As my memories rests, but never forgets what I lost

Like my father’s come to pass, seven years has gone so fast
Wake me up when September ends
Here comes the rain again, falling from the stars
Drenched in my pain again, becoming who we all

September marks seven years since everything flipped upside down, since everything turned topsy-turvy, since my life went totally off-kilter. It’s kind of funny because even though my father isn’t actually dead as in he kicked the bucket, emotionally he’s dead to me as I don’t speak to him, haven’t seen him in seven years.

Funnily enough, this time seven years ago this song was all over the radio. I heard it on the bus going to school every single morning (along with the DHT cover of “Listen To Your Heart”). Kind of funny that seven years later, it sums up my feelings about the month of September.

September isn’t as loaded as October 31st is for me, but September is still a month of loss, a time of grief. September 2005 is when my health started spiraling out of control. September 2005 was when I started to realize who my true friends were. So much happened seven years ago. So much happened.

As my memory rests, but never forgets what I lost
Wake me up when September ends


I fully believe that one day my memory will be at ease, but I don’t know when that day will be. I believe there will be one day that’s not taunted by flashbacks and nightmares and painful memories. I fully believe that will be a day where it will all just be another faded scar, another jaded memory. Kind of like the lyrics from the opening theme of my favourite anime (taken from the Japanese translation to English and not the English version): “Even when yesterday’s wounds remain, take yesterday’s tears and turn them into tomorrow’s strength.”

I don’t have to let the past control me. I don’t have to let myself be consumed by the memories. But just because I finally process the pain after all these years, just because I finally come to terms with the past, doesn’t mean that I forget it. It doesn’t mean that I have to forget it at all, but it also doesn’t have to be at the forefront of my memory.

A lot has changed in seven years. I’ve gone from an 18 year old high school senior to a 25 year old college student. I never dreamed on my first day of high school that these seven years would turn out the way that they did: The whole ordeal with my father, losing my health, losing some of my mobility, moving to Minnesota, taking time of school, still being in College, this, that, and the other. It’s kind of baffling, really, what all has happened over the course of seven years. And how in some ways I’m so different, but in some ways some things never change.

All this doesn’t mean that sometimes I just want to skip the month of September, and October as well for good measure. Maybe one September, I won’t just want it to end before it begins .Maybe one September, I won’t want it to just go away.

will i lose my dignity? will someone care?
will i wake tomorrow from this nightmare?
there’s only us, there’s only this,
forget regret, or life is yours to miss.
no other road, no other way, no day but today.

It’s not September yet. It will be in just over an hour. It may be a difficult time – but maybe this year at long last, I can start healing and fully living it the now, instead of being trapped in the past.

“I cannot find my voice.”

I have this habit of locking down inside myself. Oh, there is so much happening. Images dancing in my head, sights, smells, sounds, twisting together, tangling, intertwined. It’s safer to stay silent. It’s safer not to speak. I’m afraid to speak out. Speaking out senior year and being shushed solidified that fear. I was only eighteen. I was a senior in high school. And I was heartbroken. I wouldn’t wish the choices I made that cold October morning to my worst enemy. But yet, the choices let me to where I am today.

I’ve grown so much since my senior year. I should hope so, considering I’ll have graduated six years ago come June. Six years is a long time, and even as I got my diploma that warm June evening, I had no idea the changes that would come over the next few years. I had no idea I would legally be declared disabled before 21. I had no idea I would sever ties with my mother as well. I had no idea that I would be called into the ministry. I had no idea I wouldn’t finish college in Canada and that in 2012 I’d still be working on my undergraduate degree. I had no idea I’d live in frick-fracking MINNESOTA where it’s frick-fracking cold. I had no idea I’d still be battling PTSD, cutting, eating disorder… I suppose I thought it’d magically stop, but NEWSFLASH: IT WON’T.

I had no idea that both my grandparents would die before I completed my undergraduate degree. I had no idea that I would make beautiful friendships, meet my future best friends, and go through heart-wrenching grief. I had no idea of any of that.

I had no idea at age 24 people would STILL think I’m 14. Heh. Funnily enough, side story. I was on my way to a doctor’s appointment and I mentioned how I still had a specialist at the Children’s Hospital. “Oh, you could easily pass for 14.” Me: “Mmhmm.” “You’ll like  more as you get closer to your 30’s!” *silence* “I’m 24.” “WHAT?!” “Yeah, I’ll be 25 in June.” “….” “You’re not 18?” 18 is the oldest I’ve been mistaken for in awhile, so I suppose that should make my happy. Anyway. Done with the side story.

