Monday, September 28, 2009
Here’s what was published:
It’s the nightmare you can’t
Wake up from.
It’s the words that won’t
Erase from your ears.
It’s the images you’ll never
Let yourself forget.
It’s the life you wish
Was only a nightmare.
The building stands before you,
Growing larger and larger.
You walk inside,
Finding your past
Staring right back at you.
Inside is Dad’s apartment
Where the familiar scent
Of stale cigarettes and Bud Light
The green leather chair
Still sits in the corner of the living room,
The light blue and salmon checkered comforter
Still lies gently across the bed,
The dirty yellow rug,
Still sprawled across the bathroom floor.
You turn around
To face Mom’s open arms.
You hear her whisper,
“Daddy might not make it,”
Again and again
Until she’s screaming
At the top of her lungs.
Tears pour down your face
At the reminder that he’s
You run for the door,
You only pause
To turn once more
For that final look
At that eminent number five
Glued to the door.
It’s a start, right? It was sooo embarrassing when I found out that my mom copied the page it was on in the newsletter and sent it to all our relatives and family friends. But that’s what moms do, right?
Check out Sarah Kay
By definition, color guard is a group of people who carry or escort the flag or colors during parades and band performances. But to me, it’s so much more than that. It is life – twirling flags, spinning rifles, and tossing sabers have become my typical daily routine. It is the girls that are as close as family, it is the coach that is like a sister to you, and it is the friendships that develop along the way. An ordinary definition of color guard doesn’t cut what it means to some of us, what it means to me. Color guard releases the anger. I mean, who wouldn’t want to “accidentally” throw a flag or a rifle at someone next to you that just won’t shut up and pay attention? Yes, it’s bruises, black eyes, and in some cases, stitches or even tendonitis, but this family of girls is most definitely worth it at the end of the day.
The first thing people may think about swimming is that all we do is go back and forth, back and forth, and you sit there for the finish of this stupid meet so you can go home and sleep. But in fact, it’s waaaaaaay more than that. Have you ever sat in on a swim meet and heard the cheers? My boyfriend went to his first swim meet last week to watch me swim against the school he attends (yes, he cheered for me, not for his school, thank you very much). He had no idea that a swim meet could get so loud, so exciting. It’s so loud in there that you get headaches after about ten minutes, so loud that you lose your voice each week from screaming.
Although, swimming is more than just the cheering. Yes, it’s hard work; any swimmer can tell you that. It’s long hours, it’s wondering if this pool grew in length overnight, and it’s wishing that the season could just be over with. Each and every year, I find myself, at the end of the season, telling myself that this was it – I’m not coming back next year. Though each year, I’m back and ready to rock the blocks.
Our team is a family – a group of girls with our head coach and our three assistant coaches. We spend more time with them then we do with our actual families. Swimming is essential to my lifestyle anymore. Without it, I’m not sure what I’d do.
Flutes – the first thing anyone thinks about is the loud and obnoxious noise of the flute and/or piccolo. But have you ever really heard a good flute player? One that uses vibrato (a shaky and exciting effect produced in an instrumental tone by rapid variations in pitch) and dynamics (variation and gradation in the volume of musical sound)? The flute can be a beautiful instrument.
To me, the flute speaks different tones and moods with it’s different dynamics, octaves, and vibrato. The music I play can relate to my mood and my energy level that day.
It is also my other sense – it’s caused me to be able to pick pitches out of thin air; it’s caused me to be able to hear whether a note is sharp (too high in pitch) or flat (too low in pitch). It’s become another lifestyle for me. And maybe, it will even carry me to greater things in life.
Tennis – to some, it’s an excuse to use all your power to fling your racket over your head and hit a tennis ball at someone’s face without getting into trouble. It’s the ability to learn control and to apply power to every shot.
Most importantly, what I think about is this: To a tennis player, Love means nothing. But to this tennis player, Love means something very important. It’s the ability to fill yourself with the feeling of being whole, the feeling of being wanted and understood. It’s feeling for others and wanting to be wanted. It’s something I’ve found I can’t live without anymore. That special someone, I hope, has come into my life. If not, for some reason, and he’s not the one (but I hope he is), I guess I’ll just keep on walking until I find the one guy that will make me feel like a princess.
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
-“Fight Like a Girl” by Bomshel
I never knew how many special songs could mean so much to me, how much they could give an explanation for every aspect of my existence.
“You can let go now, Daddy, you can let go. Your little girl is ready to do this on my own. It's gonna be a little bit scary but I want you to know I'll be okay now, Daddy. You can let go.”
-“You Can Let Go” by Crystal Shawanda
Some remind me of what I had before it was all taken away from me. Some remind me of what is still yet to come. Some keep me pushing towards the finish – towards the greater things in life.
“I remember Daddy’s hands, folded silently in prayer. And reaching out to hold me, when I had a nightmare. You could read quite a story, in the calluses and lines. Years of work and worry had left their mark behind.”
