father

All posts tagged father

EMDR 3

Published June 21, 2017 by Chloe Madison

This was an extemely emotional session- I was crying before I even went in (about other stuff though). I feel so deeply tired, like I can’t move my body. Almost like I’m drunk, my body feels numb and tingly and heavy.

We had a discussion about what’s real or not in EMDR and how could Jesus be bringing forward my dad if I don’t even think my dad’s in heaven. If it’s not real, then how can this bring healing? This was important to discuss because it’s even distracting me during sessions. I wonder how much of what’s happening during EMDR is just wishful thinking on my part and how much of it is real healing that’s occurring. So we only did 20 minutes of actual EMDR.

I realize I have new anger with my dad- so much more than before. I’m incredibly angry about the life his actions have taken and the multiple lives it’s ruined.

We picked up where we left off- my dad was there with a sad face and big, questioning eyes, (waiting for me to either forgive or accept him or hug him or something) and Jesus was behind me. I pushed myself back into Jesus- not wanting to move toward my dad and wanting to rest/ rely on Jesus or to know that he’s still there for me.

Jesus and I were standing the same pool of water. The water changed from blue to red, as I was avoiding looking at Jesus because I really wasn’t ready to move toward my dad. I remembered that Jesus nudged me the last time to go toward my dad, but since I didn’t feel ready, I felt ashamed to look Jesus in the face.

The red crept up from the water and moved into the sky and everything became a deep red- I thought Jesus was leaving, but I remembered that’s what the color purple represents. I’m not sure what the red was all about. 

Out of the corner of my eye, I see green grass sprouting up.

Out of the green, blooms a single yellow orchid (which reminds me of my dad because he grew orchids- there’s even a brown orchid with a fuchsia and yellow center named after my dad, called the Charlie Orchid.) 

The Charlie Orchid


The grass morphs into the orchid plant and in fast forward motion, whole sprays of yellow orchids shoot out and bloom. I see a caretaker of the orchid plant- someone (only a shadow) bent over the plant. I think it might be my uncle (because he and his wife grew orchids after my dad died). It turns out it is my uncle. He looks up and talks, but I can’t hear him. I really want to hear what he’s saying so I tell him that I can’t hear him. He gets up close to me, smiles a great big smile and loudly says with a funny, sarcastic attitude, “What I said was…” and then he keeps talking but I can’t hear him again. His mouth moves, but he’s silent. 

I turn to ask Jesus to help out here- to help me understand what my uncle is saying. I think I forgot some parts that happened in between…but I see my uncle smile like I have literally never seen him smile before and he gives a side hug to my dad, who’s also smiling. I immediately think it’s fake. This isn’t real- there’s no way everything is all hunky dory between them. (This is where I question the veracity of EMDR). 
? I don’t remember, but I think I look back at Jesus to see if this (my dad and uncle hugging and smiling) is real- to get confirmation. Jesus looks different this time though. He looks like a real person- not like the glowing light he was before. 

⬆️⬇️ don’t know which happened first 

? At some point, I’m avoiding looking at Jesus and I look down and play around with the water, letting my hands glide over the top of the blue water. The water slowly turns white. After all the water turns white, where Jesus and I are standing together, the water begins to glow a warm yellow. I feel warmth on my back where Jesus is. I think I turn to see him. And then I turn back to see where my uncle and dad are- it’s like I’m checking to make sure they’re not the same- like there are no tricks or anything. (?)

I look directly at Jesus and ask him to talk to me, I ask, “What do you want me to know?” He says in the most convincing, sincere and compassionate way I’ve ever heard, “I LOVE you.” He continues, “I’m here with you… (and he says something else and something else- I can’t remember)…and “choose life. Choose MY life.” Jesus hugs me and holds me and says the same things all over again. I’m confused with what he means by choose “my life.” I ask him and he says, to choose the life that he has for me. I ask him to explain to me how to do that, to show me that. In response, I no longer see any visuals- I hear “scriptures” over and over again. I’m mildly annoyed by this because it’s a vague answer and It’s always been hard for me to discern the meaning or the direction that some scriptures point you in. But “scripture” was the very clear answer. 

Published June 18, 2017 by Chloe Madison

It’s been an emotional couple of days. I feel like I’m very much at fault. For almost a year now, I’ve been incredibly irritable and I’m afraid I’m taking it out on others. I feel terrible and I’m very disappointed in myself.

