A Dream That I Can’t Sleep Through

3 years…..3 years I have wanted someone, thinking that maybe one day we would be together, but knowing that as the years passed it wouldn’t happen. As many times as we had attempted, it was just never the time. To me he was as close to perfect as one could get, could always make me laugh, had life goals, the same drive as I, hard working, self sufficient, fine af, and the list goes on. We remained friends no matter what. I think that I fell in love with him the first time I heard his voice. We’re from different states, so it as love at first call, not site. From the way he talked, he was the exact opposite of every man that i had known.

3 years later we finally decide to give it a go. I wanted it to be different. I wanted me and him to be the exact opposite of all out past relationships. That is the vision that we both had. For a while that is exactly what we did. If there was an argument, there was an I love you regardless if the argument had ended or not. I loved him so much, i cried for hours when we had to part, if I wasn’t on the phone with him, I was thinking about him. My every second of every minute of everyday was him. It was a dream come true. He was my dream come true…….until he wasn’t.

I don’t know if it was me, and all my issues, and the whole transition of the way life was taking me, or if it was him, and all his issues and the way life was taking him, but somehow we lost each other on the journey. I understand now what the honeymoon stage is…..I believe that it ruins relationships. When it is over all that everything is, is compared to everything that was, and it is never good enough. Do you love someone any less after? Now……now it is just robotic. Making it through the day. Not talking, not good enough, not anything like it was. Did he push me too far? Did I not stop what I knew was wrong? Maybe I didn’t even realize how bad it was getting, until it was too late.

I don’t want to be the one that compares one relationship to another, I try my best not to take out my past relationships on the present or judge the future. With the PTSD this is a much harder task than one may think. The wrong thing said, a look, an action from the new can put me right back into the old. How can someone know that they trigger me when I am not even aware. And if there has been equivalent damage done at the minimum….how does that affect the way that I perceive the day by day. How can I not compare the two. How can I explain my hurt to one that doesn’t understand the mental that ignites it? How do I tell someone that the pain is constant, that one minute of hurt stays in me everyday. Should that change my perception of the way I feel the love that I have? Is the fact that I trusted someone who knew my past to not hurt me, but then did and it is justified in “I am nothing like the rest” How do you explain that no you are nothing like the rest, but the hurt I feel is exactly the same.

I want to be lost in the bliss again……I hate that it was taken from me. I want to cry of sadness when we part, I want to miss him every minute of the day, I want him to hold me and make me feel that nothing in the world can get to me, I want to be so secure that I know he would never hurt me………………………….but that was the honeymoon phase. That was before that one visit, the weird vibe, the one phone call. I was so close to be as happy as I can be, and now, I am just content, on some days. The strength that it takes to act like I am not hurting inside is exhausting. I feel that I have to keep on because I do not want to give up, I do not want this to be over, I am marrying this man. I am afraid that when I am saying “I do” will I be able to look him in the eyes and not think of all the words that should’ve never been said.



An unfit perfect Mother

I blamed my Mom for a lot of things in my life. If she hadn’t done this, I wouldn’t have done that, if she had just helped me more, I wouldn’t have been in so much trouble, if she had been around more, I wouldn’t have felt so alone. I never felt loved while I was growing up from her, so I never depended on her. I blamed every action and repercussion on her. Not once in my growing up did I ever take any responsibility for myself. It was always her fault. When I became old enough to understand that she was a single mother, not by choice, but because my real father left her for another woman, and never paid child support. She worked 6 days a week to provide for me and my sister. Well then I learned to hate him. She remarried, and in walks this man. Needless to say, my destructive path was already blooming. As I got older it got worse. I had no fear of my Mom or my Dad(step dad) and I did whatever I wanted. I left my parent’s house for good when I was 17, and moved to the city. Bouncing from house to house, I was homeless. Started gang banging, doing and selling drugs. Getting jumped by groups of guys, and girls, jumping on guys and girls, robbing people, stealing from stores, you name it. Not once did I ever let my Mom know if I was ok. The only time I called was when I wanted money.

