Monthly Archives: May 2015
Most of the stuff I write no one really “gets”, and I’m ok with that. I write to journal. I just have it public. This blog with be a step into the post of my having my Fairy Garden Tea Party. I said I was going to keep planning parties, and trips because that’s what keeps me going. Well this week end an activity didn’t happen that I was hoping would. I was sulking. However in my sulking I was 100% aware that I was being ridiculous and I am one of the luckiest people in the world. I have everything 98% of the people on this planet would hope for; two amazing kids, a house, food,I love my work (when I get to do it), and I have gotten to do things in my life most never will. But I couldn’t help wondering.. “Is this it?” The day to day routine, the laundry, dishes, telling the kids to do stuff they don’t listen too, watching movies, going to bed, making breakfast, taking a nap. Yeah sure there are fun things like when I have an audition or book a job, or do get to go somewhere special….. but… “Is this it?” Am I just going to be as my father predicted “Never Happy”…. nothing is ever going to be good enough for me.
Today my son had a basketball game and all season I have really been getting into his games more and more. When he played his first year of football in the fall, again I was getting into the games. One game I had to turn away as it was too intense. Today at his basket ball game I was on pins and needles. Recently, a friend of mine has gotten me into hockey, and I’m kind of like really legitimately routing for the Blackhawks. Sometimes its so intense I can’t watch. I have been wondering what the hell is wrong with me. I haven’t given two shits about sports or games in over 20 years. I even went to a Superbowl game like 12 years ago and didn’t even pay attention. What the hell is clicking in my brain to care? However, I now think what was clicked in my head 20 or so years ago to stop caring?
When I was a kid I LOVED routing for The Chicago Bears. When they played and won the Superbowl in what 85? I was a wreck that game. The Superbowl Shuffle? ….Forget about it….When my dad used to take me to the race track I was so excited during the race. I screamed for whatever horse I had bet on. It was so exciting, enthralling if my horse won or lost. I thought I would just burst seeing them race to the finish line. Hearing the announcer call the game, the beating of the hoofs on the track, seeing the jockeys so determine, the roar of the crowd, it was a sensory overload. I used to study the racing guides like an adult. I loved the track. I can even take this into board games as a kid. My family and extended family LOVED board games. I wanted to WIN, whether it was Candyland ,Rummy the quarter game, poker, or Masterpiece, jarts croquet, or miniature golf. In Scrabble I would be challenged all the time for making-up fake words (I was usually right 30% of the time- it was worth the gamble.) For the past 24 years playing games, I just don’t care. I don’t care if I win. I don’t care if I lose. I will let people win because I know how happy it makes them. Now my friends that play Words With Friends with now will say that’s a different story, but all I can explain it is I do it for fun now. When I was younger winning was this all encompassing consuming drive. I was in the game and that’s it. Total focus and I would push the “could be cheating ;limits” to their fullest.
Seeing myself now starting to really really get into my sons sport games and myself getting into hockey scares me. It’s like jumping back into the “Old Vanessa”. I have come to the realization that I just stop caring about most things after my father died.I saw most things in life as trivial. Sports and games seemed stupid and completely ridiculous to get wrapped up in. There were more important things in life. I just stopped wanting to care, care, or having any kind of fun I used to have.
I find myself at a precipice. Is this it? If I am not happy with the things I already have what makes me think I would be happy with more? I have a habit which was taught to me by my father suicide which was it really is possible to just leaving one life behind and starting another.. another life.. another Vanessa. Leaving my home at 19 and buying a house with my first husband and starting a business; leaving him for husband #2 and moving to California; Loving acting but getting pregnant on purpose and moving to Montana on a whim; Working for Hawaiian Tropic; Coming Back to LA to resume acting… there is more… However all the different lives of Vanessa are all merging, thanks mainly to Facebook. All my different friends, and hobbies, and pasts are now becoming intertwined. Is this it? How many more Vanessa’s do I need to have? Can I survive in this being it? Can I survive with all my years melding together and my memories all coming out through the darkness abyss of my mind? Will something so simple as routing for a sports team with passion freak me out so much because I used to do that when I was a kid with my father. That was a happy time; playing Monopoly with my parents for hours and hours fighting over properties and hotels. We had fun. We laughed. Getting into sports is bringing that all back. Will I be able to handle it, or will I freak out, abandon yet another Vanessa and start from scratch again because it is easier to run away that face the “Yes, this is it”.