 Then there’s my upcoming trip. I need to take off and get out of here. But the last time I spent a few minutes alone, my mind shocked me by taking a dark turn so quickly. I probably spent about an hour sitting on that hill and couldn’t believe I was back to suicide so fast. 

I’m a bit worried about my 2+ day drive alone and all the thoughts that are bound to run through my mind. Half of me is worried and concerned for my well-being. But the other half is at peace and has come to terms with the fact that death is inevitable. However, I’m hoping the destination and looking forward to seeing my 2 year old niece and my new nephew will give me enough to get there. That drive back though! Smh. I don’t even want to think about it. Today was the first full day I’ve had by myself in weeks. I spent nearly the whole day in bed. Truthfully, I really need the rest, but the way my thoughts have boomeranged back and forth today alone is surprising. Sleeping pills and wine have been dinner for the last two nights. 

I can’t say what the rest of the summer holds…

I just want to focus on getting through the next few days. Father’s Day blows. I’m trying my best to keep positive so I wrote something I thought was encouraging on Instagram today. It is true that no matter how disappointing or even abusive our earthly fathers are, our true father is God in Heaven. He’s the epitome of what a father should be. And WE HAVE THAT. I need to focus more on that. But it was so hard for me to stay positive that it took me an hour and a half to write that one post!! Oh Lawd. It’s been increasingly difficult to write positively on there.

The next few days and months will be 

EMDR session #1

Published June 10, 2017 by Chloe Madison

You’re supposed to focus on a picture of the most distressing part of the issue you’re dealing with. Then, you decide what’s the biggest negative feeling you have about it. I wept throughout this entire session- not sure why.

I have a picture in my head of my uncle’s suicide- his body laying face down in the grass, the stark contrast of the red blood on the green grass. 

The feeling I have is that I should have been more understanding of him, I should have known (what I didn’t know yet) about his abuse by my dad. I should have been more compassionate. 

I feel pain in my heart and chest- it blows up, swells, and feels like it’s going to burst. The pain moves up through my neck and into my head. I feel like my head is going to explode as the pain swells greater and greater. I feel like the explosion will come out of my eyes and my head will shatter. 

So I turn away from the sight because I can’t deal. I keep trying to move away and I feel like I start to float away from the scene. As much as I turn my head in that direction, wanting to move away from the scene of the suicide, I feel obligated to return. It’s the right thing to do. It’s like I just can’t turn my back on my uncle- it’s not his fault. 

I feel like I need to talk with my aunt to tell her the truth. (In reality, my uncle had been sexually abused my my dad when they were younger- my uncle told several people, but no one ever believed him. He spent most of his life depressed and eventually committed suicide). So I feel like I need to tell my aunt that my uncle was telling the truth. But I don’t want to because I’m afraid it will crush her. I see us talking in fast forward with no words.

We move into her house and we begin to become submerged in blue water that’s all throughout the house. The water stands for truth. We soak in the water up to our mouths- our entire bodies are submerged and part of our heads- up to the level of our mouths. We don’t talk anymore, we just soak in the truth. I can tell it’s going to take her time to take it all in (just like it took me time to digest everything). 

As we’re soaking in the blue water, I notice the sky turns a deep red. It becomes a dark maroon, like something foreboding is coming. But there’s a lighter, circular spot that develops in the sky. In the deep red sky, this lighter spot turns into an orange color, then fades into yellow. I feel like Jesus is going to come through that spot on a chariot or something. 

But I don’t let him. Even though I don’t have the power to stop God, I push back and don’t let him come out of the sky. The sky begins to turn a deep purple. I feel like it’s a signal that Jesus is permanently leaving. (The therapist says at this point that it’s our choice to follow Jesus and allow Him to work.) 

So I realize the mistake I’m making and I say, “Sorry! Come back, come back!” I don’t quite remember, but I think the sky turns from purple to orange. I rise up out of the blue pool to get a better look to see if Jesus is coming back. I keep rising up and as I do, I’m spinning and floating upwards, looking all around. I don’t see Jesus, but I get the feeling that he’s all around me. I look up, directly overhead and I see a circular area that’s made up of a whiter light (this reminds me of the very end of Twister when they look up into the middle of the tornado). I’m floating up into this white light. 