I had a conversation with my Mom a few years back, she told me that after I left home, she prayed I made it to my 18th birthday…..that hit hard. But not hard enough. I continued on only really talking to her when I needed something, or after I started having kids when they needed something. I was never a good daughter because I thought she wasn’t a good Mom. A couple years ago, my car got repossessed, again I call her. She laid into me, telling me I only call when I want something and that good stuff. I hung up on her. Since then, I think I have barely asked her for anything. Well last year her and my Dad flew out for my son’s 8th grade graduation. Again it was tense. Nothing had ever been mended between me and my Mom. We got into it real bad. I finally told her how I felt. How shitty it is to be going through hell and her never checking up on me, how since I am not the perfect daughter like my sister I get treated like an outsider. How this weekend was supposed to be about my son and she made it about her, and finally that I didn’t think she loved me, that she only tolerated me because I was her daughter. Later that night she apologized and said she loved me. I of course blew it off. Thinking to myself it’s too late for all of that.

Since being a single mother of 4, and getting my head straight about a lot of things, my mind set is changing. It really hit me on Xmas, when my 9 year old made a present for his father, the father that has been locked up twice in front of him, the father that has never been there for him, the father that does not help with his kids one bit. There was no present for me. The one that walks and takes buses and trains to work everyday, the one that puts food on the table, the one that won’t eat so there is enough food for them, the one who helps with homework, the one who has never left their side, the one who always puts them first, the one that struggles to get them everything they need, and mostly what they want. There was not one thought of me this Xmas. That hurt so bad, I didn’t let them see it though.

As I sat in my room and cried, I thought about my Mom. I thought about all the times that this probably happened to her. I thought about how hard it must’ve been for her raising us alone. At that moment I forgave her for everything, even though she did nothing wrong. I got it though. The whole time I thought she was being an unfit Mother, while in reality she was being the perfect Mother, the best way she knew how.

38 years later, I finally told her yesterday how much I appreciate her and that I have no idea what I would do without her. Her response? “I have always been here” and she has. It just took me a long time and a lot of life experience to figure that out. All I can say is that through all my mistakes and blames, it is such a weight lifted off of me that I finally have that relationship with my Mom that I have always wanted. I don’t just text or call her when I want something anymore. I have to say I wouldn’t trade my Mom for anyone in the world.

An Invisible Presence

How can someone that is not in your life has such an extreme effect on your day????

My kids’ father, we have been separated for almost 3 years. I am going on 14 years of knowing him. He is married, currently locked up in another state with his new wife, and yet is still having a profound negative reaction on my life. How????

I get assistance from the state for daycare, for my daughter. It is the only way that I am making it right now. I do not have 700.00 to pay out of pocket for her. Our state daycare is linked to our public aid system, and you have to have your case redetermined every six months. Mine is currently at that state. I get a letter saying that I am going to get cancelled because it is showing in the public aid system that my kid’s father lives with me. In order to get this changed I would need to go to public aid during working hours, which is the exact hours I am at work. Yesterday was the cut off, yesterday was also an appointment for my 12 year old who we just found out he has anemia, it was for the specialist, first time appointment, I had to cancel. If I don’t cancel the appointment, get to public aid, get the system switched, get on the phone with the daycare, I will lose my funding. I get to public aid, I am called quickly, the case worker updates the system, I leave, get on the phone with daycare, tell them it is set, the woman walks my case over to the specialist, everything is al good. Right? Wrong. Get a call later from daycare stating that the system is not updated. She will give it til Thursday. Anxiety waiting game begins. All because my kid’s father used my address at some point in time and it got through to public aid. That is really not that big of a deal right? Simple. No.

Yesterday, I decided to go through a detailed report of my credit. $28,818.00 in debt, on my credit. $17,000.00 directly from him. The rest? Directly associated with him and things I was not able to pay, due to him. I also owe the government about $30,000.00. I was filing unemployment while working. He was either working and taking his checks, or taking whatever was in my account weekly, or not working at all. It was the only thing I could do to survive. Then I went to thinking of all the times I bailed him out of jail, fixed cars he totaled, paid for DUI’s, court costs, probation fees, drug habits………….if I had to guess, this man cost me well over $70,000.00. I will be paying off my credit and unemployment back pay for years just to get it fixed.

