The 6 anniversary of my father's death is in a couple of months. I don't talk about it much but not a day goes by that I don't think about him. I will tell anyone who says time heals grief that its a lie. You learn to cope but time is only a reminder of everything they're missing. I remember my daddy loved music as much as I did. I remember riding in his car as a child and him playing "Love Hurts" by Nazareth. He said "I think of your momma when I hear this song". I grew up feeling like I was a reminder of something he lost. I felt responsible for his addiction. I've never uttered those words before in my life. I remember him calling me from offshore telling me he had been reading his bible and he's ready to do right and when he got home he would prove it. Those demons were waiting on him when he hit the shore. People made him feel like they were his friends. They used him. The crazy thing is I can remember as far back as being 11 and picturing my father's funeral. I always knew I would speak at it. I never said anything about that because I thought it was just a natural fear due to his lifestyle.
When Trent was 3 Mom and Dad tried to rekindle that old flame but they realized it just wouldnt work. I felt relief that they were able to close that chapter instead of always wondering "what if". It was during that time I really saw what the high did to my father and it gave me anxiety. Daddy and I got into an argument when I came to visit. He said I was a snob and thought I was better than everyone. I told him I was better than drug addicts and trash and if thats who he wanted to be around that Trenton and I would just stay in the hotel. We pretended the fight never happened and moved on. A couple of years later he came to visit me and see Marcus who was only a couple of months old. He had this woman and her mother with him. They were all on methadone or Xanax and I was disgusted. I was rude to him. I felt uncomfortable. My uncle called me and I told him how I was feeling. He said "Baby its ok to tell him he is a burden right now." I didnt tell him but I felt it. I felt like my father was a burden. This haunts me to this day. It torments me. He had a disease called addiction. I was just another person who looked down on him instead of telling him that I loved him in spite of it all. I was just another reason for him to use. Sometimes I think he was tired. I think he knew there was a possibility that the next time would be his last time.
Here I was angry that I didnt have what I thought was my father's love. I felt like I wasnt enough to make him quit. I remembered being really little and asking my grandparents to quit smoking and they quit cold turkey that day. I used to hear them tell the story saying "When Ashley asked us to quite we laid them down that day for her". You never know what will stick out to a child. Well I associated the 2. I felt like I wasnt enough for my mother and I wasnt enough for my father. I didn't feel like I had the relationship with my grandparents that my friends had with their parents. I sought acceptance in everyone. I wanted to feel like I was enough. I wanted to feel like I wasnt so easy to walk away from. This played out in my relationships as an adult and still sometimes creeps up on me.
I remember pulling up to my father in law's and seeing my grandmother, my husband and the boys standing there and mamaw told me that daddy had died of a methadone overdose. I didnt cry right away. I knew that I had to make arrangements to get to Picayune/Slidell to be with my family. That night I wrote my fathers eulogy. It was the chance I had to tell him and others everything I felt. I have lost my copy of it but I really want to find it. People made copies so Im hoping one is out there. Because I dont remember exactly what I wrote but I remember the thoughts I have re-written my thoughts about his passing.
I knew this day would come at some point in my life
Maybe it was a premonition or maybe it was my way to mentally prepare
My father didn't see me often but I knew he loved me
My fear is that I don't know if he knew I loved him
The last time I saw him instead of wrapping my arms around him and telling him I cared
I treated him as if he were a burden
I judged him and made him feel unwelcome in my home
The thing is my father had a disease called addiction
He woke up daily battling this disease like anyone else
He felt shame, guilt, pain, stress, anxiety, and hopeless that he would ever be free from this demon
My father had a faith in God and I know this without any doubt
because of this I rest easy knowing Daddy is in heaven
He woke up that morning in the arms of his Lord and Savior
I like to think that Jesus welcomed him and wiped the tears from his eyes telling him there are no more tears
There is no more shame or guilt or pain or anxiety
You dont have to wake up and swallow a pill or fight for another breath
You don't have to fear anymore because you are home
Just like any disease Addiction claimed the life of my daddy
I don't blame him anymore and Ive forgiven myself for the guilt Ive felt
I set our bridge on fire but I could not burn it down
Until we meet again Daddy I love you to the moon and back