Maybe today it can not be my fault.

Maybe today it’s ok to cry for all that I lost.

Maybe today can be about me and not him.

Maybe today can be about me and not all of them.

Maybe today will be with out guilt.

Maybe today will be with out hurt.

Maybe today the sun rose and set.

Maybe tomorrow the pain my mind will forget.


Replacing Sad Anniversary “Death Dates”

I have so many days of the year that I dread because people I loved died on them.  Today, May 2 is the 25th anniversary of my fathers suicide….Wow…. and it gets more painful every year.  I am afraid to go to sleep because I dream of talking to my dad, asking him for advice, childhood memories that are just too happy, and dreams of just loss and being alone.  I also do have flashbacks of our fighting and some memory dreams are just too painful that I get a panic attack and wake up crying.  The panic attacks last for hours.

My mother used to force me to go to the Marriott Linconshire Resort for the week end on the anniversary deaths for a few years.  I just didn’t want to go, but I know what she was trying to do.  Now that I am older and death anniversaries bother me more I have been starting to do things on those days to change my fixation that those days are always bad.

My birthday was never a good day.  My father refused to come in the kitchen and sing Happy Birthday to me for my 16th Birthday.  Every November 4th after that was never the same.  It was never a day of joy, just one I wished I would forget.  When I turned 38 I tried to change that and planned my own birthday party.  People actually showed up and I had too much of a good time, so I threw an even bigger one for my 40th and it was even better.  So while I will always remember that 16th birthday, the bad memory fades when I think about my 40th birthday.

I found out about a year and a half ago that my first husband threw himself in front of a train three years ago.  He left behind two young children.  I am still in shock and I am sure the guilt nightmares will start in a few years.  I can not believe after what he knew I went through with my fathers suicide he would do that to his children.  However, that might have been the point in my life that I really did not share with anyone that part of my life.  I was ashamed, embarrassed, guilty….. I have such sadness for his family.  They are good people.  Todd and I were married on April 15, 1995, Tax Day.  I always remember every detail from that day.  Now I needed something else on that day, so this year on April 16th I threw and after the Tax Day party.  I planned it for about 4 months.  Yes, I know, Crazy, but I needed it.  I needed something fun for my brain to fixate on, or it will fixate on bad shit.  The party was great, but sure enough, as soon as it is over and I don’t have anything to fixate on the nightmares start.

Which leads to this date, May 2, the day my father died.  I can’t have parties all the time, but as an actor in this modern age of technology I can keep myself busy writing and filming ridiculous sketches that really only a handful of my friends watch.  I launched my latest sketch today.  I promoted it for weeks that it was going to launch May 1st, but I thought May 1st was today….. so here I am on my fathers death anniversary launching a ridiculous sketch on Youtube.

My therapist would tell me: “Just try to make it through the day.”  Well this is how I do it;).  I hope this makes at least one sad person laugh, even if just for a minute.  Let’s make it through the day together.

Hospice for Dogs… Letting my dog die naturally at home…..

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I have had 17 dogs in my lifetime.  They have either died suddenly or I have “known” it was coming and had them put down at the vet.  This death…this dog, Squirt is different.  Imagine any sappy movie or commercial or TV show about a boy and his dog and them multiply that by a thousand million and that is the relationship my son, Jett has with his buddy squirt.  Jett has known Squirt his entire life.  He doesn’t know a life with out Squirt.

I rescued Squirt, his mother and siblings.. and a few other dogs at a kill shelter fifteen and a half years ago.  I was on a “save the universe” OCD rampage.  I went to a kill shelter in Indio California and walking down death row seeing the notes on the cages of what dogs were to be killed that day was heartbreaking.  I rescued all I could.  There was a litter of 15 puppies I hoped that others would save that day.  I was tapped out.  Squirt and his three siblings were days old.  They still had their eyes closed.  I just could not believe that they were going to kill these babies before they had a chance.  I still can’t.  I was going to find homes for all of them…. That didn’t happen… so we moved to Montana for more space.  All these dogs had a great life.  They got out of every fence we built.  They chased cars, brought home dead animals, and drove the neighbors and us CRAZY barking at chipmunks in their wood piles.

