Sunday, August 28, 2011


I really thought I had a grasp on my father's death.  The more I tried not to think about it, the more it consumed every thought I had.  It got to the point where sleeping was hard to do and concentrating on anything was nearly impossible.

On Monday night, I felt ok.  Climbed into bed and was struck with a feeling of confusion and panic.  I took some deep breaths and told myself I would be okay and try to sleep.  I would doze off and my arm would jerk and I would go through the same cycle of trying to relax and go back to sleep.  With every little noise and every breath I took, I could not shake the feeling something was wrong with me.  Almost like a feeling that someone was watching me.  Then the pains started.  My chest got tight, I got shooting pains in my arms and legs.  I was freaking out.

Tuesday, I called in sick to work.  The lack of sleep and the constant feeling that I was on the verge of having a breakdown, I couldn't go to work like that.  So I tried watching TV, I tried playing around on the computer, I slept in tiny increments, but nothing solid.  I fell asleep that night pretty easy, probably because I was so tired from the night before.

Wednesday, I woke up and was having heat flashes, more pains in the arms and chest, shaky and nauseous.  I talked myself out of going to the hospital, I would go after work.  I don't want my new co-workers thinking I'm a wimp and already calling in after two months.  I get to work, log in, and start crying.  I couldn't stop.  I know I said at some point, I think I am freaking out.  I vaguely remember getting to the emergency room.  I do remember telling the lady inside I was having a heart attack and crying.  They put a bracelet on my wrist and asked me a million questions that I don't even remember.

I was taken to a room in the back where I got to wear a nice hospital gown and "watch" some NCIS show.  I couldn't stop crying.  Someone would come in and ask what has happened in the last few months and each nurse was surprised I hadn't been in sooner.  Then they called in the mental health manager.  She held my hand, reassured me I wasn't crazy, and I was normal.  Let me talk and cry it out.  She even gave me a hug, which I desperately needed.  She told me I am internalizing too much and it is ok to reach out to others for help.  Something I am not terribly good at.  I don't want people to feel sorry for me or pity me.  But I am realizing after several talks with my mom, that it is okay to reach out and have someone on my side.  I wish it wasn't so hard for me to do that.

After two hours of monitoring me to make sure I didn't have a heart attack, they gave me a prescription for an anti-anxiety medicine, gave me a booklet on grief, a phone number for grief counseling, and a note to skip work for another day.  The physical pains are subsiding a bit, I still feel a little weird, but I know I will be okay after taking some deep breaths and letting myself grieve my loss over again.

I am doing okay for right now.  I am mostly during the day, but when it gets dark and quiet, my brain won't let me turn it off.  That's when I take a pill.  I can mellow out and just sleep.  The truth is, I am more angry at my father than sad he is gone.  I mean, he had been gone from my life for nearly 20 years.  I accepted that he was gone.  I mourned him then.  I didn't expect or want to mourn him again.

What really is pissing me off is my father was mentally ill.  To what extent I don't know yet.  But people keep saying to me that his leaving was the best thing he could have ever done for me, knowing how abusive he was to me.  And as an adult, I get that.  As a daughter, I don't know if I will be able to understand why.

My whole life I wanted to know why my father left.  I will never hear the answer I want or deserve and that has pissed me off.  I am also holding a lot of guilt.  The thought of my father suffering with his demons alone, dying alone, and being buried alone haunts me.  I have that gene that wants to help and fix everyone.  I couldn't fix my father, nor did I get a chance to try.  Logically I know that I couldn't fix him, I couldn't help him, and it is certainly not my fault he was alone.  But as his daughter, it's a harsh reality and a very hard pill to swallow.

In all this, I had one moment of complete peace.  I had just returned home from the pharmacy and on the railing heading up to my upstairs neighbor was a hawk or eagle of some sort.  It was the largest bird I had ever seen outside a zoo.  I stopped walking and just stared at him and he stared at me.  And my mind was quiet.  As silly as it sounds I started talking to him.  Asking him to hold still so I could take his picture and I just thought he was so amazing.  He cocked his head from side to side like he was listening to me.  After I took his picture, I told him thank you and walked away, looking back to see if he flew off.  But he just sat there and watched me leave.  That three to five minutes I stood there with this bird, I may sound nuts to some of you, but it was an amazing silence and I could finally breath.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

HN59 Girlfriends

So, on Thursday night we were having another monsoon storm when I heard a thunder crack so loud it made me jump out of my chair.  I decided to lay off the internet and catch up on my DVR.  Turn on the TV and...nothing.