I feel like it could be God carrying me up into Heaven, perhaps for a visit. I want to visit my uncle and think that maybe I’ll see everyone there. I see the shadows of all my family members who have passed on. But then I see all the shadows of everyone fade and back away. One person floats forward (he’s a dark shadow with a bigger belly) so I think it’s my dad. I never see him clearly so I’m not sure. I wanted to check on my uncle so I keep thinking my dad will fade and my uncle will come forward. But it doesn’t happen. 

My dad keeps coming forward. He puts his arm around me, his hand on my shoulder and I think he says he needs to tell me something. He says, “I’m so very sorry.” Well, this is all I’ve ever wanted to hear! So I wonder if it’s real or imagined. I think I asked him if he apologized to my uncle…I wanted to make sure they’ve resolved things. He says, “I never meant to hurt you.” I think he said I love you. I don’t seem to receive these messages too warmly as I find myself still preoccupied with wanting to know if he’s resolved things with my uncle and if my uncle is ok. He asks me for forgiveness. I kind of hold off answering, almost like- well, if you apologized to Uncle Gary, then yes- if you didn’t, then no. I’m preoccupied with the injustice my uncle dealt with his entire life. Then my dad says, “Justice is not yours, it’s the Lord’s.” It makes me think of academy and wanting to help others get justice because my uncle never got it and I never did either. 

I tell my dad, “Of course I forgive you. I always have.” We go to hug, but I pause in the embrace. I question if it’s safe. I hold off hugging because I keep questioning the safety/ protection of the situation because it wasn’t safe before. I then see another person’s face- a giant sized face just floating there. This is a safe person, but I try to push that face away because it has nothing to do with the situation. The same giant face comes back again- this time the face itself is faded, but I recognize other facial features. I push it away again, thinking it doesn’t belong (except for the fact that it is a safe person). I can’t quite remember what happens next. 

I don’t know. I think we never fully hug. I think I inquire about my uncle again. My dad answers with something like- he did or said what he had to/ needed to me. (I notice we’re running out of time in the session.) I keep thinking my indecision to embrace or my indecision about whether hugging my dad is safe or questioning about my uncle is making Heaven impatient with me. The white light we’ve been in turns dark purple and I feel like I’m running out of time. They’re going to send me away. 

I descend back to Earth, back toward the pool of blue water. I look up and see my dad’s hand is reaching down to me. I reach up to him, but we’re too far away. God doesn’t let us touch or let us have more time. I keep descending and his hand fades away. 

I can see my aunt again in the water with me. I ask her if she understands now. There’s no response. I’m distracted by the sky turning orange. I see a light circular spot developing again in the sky. I think it’s Jesus coming back. I can’t remember, but I think I decide that  I don’t want to push him away again. 

I think it ends there. I’m not sure. I don’t remember. 

Betrayal

Published February 14, 2017 by Chloe Madison

Memories are like that…like those chocolate chip cookies my grandma and I made…the cookies are your sweet memories and they’re sprinkled with bits of bitter darkness.

grandmother-granddaughter-baking-cookies-23639875

Happy Valentine’s Day!