It was not all rose petals and rainbows.  I was in denial that “my love” would be enough to control them.  However, when you have 14 dogs and really no training as a dog whisperer and are not a dominant pack leader things go awry.  Some of the dogs got jealous.  Fighting started before we left for Montana. Montana didn’t fix it, and two of the dogs turned on Squirts mom and killed her right in front of me.  It was horrible and one of the worst experiences of my life.  I detached from the 127% unconditional love I had for animals.  Saying that, for probably eight years we had seven dogs and they were all wonderful.  That was 8 solid years of love and running and water and snuggles. Eight years of my daughter and my son thinking that their lives were a wonderful fury wonderland of dogs and love and licking and mom going a little crazy when the dogs would come home all muddy with a deer leg in their mouth and have to deal with it.  Having that many dogs is expensive…. very expensive, but They costs were lower in Montana.  We found a great place to board them when we went out of town, and we traveled a lot for work.  I ordered the dogs their shots on line and gave them to them myself.  We were blessed because the dogs were healthy… always…for years… no wild animals attacked them, none got bit by the rattle snakes that lived on our property, no broken bones, no one got hit by a car on one of their daily car chases.  Besides the dog hair, dirt, and daily vacuuming… and POOP and PEE it was magical.  A lot of poop… a lot of poop…. and the boys loved to lift their legs on everything… but I loved them all.  Dogs don’t live forever and neither do people.  I put some down, some died in their sleep I never let a death draw out…. until now.  It has been a rough year.

Last year Squirt didn’t move all day.  I thought “this was it”.  I wasn’ t ready.  Jett wasn’t ready.  Squirt was minutes away from passing.  He was stiff and unresponsive.  I brought Squirt to Jett when he got out of school to say good bye.  It was a disaster.  Jett wanted me to take him to the Vet and so I did.  I thought they would immediately put him down.  The doctor asked me if I wanted to try to give him IV fluids and antibiotics so I did.  I refused and blood tests or xrays.  He was 14.5 years old. I thought “this is it”.  Miraculously after about 30 minutes on the IV Squirt perked up.  After two hours I brought him come for the night with instructions to bring him back in the morning for more IV.  He got home and he was like a new dog. It was bizarre.  It was a miracle.  I still had my doubts so I gave him antibiotics I had gotten from Mexico years ago for several days and then I pulled the IV out.  For months he was a new dog. He was happy, running around, still jumping off furniture, but then he started to decline.  Falling off beds not jumping off, missing steps, not seeing well and then the pooping started.  He had no control when he pooped.  He would just poop wherever.  I didn’t know where to keep him when we were gone.  If I kept him in a bathroom or in a kennel he would poop and then walk in it and then get it all ground into the floor and his fur.  I dreaded coming home. I knew I would spend at least 20 minutes every time cleaning up poop.  Giving Squirt baths was getting harder and harder because he would just shiver after for hours.  I found it was just better to let him have full run of the house and hope that he didn’t step in his poop.  This daily ritual went on for I don’t know… 8 months?  Its been trying….. but everyone in the family was just happy he was still alive…. One more day we would keep saying… and most of the days were great.  He was eating and kind of running… the falling of beds in the middle of the night was not cool… but we kept on with the day to day.  He was not in pain.  He was just a little more foggy each day.  Jett had hope he would keep on keeping on.  However, months of the same turned into weeks of everything changes and one day even Jett asked if Squirt was going to make it until Christmas.  I didn’t have an answer for him.  I still didn’t think we should put him down, but I knew the days were numbered.

Which brings me to this horrible but family bonding week.  I watched my grandfather and my grandmother die slowly with hospice care and with dogs I guess it can be much the same.  When My grandparents died I was ok with the death.  It was time.  Those last couple weeks .. and months were agonizing. 6 days ago, the day before Halloween Squirt slept all day.  I was concerned, but I was still going to force this dog to live.  If I would have not intervened he probably would have died within a day or two.  However, we still weren’t ready and I didn’t want him dying on Halloween. Squirt could not walk.  His back legs were crossed when I tried to help him walk.  I used a towel to support him.  I gave him antibiotics and I force fed him food and water.  Yes, I thought to myself “What am I doing?” I should put him down…. Am I torturing him?”… but I gave it one last ditch effort…. What happened?  The miracle dog perked up again… His legs even started working… I’ve never seen anything like this… It was crazy.  Halloween, he slept most of the day, but then started walkingish around in the evening.  Sunday, Monday, Tuesday I continued with the force feeding.  He started to drink water on his own, but then he would throw it up. He wet the bed Monday and Tuesday night in his sleep. He hadn’t pooped for days, he fell off the bed again, I questioned myself all the time if I should put him down, but he just liked laying on our laps.  He was peaceful.  Ending his life so WE would be more comfortable seemed…. selfish. Yesterday, November 4th, my Birthday Squirt took a turn for the worse. I knew this was it.  He couldn’t control his bladder at all anymore and was peeing on me constantly. He was becoming unresponsive, but he was peaceful.  Jett came home from school and he cried, we cried, and Jett asked me if I should bring him to the vert so they could put him down.  Jett was finally ready.