I really don’t think anyone who has ever been through losing a father to suicide on bad terms will understand this post. I really don’t, but that’s ok.
Mothers Day always is around the time of the anniversary of my fathers death (May 2), his birthday (May 6), My parents anniversary ( May 12). I also remember the mothers who have lost children, specifically my best friend. This year was extra shitty as a football team mate of sons passed away and the funeral was on Friday. A 10 year old little boy..the same age as my son. I laid in bed Thursday night with my little boy watching him sleep knowing that the mother of his friend was probably laying in her sons bed crying…. Seeing my son lay there so peacefully in his bed… trying to get out of my head the devastating thought of his friend probably looking the same peaceful way in the coffin he would be laid to rest in the next day. I think as parents we have all had close calls with our kids. It only takes a piece of a second for anyone’s life to change forever, for the unspeakable worse. I went to the funeral Friday. My shrink told me not to force Jett to go. I had to leave early. I was sobbing in the back of the standing room only church. It was a beautiful service, they always are…. the family was even holding it together. Then there was me… someone who wasn’t close to the family. Jett had only played with him this one past season… but I knew the kid…. he was a gentle, kind, wonderful, thoughtful, one of a kind angel on this earth that was taken too soon. The funerals, as impossibly hard as they are have a sort of magic to them. Family is there, friends are there, sharing stories and memories and everyone is there for one another. However, I know from my best friends loss of her son, again another delightful angel on earth taken way too soon unfairly in a freak sickness, that is the after…. After all the people leave…. the next day and the next after that… the loneliness…. the questions in your mind repeating…. friends staying away or leaving permanently because they don’t know what to do or what to say. They still have their kids… how can they talk about normal life to their friend that lost their child….. Its selfish isn’t it? To be happy around someone who lost EVERYTHING that mattered.
No matter how well I prepare or try to forget all the past sadness surrounding Mothers Day, the week is always shitty. Life throws us curve balls, especially when we have kids, and this year was full of them. Basically I had to suck up my depression for my kids. My daughter starts high school in the fall and I tell you … it is already in full swing. Because half of my high school years were shit due to my dads suicide I am extra sensitive to make sure my daughters high school years are frickin magical and she goes after every opportunity available. So last week, my shittiest week of the year I had to suck up my depression and grief for her. I could not allow the cycle of pain to continue on to her. My grief was hidden the best I could and I focused… (overly on her, but in a good way). I was a mom taxi all week from 2 pm until 7 pm daily. From getting the kids to school, to their activities which included; gymnastics, dance team, dance class, private lessons for the dance team, Jetts auditions, ect. I was busy. There were only 8 incoming Freshmen that auditioned for the dance team out of the 1,200 kids coming into the school in the fall. I was so proud of Sedona for just showing up, then I was just glowing for her seeing it through. She didn’t make it, but stayed with a positive attitude and I know she will be more prepared for next year to give it another go. We had many talks about the importance of just showing up last week. Every day I quizzed her.
Me:” What is #1?”
Sedona: “Just showing up”
Sedona: Keep going if I mess up.
Me: #4 NEVER APOLOGIZE
Sedona: but…I like to apologize..
Me: No, unless you accidentally kick someone in the face do not apologize. If you mess up, you keep going and at the end you say, “Thank you for having me audition”… and get out!
Just showing up, confidence, and keeping going are three things that will not only get her through life, but help her succeed when others just don’t show up and give up. They are simple rules with great potential impact. Yes, you need to practice, be prepared, and be good at what ever you are going after too. However, a person with confidence and skill will get the job over the person with no confidence every time. Now I am not saying be a cocky asshole… I used to always tell my girls to have relaxed confidence on stage. Those were the girls that always did well. Nice people with confidence.
