On this, my deceased father’s birthday, an update of importance, if only to me.

I have been conspicuously silent the past few months, and for good reason. Things in my life have, at points, come to a screeching halt, and at other times they have sped so far out of control, I wanted to yell LETMEOFFLETMEOFFLETMEOFF. This has definitely been a year of upheavals and trials, for sure.. though it has also been a year for good revelations, smiles, laughter, love, dancing, blah blah all that sweet shit.

Where to start? not the beginning this time, Dear Reader. Not this time.

I suppose I should say this..The death of a parent is not easy to comprehend before it happens, and it is not easy to cope with once it does. However, in my case, I felt fairly confident I knew what to expect in the loss of my second parent, since my first died nearly 6 years ago. I was right, and dishearteningly so, in some ways.

My biological father and I were close, for a time. I mean, until I reached legal adulthood. No, probably more like when I matured further than he did, which was a few years prior to my reaching legal adulthood. Granted, we still talked and laughed and joked, but I felt rather.. beyond his experiences in many ways. and that gap grew the more I experienced and matured. Maybe he felt it, maybe he didn’t. All I know is that I am 33 years old, and I last spoke with my father about a week or two before my birthday (March) in 2002, I believe it was. He left a voicemail April 1st of that year, and that is the last time my father ever spoke to me. He died in 2007. I called him often, I wrote him often, though it began tapering off as the weeks, months and years began passing. And all things, good or bad, eventually come to an end. And so his end came November 27th, 2007.

Fast forward 5 years, 5 months later..to the day, and my mother’s end came, also. I won’t go in to why she died or what caused it or my excessive frustrations with her..lack of doing anything to better her sicknesses at the beginning, when it could have TRULY changed much for her.. But I will say we were told, face-to-face, over 7 years prior not to expect her to wake up ever again. And less than 24 hours later, she was awake. she was a tough stubborn woman, even if she wasn’t..demonstrative or loving. Or was too demanding. Or however you wanted to put it. At 5’4″ and 105 pounds (usually, that was nearly “fat” for her..) most of her life, you have to respect and admire her fighters’ spirit, if not the ways she chose to show it.

…I started this entry a few weeks ago, and have yet to feel that tug pulling me back to completing then posting it. Oh, well, then, just fuck it.

The hard bottom line of this is I’ve been silent. Changes have come, changes have been made. I made a mad dash to move halfway across the country for the second time in a year ({{sighs}}) to be here should my son or stepdad need help or..whatever. Where I currently am is probably #1 on my list of Places I Never Want to Live Again, and yet.. here I am, gentle Readers. Though in this case, the needs of my children most assuredly outweight my wants by a lot. If they didn’t, I would be sitting on my porch in New Orleans sipping a coke, reading a book and waving to my neighbours.

Fuck. I am so very homesick right now. I miss the gentle sounds of traffic coming from I-10, the swish of the streetcar, the beautiful sounds of the digital bells from the Catholic church that was at the end of my block. I miss walking everywhere I needed to go (unless I needed a lot), snocones, the waves from people who’d come to recognize me, the stares of the tattoo shop employees I’d have to pass to get to the grocery store. {{snickers}} I miss the hum and throb and LIFE of that amazingly cultured little city. I miss sitting on my porch at 1AM strumming my guitar and sipping a frosty adul tbeverage, and having random passersby stop to talk, share drinks and stories, sing, ask me to play something. No other CITY has ever felt so right to be. And I do miss it, like I am out of place, out of time.

