Okay

I’m confused.  I’m torn.  I’m trying.  I’m failing.

My girl moved out (again), yesterday.  She was home for 6 days.  She caused disruption, angst, turmoil, and a flood of emotions I can’t begin to describe.  I say she caused it.  That makes me feel guilty.  Did she cause it or did her disorder cause it?  Or is it both? How do I separate that?  How do I separate her from her disorder?  Can I separate it?  As much as I tell her that she can’t let her disorder define her; I feel like that is what I am doing.  

When I think of my girl, the first thing I think of, and feel is chaos.  I no longer think of my little pink princess.  I hate that.  

How do I know when I have done enough for her?  I don’t think I have.  Should I be making appointments for her to psychiatrists and therapists? Should I be picking her up, taking her to appointments, watching her walk inside, waiting in the parking lot until she is finished and then take her back to him?  Should I take her to another state?  Will distance help?  Should I stop working to care for her?  How far do I go?  How much is enough?

I feel myself breaking a bit more each day.  I get annoyed at things I wouldn’t have a year ago.  I don’t like it.  I drink too much, and I eat too much.  Why am I so weak?  Why can’t I get a grip and control both?  I need to feel in control of something.  With everything else that is happening around me, why do I sabotage myself by doing things that I know are not healthy for me?  Yes, the drinking makes me forget for a bit; makes me fake happy, makes it easier to pretend I’m okay.  The food is my comfort, as fucked up as that is.  

I’m not okay.  

I AM NOT OKAY, but my girl is worse.

Scattered

Scattered. My brain is scattered. My world is scattered. I’m trying to sit and get it all out. I can’t seem to find a place to start. There are so many places, so many things that keep rolling through my brain. The things that keep me awake at night. The things that scare the shit out of me.

I don’t know why I haven’t put anything on paper recently. Maybe because it makes it all too real for me. If I write it, it’sreal. If I don’t, I can pretend. Pretend everything is “normal.” What the hell is normal anyway. Normal, a preconceived idea of what life is supposed to be like, what you want life to be like. If only it were that simple. 

I apologize in advance it there are errors in the following. It is hard enough to write, its even harder to try to go back and proof and re-read.

My girl child. It happened again. February 6-7, 2022. He beat her again. She went to see him on February 6th, messaged me to tell me she was staying over that evening. I was at work (a new job that I have been at for only about a month). My cell phone rings and it’s my girl. I couldn’t answer immediately because I was talking to someone. She called back, I answered. She was crying and close to hysterical. She said they had a fight. I asked if he touched her. She said not as bad as last time. I asked where she was and she said she was in his car, driving to where her car was parked. I asked where he was, and she said she had no idea. They fought and she left. I pleaded with her to be safe, get to her car and lock the keys to his car in the car. I called my husband, told him what was happening and asked him to go to the parking lot where her car was parked and watch for her. He did. She never showed up. I tried contacting her with no luck. She called again, screaming, yelling, hysterical begging me to help her, begging me to save her, she was throwing up and dry heaving while she was talking to me. I got from her she went back to his house, they fought again, she ran outside and was at a convenience store and scared that he would find her. I have her on the cell phone and call 911 from my work phone. I give all the information I have to the dispatcher; he sends police. Her phone goes dead. She calls back from the convenience store phone. Still crying and begging me to help. The dispatcher tells me the officers are on scene. I hear them talking to her. She is beyond rational thought. I can hear the officers now yelling at drippy dick who found where she was. They were telling him to get away from her and stop talking and to listen to them. Drippy yelled at her for calling the cops. She blamed me. The phone went dead. I hear nothing for hours. I finally get a call from her saying she needed to figure some things out and she would be in touch with me, but she didn’t know when she would be home. Deep breaths. Trying to stay in “control,” trying not to freak the fuck out, trying not to let my new employer know what’shappening.  

She calls again on my cell. Upset, but not hysterical. She tells me that drippy dick was driving her back to her car, and he got stopped by police for expired inspection. The car smelled strongly of weed (shocking), and drippy was put through Field Sobriety Tests and then taken for a blood test. She now had to drive his car to the police station and wait for him to be releasedbefore she could come home. I offered to get her an Uber, she refused. 