What a great day to write about love. Or betrayal…

Don’t you just adore your grandmother? I adore mine. She was always one of my most favorite people on the face of this Earth. I have so many fond memories of her taking care of me when I was sick (and my mom had to work), us baking chocolate chip cookies from scratch, playing on her property…climbing trees and running around wreaking havoc. Sprinkled in with these great memories are a few bad ones as well. One incident occurred that caused a great rift between my uncle and I. (This is the same uncle that committed suicide.) My sweet, ol’ grandma had Alzheimer’s and entered a phase where she started wandering off. She was at my house with me (in da hood) and we were the only ones there. She suddenly took off, went out the door and down the street. I panicked because she was a little old, white lady in a very bad neighborhood. It wasn’t safe at all and this situation was not good. I ran after her, caught up with her, and begged and pleaded for her to come back inside the house. She kept walking and so did I. As a last resort, I even tried taking her purse from her, thinking that she would follow her purse. I was going to use it to entice her to turn around and head back to the house. It didn’t work. She became furious that I tried to take her purse and I quickly folded. So, this being before the time of cell phones, I left my grandma and raced back to the house to call my uncle for help. He was staying at her house about 4 miles away. I asked him to come help me, to drive her car to us and pick her up. Mind you, this is in the sweltering heat and humidity of South Florida, where people literally melt if they stay outside too long. Not only was I concerned that my sweet grandma was easy prey in da hood, but I also knew it wasn’t good for someone so old to get overheated. My uncle denied my request and we got into it. He refused to come get his mom and I was shocked. I couldn’t believe it. I yelled something at him on the phone- can’t remember what- and I hung up. I had to get back out there with her to protect her. If nothing else, I would be by her side. So, I raced back onto the street and ran my little heart out to catch up to her. We walked (at a slow old lady pace) for what seemed like hours. We were over halfway to her house when my uncle pulled up in her car and got her to get inside. He took off and left me standing there on the side of the road. I was relieved he finally decided to come help her, but I was still so furious at his cold initial refusal. And it didn’t help that he LEFT ME there! He left me in the middle of a terribly dangerous neighborhood where gun shots regularly rang out. I figured he must have been mad at me too. We didn’t speak for years after that…so many years, that I actually lost count.

So, this past Christmas, my mom and I had a heart to heart discussion about the past. She told me things I never knew and I did the same with her. One of the things she told me hurt me so badly that I refused to believe her. It’s been stewing in my brain for nearly two months now. My mom told me that my grandma knew that my dad sexually abused me and that she worked to keep it covered up. It looks like she was more concerned with keeping her son’s (my dad) reputation flawless than with making sure that her 9 year old granddaughter was OK. I was in such shock when my mom told me this that I couldn’t even fathom it being remotely true. Perhaps my mom picked up on my disbelief because she repeated it and then expanded on the situation. She said that somehow in the conversation, my grandma offered to pay for therapy down the line, if I would ever need it.

Ever NEED it?!? Ha! I sat back in the midst of being dumbfounded. I am f**king ready to kill myself over this sh*t and IF I ever needed help, my dead grandmother was supposed to be the one to pay for it. Thanks, grandma.

I’m still processing it all…I still wonder how true this really is. The fact that I distrust my mom and now, my dear sweet grandma… I just don’t even know what to think!

Tears are streaming down my face as I write this…as the betrayal of someone so precious to me sets in.

All my fond memories…are sh*t. If she was so ready to betray me…to cover up her granddaughter’s sexual abuse, to leave her granddaughter in silence, with no support, no nothing, then that means that everything we did together was a lie. It was probably just her guilty conscience trying to amend things. And that’s giving her too much credit.

I’m not going to lie. My family sucks. Nearly everyone passed away when I was little anyway, but the few family members I knew and interacted with sucked. It’s a good thing that my pastor just did his sermon on the topic of family last Sunday. I guess I need to try to cling more to my church as my family.

Matthew 12: 49-50

Ephesians 2:13-22

I can’t even think of a good way to end this…my mind is fractured and I’m trying to tend to the various pieces. I can say that I’ll never look at a chocolate chip cookie the same way again.

Cancer blows.

Published January 26, 2016 by Chloe Madison

dear-cancer-you-suck

I’m currently dealing with many old wounds being brought up. A pastor at my church, (whom I barely know, yet admire immensely for his compassion and work with others) was just diagnosed with cancer. It crushed me!  It affected me and continues to affect me way more than it should. I immediately had words with God. (That’s street talk for ‘we had it out.’) I was so mad at God. How could you let cancer affect someone so wonderful? Someone so young?  Someone who does so much to spread love and caring around this world?  Someone who has a beautiful wife and two young children? Why would you allow someone like that to be afflicted? I just don’t get it.

This brought me closer in to the Lord…I find myself in prayer constantly for this man. I feel so deeply sad for him and his family. I know they’re in for a long term struggle and I feel so helpless! I feel like there’s nothing I can do to help him. Yes, I can and do pray for healing and peace…but aside from that, there’s not much one can do for cancer.