As I sit here thinking……..how can he still be doing this to me? I want to move on, I want to be better, I want to be happy. Things that he has done just keep popping up in my life getting in the way of that. It’s like how much negative of an effect can one person have on your life when they aren’t in your life anymore??????

He has done any and everything he can to destroy me, whether it is direct or through my kids. Which yes he does. He knows if he hurts my kids, I hurt. That is was makes this even worse. My kids are fabulous kids. Through everything they have witnessed and been put through, they are amazing to me. Don’t get me wrong, they are not perfect, but I can honestly say that 85% of the time they make it so easy to be a single Mom of 4. I can sit here and say I regret meeting their Dad, but I can’t. Without him, I wouldn’t have them. I am the only constant thing that they have ever had. I am the one that never leaves. I am the one that makes sure they have what they need, I try to get what they ask for. They accept our struggle, they get it.

I suppose in that way I win. But in other ways………I lose. I still have to deal with the daily pain of the pure destruction their Dad did to me, and now dealing with even more past that he destroyed……..I have PTDS mainly because of him, depression, him. If he had not put me through the worst mental and physical hell that I have ever known or felt or witnessed, I honestly believe that I wouldn’t be as mentally destroyed that I am. And although he is out of my life, he still exists every fucking day.

An Unsorry Apology

Why do people think that “I’m sorry” fixes everything? Like do they actually think that saying those 2 little words will erase anything that was done. If I could get $1 for every time that someone did something to me and tried to erase it with an “I’m sorry” I would never have to work again.

The amount of times that I have heard that are ridiculous. And guess what? After all of those “I’m sorrys” I am still sitting here hurt. Physically, mentally, or whatever was damaged is still there. I just don’t get it. Instead of saying “i’m sorry” just don’t do the action that provoked this apology. How hard is it NOT to hurt someone that you love? I don’t know. Maybe I have a different way of thinking.

I wonder if it’s my condition that makes me this way. I can not get over damage with those words. To me those words are said, heartfelt or not, but then you turn around and BAM, you’re hurt again. And then another “i’m Sorry” It is a vicious cycle. Then the thought comes, well the I’m sorrys can not really mean anything, because another storm is coming. I wish those words were never invented. And people just had to stand up and be accounted for their mistakes.

Of course I sit here and relive whatever it was that caused the apology in my head. Because I can’t let it go, I’m not Elsa, I can’t turn things into ice. I can not just get over things and forget that they happened. I will keep it in my head and it will eat away at me.

I can not explain that nor admit it to anyone face to face. I can not and never will use my mental condition as an excuse to act a certain way. I will just shut down and keep it to myself. The pain will eat away at me, and eventually it will be added to the vault of horror(my secret hiding place for all my pain) and will come out when the thoughts break the vault open.

So no, I’m sorry is just 2 words. 2 words that can be said by anyone, at anytime, for anything. It needs to be understood that these are words. That is it words. An I’m sorry isn’t shit if the I’m sorry isn’t followed by I’m sorry actions.

The Sadness Behind The Smile

You ever see people that always have a smile on their face and wonder if they are really happy or are they just trying to hide all the sadness from the world?

I am one of those people. I used to be good at putting a huge smile on my face and dying on the inside. I could always cover it up. Hide it. Now? Things have changed. My world is crashing below me, I am smiling and strong on the outside. So I thought. I have multiple people almost on a daily basis asking me what is wrong because I look so down. When did I get so transparent? Can strangers really look at me and see hell in my eyes?

The things that I have experienced in life, in my eyes are unimaginable. I could never watch a movie if it contained my life story. It not possible. However, I can not thrive on my past even though it haunts my every thought, my every dream, but I get up, try to smile, cry in silence. I mean, if I cried out loud, there wouldn’t be anyone there that could save me. It is like I am walking through life like a robot. Wake up, go to work, come home, clean, cook dinner, do homework with the kids, take a shower go to bed. Monday through Friday.Saturday and Sunday usually include a day of depression and a day of cleaning.Yet everyday I use every piece of strength in me to not frown. The sadness is over whelming. I suppose that is why my smile can not hide it anymore.