Tori Amos said in her song “sometimes I hear my voice and it’s been here, silent all these years.” Problem is, I don’t hear my voice. Sure, I blog and I write and I talk. But I bottle so much up. I keep so much inside me. And I don’t know how to pull it out. There are things about my past that repulse me, that I haven’t told anyone. And it scares me that it’s there. And I don’t want to talk about it because I’m afraid people, even those who want to help me so badly, won’t like me anymore. Will think horrible things. Won’t understand. And so, I carry the burden.

When will I realize how stupid that is?
When will I realize how dumb that is?
When will I find the way to pull out my voice and be strong?

Until then, we’ll have to muddle through somehow

I miss the Christmases of my childhood. Since moving to Minnesota, I have not been to a single Christmas Eve service. Something has come up every single year and I haven’t gone. I’ve spend them with friend’s families every year. But oh… sometimes I miss the traditions of childhood.

I miss my childhood tree ornaments. I miss eating a shrimp ring on Christmas Eve. I miss my grandfather heckling me on Christmas Day. I miss playing with my new toys on Christmas morning.

It’s hard, I guess, and a part of growing up.

I learned it bywatching you.

Tim Hawkins summed up this song with “My son got mad ’cause I worked all the time, he grew up to me a jerk just like me. And the cat’s in the cradle and the silver spoon, and some other poetic stuff.”

John Mayer sang “Fathers, be good to your daughters. Daughters will love like you do.” A powerful PSA from 1980’s is “I Learned It By Watching You”

The thing is, children learn from their parents, if they want to admit it or not. Ultimately, in the end, we have the choice to act on what we learned and what we were taught, but it doesn’t mean that it lessens the imprint on us.

There was never a time my father was without a bear can in one hand. His breath always smelled like beer, usually Milwaukee’s Best. He’d sit in front of the computer, with his bag of potato chips and his beer can, watching the telly.

I learned so much from watching him. I learned how to be a good girl. I learned how to act on and to lead people on into thinking everything is fine. I learned how to play the game that makes people think that life is fine and I learned how to throw up walls. I won’t even go into what I learned from my mother.

And then it scares me –
what will I teach my children?

Every lament is a love song

My dad’s dad died in 1975.
My Grandma Dixie (dad’s mom) died when I was eight.
My Pawpaw (Mom’s dad) died when I was nineteen.
My Mawmaw (Mom’s mom) died when I was twenty-three.
There was my great uncle, my great aunt, etc, etc, you get the picture. I’ve been to more funerals than weddings in my lifetime.

I’ve had various friends die over the years. Most were ones I used to be close to but then fell out of touch with. One I used to be close to, then we had a fight and never made up. Others, I just got busy and selfish with life and we just didn’t talk anymore. And it sucks. I have various memorials set up in my room to various people: a stuffed pee cup for Nick (LONG STORY), the teddy bears Rachel sent me long ago, my grandpa’s beanie baby lady bug, the list goes on.

Hell, I just don’t grieve well, I don’t think. I stuff and I stuff and I stuff and I stuff. My puppy (Pirate wasn’t even a year old when he died) died 10 years ago and I still haven’t fully processed it.) But my biggest fear is that I am going to die young. I’m plagued by health problems. What if I die young? What if I leave friends behind asking the same questions I am asking now? What if it isn’t my health that takes me, but a car accident? Something else? Will I leave behind a legacy?

I just can’t help but wonder these things. I’m terrified of dying.

Mrs. Tanner: Sweetie, I’m seventy-four years old, I’m ready to go.
J.D.: Yeah, but with dialysis, you could live another…eighty or ninety years.
Mrs. Tanner: I think you’re being a little irrational.
J.D.: No I’m not.
Mrs. Tanner: Everybody dies sometime.
J.D.: No they don’t.

***

Dr. Cox: (In mock crying voice) But what about our duty as doctors? (Back to normal voice) Look. This is not about Mrs. Tanner’s dialysis, this is about you. You’re scared of death, and you can’t be; you’re in medicine for chrissakes. Sooner or later, you’re going to realize that everything we do around here, everything is a stall. We’re just trying to keep the game going, that’s all. But, ultimately, it always ends up the same way.

***

I’m terrified of death, which is odd considering I was hospitalized in 2006 due to being suicidal and in a crisis home for the same reason in 2009. But I’m terrified of death. It scares me senseless. and that’s just… I don’t even know. I’m out of words to describe how it makes me feel. But I know that my health is falling apart. I know I’m not a healthy 24 year old.

And it breaks my heart that one day, likely while I’m still young, my friends will be wrestling with the same gut-wrenching questions that I wrestle with.

Every lament is a love song,
yesterday, yesterday,
I still can’t believe you’re gone…

Because a thankful heart is a happy heart

“I give thanks for this day, for the sun in the sky!”