I go home at the end of the workday. I message my girl a few times and finally hear back that drippy dick is driving her to her car. This would be about a 30-minute drive from where drippy lives to where her car is parked. She messages and says she would like to talk when she gets home. We wait and wait. We go to our bedroom because it’s getting later, and she isn’t home.  Again, my cell phone rings and it’s her. Again, screaming and crying for me to help her. She fears him. She got to her car, they continued to talk, and she drove away. He was now following her, and she did not know what to do. I told her to keep driving home, told her to drive to a police department. Again, she really isn’t hearing me. She stops her car at a gas station and tells me where she is. The phone again goes dead. I call 911, again. I tell the dispatcher the details of what has happened throughout the day and ask him to send officers to help her. My husband also leaves to go to the area where she is. Officers call me back. They can’t find her. I tell them the events of the day and what happened. I call my husband and relay to him that the officers can’t find her. He is in the area and sees the officers, so he stops to talk to them. I get a call from a strange number and answer. It’s her calling from one of drippy’s phones.  Her phone is turned off so we can’t track her. She will not tell me where she is but tells me she is safe and okay, and they are talking. But he is sitting in his car, and she is locked in her car and they are talking via phone.  We have an idea where she parks her car and my husband, and six officers are in that area searching and find nothing. She calls me numerous times from drippy’s phone, and the calls just keep dropping. I have no idea what is happening. Eventually, the officers must respond to other calls and my husband comes home. She eventually gets home sometime after midnight on February 8th. 

I don’t see her until the evening of February 8th because I had to work. 

Sorry, back up a minute. As the things were happening the previous day, I was advising my sons, so they knew what was happening. 

My girl messaged me at some point during the day on the 8th and said she would like to talk when I get home from work. I told her yes, we would definitely be talking. I asked my sons to be there as well. That way everyone hears what I have to say in case she isn’t thinking clearly, and she decides to go to one of them for help. She initially wasn’t happy that everyone was. I told her she needs to be honest and no lies about what happened. 

Drippy dick decided it would be a great idea to get them Xany-bars for Sunday evening (the 6th). She said she had never tried them before. They ate them. Apparently, they ate a lot.  She has little memory from Sunday evening at around 11PM to Monday evening around 6PM or 7PM. She knows they fought almost none stop. She showed us a few bruises on her legs. She was still very……. on edge. She said she could still feel whatever was in the bars was still in her. We asked that she tell us what she does remember. She knew they fought both inside his house and outside his house. She told him she was done and wanted to leave and was getting some of her things out of the back of his car. He was in the driver seat and when she reached in the back seat he started to drive away and drug her with the car, hence the road rash all over her ankle/leg. She remembered him punching her in the back of her head when she was trying to walk away from him. She said she knows at one point she was fighting for her life and had his skin under her nails when she came home. We all talked for about an hour. I could tell she was reaching her limit. She just repeated over and over that she wanted to sleep forever, she was tired of this, tired of making mistakes. She wants to be dead. We encouraged her the best we could. Knowing if we push too hard, she would flee. 

She has been at home since this happened. I know she has been in contact with drippy, but she has not seen him. Will this be her rock bottom? Will she want help this time? Will anything change? I am trying to get her to talk to a Domestic Violence hotline. I am trying to talk to her about maybe trying a wilderness program where she has no contact with anyone. Will any of it help? I don’t know. 

Watching her is hard. Hearing her words is harder. Not knowing how to help is beyond words. Seeing her beat up body is debilitating to me. She took a video of her body. The bruises are unbelievable. Her neck, throat, shoulders, arms, legs, feet, and head all have bruises. But I am sure that her brain is the most damaged. That damage doesn’t fade like a bruise. That damage is deep and permanent.

why

The last month has been challenging, to say the least. If I remember correctly, somewhere in my last post I mentioned a shoulder injury and that my girl had been diagnosed with bi-polar as well as BPD. I am going to do my best to to stick to a timeline of recent events, but I make no promises.