Restart the DVR...Nothing...No satellite signal.  I figured it was because the storm was still in the area so I went to bed.  Woke up the next day...No satellite signal.  I call the Direct TV and BWA BWA no TV until Monday.

Then I remembered that because I have HBO, I can access shows online.  I have been on this Sex in the City kick.  I didn't ever see the show when it originally ran and I haven't seen the first movie.  But I was catching the edited shows on E! and all of a sudden I needed to watch them.  So I log onto the HBO and start watching from episode one.

At first I was endeared with the friendship the woman had...Then the show turned into something I could not relate to at all.  Granted, I don't have a core group of girlfriends, but I used to.  In jr. high and high school, I had a core group of girlfriends I couldn't live without.

In Jr. High it was:

Janessa was a short blonde with green eyes.  Everyone expected us to be best pals because of the name and we didn't disappoint.  i spent the night at her dad's house all the time.  We swapped boyfriends more than once.  We even tried to hatch a plan to fix my mother up with her father.  Her and I went to our first concert together.  I was the first person she called when she lost her virginity.  I got into more fights with Janessa then anyone.  Probably because I loved her so much and I was watching her self-destruct.  Sometimes you have to let them go.  I saw her about six-months before I left and she's doing great.

Heather was the new girl in school.  Blonde and pretty.  The "popular" girls made fun of her because she was wearing white jeans and they had a red Levi tag on the ass.  They teased her about starting her period and almost made her cry.  I didn't give a shit.  She seemed nice enough so I introduced myself and we were instant friends.  I spent a lot of time with her and her mom.  The first time I saw Rocky Horror was with Heather.  The first time I got drunk was with Heather.  We were 15 and at her neighbors house drinking Coronas.  Her neighbors brother just got of jail and his 19 year old self was quite smitten with Heather.  So much so, he tried to put it in her butt.  I saw Heather run out of the closet they were hiding in and into the bathroom.  I said something like, take a shit, you'll feel better.  She and I swapped one boyfriend.  Turns out once was enough and our friendship dwindled.

Shannon was a classroom aid's daughter.  She was a petite, blonde, big blue eyes, and beautiful.  We came together because we like the same boy.  Mike Mysak.  He was dreamy and an artist and was Shannon's boyfriend.  And how dare I be talking to him.  I don't remember what we talked about, but we became fast friends.  I also became fast friends with her family.  I spend a lot of time with Shannon and her family through jr. high and high school.  Even if we didn't hang out in the same circles in high school.  I was still in her life and she was still in mine.  I was one of the first people to know that Shannon was having a baby.  I remember when Chloe was born.  I had come home from Taco Bell, Nachos in hand and my mom said Gayle, Shannon's mom, had called and said Chloe arrived.  I dropped my Nachos on the ground, ran to my car, and hauled ass to the hospital.  Chloe was perfect.  Shannon is someone I wish was still in my life as a constant, but I get her in small flashes.  I will take it.  She is an amazing mom to two girls and a step mom to another and still beautiful in every way.

In high school, I was in a different district from my girls and the year apart took it's toll.  When I transferred to the same school as my girls, it was very different.  And I went on a search for a new core group.  This brought Gina, Karen, and Karin.

I have talked about Gina before, so I will spare the details again.

Karen with an 'E' was Gina's best friend since elementary school and lived in the same Town houses.  I somehow fit myself in and Karen and I found we had something in common.  We liked to tease Gina.  Oh and we liked to flirt with the security guard so he would buy us cigarettes.  Karen made me laugh, and loud.  We were goof balls.  But as Gina and I grew closer, Karen and I grew apart.  I was taking her childhood friend as far as she was concerned and that was unforgivable.  She lives in Kentucky with her son and is a born again.