-“Daddy’s Hands” by Holly Dunn
You know, everyone’s life is diverse – everyone walks to the beat of his or her own theme song. And who knows - maybe others, like myself, have more than one song that continue to keep their feet moving through the pain of everyday life.
I guess I’ll start with this: Do you ever feel that you walk into your church to hear the sermon for the day, and you feel that everything that your pastor is talking about is directed at you? That’s exactly how I felt a few weeks ago.
I was sitting next to my friend Holly². She knows a lot about what’s been going on with me since my dad died. I don’t remember exactly what our pastor was talking about (yes, I was paying attention, I just can’t remember!), but I know that Holly poked my arm and said, “Hear that? It’s about you!” I started listening more carefully then. And that’s when I realized – it was ALL about me. In one-way or another I could relate the sermon to myself and to my life. Holly told me afterwards that it seems that sometimes the sermons are directed towards her, but it seems that the more trouble we find ourselves in with our faith, the more the sermon tends to fit into our lives. Why is this? How do they fill those holes that are in our hearts that easily? I honestly don’t know. I just know that they do and that they can change a simple life in a single instant.
² Name has been changed
Monday, September 21, 2009
My dad’s story is told as I remember it, but his death was fast, unexpected, and very painful. The press haunted my family and me with their constant stories, rumors, and pictures. They often twisted the story of my dad’s death. They never actually got it quite right, I don’t think.
The press always tells us different stories. Some say my dad suffered. Others saying he didn’t. But no matter what the press says, I will keep what I believe in my heart. I believe that my dad didn’t suffer and that he didn’t see the power behind the blow of His fists coming at him. I continually tell myself that the press is wrong when they disagree with that, and I hope, deep down inside, that I’m right and that the press is wrong. I don’t want to think about how my dad’s last moments could have been filled with pain and worry, and I don’t want to think about how they could have been filled with sadness. I try to think of my dad as being happy, having no worries on his mind, feeling no pain, and feeling no regrets in his last few moments. I guess I will never know for sure what was going through his head in those last moments. All I can do, now, is hope for the best, I guess.
The days before my dad’s funeral were really difficult for me. I put together a slide show filled with pictures of my dad, I tried to talk about my feelings to some of my closest friends, and I attempted to keep my broken self from crying. I felt like everything was being thrown onto my small, fragile shoulders and I felt like I was about to collapse, dropping everything from on top of my shoulders, because of the weight of all the new responsibilities that I wasn’t even close to being ready for.
The funeral came sooner than I wanted it to. It was on a Thursday night and the weather was terrible. It was snowy and a little bit icy. But despite the weather, over three hundred people came to pay their respects, to support my family, to support me, and to remember my daddy.
At the visitation, I got plenty of hugs from people I knew, and just as many from people I didn’t. They introduced themselves as “friends of my dad,” but they didn’t tell me their names. People I hadn’t seen in years came out in the bad weather to show their support.
At exactly 6:00pm, I grabbed my flute, walked into the sanctuary with my family, and stood before the one hundred people who had stayed to watch the funeral and to say goodbye to my loving daddy. I looked at my accompanist, smiled a weak little smile, and turned back to the music before me. I took in a deep breath, hands shaking, and started playing. With the last note hanging in mid-air, I half-walked, half-ran back to where my family was sitting and I took my seat in the uncomfortable pew.
Once I finally sat down, the pastor started speaking about what an amazing person my dad was, about how he helped everyone in their times of need, and how he had continued to live his life for me and only for me.
Before the funeral, I had also picked out three songs that I wanted to be played at my dad’s funeral. The first one was “I Can Only Imagine” by Mercy Me, followed by “Go Rest High on That Mountain” by Vince Gill, and then finally, “You Can Let Go” by Crystal Shawanda. These songs played at different times throughout the service. Our pastor would talk for a while, a song would play, and then he would talk again, and so on and so forth. During each song, I could hear people crying, even over my own, hurtful sobs.
My dad was only fifty years old. He still had many years ahead of him to do everything that he wanted to do. But because of him, though, this time was pulled to a complete stop.
Something that my uncle said during the service actually made everyone laugh. It struck me that laughter dispersed a little bit of the heavy sadness that everyone could feel in the air. My uncle told everyone about how my dad made his kids a swing set, built some stairs, and painted the kids’ rooms when he was at their house in San Francisco. He told everyone that he could picture my daddy standing with our Christ and Savior at the gates of heaven, and Christ asking my dad to help him fix a door or go build something for him. We all laughed at that, because we could almost picture it happening right above us as my uncle was telling everyone the story.
I made a few new friends through all of this hurt, actually. A woman named Anne contacted me through Facebook and told me about how when she was little, my dad played basketball at Coe. She told me about how she was always excited to see my dad play, and that she was even more excited when she got an autograph from him. It made me smile as I read this little note, because I know that my dad has always had a big heart, and he really loved making people happy, even if he didn’t know them.
It really meant a lot to me to get messages from Anne because it showed me that more people than I know care about me and want to help me get through this mess. It showed me that the world that holds the murderer that killed my dad can also hold some of the best people.