I had a lot of time to think yesterday when the kids were at school and it was just me and Squirt.  I put down his sister, my Muffin this summer.  She was almost blind and had terrible anxiety when I wasn’t around.  No one could handle her constant pacing.  I had to take the kids to Illinois for two weeks so I made the decision to put her down.  Leaving her to pace constantly for two weeks would have been cruel.  However Squirt wasn’t pacing, wasn’t in pain and just wanted to lay on our laps.  I can not bring him to the vet and have them end his life with a needle in a cold room.  These last 24 hours we have snuggled, I have brought him outside to feel the sun, smell the air and we even laid on the graves in the back yard of his other siblings.  Instead of just ending a life like I did with all our other dogs and then it was just…over, I have had these hours to think about all the good times and the wonderful memories that this dog and all of the dogs we have had have given us.  I do not regret having any of them.  They were gifts from the Universe and I know these dogs “saved me” on more than one occasion.

As I type this Squirt is laying next too me and Jett. I kept Jett home from school today to process all of this and spend the last moments together with Squirt.  It is hard being a parent, but I am confident in the path I chose for this situation.  Squirt will die with in the next 24 hours and we will be right there when he decides he is ready to go.  We owe him that.

I tried googling how long he would live for with this whole dying process and what I found was very vague.  Even when my grandmother passed the hospice people wouldn’t give us a time frame when we knew it was just hours away.  So for all of those reading this that this might happen to… my best guess is this:  If I wouldn’t have interviened with the force feeding and antibiotics I think Squirt would have passed on Saturday or Sunday, so one or two days when he stopped moving and his legs stopped working.  Messing with nature?, God?, with the antibiotics, force feeding, force walking… might buy you a handful more of days, but that’s it.  Once they lose control of their bladder and stop eating or drinking death is hours or a couple days away at best.

Update 1:45 am Friday morning.:

The last 24 hours have been the worst.  He can’t control his bladder so we reek like urine.  The past 12 hours he gets up to vomit about once every couple hours. And now….. Uncontrollable very smelly diarrhea. I had to give him a bath. Doing this is not for the faint of heart and I might be regretting my decision.  However, we don’t put people down at this stage……. Maybe we should. This is really hard. I will be putting dogs down in the future that are dying before it gets this far.

Update 6:42 pm Friday:

When I got home from work at 3 pm Squirt was in obvious pain.  He couldn’t get comfortable.  Kind of pacing, but hardly walking. I was informed during the day he continued to try and throw up.  At 4:30 pm I brought him to the vet with the intent to get him pain medication to make him peaceful.  Jett wanted him to die at home.  Jett stayed home from school Thursday and today, Friday.  The vet really did not want me to take him home with just pain medication.  He didn’t know how well or if at all it would work and could be hours or more days of this… he didn’t know when he would pass.  The nurse was crying.  Last year Squirt almost died.  She couldn’t believe he lived another year.  He lived for my baby boy.  At 5:30 pm I had him put to sleep.  I brought him home.  We cried and now we are at peace.  He will be buried in the back yard with his brothers and sister.

This post was long.  Im sure there are a lot of typos.  I am doing this more for myself.  Writing helps me think and the waiting is getting really hard. That is all I have to say.

