I’m sitting here trying to breathe before I drown, where hanging on by a thread would feel like a blessing right now, not quite sure how I’ve made it this far. I am so grateful for these kids. Sure, while taking in teenagers is a game changer (life-changer really, who are we kidding?), they’re saving me, too. Especially right now.
I’d still be standing pretty much right where I am even if they didn’t live here. But if they didn’t live here, I can’t say that I could come home to an empty house and make a bottle of wine last for days without trying. Or that cleaning the house, setting an alarm, planning out my morning, or even caring if I even made it out of bed would be worth a moment of consideration.
I’ve cried more this past week than I have since my best friend died. It hurts to breathe, and I don’t know how I am making it through most days. I thought I’d been handling this so well. I’ve been acutely aware of my brain and its massive hyper-speed recall and functioning. Just earlier today I recalled with freakish detail almost every little thing about the family train set, the engine, how the building snapped into the board, how the one light bulb would go out and why our father had to take the engine out of the one train and put it in the nicer engine when we overheated the tracks and burned the first one out. I remembered hundreds of Breyer horse models by name and mold. My brain was able to recall with terrifying detail even the most minuscule of items such as the custom wired curio cabinet switch on the wall so that you didn’t have to be bothered to switch off each individual light in every individual cabinet. There was the cool pulley system that ran the flags and hanging plants under the skylight – ingenious! And the military and NASA books – those blew my mind.
So. Fucking. Cool.
Guys, that was my dad. I’m so proud of him. I’m so sorry that he couldn’t get better and you couldn’t meet him yourself. But I’m also so proud of me that I found myself help all those years ago. I always say that my brain is my superpower – what’s yours?
Some nights, I stay up cashing in my bad luck. Some nights I call it a draw. But I still wake up. I still see your ghost. Oh Lord, I’m still not sure what I stand for. Most nights, I don’t know anymore.
I do know that if it wasn’t for these kids, I don’t know where I’d be right now. I don’t know that I’d be sane. I’m pretty damn sure I wouldn’t be anywhere near this side of sober. I do know that I will carry on. I will wish that this will end, but then I remember the friends I have by my side, and I know that this will all end for the better. I still wake up. I still see your ghost. But I do know what I stand for. I do know why I am here.
Most nights, even when I can’t sleep, I know. In the words of one of my greatest inspirations in life, my Aunt Lucille, this too, shall pass. She always could see all sides and trust in not just the result but the process and the path. She couldn’t save my father either. She also tried. She was amazing. And my Uncle Fred – he’s amazing too. I hope that if I ever get married, he can be there. He taught me how to drive, driving up Route 23 to High Point on Memorial Day with the family. There are so many good memories from that time, from my childhood. I am going to choose to remember those times. The happy ones. And let them drown out the bad. I know I won’t forget them – it would seem there is little my brain lets me ever forget. But I will choose to let the good rise up to the surface.
Hope floats, after all.
Thanks, dad. I wish you could have gotten better. These kids are really amazing, you’d have loved them, too. Thanks for all you taught me. It’s good to finally hear from you. Now it’s time to get some sleep.
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