It’s Thanksgiving 2011. As I sit in northern Minnesota watching The Big Bang Theory wearing pajamas and mismatched socks and a mug of Nutcracker Sweet tea, I realize that I have so much to be thankful for.

I am thankful for funny TV shows, such as The Big Bang Theory, Scrubs, and How I Met Your Mother. They allow me to laugh and just enjoy things.

I am thankful for friends. Friends are family, too. I am thankful for friends that make sure I am no alone on holidays and that send me random texts throughout the day. I am thankful for random facebook wall posts, random emails, et al.

I am thankful to be alive. After the epic medication fail right after back surgery, after being diagnosed with an eating disorder, after medical test after test, I am grateful to be alive. Even though days are difficult and things like fibromaliga suck, at least my doctors are trying are to give me answers.

I’m thankful for video games! They are fun to play and give me an escape from life. And they let my mind wander and explore things.

I am thankful for gluten free food and that companies are getting better and making gluten free food.

I am thankful for comfy clothes.

I am thankful for my honey dew shampoo that makes me smell awesome.

I am thankful for the Tea Gardens! Mmm, bubble tea.

I am thankful for going to a school where there are disability coordinators who work with me and don’t belittle me.

I am also really thankful for a break from school. I was approaching a nervous breakdown and about to totally fall apart from stress. Which would be bad. I don’t think exploding and randomly falling apart is generally advised. I am still stressed to high heaven but hopefully the break will give me a chance to breathe.

I like writing out this thankful blog post! ^_^

Now she’s left cleaning up the mess he made

I still haven’t forgotten that autumn day, ten years ago. November 28, 2001. It’s kind of hard to believe. I was depressed. And by depressed I mean really freaking depressed. I was fourteen years old. And I had a plan to end my life.

I likely would have gone through with it, had a friend not intervened and notified the police. Had the police not shown up at my small Christian school. I’m told I’m lucky I wasn’t taken into custody or admitted to the hospital.

But even more important was that was the day I realized my dad didn’t care. I was fourteen years old, depressed, and realized where my dad’s priorities were. My school principal had called my church youth pastor, and my youth pastor informed my father. Less than a couple days later, my father no longer cared that I had had a plan to end my life. He was back to his old self.

This is part of why I struggle to view God as a father. Logic tells me that not all fathers are like that. I KNOW good fathers. I KNOW good, Christian fathers and I know good, atheist fathers. I know there are good Jewish fathers, there are good agnostic fathers, it goes on and on and on. But the fact of the matter is I can’t wrap my mind around the concept that the father God is like is nothing like the father I had. Someone who was never there when I needed him. Someone who always had beer in the fridge, but not always a gallon of milk and a loaf of bread.

It gets harder and harder this time of year. Well-meaning people ask if I’m going home for the holidays, and I never know how to answer. I shrug it off, but it still hurts. The ache still lies inside. I have a place to go for the holidays, but gosh, it’s not the same.

and I don’t know where I’m going with this. 😛

Oh, you see that skin?
It’s the same she’s been standing in
Since the day she saw him walking away
Now she’s left, cleaning up the mess he made

Fathers, be good to your daughters
Daughters will love like you do
Girls become lovers who turn into mothers
So mothers, be good to your daughters too

After all this time? Always.

It’s been five years since my grandfather died. Five years this past August. And I still miss him. I miss him I miss him I miss him. He was the closest thing to a father I had. I recently found this piece I wrote sometime in 2007. Maybe it was an essay. Maybe it was a monologue. I have no clue what it was, but I feel that it’s something I want on my blog so here it is.

A Ladybug’s Lament – written summer 2007.
It’s been nearly a year since you lost the war. Times flies faster than what you expect, and the pain is still as strong. Although the war was lost, the battle was won. You were strong – a trooper, a warrior, a soldier.

You always kept your morale high. Even when you were at your sickest, you’d still have the strength to tease me. You’d always have something to say to make me laugh. You might of never said the words “I love you” to me, but you did it without speaking.

You are my inspiration. You were always humble; you always had something good to say about people. When I think about giving up in this world, I think about you and how you didn’t give up. I remind myself of how you were a fighter – and that is what I want to be.

I can’t believe it’s been so long. Do you have any idea how many lives you touched with your gentle sense of humor and your loving ways? You had a way of touching every life you came in contact with. You touched the doctors who treated you and you touched the family who loved you. You touched those who just stopped in to say hello.

I have always been told that home is where the heart is. However, my heart is broken because you’re not here to make it “home” anymore. You always fixed things for me when I was little. Can you fix my heart this time?

You’re in a better place, and I rejoice for that. You no longer have the chains of cancer pulling you down. Are you turning cartwheels down the golden streets? I always longed to be able to do a cartwheel. Will you do a few for me? One day, I’ll join you. Together, we’ll terrorize the angels and swing on the pearly gates. We’ll be united again, and you can torment me once more.