Every loss is NOT Gods plan. Best thing I have ever read about loss -Tim J Lawrence

This is probably THE BEST thing I have ever read about grief and loss, and I’ve probably read hundreds of books and articles and such. I’ve been struggling a lot with this lately and I said to a friend TODAY that is going through a hard time: “Most things happen for a reason”. I really mess with my brain and try to figure life out constantly. I’m not any closer than when I started. I have a whole ying and yang problem….. Because I am a coincidence junkie…. And magnet…. All the time crazy shit happens; like me telling my friend a couple hours ago that “most things” happen for a reason and then finding this in my news feed. Or scrolling through my news feed and an actor pops up that I’ve worked with once the exact same time he’s shown on the TV show I’m watching for a split second. For me coincidences tell me that I am on the right path in my life. However, I do not believe that everything happens for a reason and this can bother some of my religious friends. I do not believe everything that happens is”God’s Plan”. If you are religious you know that God gave us the power of choice…. Meaning…. We can chose wrong. I believe we all have a sixth sense and we all know the golden rule and the difference between right and wrong ( now granted some people have extreme mental issues and don’t know the difference, but that’s another subject). I also do not believe that any child was “supposed” to be taken by God. There is no way God could be that cruel. A nun actually told my friend who lost a child moments after that she could “Always have another one”…. To me that nun was Satan and I could have killed her right then and been completely justified. There is NO WORSE pain than losing a child. I would not wish that pain on my worst enemy…. And I haven’t even felt it… But I’ve seen it. I have been through a lot of loses and the only ones that don’t bother me are when old people die…. I can go along with God taking them and that being his plan. It’s natural part of life. Going back to “Some times we just choose wrong”; we do… And sometimes that causes death… Texting while driving, bullying, gun violence. We need to take responsibility for when we do choose wrong. And we need to let people grieve BUT BE PRESENT when they are getting through a loss. This writer was spot on. “We learn to carry the loss”. I have had a life I never would have had if my father wouldn’t have committed suicide. I became many different people, travelled all over the world, did things I never would have had the courage to do. Plus I’ve helped people… Lots of them…I know it in my heart. However I also hardened and became reckless and it’s something I’ve really had to watch to protect myself so I don’t do something too stupid, die, and leave my kids like dad left me and ruined my life. The nightly nightmares. The constant wondering Why? And the survivors guilt is happening for the reason of me trying to figure out how to carry the load… Carry on…. But it is NOT God’s plan. I have to find a way to live with the fight my father and I had 3 days before he died. His suicide was his choice. He was the parent. There was something wrong with him. However, I have to learn how to carry the load and I will never say my father ending his life was “God’s Plan”. That was my father’s CHOICE. That was the free will God gave him. Just as it was my free will to lie and pick a fight with him…… But when I go back to my beliefs in coincidences…. They just can’t be shrugged off… So maybe I see them when I am choosing right…..

After Effects of Suicide…. A daughters search for understanding 24 years later and counting

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.

24 Years Ago Was the Worst Day of My Life- My Fathers Suicide

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.

Taking Responsibility. Words Hurt. Actions Hurt.

I had a conversation with my therapist today, an honest one, and he listened. He didn’t want to agree with me, but I know on a certain level he did.  Suicide: those left behind blame themselves; friends of those that blames themselves tell them it is not their fault. It is the person that killed themselves fault; They did it, it was their choice, they were selfish, how could they inflict so much pain on themselves, family and friends.

Here is a statement of truth: I know I was just a teenager.  I know my father was MY parent, THE adult. I KNOW he killed himself. I know it is not my fault.  However, I also know that the moment he died he thought to his core that I hated him. I KNOW the last exchange I had with him I disobeyed him by taking the truck to school when he asked me not to. I SAW the look on his face when he walked our dog and I was in the truck driving to school.  I KNOW that the reason he left 3 days before he died was because of a fight I started. I KNOW in that fight I blamed him for something he did not do. I KNOW I lied. I KNOW I told him I hated him. I KNOW that I wished him dead, not to his face, but the words were spoken in my mind.  All of those facts are just always there. They will always haunt me.

Of course there was something wrong with my father. He hurt me too.  He refused to come into the kitchen to sing Happy Birthday to me on my 16th Birthday. For months he wouldn’t let me in the house. For months he didn’t speak to me. One day he changed and he just never could come back to the same person he was. However, I know he tried. Days he tried to reach out for me I shut him out.  Nights I cried in my bed he refused to say he was sorry.

My point is; words have meaning. People do hear what you say to them, and they feel what you say and do to them, sometimes forever. Teach your children how much meaning words have. Bullying is real and a horrible problem. Teach them not to hate… Teach them just how important love is. Teach how important forgiveness is and how to apologize.

More on this subject later.