My best Mothers Day gift was seeing my daughter transitioning into an adult. She really appreciated me and all the effort, time and work I have put into her!:) SHE WAS THE MOTHER ON MOTHERS DAY!! On Mothers Day I got breakfast in bed, She forced her brother to take a shower and then forced him to sit through a Shakespeare play at the high school… haha… When we got home I got to garden and drink wine out front while she forced Jett to help her clean the house. When I got back in the almost perfect house to end their drudgery, Jett was sulking, saying Sedona did most of it. I sat both of them down and said that I didn’t care how clean the house got, and it looked amazing. All I wanted out of Mothers Day was Just to be appreciated for all the work I do for you every day….. I really think they understood how much I do for them and I really felt appreciated…. Then Sedona forced Jett to help her give me a pedicure while we watched the Amazing Race… It was fabulous…. It was a great day. It was a day I didn’t want to run away with my passport to Africa…. but I’m keeping it handy just in case.
This post started so sad and ended so happy… and that is exactly how my Mothers Day weekend went, so it is fitting to end it here. I am the luckiest human in the world that these tow amazing kids chose me to be their mom…. Every day is a gift and a gift that could be taken away at any moment. I need to enjoy every day more and not take anything for granted.
Please note: I don’t know anything. I am not a scientist or smart in any way. These are just my observations.
There has been quite a lot of hoopla over the drought in California. Residents have been mandated to cut usage by 25%. It had been reported that farmers/ agriculture/ corporations were not included in that mandate. There have been numerous articles on how much water each Almond tree needs to grow and how much water each cow requires. There is now more hoopla that Nestle is still using an expired permit to take as much water as it wants for bottling and selling purposes from a spring in San Bernadino….Therefore selling Californians the same water that they have been mandated to reduce.
So things I Observed;
1. There are NUMEROUS signs along HWY 5 saying that “Congress Created the Dust Bowl”. These signs are on barren dry farmland. I would assume that farmers have indeed had water restrictions imposed on them for some time now. (picture is of barren dry farmland)
2. There are numerous signs along HWY 5 on dry farm land saying that Millions of California residents are paying for Millions of gallons of water they aren’t getting. There are also numerous signs saying “Let us turn on the pumps”. and “Water = Jobs”.
3. This is the website for the farmers putting up the signs. http://www.familiesprotectingthevalley.com/topstory-m-99-99.html
4. There will be acres of bone dry dirt/ grass next to tens of thousands – some times hundreds of thousands of almond trees. (the green in the picture are the thousands of trees)
5. When certain almond farms have been abandoned and therefore the trees not watered, the trees die….. Lots of them.
6. Next to acres of dead trees I also found hundreds if not thousands of new trees being planted.
7. The California aqueduct runs through out this area and there is lots of water in it. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/California_Aqueduct
8. I found it funny that on a bridge over water there was sign about the drought and conservation…. I know.. I know… it has salt in it…oooh
9. The seals have plenty of water.
24 Years ago my father killed himself. My life was permanently altered. The downfall had started just 8 months before. 8 months of tears, crying, yelling; mixed with joy and hope that my dad, my best friend would snap out of it and come back to me. However, 24 years ago a destruction to my soul happened, a pain I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy, and hands down the worst day of my life that I never ever want to try to top. That worst day needs to remain the worst. Unfortunately life has tried to one up this worst day by giving a few of my closest friends the worst days of their lives. I wish I could take away all of their pain in their hearts and mine.
I don’t feel like writing anything more. I will just post an exert from my book. I really don’t know what I feel today; edgy, sad, mad…. To those who have been Left Behind… Nothing can be fixed… It’s just always there… haunting our dreams….
I was still so hurt, I just kept trying to get even with him. But I went too far with this horrible lie. And it was the last time I spoke with my father. This fight. A fight I created over virtually nothing. An argument over nothing that spiralled out of control, and ended with my parents threatening each other with lawyers. If I would have just went out to lunch with him. If I would have just taken him up on his gesture to make amends. None of this would have happened. I don’t care if my father did have some sort of mental illness. This instance, this lie, was what sparked the next three days’ chain of events. And I don’t care how many people tell me otherwise. This part was my doing. This part was my fault.
I was so angry:
I was so angry he wouldn’t forgive me.
I was so angry I had no respect for him anymore.
I was so angry he didn’t teach me how to drive.
I was so angry I didn’t listen to either of my parents anymore.
I was so angry I didn’t care about school or pompons or dance.