I had a short conversation with him at church the other day. I had already decided I only wanted to lift this man up, always be encouraging, never say anything negative. I wanted to make sure that he only got hope…so I had already decided to NOT mention anything of the many, many family members I’ve lost to cancer. Only a week before I found out about his diagnosis, I lost my cousin to a rare form of incurable cancer. And yet, somehow my stupid mouth spewed out about my dad. Shit. I didn’t want to say that. I didn’t want him to know that my dad didn’t make it (because I wanted him to have hope that anyone can make it!) So, I tried to clarify right away- I pointed out that my dad did not want treatment and he gave up and let cancer eat him alive. My dad was diagnosed at Stage IV only because he waited so long to seek help for feeling sick. My dad hated hospitals and doctors and it took my mom forever to get him to agree to go see what was wrong. So, my dad agreed to surgery for the cancer, but he refused to do chemo or radiation. I remember my parents fighting about it multiple times. My mom felt (and still feels) abandoned by my dad. She just couldn’t understand why he wouldn’t want to fight it and try to live through it. So, in realizing that I just told my pastor friend about someone who died of cancer, I tried to show him the difference- that he was going to fight it and my dad didn’t. That he would have hope even though my dad didn’t.

Let’s not even go near the fact that I now believe that maybe my dad thought he deserved to die. He was a sexual predator- he had preyed upon and abused his little brother and his daughter. I can’t help but wonder if he felt guilty, if he felt that this was karma. Maybe he just accepted his cancer as a death sentence and that might be why he refused to fight it.

Maybe that’s part of why it’s affecting me so deeply.

Cancer has cut through me over and over and over again- with each family member it’s taken. And then all these memories come flooding back…my dad with cancer, dying at my house when I was little. I have one very distinct memory: my dad was yellow because the cancer had caused bile to spill into his body. He got up from the bed and rushed to the bathroom and started vomiting. As a little kid, I didn’t know what to do to help. So, I stood with my father and gently rubbed his back while he was bent over the toilet. In between bouts of vomiting, he yelled at me to stop and get away. At the time, I was deeply hurt. I was only trying to help and didn’t know what to do. As an adult, I can understand that when someone is nauseated, rubbing their back probably only makes them feel more sick. So, I understand why he pushed me away. But, that’s pretty much the last memory I have of interacting with my dad. My next memory is of him laying in his casket.

 

 

Update:

Cancer is in remission for the amazing guy I started off writing this post about. YAAAAAYYYY!!! I can’t exclaim that enough! I am so happy for him and his family! I thank God every single day for his healing and I pray that God continues to keep his body free of cancer.  🙂

So much has happened internally with regards to this situation. Since I first wrote this post, I’ve been in serious prayer daily for his healing and that’s brought me face to face with all kinds of issues that I personally have. I’d look at this guy’s children in church. I’d try not to stare. When all this started I believe his daughter was around 10 or 11 years old. I was 9 years old when I was first raped by my adult neighbor. I’d look at how sweet and innocent and frail-looking his daughter is and wonder how the hell someone could hurt or take advantage of a little girl like that. Even the thought of this is making my hands shake right now as I’m typing.

I think his son was about 11 or 12- the same age I was when my dad passed away from cancer. I remembered how I thought I caused my dad’s death and how the heaviness, the guilt, the seriousness of the situation weighed upon me and pressed me down.

Having this guy beat cancer was so important and symbolic to me on so many different levels. Yes, of course the victory is his and his family’s and the Lord’s…but seeing myself in his children had such a profound impact on me. I can’t even think of words to explain it.

Needless to say, I’m ecstatic for his healing and I’m so relieved he and his family can go on living their lives. He’s become one of the people that I admire greatly for their walk with the Lord…his selflessness and compassion, the caring nature of both him and his wife, the way they love their children…these are truly great people and this world needs more people like them! Praise God for remission!  🙂

New information…my dad

Published January 26, 2016 by Chloe Madison

IMG_5641 (1)

So, what does all this mean for my dad?  Well, as I sat there in utter shock digesting what my cousin had just told me…several realizations came flooding in. I realized I wasn’t the only one my father had abused. That has so many levels of (I don’t know what) to it. A year and a half later and I’m still fully digesting that!