Tapeworms, Suicide, Sickness, Depression and moving forward

February 21-

I feel like a lot of my friends are going through bad times. Just know…. You are not alone…. I’m up and down every other day. Today is the first day my spirits are starting high since January17th when I got tapeworms from eating bad sushi…..and saying my spirits are high doesn’t mean my body is fine. … My abdomen doesn’t feel weird anymore, but I still have the remnants of a head cold. I’m just starting to accept the fact that no matter how healthy I am my body just sucks…plus Jett has missed 22 days of school this year so apparently he inherited my immune system..which makes me even more sad…. Keep on going my fellow sick people…. I read an article that in like 30 years no one will be sick because nanobugs will be injected in our body to kill germs… we have that to look forward to.
As far as our brains and how with people wired like myself, a switch can flip sometimes over something that is minor…. Sometimes major…..we just have to work to flip the switch the other way….. And sometimes that can seem impossible… But we can do it…. I would say my switch is somewhere in the middle….while my spirits are starting high today I know they will dip. My friends and family help to keep it going. I know I am very blessed. However, things happen and I will share this…. I found out last week that my ex husband killed himself 3 years ago. He stepped in front of a train. He leaves behind 2 kids. I hadn’t communicated with him last in probably 6 years. He had emailed me saying he forgave me for leaving and he had a wonderful life with his wife, kids, career, and snowmobile racing. However, knowing that does not soften the blow. My father, uncle, cousin and now ex husband killed themselves. I loved my ex husband and that love didn’t go away when I left him. When I left him I was just running away from him, my father’s suicide, my family, my life….. I figured out I could run away, invent a new life…. And I did. The past might be the past. We are told to let go, live in the now, but the past is what made the now. We can’t just turn our backs on the past. Sometimes we have to deal with it or it will eat us alive. I’ve been dealing with the past for the past 5 years rebuilding friendships I threw away when I ran away. The news of my ex is still processing. For 2 days I just cried. It’s not about blaming myself…guilt…. It’s just the loss….a violent death….just like my father’s. The message….I don’t know…but to all my friends who have kids….we go one for them..if you don’t have kids get a pet….if you don’t have kids or a pet you are stronger than I will ever be.

Your life would be harder if I stayed

I went to a psychic/ clairvoyant.  I haven’t been to a psychic since my last one, Guinevere, moved to travel a couple years ago.  I never really considered her a psychic, but more of a life coach.  I felt that she told me things that I already knew deep down.  I only saw her a couple of times, but she helped me help myself in giving me direction.  When I found my self in front of the store where I used to see Guinevere, I decided it was time again to see if someone clicked.  I had never seen a psychic since Guinevere because I was worried I would have a bad experience and find a charlatan. When friends or new acquaintances tell me stories of their super natural experiences such as seeing spirits, or unusual things happening, or spirits talking to them I believe them, 100%. My daughter spoke to a woman that had been murdered in a Jacuzzi when she was 3.  I believe, plain and simple.  However, when things happen to me in that area I doubt myself.  A good friends dead mother talked to me in my head once when I was over at his house and I believe my dad, grandfather, and uncle have visited me in my dreams.  However, I still doubt.

I was with my son at the time and asked him if he wanted to see a psychic with me for fun.  He agreed and I picked the first profile I read of a woman named Rachel that is a psychic/ clairvoyant.  The second we walked in she told my son that she knew he had “the gift”. Turns out that my son never told me that my dead father had been talking to him.  He was worried that it would upset me. He sometimes sees him in visions, my father has spoken to him in his head telling him what was going to happen before his football plays, and he has seen him in dreams.  The kicker is Rachel knew specific things my father had said to him and knew specific things my son did that she could have never guessed.  Rachel said my father told him to stop fussing in the bathroom and for the time it takes Jett to do his hair my father could shower, shave, go to the bathroom and get dressed.  I just started laughing more of a nervous laugh because it is so true.  Then Rachel said my father said he will stay out of the bathroom from now on.  She also said my father told him not to be a fireman or a policeman, something in that range.  In the car on the way home Jett told me that my father had told him once in the bathroom not to be a policeman.  Needless to say with this whole thing I am a bit in shock and confused.

My father also had things to say to me which were prominently over and over: “Your life would be harder if I stayed.”  My father and I were arguing through Rachel pretty much, which is pretty much how we left our relationship before he died.  It got to a point where I asked for specifics and he was not shy in giving them.  He said that I would have chosen the wrong crowd of friends to hang out with, the wrong men to date, and he would have left anyway.  Wouldn’t my life have been worse if he just left for 20 years?  I said no because he would still be here.  There would still be a chance. He countered that if he didn’t kill himself that day it would have been another day in the future. He said he was here now, just not alive.  I countered with the fact he is just not here. Not here to be with my kids, for my kids to know him. Again he insisted that he is here. He is with my kids and myself.