I was so angry the perfect life I thought I had was over.
I was so angry that saying “no” one time could kill my life.
I was so angry I didn’t see it coming.
I was so angry I didn’t care.
I was so angry I wanted him dead.
I was so angry I would cry in front of him and he wouldn’t look away from the TV.
I was so angry he was never the same even when we would speak.
I was so angry things couldn’t go back to the way they were.
I was so angry the dad who’d taken me for bike rides, hot dogs and movies was gone.
I was so angry I would have rather it had been me who had died.
I was so angry I wanted to get him in trouble with my mother.
I was so angry my mom would always be on his side. I was so angry that I wanted my mom to be on my side, no matter the cost.
I was so angry I wanted my mom to hate him.
I was so angry I felt happy that I lied, that I felt powerful in lying about what he did.
I was so angry he wouldn’t “fake it” and be nice to my friends.
I was so angry he didn’t acknowledge my presence.
I was so angry, I cried.
What if I wasn’t wrong?
After the fight, my father left the house. He took the truck and left for two days. We didn’t know where he went. Those two days were a blur to me. I couldn’t tell you anything that happened. Finally, he came home the night of the second day. His whole demeanor was different, extremely stoic and still very mad. He didn’t speak to us and we did not attempt to speak to him. My mom slept in my room with me that night, because she was scared.
The next morning was May 2nd, four days before his 38th birthday. All he said to me—using his unemotional, restrained, ashamed-of-me voice—was not to take the truck to school that day. I went to my mom, asked her, and she told me yes, I could take the truck. Within minutes, I left for school.
I remember seeing my father walking the dog and looking at me from up on a little embankment at the neighbor’s house. He was wearing his blue coat and he just stared at me—a stare of disappointment, of loss, of something I couldn’t place. I don’t know if he was upset because I took the truck, because of my lying, from my being a disappointment as a daughter, or if he was saying good-bye, because he missed who we used to be to one another. Was he saying good-bye to me in his own way? He was standing with Ali, my dog, across from the tree house he had built for me when I was a kid . . . the one in which I’d had so many happy times. He was standing a hundred yards away from where we used to fly kites. He was standing right by the bus stop I used to walk to each day in grade school. I think the look he had on his face was just one of sadness. Of having given up. Life was just too hard and he didn’t think it could be fixed. Whether he blamed himself or me or my mother, it just wasn’t working. It just wasn’t worth it.
I went to school and attended all my classes. It was a normal, yet abnormal, crappy day. During gym class, I was walking around the indoor track with my friends and we were discussing my dad and how he’d finally come back home. My friends confided in me they were scared of my dad and didn’t like coming over to my house. I told them I hated him. At that moment, the gym teacher came over and told me to go to the principal’s office. She wouldn’t tell me what was going on. I went to the office and my mom and grandpa were in the room, sitting on chairs across from the principal. They looked like ghosts. My mom told me that my dad had killed himself in our attic and started a
fire. The fireman and police were still at the house. Mom and Grandpa had come to the school to take me home.
That moment was the breaking point of my life. Time stopped. The pain was like no other I could possibly imagine. If I thought the last several months were bad, they were nothing compared to that moment and that loss. It was inconceivable. My father was the strongest person I knew in the world. I never in my wildest dreams imagined this as a possible outcome. No way. There was no way this could be true. Did I think my parents would divorce? Yes. Did I think my dad would be mad at me for life? Yes. But he would still have been on the planet. Knowing that he was no longer on the planet and connected to me in any way destroyed me. What had I done? I had told my friends I hated him, when he was already dead! How could I have said that? I said that over and over to myself: “I told them I hated him, when he was already dead.”
Here are a few of the thoughts that circulated constantly in my mind from that afternoon onward: I am a monster. I am so ashamed. I can never look at my friends in the eyes again. God heard me say I hated him and he was already dead. A few weeks ago while I was walking my dog Ali, after a fight with my parents (with both siding against me), I wished to the moon my parents were dead. I wished HIM dead. I MADE THIS HAPPEN. God listened to me and gave me what I wanted. I am a monster. I am a horrible, horrible monster. I wish it was me that was dead. I don’t want to be here. Why couldn’t it be me? I just want my dad back here. This can’t be happening. I am sorry. I am so sorry. Please make this stop. This can’t be
happening. I just want to crawl in a hole. I am numb.