 

I also realized that the same thing must have happened to my dad. My father was born in 1944. So with sexual abuse in the 40s…I mean, where did he learn to do that? I think back then it had to be learned from someone. Nowadays, with the internet and how p**n permeates our society, I believe people can allow their own minds to be twisted by watching some of the stuff that’s out there. But, back before that existed…I think he must have learned it from somewhere…either by watching it be done or by having it done to him. And because of his compulsion to do it, both as a youngster and as an adult, I think it must have been deeply ingrained and therefore, must have been done to him. Now, you might think I’m just making excuses for my abuser. Ehhh…I don’t think I am. My father REALLY WAS a great person. He was kind, intelligent, helped others out so much, and had a heart for people who struggled. But, I think he was tormented and afflicted by his deviant thoughts, which turned into actions. Obviously, it was wrong and he was at fault. I’m not negating that. But, I can’t help but wonder what happened to him. And who did it? Was there someone else in my family responsible for abusing my father? Was he just mimicking behavior he learned as a child?  I honestly have no idea. Any adult who could have done something to my dad as a kid is long gone.

But, it brings up the question to me of generational curses. And that might explain why life has been so hard. Could the sins of my father have trickled down into the family tree?

I have a headache and I feel sick…like throwing up, sick. I’m going to stop writing for now. Give it all to God.

Part 1, Continued

Published November 6, 2012 by Chloe Madison

I think only a year or so passed from the time my neighbor moved to the time that it happened with my dad.  I had time to think over and over again about what had happened with my neighbor.  I realized it was wrong and that he had done something really bad.  Imagine my confusion when something very similar happened with my father.

It happened only one time.  One night, he was up late and we were watching TV in the living room.  I remember him asking me to come over to the couch where he was laying and he told me to do certain things to him.  I didn’t want to do it and tried to act like I was caught up in watching the TV and would forget what I was supposed to be doing.  He kept redirecting me.  Over and over.  😦   It reached a point where I couldn’t compose myself anymore.  I began shaking uncontrollably.  I tried to hide it at first, but I was so terrified that I had no control over the shaking.  Then, tears began streaming down my face.  But, I kept my face turned up toward the TV and away from him.  I thought maybe he wouldn’t notice.  Shortly thereafter, he told me to go wash up and go to bed.

My next memory is of the very next day.  I was riding in the car with either my mom or my dad (I can’t remember which) and we were going over to my grandmother’s house.  I was staring out of the window, doing my best to avoid looking at whoever I was with.  I remember after some time of silence, they said “We don’t talk about things like what happened last night.  Some people might not think that’s OK… so we don’t talk about that to anyone.”  I can remember the exact spot on the road where we were, where I rolled my eyes at what they said.  They lied.  I knew it. Of course people won’t think it’s OK! Duh. Even though I can’t remember if that car ride was with my mom or my dad…either way, it was destructive to my safety and my being.

But that was my cue to keep quiet.  And I did.  I didn’t talk about either of those two events for nearly ten years. But, I had this momentary hatred towards my dad for betraying me, for not keeping me safe, for hurting me, for exposing me to more abuse than I had already sustained.  So, I wished him dead.  And within a few years, he had died.

Life, Continued…

Life after the incidents continued.  My best friend’s name was Cam.  She had beautiful, wavy blond hair, tanned skin, curly, long brown eyelashes and big brown eyes.  She also had the best personality, full of joy, friendliness and love.  I started going to Cam’s church, which was a Presbyterian church…and definitely not Catholic.  Since I was raised Catholic and went to a Catholic school, I was extensively taught about the religion.  Certain things didn’t jive well with me.  One was the fact that we had to confess our sins to a priest.  And no, I didn’t have an issue with confession because of my previous awkward confession to the priest.  I knew there was a verse in the Bible that says “Confess your sins to one another and pray for one another so that you may be healed” (James 5:16).  So, as a child, I just didn’t understand why the confession to the priest was necessary.  I was also confused by us praying to the Virgin Mary.  I was taught that Mary was a human being, chosen by God to be the earthly mother of Jesus.  Of course, that makes her special in my eyes.  But, shouldn’t we pray to God, to the trinity?  Not to someone who was a simple human?
There’s nothing wrong with the Catholic faith, but the few minor things I questioned, even as a child, were what I found was different in the Protestant faith.  I wound up really liking Cam’s church and in particular, the youth group.

I was initially completely weirded out by people there. I mean, these kids hugged each other and squealed when they saw each other. It was not at all what I was used to.  I recall the first time one of Cam’s friends hugged me as she was first introduced to me.  I mumbled “get off me” under my breath and didn’t budge.  I didn’t hug her back, didn’t smile…there was nothing but my rude comment.  She pulled back with a bit of an alarmed look on her face…but then, bobbed her head and went on about her business of hugging everyone who came through the door.

