It has always amazed me in the face of great tragedy the normal things that still occur. When my grandfather died, I sat on the couch staring at a picture of him with my niece and daughter, crying wondering how in the world I would get through life without him. And then I got up, at 1 in the morning, to start a load of baby clothes because Jared had no bibs clean. While I was doing that I noticed that the sink was full of dishes, so I loaded the dishwasher, and then sat back on the couch to resume crying. When my first father-in-law died, one of the best human beings I ever had the pleasure of knowing, suddenly and tragically and dramatically, I thought Daddy-O would never survive. I thought none of us would. But 5 days later I woke up to the sound of my then mother-in-law dragging the trash barrels down the drive way. I couldn’t believe the strength she had to remember it was trash day. How could she remember that? She remembered because in the brain forces normality to try to counter act shock. The brain forces us to do the things that we would normally do in our everyday lives as a way to bring comfort in unbearable times.
In time, unbearable times become less unbearable. Time is the profound healer. Every broken heart, no matter why it broke, will heal a little in time. Over time. During the passage of time. The pain always lingers, somewhere, in the back of our minds and hearts. Big losses take more space and smaller hurts take less space. And sometimes big hurts take up big space, and eventually those big hurts continue so long they just become part of the normal. In this case, my normal. My normal involves, going days without hearing from my daughter. Sometimes I hear from people she should be with that she is on the run and my world will get smaller. The hurt will get larger. My normal will seem insignificant. The dishes would pile up a little. The laundry would pile up a little. Until it bothered me. Then I would realize that I have to do them. And the next day I would have to go to work. And the grocery store. And the post office. And pick up my prescriptions. The next thing I know I would be profoundly surprised that days more had passed, and I hadn’t heard from her. Yet, I survived.
When I would hear from her there would be one of two immediate emotions: sorrow or joy. Either she would sound good and she would be at or going to treatment. This would be a positive sign that she wanted to live something I would be profoundly grateful for. Or she would sound banged up and bruised. Often I could hear the filth and raggedness and resignation in her voice. She wouldn’t say it, but I knew that she wished she was dead. She wouldn’t say it but didn’t want to live something that made me profoundly sad. And guilt ridden. How does a child grow up to hate her life so much that she literally tries to kill it away by shooting up to the point of oblivion? How can that not be the parents fault? PARENTS. Believe me, I know there are two of us. I know that although you only hear from me the other half of the parents feels sick about it too. But maybe differently than me.
The most profound moments of all, are the ones that are unexpected. Moments of tragedy or significant moments of joy a person can expect a raw emotion one way or the other. The moments that sneak up on you, grab a person by the balls, are the ones that are never seen coming. For example, I was telling AC about how my grandfather used to video tape my sister and me baking in the kitchen with my grandmother. I would be calling the flour “powder” and my grandfather would be calling my sister “Whatsa”. I decided to show him said video so I dug through a box of no less than 30 tapes to find one that said Apple Picking Lemo’s which was apple picking with my grandmothers nephew. I decided to pop it in the VCR and whammo…. there we were baking in the kitchen. Just like that. It was surreal, and wonderful, and creepy but in a good way. Another example is when a person is completing mundane tasks like changing the sheets on their bed, trying not to think about the mess her kid is in this time. Filling her day with mundane tasks is an easy way to forget about putting your child on a plane to yet another rehab and praying to God that for once she doesn’t run away. Mundane tasks like turning her mattress around, flipping the mattress as it were, should have been something to help get her mind off of drugs, drug rehabs, detoxes, heroin, heroin addiction and the like. Only that doesn’t happen when she flips the mattress up to find used needles hidden under there. Under her own mattress. Where she sleeps. Because, honestly, no where is safe. It is profound to discover such things.