 2009 at 2:52 pm

    • Thank you. I suppose it’s not all broken.

      I’ll get there…Eventually.

      October 17, 2009 at 12:02 am

  2. Oh, my. I came to thank you for your kind words on my blog, but I stay for your honesty, your compassion, your strength. It sounds so awful to say that I envy your strength because, by definition, you needed to go through something like this to show it, but I do. And I hope you know how strong and inspirational you are to people who know you, and people who don’t. I’ve just “met” you and already I know you’re strong, good people.

    Addiction, I think, is our woobie/safety blanket for numbness. It’s there so we don’t have to be. And that’s what makes it so attractive and yet so dangerous. I don’t know what your addiction was, but I don’t know that I need to yet for our addictions – no matter what they are (in my case, anorexia) – are always beckoning us to come back to them as they can numb us from the pain. But at the same time they cause so much horror and destruction.

    It says so much that you talk so kindly about your ex – your daughter’s mother – and that you not only have good feelings about her but also gratitude. And the love you have for your daughter is evident and it’s hard to imagine her not feeling your strength as a father, the strength of your love and devotion. As for Christ, I don’t know. I don’t know about any of that. When our loved ones leave us, especially by their own hand, it’s hard to accept on so many levels. You’re right – it irrevocably changes us. Forever. Nothing we think before The Act is the same as After The Act. And in my own experience I’m as angry at that as I am sad.

    I’m rambling here, but I am so happy you commented on JN or I may not have found you and I so want to read more. YOU are awesome. That you know you need to take each greasy part and roll it around your hands and feel it and take note of its grooves and such is extraordinary. Keep doing what you’re doing. I sense you have a lot more people in your life rooting for you than you think you may have.

    October 17, 2009 at 1:26 am

    • Wow! I don’t know what to say. So it’s best to just say thank you. I am touched by your compliments.

      Just so you know my addiction was opiates and alcohol.

      October 17, 2009 at 7:18 am

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