Late July, I had an appointment with a surgeon to review an MRI on my shoulder. I was told I had two different rotator cuff injuries and would need surgery as soon as possible. Surgery was scheduled for Monday, August 3rd, which gave me about five days to get my shit together before my dominant arm would be in a sling for six or more weeks. There was lots of cooking and freezing, cleaning, washing – all the stuff I felt had to be taken care of.

The Friday before surgery my girl was at work. She was supposed to be working 12PM-8PM. I remember she sent me lots of messages that day complaining about the job and how much she hated it, etc. I had honestly encouraged her to quit numerous times. My reasons being: 1) she was working at this job because drippy dick thought this is where she should work and I want her as far away from his control as possible 2) her mental status was not stable and the added pressure of the job was creating issues that she didn’t need. Anyway, she ended up coming home early. As soon as she came in the house I could tell she was upset. We actually sat and talked for probably close to an hour. She was upset about her relationship with drippy. She told me that she is scared of him. He has made threats towards her and our family if she left him. She admitted he controls her life and decisions. She also said he works at the same store she works at. This was NEVER mentioned before. He isn’t there every time she works because he is a “manager” and goes to various places. He does not support her efforts to try and better herself through therapy and medication. He even told her if she leaves him she owes him money for the food, gas, gifts and things he did for her during the relationship. Oh, and she also would owe him money for his legal costs, since his arrest for Terroristic Threats was all her fault. I did my best to gently explain that fear isn’t love, control isn’t love. I used as many examples as I could and felt like I had finally crossed the finish line. She knew she had to end it, she knew she would be supported by her family and if need be she could get a Protection From Abuse Order to keep him away. I told her I would be home for at least a month with her and it would be okay. She could do this. She can live without him. Her life would be better without him.

Monday, August 3rd, I had my surgery. It wasn’t/isn’t fun. Right arm is in a sling 24/7, except when I shower. I have to sleep in a recliner because it hurts to lay in a bed. I have one more week of the immobilizer sling (a sling that has a waist band to prevent the arm from being lifted away from your body), then two weeks of a regular sling and after that I can start therapy. I returned to work on Monday, August 31st. It was too soon. I am lucky to have disability insurance where I work, but it pays less than half of my actual salary. Let’s be honest. In this crazy world where prices of groceries, gas, basically all necessities are sky high – half my usual salary started to take it’s toll on the back account. So, I’m back to work in an office with one arm and it hurts.

Let’s now fast-forward, one week after surgery. At some point during this week I noticed a very fresh hickey on my girls neck. This meant she lied to us, again, about being with a friends and was with drippy. Drippy just loves to put his mark on her. It’s like a big fuck you to anyone who truly cares about my girl. It disgusts me. I asked my girl about it and got the silent treatment. I started noticing more and more irritability in my girl, more unstable behavior and actions. I talked to her about it. She was put on new meds when the bi-polar diagnosis was made and she felt the meds were making her worse and she felt extremely suicidal. She was very proactive in calling her psychiatrist and talking to him about it. She even made an appointment to go see him. He actually increased the frequency of the meds and asked her to give it another few weeks to work.

Two weeks after surgery – I’m going stir crazy being in the house, confined in a sling. I make plans with a couple to hang at their house on Friday night. Me & hubby are there, my girl is working a 12PM-8PM shift and will be stopping at their house after work. Around 6PM I get a call from my girl. She is crying. She said she is done, she can’t work there anymore and drippy just broke up with her. I try to convince her to stay there and we will get her, she said she needs to get away from him and she will drive to our friends house. She gets there and we talk and talk and talk. I am fortunate to have this friend. She has, unfortunately, been through a similar situation in a past relationship. She talked to my girl about the PFA, made a list of the good and bad parts of the relationship with drippy and just made sure my girl knew she wasn’t alone and it wasn’t her fault and she could get through this. We talk about the possibility of getting an emergency PFA. Because of my employment, I am all to familiar with the process and start making calls to put things in motion. After my girl is calmed down as much as possible, we leave our friends and go home. It’s decided we will talk about the PFA and other issues the next day.