It is so hard to find anything that brings me joy. Even when those little moments do happen, they leave faster than they come. It’s like I am faking a smile. When my kids want me to be proud of an accomplishment they did, yes I am proud. Yes, I am so happy for them. I give them words of encouragement. Then I walk away, and sadness creeps back in.

I can’t give up though. I have 4 wonderful kids that would be destroyed inside if I did. So I just keep living this life. One day they will be grown, and fabulous, and happy in what they have become. But I ask myself, will I be able to actually be happy?? Or will it be a short break in the road of sadness. I do not know how to get back to enjoying life. I guess until then I will just try to smile to hide the sadness.

Brutal Love

I wonder what it’s like to be loved. By a parent. By a friend. By a family member. By a man. Is it really as good as portrayed on TV? Is it really as deep as songs make it seem? What do you need to do to qualify for someone to love you with happiness instead of hate?

When I’ve been told I’m loved by someone, evil follows. All forms of evil, a turned shoulder, a cold embrace, silence, abandonment, bruises, deceit, lies, the list goes on. Those that have done these things, reacted these ways, I thought I loved. I thought I could depend on them. I thought I could trust.

If someone really loved me would I know the difference? Would there be some kind of sign? Would I be able to feel safe? Is it possible that someone can embrace you and for one simple moment take away all your pain and suffering? Would there actually be someone who could mend an aching heart? Or that would want to stay around long enough to get passed my issues? Would there actually be someone that would fight for me instead of fighting me? To actually leave a mark on my heart instead of my face?

I can pretty much guarantee I am going to die alone. That I will carry this undeniable sadness in my heart to the grave. I will continue to get lost in my dreams. There I’m not alone. There I am happy. There the pain doesn’t exist. There no one can hurt me.

It’s not murder if you kill

I’m against abortions. That’s just me. I believe they need to exist. But I do not believe they should be used as birth control. Nor do I believe that it is a harmless act that does not have repercussions. They are not for me. But I will also not judge the people that need them. I have had 3.

I was 14. Young and curious and stupid. I lost my virginity, almost fell off a bridge and got pregnant all in the same day. Being naive, not having an open relationship with my mom, and skipping health class a few times(all the time) I didn’t know I was pregnant. Long story short, I got into a fight, ended up in the principles office, she called my therapist(my mom did not have time as always) to come get me. She ended up giving me a home test. It was positive. Of course I wanted to keep it. I was barely in school, living at home, no source of income, drinking, smoking, I would be a perfect parent!!! My mom saw other wise. 13 weeks pregnant I was forced get an abortion. It was a 2 day process, I was put under, I woke up in the middle. I saw the doctor, the vacuum, the table that held my panties. It is an image and a feeling I will never forget. I was not allowed to talk about it after. When I needed my mom the most, I was shut out. Shortly after she kicked me out and sent me on my way. That is a different story.

Fast forward 20 years. I had just given birth to my daughter, my 4th child. She was about 6 months old. I was with another man other than my kid’s dad, as things were incredibly bad with us. On a drunken night I was forced into sex with my kids dad. About a month later I found out I was pregnant. Knowing it was this other man’s child, him being married and me being in an abusive(deadly) living situation with my kid’s dad, I knew I couldn’t have this baby. How would I get an abortion past my baby daddy? Oh yea, that night. That 5 minutes of trauma was about to save me an ass beating. I told him he got me pregnant, he didn’t want me to have it as he didn’t want me to have our other kids. Easy enough. I had an abortion. There were no problems like the first. But it was horrible. I had once again prevented a life from entering this world because of my stupid decisions. I again didn’t talk about it to anyone. I over dosed on vicadin, vodka and a numerous amount of other pulls to numb the pain. I couldn’t stop crying, I got sent home from work, I wanted to die. The guilt was unexplainable.