Immediately, my brain just kind of stopped processing new information. I was like a robot going through the motions of life. I found myself walking out of the school and sitting in the back seat of the car. Stuff was going on all around me: sounds, movement, people . . . but all I could think was: I told my friends I hated my dad, but he had already killed himself. I am the lowest human on the planet. I deserve to be punished. It should have been me. I should be dead right now. I am the monster. Where am I? This cannot be reality.
From what I gathered at the time and from what I have learned since (by dragging information out of my mother, uncle and newspaper articles), these are the facts about “what happened”—that is, the things I know. After I left for school in the truck, my father walked the dog home, but kept him outside. He went upstairs to get something, which apparently was bullets, as he showed them to my mother in the kitchen when he came back down.
She thought he was going to kill her, so she went next door to my grandparents’ house and called my dad’s father to have him come home and help. He didn’t think my dad would go through with anything, so he did not come home from work. Consequently, my mom got my uncle Stuart and went over to the house. However, my dad had locked my mom out of the house, barricaded the door with a sheet of plywood, and hid her keys. At that moment, she told me years later, my mom felt
as though she knew what was coming. He had been threatening this for a couple years now. When they got into the house, they looked all over, but couldn’t find him. Much later, she told me it was like playing a nightmarish game of “hide-and-seek,” and if they were to have found him, he would have shot her. Eventually, though, they went up to the attic. The door was locked. Due to her fear of being attacked, my mother kept silent, while Stuart pleaded with him to come open the door. When an explosion shook the house, they had to leave.
From a newspaper article, I found out my father had doused himself with gasoline, he might have shot himself, as there were guns up there, he hung himself with a wire cable, and around the same time, he started a fire. The firemen were warned there were guns present, so they would not enter the house until the police came. It was reported that it took quite a while to put out the fire.
Those are the facts. They do nothing to comfort the aftermath.
When I got home, the police and the firemen were there. It took a while for the coroner to arrive. I believe there might have been a couple reporters from news stations there, as well. I was numb. My mother was trying to explain things to me, as I sat at my grandparent’s house staring at our house. I remember her saying she didn’t want me to see my dad’s body being brought out in a bag by the coroner, but I insisted. At that point, she was so numb and out of it, how could she have stopped me from watching? She was emotionally done.
By the time I convinced her to let me watch, most of the crowd of nosey onlookers had dissipated. I sat on the steps of my grandparents’ porch and watched them bring him out and put him in the truck. The image of this passing before my eyes was just surreal. I couldn’t believe it. How could this happen? What did I do? I had now become a murderer. I had murdered my own father.
As I sat outside the house, I was by myself. My mother couldn’t bear to watch. I was out there when one of my friends from my childhood and her parents walked down the street to check out the scene. I was so pissed . . . that people just had to be nosy and crowd into other people’s grief. I went inside. I finally got a hold of Brian on the phone when he got home from school. He couldn’t believe what I was telling him. I begged him to come over as fast as he could, but he had to wait for his mother to come home with the car. Waiting for him was agony. I kept calling him to see if he had left yet. While I was waiting, the phone rang. A newspaper reporter called to get an interview. Fucking leeches! I don’t watch the news to this day. So much of the news preys upon other people’s pain to make money. My grandfather hung up on him.
When word started getting out, family started coming over to both my grandparent’s houses. I couldn’t talk to anyone. I went down to my grandparent’s basement and that’s where I stayed. Eventually, my mom came down and talked to me. She tried to give me some history, information I had purposely been kept in the dark about my entire life—all sorts of details about my father: about his gambling, putting money into the stock
market, the loss of his job, his depression, his mental illness, how he had been threatening to kill himself for years. All the things she was telling me were just so unbelievable. I called her a liar and told her to leave. Was she coming up with all of this stuff to make me feel better? In my mind, I thought, So what about all of that stuff! She knows as well as I do what had transpired in the past three days and the past six months. My mom knew what I had done. I wanted her to blame me. I wanted someone to blame me. Why was everyone getting this all wrong?