I knew this was a new world.  But, even though I was the outsider and felt I didn’t belong, I could see that this was a good world.  And Cam was one of the kindest human beings on the planet.  I knew that she loved it there and so that reaffirmed to me that this place was safe.

The reason Cam had invited me to her church youth group in the first place was because she felt bad for me because my dad was dying.  He had colon cancer and refused to get treatment.  He was petrified of doctors and hospitals. So, even though he had been sick for a while and knew something was wrong, he spent so much time refusing to go see a doctor, that it was too late when he finally did.  The doctors said that if he wouldn’t get surgery or chemo, then there wasn’t much they could do for him.  They even said it would be pointless for him to be in the hospital, that they could send pain medications with him and he should spend his time at home with us.  I have a few great memories of this short time.  I remember him coming to get my brother and I out of school early- just so he could take us fishing.  He would sneak us to Dairy Queen on the way home as long as we promised we wouldn’t tell mom.  I was in middle school at this point and was always worried about him while I was away from him at school.  I remember loving my shop teacher for letting me out with a pass every single day to call home on the pay phone in the hallway.  I just wanted to check in and make sure he was OK.  He wasn’t doing that great at home.  He had turned yellow.  The cancer was still spreading and had hit his liver.  I remember being home alone with him one day as he had a vomiting attack.  He could barely pull himself out of bed, but he did and in his underwear, he headed straight for the bathroom.  He was leaning over the toilet, vomiting.  I was about 11 or 12 years old and didn’t know what to do.  So, I tried to comfort him.  I stroked his bare, yellow back.  He immediately swatted behind himself at me and yelled at me.  As an adult, I now realize that if you’re nauseous, you don’t need someone rubbing your back as that can exaggerate the feeling.  But, at the time, I didn’t know that and it hurt my feelings terribly.  I was just trying to help and I got yelled at.  I couldn’t help anyway…I was absolutely helpless.  There was nothing I could do for him.  All I could do was just stand there and watch him slowly deteriorate and die. And to make matters worse, I never forgot about my wish.  My wish that he was dead.  Because yes, I believed that I did this to him.  I thought I made my dad sick and made him die.

Cam’s youth group had a summer trip to a Christian camp in North Carolina.  She asked me to go and had even drawn a map of the camp as she was excitedly explaining all the interesting places to me. I kinda sorta wanted to go, but didn’t want to leave my dad.  He wasn’t doing well and I couldn’t live with myself if he died when I wasn’t home with him.  But, my mom thought it would be a good idea for me to get a break and as it happened, she wound up shipping both my brother and I off during the same week.  I went with Cam to the Christian camp and my brother went off to a boy scout camp.  On the bus ride to North Carolina, I remember having a little break down as I explained to a church counselor that my biggest fear at this point was my dad passing away while I was gone.

So what do you think happened?  The very next morning, I got a visit from a camp counselor who said he was taking me to the airport.  I had to go home and he wouldn’t tell me why.  But, I knew.  My aunt met me in the airport and flew back home with me.  My mom picked us up at our home airport and I knew I was acting strange… I recall her odd glances and even shocked myself a few times.  I remember being so happy, so peaceful.  But, how was that possible??  My father had just died. Why was I so joyous and talkative?  Part of it was that it didn’t quite hit me until I saw his lifeless, cold body at the beginning of the funeral.  That was the point in which I burst out into tears.  I became so hysterical that my mom slipped me a white pill that she had broken in half, which she said would calm me down.

After my dad’s death, my mom refused to celebrate her birthday or Christmas.  My brother and I would throw her surprise birthday parties and would invite family members over.  At Christmas, we begged my mom to get a Christmas tree and she refused.  It made us so sad.  When I got my first car, I continued in my mission to have Christmas.  My brother and I would find out when my mom was working late and we’d go to the tree lot and buy our own Christmas tree.  Our mission was to have the tree home, fully decorated and lit up before my mom came home so we could surprise her.  We’d have all the lights off in the house and then we’d flick the tree lights on just as she opened the front door.  It made her smile for a few seconds, but then she’d be sad again.  We did this year after year.