Back to matters at hand, I suppose… I segued in to that because the last conversation I had with my mother was while I was driving to pick up a gallon of daiquiries in New Orleans. Our conversation was not good, as they had not been good in..years. I was never enough, in any way, for her. I was never..even close to what she wanted me to be. And damn, did she enjoy telling people just what a shitty mother/person/human I was. Especially me. She loved to remind me. she was a masterful guilt tripper. Not to say she didn’t have good intentions.. she apparently thought I was out fucking everything that moved at a very young age, when that couldn’t be further from the truth. Lookin gback, I can easily see I was not ready for sex when I began, but I was also 2 months shy of being 18. I realized immediately I wasn’t ready and put an end to it for a while. I guess it comes down to she and I never had a good relationship, as far back as I remember. I thought, after our last call, “I wonder how I’ll feel if that’s the last thing I say to her.” I don’t even recall what it was I said, and it doesn’t matter now, really. It wasn’t horrible or anything… I believe it was something along the lines of “I like me, I love me, I’m happy. And I’m not changing for you or anyone else, and I’m not looking for anyone’s approval.” I gave up on garnering her approval long ago, and her disappoint me in me only caused the slightest of frustration at that point. Which is sad, really. Her disappointment and attempts at guilt were so long-standing, I just became numb to it all. She asked if I was dating anyone, if I was really happy. I told her I’d been seeing someone a while, and yes, I was happy. I loved where I was, had a good job, good coworkers…Callista was absolutely thriving in NoLa, and the man I was seeing not only made me happy, but made me feel..for the first time in..well, I can’t remember…safe when I was with him. Cared for. That maybe sometimes people with incredibly large amounts of baggage can help each other shoulder the burdens of hells no one should go through, things many people don’t survive. Maybe their bodies survive, but most people just don’t come back from. Ever. She sighed, not in a bad way, but in the manner of letting uot some long-held breath. I don’t recall what was said next, but the call ended not longer after with me telling her I gave up on her accepting my choices, lifestyle or me and I wouldn’t seek her approval again…because I’m the only person who has to look at me in the mirror each day.

She began declining quickly after that. The conversation was sometime in mid-to-late February; she died March 27th. Every time I called after that, she was sleeping. Not long after that conversation, she was confined to her bed and on heavy sedatives and pain medicines. I wonder, sometimes, if all she wanted to know was that her kids were happy with themselves, their significant others, their kids, their lives. And I was the last rung to be put in place with that.

Whatever gods may or may not exist know I’ve fucked up. A lot. I never needed anyone to tell or remind me; I am, have always been, will always be my absolute worst critic. No one can tear me down unless I allow it, and only I can truly break me. I refuse to be broken. I am too damn stubborn and filled with wrath to let that happen. I am competitive, and I will fight for my breaths until the last one is painfully squeezed from my body. I cannot be controlled, and that killed our relationship. I have always been head-strong, mostly just (as I see justice). I try to be a good friend to those who deserve it (though I do fail sometimes)..I try to be a good mother (though I always ALWAYS question myself on that part.. doing parenthood alone is.. the most daunting and worthwhile but frustrating and fulfilling thing I have EVER known)..I AM a good person (mostly) inside. My personality apparently calls to others, because I am open and accepting, because I will share my experiences not to off the load on another, but to let them know they are not alone. To let them know things can be worse, but mostly to let them know they WILL get better, if the person allows it. Fuck, I lived in hell a few years with experiences I don’t like to recall or admit happened. That I ALLOWED to happen. More than once. I have survived things I should not have, physically, mentally AND emotionally. The fact I am alive, happy, thriving, still able to laugh and love and play and fight accept and give love in all forms is a fucking MIRACLE. Not to exagerrate, because that is actually true. What did not break me made me stronger in so many regards (too strong in some..) and so very very fragile and weak in others. But I am still here.

I AM STILL HERE.

In many ways, I am grateful for the hells I’ve belly-crawled through, because they, and surviving them alone, have taught me some very very valuable lessons regarding life, relationships, love, hatred, lust, wrath, appreciation, good will, treating others properly, and accepting, loving and liking myself…and being myself, without compromise. Not to say I don’t compromise on situations – I do – but that I should never – NEVER – compromise myself again.

A very long time ago, one of my most dear friends asked me the following question:
“If you had to give up honour or dignity, which would you choose?”
I immediately answered dignity. Dignity is often lost, gentle readers. Dignity is often stripped from you at the hands of situations, occurrences, other people. Dignity is incredibly easy to re-obtain. Honour, once lost, is gone. You may be tied down and beaten. You may bleed, pass out, cry, even soil yourself in the midst of horrors you cannot even imagine. But you can stand by your word, your bond with such simple actions. Like, not spreading gossip. Not faltering under another’s gaze. Standing up for what’s right and what you believe in. By doing as you say you would. But not giving in because it’s easier. Honour is such a strong fragile thing, and once its bonds have been severed, tying them back together is nigh impossible.

Live with honour and truth. You will suffer much…you will be beaten down by some people you care for, sometimes again and again. But in the end, truth always outs, even if the parties seeing it chose to ignore it. And maybe that won’t save your life, but it does help you close your eyes and be at peace.

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