The next day, Saturday. My girl decides she doesn’t want to do the emergency PFA and we will wait until Monday morning and file for a PFA at the courthouse. No one will be shocked to know when Monday comes she decides she doesn’t want to do it. She tells me she hasn’t heard from drippy at all and she has him blocked in every way possible.

The following week or last week. My girl was sad, but seemed to be kinda okay. She was supposedly with friends almost every evening. And then on Friday afternoon I saw the hickey. And of course when I called her out about it, it’s turned around on me. I don’t understand, I don’t get it, she has a mental illness, she is fucked up. The past week has been very hard for me and I try not to make it about me, I swear I don’t. I started back to work on Monday, and I hate being at work. I have been the recipient of my girls anger and hatred and resentment and everything for the past month. I have been lied to and deceived. I have been hurt.

Last night. Got home from work and could immediately tell my girl was in a downward spiral. We went to a local restaurant for a quick bite. We being me, my husband, my girl and a very dear friend who has seen the bad side of my girls illness. We order, my girl doesn’t order any food. My girl typically always drives herself when we go somewhere so she can leave if she feels overwhelmed. While we are sitting at the restaurant I can just feel my girl falling into her black hole. I try to get her to talk and she just gets teary eyed. She leaves, promising me that she will get food for herself at some point. Oh, I should have probably mentioned this earlier, but over the last month my girl rarely eats. She may eat every two days. I have to watch her and what she eats. She tries to eat and her mind/body fight her. She will get a few bites in and the nauseous feeling hits. Anyway, after we are finished we head home. My girl is sitting outside and we sit with her. Conversation starts and it’s not a good conversation. I lost count how many times she told us she doesn’t want to be alive, she doesn’t want to wake up anymore. She is tired of fighting and of everything. At one point my girl and I go inside and we continue to talk, like real feeling talk. I am trying desperately to get her to agree to finding more help, going in-patient somewhere. I felt raw and exhausted as we were talking. And then my husband comes inside and asks my girl why drippy is on a motorcycle in front of our house. My reaction was stunned silence. I had no reaction except to walk away from everyone. I went upstairs to my bedroom, but I couldn’t believe what I had heard and had to see it for myself. I walked out the front door and there he was on his new motorcycle. He stared me down. So many words were waiting to pour out of me. But I didn’t do it. I didn’t say anything. I turned around and went back inside leaving my husband and dear friend to watch over my girl. At some point my girl and drippy decided to go for a walk around our development. I went back to my room and crawled into bed and cried. After a short time my husband came into the room. I heard him rustling around and knew what he was doing. He was getting his gun. Drippy has a few guns, illegally of course, and has threatened our family. No, my husband didn’t go outside waving it around or threatening anyone. It was a precaution. But I couldn’t stand it. I went back outside and told my husband I couldn’t lose him because of something stupid drippy did. It was enough that I was going to lose my girl, I couldn’t lose them both. We decided enough was enough. We closed/locked up the house while my girl and drippy were on their walk. My girl knows how to get in the house if she decided to and she did come in about an hour later.

I don’t know when the last time I cried myself to sleep was, but I did last night. I am beyond drained and exhausted. I have nothing in me to give anymore. I can’t save my girl. I can’t make her want to live. I can’t keep taking on the weight of her illness, as well as all the other family drama. Some of the family have seen the ugly side of my girls illness, some haven’t. Until you see it and experience it first hand, you can’t understand it. It’s ugly and cruel. I need help in a way I have never felt I needed help before. Help deciding what to do from this point forward. Today is therapy day for my girl. I have no clue if she will go. She skipped her group therapy two weeks in a row, but did individual therapy. It’s just not enough. If I commit her based on her comments, she will play the system and be out within 3 days. How do I figure out how much guilt I can live with? If I kick her out and she kills herself, will I really be able to not blame myself? If I kick her out and she gets beat again, will I be okay with that?

I have nothing left. When I am home and my girl is home I don’t want to be there and I hate that. When my girl isn’t home, I feel I need to stay home because I don’t know what might happen. I am lost in a never ending cycle.

Where do I turn, what do I do? Is my girl alive right now? What will I find when I go home from work? Did she decide she can’t do it anymore? Every fucking minute of every fucking day these are the questions that loop in my brain. It never stops.