Fast forward another 2 years, almost to the date. While switching between birth controls, another baby was conceived. The man I was with I thought was the best thing ever as I was treated 50% better than my baby daddy ever did. However, again, this was not a situation to have a child. I had been fired, he had just started working, there was drugs, drinking, fighting, just a disaster. I had an abortion when I was 16 weeks along. Yes, they still do that when you are that far along. It was a Saturday. I was so upset, but by this time numb. Numb from everything in life. Had the procedure, got dropped off at home….again the pills. They didn’t make it go away. I started a new job that Tuesday. Maybe things were getting better. That day my bleeding got heavier, I was cramping in my abdomen and my back. By lunch I couldn’t walk, and blood clots the size of baseballs were pouring out of me. I made it thru the day, drove myself to his job and went to the ER. There was still particles of the baby in me. They had not finished the job. If I didn’t get the procedure done again, I would bleed to death. If I had waited another 3 hours to go to the hospital, I would’ve been dead. I cried. I cried. My heart broke. I broke. Again I had an ultrasound, alone on the table, wanting there to be a baby, wishing this didn’t have to happen. Dying on the inside of pain, destruction and pure sorrow. I couldn’t explain how empty I was. The tears wouldn’t stop. I didn’t want to do this again. I couldn’t. Just kill me. It would be easier. Before they put me under again, I will never forget how guilty and alone I was. Crying uncontrollably. After it was over, again I was numb. Again with the pills. But this time, not only did I carry the guilt of what I had done, he also put the blame on me for putting him in this situation. How if I wasn’t such a horrible mother, I wouldn’t have had to kill his child. Why wasn’t I more careful? How could I be so irresponsible? I did what I always did. Stuffed my feelings deep down, put this incident to the bottom of my soul, sucked up the guilt and went on with my life. This horrific, mind blowing, unreal, murderous, guilt ridden, sad, pathetic situation was hidden from the world.

I will forever remember these 3 incidents. They have changed my life in ways no one can understand. A year ago I was at my lowest point. All day I have cried. I woke up not realizing what was wrong with me. Until I remembered. The cold table, the ultrasound I told them I didn’t want to see. The loneliness. The guilt. The fact that as a mother to 4 kids, there should be 7. The fact that my life is not better because of my choices. In my situations, to me, it is murder, and I pay everyday for what I did. I made someone else, a life, a child, pay for choices I made. I don’t think there is any amount of forgiveness in the world that can make me feel better for anything I did those 3 times.

A New Past

So my baby daddy and I have not been together for over 2 years. It was an 11 year relationship of pure abuse. That is another story. He recently got out of jail. I helped him get a job, let him stay with me cuz idk why. He got a new girlfriend which doesn’t bother me in the least. He did show her where I live and spend the day with my kids against my wishes. I never asked who she was cuz I didn’t care. In talking to my oldest son a few weeks ago turns out it is a girl he cheated on me with. A girl that once told me they had a child together, a girl that stalked me on the internet, a girl that gave me explicit details on their ” romance”. A girl that once tried to have me jumped in jail. A girl that did set me up to fight. A girl that is a big detail in my PTSD.
Am I wrong to tell him my kids are not allowed around her? Every time we argue about her I am called childish and I need to let things go. How???? He knows what I have, he knows he’s a huge detail in it. How does he continuously hurt me. I left him to be better. I think about this everyday.
In a perfect world I would be able to coparent with him respectfully. I would be ok with my kids being around another woman. As I was raised in a split family. However this is not a perfect world, as I keep being reminded.
I can not say I’ve been the best mom. I have done regrettable things. My kids have not been raised in the best environment. Now the abuse, I know not my fault, but staying and letting them watch, my fault. Bringing them into this world, my fault. Tuning them out cuz I can’t deal with myself, my fault.
Knowing I haven’t been the best mom, how do I let them be around another woman? What if she is better to them than I have been? What if they come home and tell me “why can’t you be more like her?” (My kids say things like that) I already was not good enough for their dad and he ran to her, can I really handle if I’m not good enough for my kids for her? My kids have been the only things that have kept me alive these past 14 years, what happens when something I left in the past takes them away from me?

Honestly Lying

I have come to learn that telling the truth isn’t as grand as it seems. I grew up a pathological liar. I lied about everything just to lie. I would get caught red handed, and lie. I don’t know why. I did not change my way of thinking until I met my first son’s father. He did the same to me. He lied about everything, just to lie. Just like me. But I got pregnant with my son and immediately grew up. I was 23. Fresh out of a 3 year prison sentence and drug addiction and treatment, which is where I met him. As I was getting over my addiction he was entering one, again. He would steal money, my son’s clothes and shoes to sell them for his habit.