Its been a week since this interaction.  I even went back the next day.  I have been really thinking about that statement over and over; “You live would have been harder if I stayed”. I’m really trying to picture my life if he was still here, right now, with my life how it is, because it wouldn’t have turned out the way it has if he would have stayed.  My entire life I would have been wanting his approval on most aspects of my life.  I wouldn’t have chosen certain paths. I probably wouldn’t have left Illinois.  So, if he was here now. Here in my life what would it be like?  In these questions he would be in a good/ playful mood: Would I be afraid to have him around my friends in certain social situations?  Would I be afraid with certain comments that came out of his mouth? Or his disposition?  Would I be embarrassed if he made off color jokes to my girl friends or tried to convince acquaintances of some kind of a get rich quick scheme?  The answer to those questions is yes and it puts a knot in my stomach. If my father was in the same depressive horrible mood as when he died and I visited my mother at the house with my kids and he never got up off the couch how would I feel? What if he never played with my kids like I imagine in my dreams? What if my kids were afraid of him? What if it got so bad I never came to the house with my kids.  What if my kids asked me why grandpa hated them? What if he did interact with my kids, but things were taken too far? What if he took my kids to the race track on school nights? I have really been trying to put myself in these scenarios because I need to.  I have made myself crazy with all the “what ifs” I could have changed about his death, but none of the “what ifs” about if he stayed.  It is very hard for me to answer the what if he stayed questions honestly and my brain actually tries to shut down and not deal with it.  It took me two days to be able to write this. For over 20 years I would only “what if”……he did take my kids on bike rides and to 6 flags, and ride roller coasters, and for ice cream, and teach Jett how to box and play sports, and took Sedona shopping.  What if he walked me down the aisle and built me a house? Would all of those what ifs even have been remotely possible.

I dove into a deep depression yesterday.  I knew what I needed to do to get out of it, the first step is just to get out of bed and get dressed.  That first step is agonizingly hard and I didn’t know if I could do it.  I thought it would take me hours to leave the house. However, one step lead to another like brushing my teeth, eating, putting on my shoes, finding my keys, letting the dogs out/in. All of those mundane small things were just impossibly hard.  Picking up my kids from school, trying to interact with them like a normal person…excruciating.  I made it to a class and just getting my mind in a different mode I could feel myself inching slowly out of the huge wave of fog that came over me. Inch by inch… centimeter by centimeter. At dinner I was able to laugh with the kids in a real way and not a fake just trying to get by way. Today is not as bad.

I feel like I need to stay here though, even with just one foot in.  I need to answer the “what if I stayed”.  My life would have been harder if he stayed.  I will always doubt the psychic and even if it wasn’t real, I will still treat this experience like I did that last psychic, which was as a life coaching experience.  The words are still true even if they were made up and coming from Rachel.  Would my life have been harder if he stayed? All the tears I cried and guilt I have felt for 20 years…could that have been worse?  I will need to think about that.

My father had a weird sense of humor as I do. When I told Rachel that my fathers brother had killed himself several years after my father killed himself she said my father chimed in with: “He had to copy me.” That is just so something that my father would say.  He also said he didn’t care if it was cheating telling Jett the football plays the other team were going to make right before it happened.  I have a hard time remembering actual conversations and his tone from when he was alive, it is just too overwhelming.  When Rachel repeated “He had to copy me” and “I don’t care if it’s cheating” it just plain sounded like him. I remembered his tone. It is just a lot to process.  Writing is how I process.

A couple months ago this poem came in my head.  I guess this would be the hope of how it would be if he stayed. My father was a carpenter.

I can swim through the ocean I can run through the sea. I can climb every mountain. Can you build it for me?

Push on the tire swing, climb balancing high in the sky. Walk a terrifying tight rope . Can you build it for me?

Pretend I’m a princess calling down to my love on my balcony below. Climb my stair case in my tower. Can you build it for me?

A mansion of wonder with paintings and artistry galore. Fine statues and gilded hand carved woodwork and gates made of iron and Stone. Can you build it for me?

you had to copy me

I dont care if it is cheating

shower no fireman