Just a typical Saturday

Just another typical Saturday. I have the timer on my phone set so I can get the towels hung up on the wash-line as soon as they are finished. The sheets and blankets are already out and drying. Who doesn’t love the smell of sheets and towels that have been hanging outside for hours?

Just another typical Saturday. The sound of the neighborhood is the background noise. Lawn mowers, power washers (shit, I have to remember to get the power washer from my parents – note to self), darks barking, and kids laughing.

Just another typical Saturday. My girl child told me yesterday she doesn’t have the fight to live anymore. She wants to give back the life I gave her. She doesn’t want it. She is tired, so very tired of fighting. She is so very tired of pretending everyday is just another typical day.

I can’t explain what that does to me. She is sitting in front of me baring her soul to me. Telling me her truest feelings and emotions. And all I can do is sit and listen. We talk about options. The only real option is signing herself into the hospital, again. She decided to call her current therapist and talk to her about what some options might be or what the therapist might suggest. She called, the office is closed on Friday due to COVID-19. She doesn’t get a call back . We talk about the hospital still being an option or if she feels she will be safe at home, wait until Monday and see what the therapist has to say. We are open and honest with each other in the fact that if she goes into the hospital on a Friday night, nothing will be done or put into motion until Monday morning anyway. However, my concern is will she be safe. She told me she doesn’t have a plan to end her life and doesn’t feel like she will do anything stupid right now – but she feels it is coming to that. She admitted she is pushing us away because it would make it easier for her to leave. She wouldn’t feel as guilty if she didn’t think we cared or if she pushed hard enough for us to give up on her.

My girl feels lost and hopeless. I feel lost and hopeless. She told me the only reason she is still alive is because of me and her dad and her niece. She is not alive for herself. Wow. Think about that. Seriously, think about that. Not having anything within your self or joy in your life. Remember, as you begin to judge her – she is fighting an invisible monster NO ONE can see, NO ONE can feel, NO ONE can imagine fighting. This is not a phase, this is not a “get over it” kind of situation. This is real. It is very, very real.

Am I being selfish with my girls life? Of course I don’t want her to end her life and not be in my world. But how much can one person take? How much can one person fight? When is it enough?

My timer went off.

Just a typical Saturday.

Living in the wake of mental illness

It has now been 6 days since my girl has been home. I have had limited contact with her. Each day I ask if she is come back to town, I don’t use the word home. Each day she tells me she will be back the next day. That hasn’t happened.

I honestly have no idea when I will see her. I basically know nothing about what she is doing or where she is at. I know a general area she is in, but that is it. My mind is filled with horrible scenarios, all ending in her leaving this world. I can’t understand that she doesn’t care enough to see her 1 year old niece, or the cat that we finally agreed to let her get. The cat was like her emotional support animal.

I know that her Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is in control of her mind. I have read and read and read about BPD and it’s manifestations. I am trying to understand. I am trying to wrap my brain around it. It’s hard.

There is another side to loving, caring and living with someone that has a mental illness. All the people that love and care about my daughter get caught in her wake. There are days where the lake is smooth and crystal clear and it’s a joy to be around her. There are days when the lake is a little rough and you are never sure what might trigger her. And then there are the days that are pure hell.

Another piece of the illness, at least in my daughters case, is how she chooses to keep her surroundings. I really can’t believe I am sharing this, but it’s part of it. I am sharing pictures of my daughter’s bedroom and the bathroom my daughter uses. I can only assume that the chaos she chooses to live in is similar to the chaos in her mind. Both my husband and myself have cleaned her room and bathroom numerous times – always with the promise that this time she will keep it clean. The pictures don’t show the shit that is stuffed behind the bed or under the bed. And I never know what I will find shoved in drawers.

Today, I am numb inside and out. I ugly cried for about an hour on Friday. I needed that. The tears come out of the blue. Sometimes it might be a song I sang in the car with my girl or a memory that comes up on Facebook. I’m sad, I’m pissed off, I’m hurt, I’m so fucking angry, I hate the boy, I hate the disorder. Most of all I hate not being able to save my girl.