Let me back up.

When I got home from jail on March 17th, 2000, he was not on drugs. He was only drinking and smoking, but so was I so who cares. He was working, I wasn’t. Things got bad with his drinking, or our drinking and we got into a fight. I’m talking in the alley, 3am, punch for punch fight. Like men. We broke up, I went home, found out I was pregnant. Needless to say he was less than thrilled. I can’t say I was ready, but I don’t believe in abortion(as a choice for me) so I went through with it. we got back together a few months later. 5 months pregnant we get into a fight at the red line stop at Garfield, he attempts to throw me and my unborn child onto the tracks. We break up. A few weeks later, back together. Here comes my baby shower. An apartment of men(his family) then his baby mama shows up, and all of them are drinking. He is so drunk he can’t see straight. We fight. Couple weeks later in the car, he is drunk at a family party, he is talking shit, I am 8 1/2 months pregnant, I swing at him,push him out the door and am on top of him beating him like I couldn’t stop. His cousin had to drag me off of him. My son is born, which he is also drunk for. We decide to name my son after him. 3 names, first, middle & last. That is what I signed for. However, when I got the birth certificate back there was 5 names. His dad caught the nurse and added them. SMFH.

We move to the West Side in an apartment that his aunt owns. We didn’t have to pay rent, I was working, he wasn’t. This is when the drugs began. And the stealing. And the leaving my son alone in the apartment so he could go get high while I was at work. And the abuse. But now that he was high I could no longer over power him. I took a few beatings, trying to fight back. It didn’t work. I knew I had to get my son out of there. Away from him. With the help of my sister I was able to move in with one of her friends as he needed help with the rent, recently separated. I got away. I did it. After a year. I was finally free. Just me and my baby boy against the world. And we stayed like that for a good year. Just me and him and the struggle. But I loved him. And he was worth every second of pain that his father put me through. He has not seen my son since he was 9 mos old. He’s now almost 14.

Yes I have lied since then, who doesn’t? I can never go back to the way I was. I pick my lies carefully and sparingly. I do not lie about my feelings, nor do I lie to the people that I care about. If I lie to someone, they do not matter to me. To get the same in return is hard. Because I have lied, and been lied to, I do not trust anything that people say. I don’t even trust actions. I don’t know anymore what it would take for me to trust someone, I am not sure that I will ever be able to do it. How can I ever be truly happy if I can’t trust someone even a little bit?

Blurry 20/20 Vision

I have rarely met anyone in my time that is a pure soul. People always have an agenda, a reason, an evil plan. They can not be trusted, they will suck you in with their fake comforts and happiness and then steal it right back leaving you dead inside, picking up pieces that you didn’t know could be broken. I thought this way of the world until I saw my Aunt, in her deepest of darkest hour, be the strongest and most selfless person I have ever met in my life. So full of sorrow, yet strength.

My Aunt, who is married into our family through my favorite uncle, was brought into our family when I was about 13ish?? Her and my uncle were stationed in Spain through the Navy, fell in love and returned back to America with twin, 2 year old boys. Shortly after, another boy was born. As they struggled holding down full time jobs, and raising 3 boys they enlisted my sister as a babysitter for the summer. The twins were 3 now, barely spoke English and my sister didn’t speak Spanish. They were crazy, evil, hilarious, bad to the bone little boys. Tortured their poor little brother, painting him with shoe polish, locking him in rooms…..just pure boy insanity.

I went on about my life, selfishly choosing the wrong path time & time again, leaving my family behind and not watching my cousins grow. By the time that I returned, they were all teenagers, turning into men, dealing with their struggles. I would only see my family on holidays, as I was still wrapped in my own life issues. I had recently come out of a heavy drug addiction only to learn that the twins and 2 of my other cousins were entering into one. I never stopped to talk to any of them, to try to be that nonjudgmental ear, maybe help, maybe….maybe…..maybe.

