Sunday, October 18, 2009

The last 24 hours

Do you ever have one of those days. You know THOSE days. Everything you touch turns to crap and every good is promptly erased with a bad. In the last 24 hours two people who were dear to me have died. Not people I was especially close to myself, but people that people I love very much were very close to.

My husband moved to Indianapolis from Pittsburgh, PA oh, like 16 years ago. One of the first people he became friends with was a boy named Felix. Felix's home life was less than perfect and he even lived with Jacob and his family for a long time. They remained friends all these years and though Felix's life was vastly different from Jacob's, he still considered him to be his best friend. They played ball together, saw movies together, and played video games late into the evening some nights. He was Jacob's best man at our wedding. Felix got into some bad things and started to fall by the wayside a while ago. I hated to watch my husband's friend abandon him for some obsessed need to fit in, be cool, or somehow make up for what he felt like he was missing. Such intelligence, pure talent, and beauty in the heart of this man. You would never know to look at him, but if you could get him to speak and you listened close, it was there. He did some stupid, stupid things and now he is gone from this world. Longing for a feeling gone from his pain, maybe longing for a numbness different from one he'd often felt. Whatever the reason he swallowed his last high and he will be remembered as Felix - who overdosed on drugs and died at age 26.

After hearing this news late Saturday night and going to church with a heavy heart. I took some time to reflect on my own connection to abuse. My mother has been gone for so long that I can't even remember when I spoke to her last. Her need for crack outweighs her need for her children and grandchildren. Something that I cannot understand no matter how much I try. It's a hard emotion to deal with. Love and hate all mixed together. Today I got a glimpse of the heartache and guilt I will deal with when I get the call my dearest friend got today. Her father, an alcoholic for many years, had finally been taken by this disease. James Newswanger was 58 years old and passed away this morning in Lancaster, PA. The last thing I remember her saying as I removed my own, unhelpful grief from the situation was "I was so mad at him." She was. Mad that he'd put her family through this for so long. Mad that he'd treated her mother the way he had. Mad that he couldn't overcome this disease for her, her siblings, her children and theirs. I know that anger. too well. Now that anger is guilt as she sits many miles away from her family. Grief and heartache have found this dear woman too many times and I cannot stand to see her this way. My heart shattered into a thousand little pieces as I heard why she was so incredibly upset. Her father had died. I remember how elated I would be when meemaw and pappy would be coming for a visit to Indiana. I love Jeni's parents as though they were mine. Such warm, sweet, loving, caring people. I remember laughing with them over Popeye's chicken. They don't have Popeye's in Lancaster and whenever they would make the 10+ hour trek to Indy, Pappy would always stop for Popeyes around the corner before coming to Jeni's. The last time I saw James was 18 months ago when Chris and Jeni lost Hazel. We spent a lot of time together that week at the hospital. I remember having lunch with them in the cafeteria. I don't remember how long it was before Jeni had told me he'd fallen way off the wagon. Alcohol. Again, I don't understand. Good people making bad decisions, and for what? He had been doing better. Sober for a few months. Still, it was too late for the pains he had already caused on his body. My heart is broken for Jeni and her whole family, especially those sweet little wee ones who no longer have their pappy.

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