Every time I see a ladybug, I think of you. I know when I see a ladybug somewhere, that you’re there watching me. I know it is your way of saying you are still here with me. Even though you’re gone, your spirit still lives on inside of those ladybugs. I don’t believe in reincarnation. However, I have to wonder as I see those ladybugs if it is not actually you. Perhaps you are simply sending them from Heaven, as a sign that you are okay. They are a sign that you are still thinking of me, your “little maple leaf.”

“It don’t matter where you bury me, I am home and I am free. It don’t matter where I lay, all my tears be washed away.” (Jars of Clay, “All My Tears”). I often feel bad that we couldn’t provide a better burial for you. We gave you what we had. I feel bad that there’s not a proper tombstone at your grave. These trivial things don’t matter in the big spectrum. Are you crying now? I’m crying as I’m writing this. When I greet you again, will you wash away my tears the way Jesus is washing away your tears now?

You are free, Pawpaw. You are no longer fighting the battle against cancer. You are truly an inspiration. You are truly the one I will always weep for. You are the one man who will always hold a place in my heart. You are my hero – I love you.

Nothing (To My Father)

I wrote this poem my senior year of high school spring semester. The assignment for class was to write a “tribute” or “dedication” poem to someone. The other students in this class wrote these mushy lovely poems to someone they admired or who they looked up to. Me? I took the exact opposite approach. I blew the socks off the creative writing teacher as this was his first year teaching and I guess he wasn’t expecting that. That’s me, breaking the norms! ;D

It has been revamped since then (I last modified it sometime in 2008 when I took creative writing at community college) because I didn’t like the format that the teacher made me stick to. So I tightened the language, made it in a style and format I liked, and this is the final project. I still have the original somewhere but I like this quite a bit better. 😉

Nothing (To My Father)

I reflect upon the past,
wondering if I knew the truth
or if I was fooled, and what I knew was
nothing.

What happened to make things change?
When did you quit loving me?
Did you ever truly love me, or am I
Nothing

Stop tormenting me!
Yet why should you love me?
Whatever did I do; am I just
nothing?

You used your tricks to harm me,
and wounded me by your words.
Some scars never heal,
Nothing

Your priorities were distorted
Alcohol was your idol,
I realized I was simply
nothing

I believe Family is the most important thing
You claimed it.
Yet your actions proved otherwise,
Nothing

The lies begins to come out,
I’m victim to your hypocrisy,
and fading into
nothing

As I learned the truth,
and free myself from your grasp
I realize that I was never
nothing

Starting live anew,
running free from the past
learning to live without you, no longer
Nothing

And in the end,
I realize at last
it is not I, but it is you who is
nothing.

If only in my dreams

I’m dreaming tonight of a place that I love
Even more than I usually do
And although I know it’s a long road back
I promise you
I’ll be home for Christmas,
You can count on me
Please have snow and mistletoe
And presents on the tree
Christmas eve will find me,
Where the love light gleams
I’ll be home for Christmas
If only in my dreams
Listen to Josh Groban sing I’ll Be Home for Christmas!

I know I’m not in a war zone. I know I have a place to go for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years. But it doesn’t replace the ache that lives in my heart. It doesn’t replace the loneliness. And I miss the Christmases of my childhood which will never exist again, because both my grandparents are dead. Mawmaw will have been gone one year come Thursday, Paw’s been gone for five years now. Christmas just hasn’t been the same since Christmas 2005 – my first one without a father and my last one with my Paw.

I don’t remember many Christmases before the divorce. They split the summer between first and second grade. I remember getting my tape (as in cassette, yo. Old skool!) deck for a present one year and headphones with it, only to discover it had a microphone jack, not a tape deck.

After the split, it was pretty simple. I’d spend Christmas Eve with my father, then he’d drop me off at the grandparent’s for Christmas day, and then I’d go to my mom’s for the evening. Some may call it chaotic, but it was what I was used to and all I really knew. And there’d be fun stocking stuffers and good food and presents and FAMILY. But all that is but a distant memory. I don’t have it anymore.

I spent Christmas 2006 and New Years 2007 in the Psych Ward. To put it simply, it sucked. Don’t ask me what happened on Christmas 2007. I think we went to Maw’s after everyone else had left and spent the rest of the day in the new apartment. ’08, ’09, and ’10 I’ve spent with friends, and will again for ’11. Don’t get me wrong – I am blessed and grateful to have friends who open up their hearts and home and treat me as one of the family. It’s a blessing beyond measure.

But it doesn’t heal the ache.
And I’m still homesick for something that doesn’t even exist anymore, and I’m not sure every truly did exist.