June 27th, 2013-Mid Afternoon on a hot, sunny, perfect day in Chicago

As me and my sister go back to our chair set up at the subdivision pool after just feeding the kids and reissuing sunscreen so they can go back and swim, as I was about to put my put back on to prevent from being burned, my sister’s phone rang. Her boyfriend saying my mom was trying to call, it was an emergency. She got my mom on the phone. I will never forget the way she said what, the look on her face, the way she held the phone or the words that came from her mouth. My twin cousins were dead. Found by their little brother in their apartment. No way. Not my family. Not the family that just celebrated our grand parents 65th wedding anniversary. Our family of 10 kids, 22 grand kids & 13 great grand kids, not one death, but defeated numerous cancers, WW2, Pneumonia, and the list goes on……As I sat burning in the sun, I could not cry, I could not speak, I could not focus. I don’t remember much of the next couple days, as it was all a blur, a bad dream that I couldn’t wake up from.

July 2nd, 2013- The Wake

It is raining, it’s humid, it’s just shit. As me and my 3 boys pull into the parking lot of the funeral home. I do not “DO” funerals. I am scared of dead bodies. I walk in and see my family, members that I haven’t seen in years. All hugging in sorrow. Videos of my cousins play around on tv’s. There are pictures everywhere. There are 2 coffins in the front of the room. I stay in the back, as I do every funeral I attend. My oldest son, Andy, who is 12 at the time, walks up to the first coffin, it is John’s. He starts crying, my mom tells me to go comfort him, I walk up putting all fears aside, as soon as I get to the foot of the coffin I stop. I break, all control is lost. I am sobbing uncontrollably. My Aunt, their mother comes to console me. Calming me with her words and soft touch. As it came time to leave I couldn’t. How could I leave them alone? They were alone for 3 days in that hot apartment, alone. They’re only 25, I can’t abandon them, they need me. Why didn’t I feel like this when they were alive????

July 3rd, 2013-The Funeral

It is time to say good bye, the coffins need to be taken out of the room. I stand in the back refusing to walk up to my cousins. To tell them good bye. As long as I am in the same room they are still with me. There is only 2 rows of people left. My mom makes me go. I can’t walk, my sister practically carriers me to the front. I am screaming and crying in pain. I say good bye to John first. As I struggle to Gino’s coffin, I stay longer than I should. The guilt that I should be the one that he is saying good bye to is undeniable. Someone pulls me away, some how I get out of the room. Before I can pass out, one of my Uncles catch me, and holds me upright, lets me wet his shirt with tears. This should’ve been my funeral.

The procession to the church is a blur. I do not know how I got there. As the coffins are placed at the front, and my family takes up almost the whole church, the church I grew up in, I look around. I see all these men that I grew up with, strong men, men of the Army & Navy, firefighters, cops, broken, crying, sad. My Uncle in front of me weeps. My Aunt consoles him. I wish I could. She then turns and consoles me. I can’t stop crying. I can’t stop the guilt. That should be me up there.

As we make our way to the burial, we are in a 2 mile procession behind 2 hearses. We pull into the cemetery, it takes forever. The line to say one last good bye is tremendous. I am one of the last ones. I say good bye to John. I get to Gino. I can’t walk away. Again I am forced. I kiss his coffin and tell him good bye. I stand and watch. I watch my Aunt and Uncle tell their sons good bye. I stand beside their brother with my head on his arm. I watch them get lowered into the ground. Watch the layers get poured on one by one. My mom is telling me I have to leave. I can’t. I can not abandon them again. I can not leave them alone. That really should be me.

A few weeks later I am sitting in my room at my sister’s house and she brings me an envelope. It is from my Aunt. I immediately start crying. I can not read this. I can not open it. I finally do. Their picture falls out of it.  The first line of the card, in my Aunt’s writing says, “It was so hard to see you in so much pain” I dropped the card and cried. My Aunt, who lives everyday without hearing her boys voices, doesn’t get to hug them, carried them for 9 months, watched them grow for 25 years was worried about me. I think about that every time that I think about my cousins. 2 years later she is still consoling me, in person, not in person. She has no idea how much her strength can get me through the worst of days. She is absolutely one of the strongest women I have ever came across. And although the guilt is still here everyday, like a knife in my throat, I just aim that one day I will have the peace that she has. She makes me believe that there are good people in this world. My Uncle, my family was lucky enough to be blessed with one.