What an emotional, cataclysmic, clusterfuck today was.
It started when I woke up and went downhill from there. I hadn’t gotten Don a father’s day card and the only place open at 4:30 am was Walmart. My grudge against them isn’t nearly as strong as it used to be, it’s just that every employee there, you can tell- doesn’t want to be there. No one EVER asks me if I need help. On the rare occasions I DO need help (the kind they can provide) I have to hire a Sherpa to guide me through every fucking isle until we find a blue vest brave enough to stop, listen and point me in the direction of pencil boxes! I digress… for now.
So I’m at Walmart, in the card isle. I see all these colors and exclamation points, Number 1 Dad cards… and my heart falls into my shoes. I swallowed hard and reminded myself I was in public (like THAT ever stopped me from doing anything) and I took a couple of deep breaths.
Then I saw THE ONE. It was of (presumably a girl) in a white dress. She was on her tummy with her knees bent and feet crossed at the ankles. The photo was of this kid was from just below the shoulders down, you couldn’t even see her head. I imagined it was stuck in a book somewhere or perhaps a color by number page… What stopped me, what paused me, the thing that made me deaf, dumb and mute were the little red cowgirl boots.
Natalie’s red boots. The ones she wore to every contest and every talent show in her very first days of singing. She LOVED those boots. They were so her. Her own personal style of ruby red slippers. They brought her “home” to the stage, to the spotlight, where she was born to be.
I felt the tears, warm from my eyes, make their way down my cheeks. My jaw started to tremble as I thought of my father who is experiencing his first Father’s Day after losing a child. I thought of my husband, who should be celebrating twice as much today, for the son he never got to meet… interesting side note, if you ever feel crowded in a Walmart isle? Start crying and watch people slowly back away…
I got the other things I needed and then stood on the front step for almost five minutes, wondering why the hell the escalator wasn’t moving…
I listened to some songs that Natalie had recorded, that I hadn’t heard before. Her voice sounded… stronger, clearer and I involuntarily started to shake my head in disbelief. “How can she be gone? LISTEN to this! All this talent, all this potential… I KNOW her. THIS is her life. She wouldn’t risk it all… for a fleeting high.”
But that’s the thing. I don’t think she saw it as taking a risk. She was cocky, (she’d be the first to tell you) she *knew her limits. But her limits reset after treatment. She even wrote a paper on relapse prevention! Tailored to her! Was she so arrogant that she wasn’t even listening to herself? I don’t know. I’ll never know.
EVERY fiber, molecule, atom, etc. KNOWS this was an accident.
Sometimes that’s a blessing, sometimes it’s torture.
It could have been worse. A lot worse. She didn’t want to leave. She wasn’t ready. I read and heard some of her journal entries… She was happy. Enjoying the “little” things in life that we come to find are the big things. I know at lease one of her former selves would’ve laughed their ass off at Natalie coming to appreciate something as simple as being able to bring a drink into the group room. Getting to wear her own clothes. A passage in a book. I was so excited for her. It renewed my own excitement of sobriety. I am happy it wasn’t an intentional thing, an accident.
Another part of me wants to shake her and scream “ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?” An accident? There’s no such thing! It was careless. Reckless. How could you RISK not only your life but of those around you? What a fucking waste…
I feel myself getting caught up in the emotion again…
After I got home, I did some stuff around the house. Hanging curtains, pictures, finding spaces for all the various pots and pans… Then it was time to sort the laundry. I sat on the floor, surrounded by clothes and something caught my eye. It was one of her shirts. Her smile, her smell, her voice, her warmth all came flooding back. Before I knew what hit me, I was curled up in a ball. I rocked. And cried. And sobbed. And swore. I told whoever would listen, so Don and Tayla, that everyone was lying to me. She’s NOT gone. She CAN’T be gone! What am I supposed to do without her? With this giant, gaping hole that only she could fill?
“It’s not fair!” I cried. “She gets to be up there with my baby and grandma and I want her baaaaaack!”
Tayla had come in and sat down next to me on the floor. She had one hand on my back and in her most reassuring voice said “it’s ok mom. You’ll get to see them so… You’ll get to see them some day.”
I caught that. She almost said soon. She almost gave me permission.
I asked her for some Kleenex and calmed down. She got up to leave but I grabbed her hand. “Hey. Just because I’m sad and I miss them, that doesn’t mean… I mean, I want to be here with you and dad. I love you both so much.”
I have to wonder at times how much psychological damage I’m doing to that girl… I’m sure I’ll find out one of these Mother’s Days…