I wanted to see no one, except for Brian. I just waited and sobbed into my grandma’s couch pillows. Uncontrollable sobs. Horrific emotional pain. The only other person I might have seen would have been my Uncle Stuart, who had suffered bouts of depression for years himself (in fact, he was diagnosed manic depressive). My father and he were the closest of their siblings at that time. Not only was my dad like a brother and more to him, he was a surrogate father when their dad was abusing alcohol, Stuart himself was apparently my dad’s only friend at the time. They were like buddies.
My dad had been Stuart’s role model. But now he had given up on life. I wondered, If life was too hard for my dad, how was Stuart ever going to make it? My dad was the strong one. Everyone in the family knew Stuart would hide in the basement of his parents’ house for months on end. He endured terrible suffering with his mental illness. Ultimately, I found out, when Stuart couldn’t save his brother, he felt he had failed him.
When Brian finally arrived, his face was swollen red with tears. I explained what I knew. He told me how the first thing he thought of was how angry he was at my dad. “How could he throw everything he had away?” Brian asked. To him, I had the perfect life, and so my dad must have had such, too. The perfect house, the perfect cars, the perfect family, good job, etc. Since his parents were divorced and had gone through some pretty hard times, Brian had a hard time understanding my dad’s suicide.
After our initial discussion of what had happened, Brian’s arms were the only thing that comforted me. A little sliver of myself believed him when he told me it wasn’t my fault. I trusted him completely; so when he said it, it could have been- . . . no, it had to be true, didn’t it? I felt okay when he was there with me. I felt like if I just had him, I could be alright and I could forget about everything. I just needed him beside me. I just needed his energy next to me, around me. So, it devastated me when he had to go home. I didn’t want to be alone. I didn’t want what felt like the other half of my soul to leave. I felt as though the part remaining couldn’t handle this pain and utter horror on its own. I didn’t want to be around anyone else and I didn’t want to be alone. What was I going to do for the rest of the night?
I knew Brian would be coming back in the morning, but I cried and ached, nonetheless. I stared at the TV and cried. I thought about everything relating to my recent relations with my dad . . . and I cried some more. When I wasn’t
crying, I felt guilty for not crying. I fell asleep at some point, and to my horror, when I woke up the next day, it was still the same reality! Brian came over in the morning and we just stayed in the basement all day. Sometime during the day, my dad’s sister came home from college to see me. I agreed to see her and she brought me a stuffed animal. It appeared I would only see people who I knew were in the same pain as me. I talked with her a bit, and listened to her say the same things everyone else did, like it wasn’t my fault, blah, blah, blah . . . but those words had no meaning. I know I didn’t have much to say to her and, after a while, she left. I imagine she went to comfort my grandmother, who had just lost her firstborn son.
This loss permanently changed the entire dynamic of our whole family forever. Family get-togethers would never be the same. There would always be that unspoken grief in the air. I remember at many holidays in the future, going over to my dad’s parents’ house and my grandfather would break down when he said grace. He’d lost his firstborn son, who was now gone forever.
Sometime over the next few days, both my fathers’ parents came to see me. As per their respective personalities, they each had few words. When my grandfather tried to talk to me, his voice would close down, his face would turn red, and tears would stream down his eyes. My grandmother tried to be the rock and appeared more stoic, yet silent tears would still trickle down her cheeks, as well. They attempted to put on a
brave face for me, but it was so apparent they both were dying inside. An irreconcilable pain in the middle of their hearts was tearing at the fabric of their souls. There were really no words . . . just no words. I hadn’t just killed my father. I had killed my entire family. Everything became a blur.
My mother tried to spend time with me, too, but I just didn’t want to. I just wanted Brian to hold me, and he did. He held me as I cried. He held me as I sobbed. He held me when I asked why. And he had the best response for all of my questions. He said, “I don’t know.” He didn’t try to “fix me.” He was just there, and that is all I wanted.
During this same time, my mother was also planning the funeral with my grandfather. I only left the basement to go to the bathroom, and then I wouldn’t look at anyone. I would just stare at the floor and run in and out as fast as I could, like the kitchen floor was made of lava. When the funeral date and arrangements were finally decided, several days had passed. In the case of a death such as this, the coroner had to complete his report. So, naturally, no one was rushing about any of the details.