Karin with an "I" also lived in the same town houses as Gina and Karen.  I met her when she started working at Burger King.  She had a Honda Civic and listened to Keith Sweat and DMX.  Karin made me laugh all the time.  We used to drive around in her car and to amuse herself, she would roll up the windows and turn the heat on so it blew on our feet.  I would yell at her my feet are hot and she would laugh her big laugh.  For those of you who comment on my laugh,  you would love Karin's laugh.  She married her long time boyfriend and ended up divorcing fairly quickly.  But she isn't one to let life keep her down.  She owns her own condo, has a hunky marine boyfriend, and seems to be very happy.

So while watching Sex in the City did resonate with me like it must have with other women, it did remind me that I didn't always not get along with females and that I actually did have some really great friends.  And while I may not be close with them anymore, I still have a lot of good memories, and that has made me feel good this week.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

I Hope He Did

Long time listener pals will know that I have often joked about having daddy issues.  I have wanted to do a show about my father for a long time.  I could never find the right time to sit and talk about things I have been ashamed of for the majority of my life.  But I have come to a point where if I don't purge these things, I will never feel better about myself or my relationship with my father.

I will start off by saying that these are my memories and they may not be accurate.  I really think I have blocked some things out.  

My father's name was Odin, he went by Lee.  He was born in 1957 in Colorado, but I am not sure.  He married my mom in November of 1978, when I was six-months old.  I don't know what he did for a living when I was a baby, but I remember him being a security guard.  He took me to work with him once.  A nice lady gave me candy.

I don't remember the first time my father hit me, nor do I remember the last time.  I do remember the routine.  He would go in his room and get his belt, close my bedroom window, close my bedroom door, and tell me to bend over in front of the closet.  I remember him telling me if I screamed he's hit me harder.  I remember always being afraid.  I used to think that my father got off on hearing me cry and scream.  He used to lock me in the trunk of the car and laugh when I would scream to get out.  He told me I needed to toughen up.

I remember once I had done something that made him mad, but he didn't have time to "discipline" me then.  Told me I was lucky.  Two days later we had picked up a bed for my sister.  He built the bed, made it, then looked at me and said, it time to take care of you now.  He pushed me into my room and did the routine.  He would tell me in the morning he was going to come home and whip me and I would spend all day praying he would forget.  He never did.

When I was six, I had a pink shirt with Garfield on the front.  I remember him telling me to put it away.  I was six...I folded it as best a six year old could and put it in the wrong drawer.  This set him off.  This was the angriest I remember him being.  I couldn't go to school after the incident.  When I did return, I remember my teacher asking me something that lead me to say my daddy hit me.  She sent me to the nurse and the nurse checked me for bruises.  The police were called to my house.  I don't remember anything about them being there other than they being there and my mother being furious at me for showing the nurse my backside.  Shortly after, my mother and father split up and My mother, sister, and I moved in with my grandparents.

At first, my dad was attentive.  We saw him every weekend.  Talked to him on the phone almost every day.  But one day I had called, and he couldn't hear me.  I called again, he couldn't hear me.  I called the next day,  he couldn't hear me.  I called again and his girlfriend, Pam, could and put him on the phone.  He said he didn't know why he couldn't hear me and it must have been the connection.  This happened for a month.  I wasn't stupid and when he answered the phone I yelled at the top of my lungs, "Daddy i know you can hear me and I love you and wish you would love me."  He hung up.

In this time frame, the excuses started with why he couldn't see up.  The last time my mom tried to drop us off, he answered the door, I remember him being naked.  He told us we had to leave, that we couldn't visit and closed the door.  That was the last time I was dropped off for a visit.  I was eight.  There were a few phone calls, promises of visits, promises of lots of things.  It is heartbreaking to know at the age of eight that your father has no intention of taking care of you or seeing you, and soon even talking to you.

A few years later, I answered the phone and heard a very familiar voice ask for my mother.  She was at work.  He asked me if I knew who he was.  I said, "Yes, Lee.  I know who you are."  He went into a I've missed you, I want to make it up to you, but I've been sick.  Same speech I had heard a dozen times.  After we hung up, I called my mother at work asking why she had been hiding him from me.  In my mind, she knew where he was and was talking to him, but didn't tell me.  She was hiding him from me.  For my own good, now that i can look back as an adult.  I was so confused.  We did end up seeing him...In a mental hospital, where he had been committed for trying to commit suicide.  That was the last time I saw my father.  I was 12.