A Letter to “DAD”

Dear Dad,

Just wanted to drop you a line to thank you for the birthday card. I am a bit confused about the passive aggressive note written inside, “I was there Thursday to see you.  Should have known.”  I do know you stopped by my place of employment on Thursday because, well I was there.  I actually drove a friend’s car and was basically on the look out for you.  Why?  Because last year when you showed up at work out of the blue on my birthday, it ruined my day.  I can’t say for certain, but I’m thinking it’s probably been a solid 30+ years since I’ve a) gotten a birthday card from you and b) saw you on my birthday.  I want to say I’m sorry for this, but I’m not going to.  I think I will start at the beginning and give you MY point of view.  That might clear some things up.

To say I remember a lot from my early days would be a lie.  Not sure how it is for other people but I just don’t have the memories.  I obviously know that you and mom were married, but I don’t have a clue of the actual date.  I was born 3/14/1970.  I was the second girl in the family.  The first was my sister, she was from a previous marriage of mom’s.  Technically, she is my half-sister, but we consider each other sisters.  None of that half shit applies.  At some point, if I have this right, legal paperwork had to be completed because when I was born, mom was still married to her first husband (I think).  I only found that out when I was moving out and saw a document that listed my name as Baby Girl (insert last name of mom’s first husband here).  I don’t know if that meant you had to actually adopt me to get your last name or what the deal was. Again, I can only assume it was at this time that you also adopted my older sister because we had the same last name growing up. This also meant you had to pay child support on two kids when the divorce happened. I think I was 5 when you divorced.

There are plenty of photo albums for me to look at from my birth through today. Luckily, mom took and kept pictures of everything. Honestly, you are cut out of some, but not all of them. There are also home movies with you in them, but I don’t remember those moments. I do want to share my very first memory of you. I am thinking I was like 3-4. Living in the house on Walnut. I can picture literally everything in that house. Not sure how I remember that and not other details. Anyway, it was bath time for me. You were in the bathroom with me. On the ledge around the tub was a bottle of Mr. Bubbles. Who didn’t have Mr. Bubbles growing up?! Unfortunately, my skin was sensitive to Mr. Bubbles. To be more specific my little girl private parts were very sensitive to Mr. Bubbles. I remember you putting me in the tub and I freaked out, kicking and screaming – CAUSE IT HURT. Mom hears the commotion from another room and comes into the bathroom. I’m still freaking out and accidentally hit you in the groin area. Your reaction was to then kick me in my groin area. That is my first memory of you.

Fast-forward a few years. The divorce has happened, and there is a visitation policy in place. Please remember I am telling this from MY side, as a little kid going through it. I feel like there might have been a year or so before visitation began, but I’m not sure. I remember each time you had a Saturday visit, and you actually showed up, I was always scared. Not scared of you, as much of scared and afraid of where you lived at the time and what we were going to do. We were basically strangers.  It seemed to me that you moved around quite a bit. Not that it wasn’t clean or anything like that. Just always different. I remember different woman you lived with throughout the years. I remember having to go visit your parents, my biological grandparents. They terrified me. I didn’t know these people. They weren’t part of my life, at all. I remember the bathroom in their house scared me. I really have no idea why. I hated when I had to do the visitation without my sister.  Having her with me gave me something familiar and comfortable.  

As I got older, the visits were few and far between. I remember waiting in the driveway for you to pick me up and you never showing up. NOT COOL.  I remember we always went to Pizza Hut to eat. I also remember throwing up the same night there was a visit. Mom always blamed the Pizza Hut, but it wasn’t that. I was so stressed and worked up over the visit it made me physically sick.  All the questions that were asked and knowing that there was always tension between you and mom made things so hard for me.

There came a point where I really didn’t think much about not having someone to call “dad”. I had other fabulous male role models in my life and I was very fortunate to have them.