When my father was released, he moved to Colorado to take care of his mother.  And at first, the phone calls were regular, I think there were some letters.  For Christmas, he sent me a bible.  I am not nor have i ever been religious and didn't understand the gift.  My father was angry because I didn't appreciate it.  I was 12!  All I cared about was New Kids on the Block and having bangs.  I still have the bible.  He wrote in it.  It's the only gift he had given me.  And while I may not have any interest in reading it, I know it is there.

Soon the letters stopped, the phone calls dwindled.  Soon his phone was disconnected.  I would have to call my grandmother and tell her I lost his number and she would give me the new one.  This game continued until 1994.  Around this time, my father wanted me to go to Colorado and see him.  Told me he was saving up to buy my an airplane ticket.  Called me one day to tell me he had purchased it with United and he couldn't wait to see me.  I called United and what do you know, no plane ticket.  I called him out and the lies started flowing how the airline made a mistake and he would fix it.  I gave up.

My best friend in high school's name was Shannon.  She had moved to Colorado for a year and came back.  Her family had to drive up to pick up a few things and invited me to come along.  I accepted.  Shannon's father asked me if i wanted to see my dad.  That he would drive me to Denver if i wanted.  I declined.  I knew Lee wouldn't want to see me.  I enjoyed my trip and seeing parts of the land that I may have never seen otherwise.

While I was gone, my father had called.  I don't know  how the conversation went, but he knew I had been in Colorado.  The phone call I got when I was back home I have titled "The Best and Worst Moment of My Life."  Lee screamed at me, what an ungrateful bitch I was, and how dare I not tell him I was going to Colorado.  How dare I keep that from him.  I stuck up for myself.  I said he hadn't given two shits about me for years, he lied all the time, and I deserve better.  He then told me I was not to talk to my father that way.  I told him, if you acted like my father, even once, maybe I could show you that respect.  I also said, I know you are lying to Grandma about why you don't talk to us and why you don't see us.  She was ill at that time, so i told him, I will let her continue thinking that her only son is a model human being and father.  He thanked me.  He thanked me for protecting him from my poor grandmother who thought my mother was keeping us from her.  He then said to me that if I wanted to be in his life, I had to call him.  I said NO!  You are the adult, you are my father, if you want to be in my life, you will call me.  I was 16...I never talked to him again.

On July 28th, my mother called me telling me that a police officer had come to her door looking for my sister. That my sister had to call someone regarding a person in Wyoming.  My mother called and got in touch with a lovely woman.  This lovely woman is a coroner and was trying to find my sister to notify her my father was dead.

I was and still am a little in shock.  I never thought I would know when Lee passed away.  I thought it would happen and I would spend my entire life wondering.  I have looked for my father every year, around his birthday, and hope I could find him.  I don't have to look anymore.

After 20 years of not having Lee in my life,  he is now overwhelming it.  I have had to sign documents giving permission to cremate him, sell what belongings he had, and provide what information I could for his death certificate.  Which I suppose is normal for a child to do for their parent, but I can't help feeling like I shouldn't have had to do this.  Then all my anger rose to the surface again.  And what saved me from completely going into some weird rage-filled place was this coroner.

She has gone beyond the duties of her job.  Really.  I don't know anything specific because she can't tell me until his case is closed.  But she told me that he lived alone, his neighbors didn't see him for weeks at a time.  Even his close friend said he wouldn't see him for weeks.  That he was having a very hard time coping with trauma he experienced as a child.  His records indicate suicidal thoughts, anger problems, and he was not dealing with it all well.  The only reason anyone knew he passed was he was a Veteran, a fact I did not know.  They do welfare calls to check on vets from time to time.  He didn't answer his phone.

He died alone.  He died alone and probably felt like no one loved him.  And as much as I had been angry with him, I found that I was beginning to feel sad for him.  That whatever demons he had, they were too much for him.  And in all this anger and sadness, I found that I did have love for my father.  That he gave me life, and maybe that was all he could give me.

I know I will never get the answers I want as to why my father chose to leave us behind and battle his thoughts alone.  I will never quite understand.  Maybe it was to spare us from watching him deteriorate.  Maybe he didn't want to make his demons, mine and my sisters'.  Little did he know that he did.

I wish he knew that I never stopped looking and I would have done anything to help him.  In the end I just wanted him to love me, and I hope he did.