At some point around 16-17 years of age, I had a steady boyfriend (the boy I would eventually marry and raise 3 kids with). He had a kind of normal family. Mom, dad and kids. I felt guilty for not having a relationship with you. So I started to stop by your house to see you or should I say you and your new wife and her kids. It was odd. I never felt comfortable. But I tried. I think for about a year. It just got too strange. You knew nothing about me. What’s my favorite color, my favorite food, what color was my first prom dress, my second prom dress? And what was the deal when you decided to buy me a car? I don’t remember exactly what it was, a big old 1950’s something. Was it neat – yes. Was it strange of you to do – yes. I show up to see you and you tell me you bought me this car and I had to help pay insurance, maintenance, etc. What? I am not out of school with my first job. I already have a car that I am paying for. I think that is the point I stopped visiting. You sold the car, and that was it for a very long time.

Again, fast forward to maybe 20 some years ago. I’m at work and you decide to stop in. Very awkward. You did this a few times over a few years. What I remember is you bringing me healthy snacks to try because, well because I was fat. Wait – now you’re concerned about me and my health? Then there was the time you stopped in and wanted me to sign a paper because you and your wife were adopting a baby girl. As you explained to me, as her sister I would be signing the paper to promise to be a part of her life and help her live a life through God. (I wish you could see the puzzled look on my face right now). WTF? I did not sign the paper and I’m sure I didn’t see you again until three years ago. That was the time I saw you at a local eatery, said hi to you and you didn’t know who I was. Your wife did, but never bothered to clue you in. It was my mistake for saying hi. It was my mistake for inviting you to my home the next day to meet my kids, who you never met before. I should have kept the door closed. Not long after this you stopped at work a few times when you were going to the VA Hospital. You told me you were working with someone regarding your issues. Typically, at some point during the visits you always mentioned how hard it was to see me as a kid, how hard mom made it, how you didn’t have money to fight, how you missed out on my life, and so many other things. And some how I always ended up comforting you. Telling you it was OK, telling you it wasn’t your fault.  But that’s me, I’m a caretaker at heart.

Now I will explain what I know about you and what you went through. You were in Vietnam and you were a Prisoner of War. You lived through 14 months of hell as a POW. You were released May of 1969. I was born March of 1970. When you were released you were messed up. Who wouldn’t be? You returned to a nation that didn’t treat you well. You did not get the help you needed. You turned to weed. I don’t know if there were other drugs, but I know there was weed. I know this was a bone of contention between you and mom and from what I was told, a big reason for the divorce. She needed you to stop and you couldn’t or didn’t. I just have to add, that to this day I cringe anytime I smell patchouli oil. I hate that smell with every ounce of my being. I found out years later you used that to cover the smell of the weed. You were in a very serious car. I would have been like 19 or 20. Mom took me and my sister to see you. Your injuries were very serious and you were in ICU. Your parents and mom got into a fight and we left. I think your wife called occasionally with updates on your condition and I kind of remember talking to you on the phone. At some point you move to Delaware with your wife. You still visited the area because your parents and brother still live here. Last year you and your wife moved back to the area to be closer to the VA Hospital. Which leads us back to last year and you stopping at my work on my birthday to drop off a card.

Here are my questions/comments:

Throughout my childhood, you lived maybe 10-15 miles away. Why couldn’t you show up at a game? Your parents lived about 5 miles away. Where were they when I had a track meet or a basketball game? Were you in the stands when I graduated? It was open to the public. Why did you not reach out to me and tell me that because you are a veteran I could have gone to college for a very reduced fee? Did you know I wanted to be a teacher? When my favorite person in the world passed away, Nana, did you bother to reach out to me? I have gone through some hellish life experiences. All of which you knew about. Some were very public and were HORRID. Did I miss the call or card from you then? Did you forget where I work (which I have worked at the same place for 30 years)? When you saw in the local news that one of my children was diagnosed with a chronic illness, did you reach out and see how we were doing?

I get the situation wasn’t ideal, I get you have/had issues I know nothing about. But those issues aren’t mine to carry. I have dealt with questioning why you wouldn’t want to be part of my life. What did I do to make you not want to be part of my life. I realize that it’s not me, it’s you. I was a kid, you were the adult. I am no longer holding onto the guilt or responsibility.

Please know I was taken care of, I was loved and I still am. I am proud of the person I am and it is because of the people who were and still are in my life.