People have asked me a lot of questions trying to figure out what I’m feeling. Honestly though, I don’t know what I’m thinking about. All I know for sure is that I’m mad at the man that killed my dad; I might even hate him. I really don’t understand how a man could take the life of another so carelessly. Without thinking twice and without thinking of me and of my dad’s friends and family that love him.
People have also asked me a lot of questions about God and what I think He did in this situation. My answer to that, honestly, is that I don’t know. I don’t know what I believe anymore. Before all of this happened, I threw everything at God. I believed He could make things happen, or make things not happen. I believed that He was more than just a figment of my imagination, more than just something to put my faith into. I believed that He had our lives planned out for us before we were even born; I believed that He loved each and every one of us and I believed that He wanted to protect us. But now, I’m beginning doubt all of that. I don’t know what He really means to me anymore, I don’t know why this happened, and I don’t know why He decided to let my dad die this way. I have so many questions that just can’t seem to be answered. Honestly, I wish that God could just drop down from this so-called Heaven above us and tell me what He was thinking when He let all of this happen. But He can’t. I know that. But sometimes, I just wish He could – to clear up all this confusion, to dull this pain that will never go away.
Thursday, September 17, 2009
I feel like my dad is watching over me all the time now, but I don’t feel that God is with me at all. I feel like He has betrayed me in one way or another. I feel like He’s punishing me for something that I didn’t do. I feel that He’s left me to fight this battle alone. At this point, I’m losing that battle. I feel like it’s me against the world, six and a half billion to one. I don’t think I can win. Do you?
I think I’ll just drown in the downpour of the rain, the tears, the hurt, the anger, and these unanswered questions. I have to show the world that I really do care about him. I have to show them that he was my hero, my mentor, and my daddy, and that he always will be, even though he’s not physically here anymore.
I’ve been thinking about everything that happened to my daddy that night lately, and one thing I decided is that I wish that everyone’s life, as odd as this sounds, could be a like a video game. I just want the extra lives that you receive in a video game. I think it would be great if we started out with five lives that we could use whenever the one before it ran out. They would disappear one by one, and when you’ve finally used up the last one, you would easily start over with five new lives.
If life were like a video game, my daddy would still be here. Kim would have killed him and all my dad would have had to do is start the day over and try again. He wouldn’t have felt any pain, just the anger of having to start his day over again. But he wouldn’t be gone. Not like he is now. Not like he is in the real world.
Sadly, life is life. You only get one chance to live. When someone takes that one life from you, it’s over. You don’t get to start your day over and you don’t get a redo. You’re physically gone forever, leaving your family and friends to grieve, leaving them wishing that you were still with them. I haven’t really accepted that my daddy’s gone. I keep thinking that he’s just gone on vacation. I keep thinking that he’s going to come back. But I know, deep down inside, that he’s not. I know that Kim killed him. I hope he pays for that. But I know that nothing can bring my dad back. I haven’t really checked back in with reality for a long time now, and I’m not looking forward to the time when I’m forced to look over the little wall I’ve built for myself – when I’m forced to move on. I know, though, that the memories of my dad will only grow stronger – that’s what’s keeping me going.
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
I have always been a Daddy’s girl. I never really liked spending time with my mom as much as I liked hanging out in the backyard or in the garage with my daddy. He was the one that taught me how to ride a bike, he was the fix-it man when a toy of mine broke when I was little, and most importantly, he was my hero. Now all of that is gone - taken from me by an abuse, an act that wasn’t necessary, an act of anger and hatred towards my daddy.
To me, he was invincible. Immortal. But I learned the hard way that nobody really is. Everyone dies, and that’s hard to live with. I would be perfectly okay with everyone I love living forever - never dying, never experiencing any pain, and never growing old.
But I know that will never happen. I know that everyone dies eventually, but I wish my daddy’s death didn’t have to be like this. I wish he had died when I was older, maybe even when I was expecting it somehow. I wish I would have known it was the last time I’d ever get to be at his apartment with him. But I didn’t know that. I didn’t know I’d never get to see his smile, or that I’d never get to hear him talk or laugh again.
I wish that man wouldn’t have killed him. I wish my daddy hadn’t died like that. I wish he would have known it was coming somehow and been able to defend himself so maybe he wouldn’t have died. But wishing won’t change the past. I know that now. But I still want the past to change. I still want him here.
I know he’s in a better place, now. At least that’s what everyone keeps telling me, but again - I want him here. I want him to see all my swimming and tennis meets and all my color guard performances. I want him to see me graduate from high school, I want him to walk me down the aisle at my wedding, and I want him to be able to get to know my children when they come into this world. But now none of that will happen - all because of an act of hatred towards my father.
I will always be a Daddy’s girl, even though he’s not here anymore. I will always remember the times in the backyard and the garage with him. Part of him will always be there when I get on my bike and he will always be the first one that pops into my head when someone asks me who my hero is. Maybe that’s what makes a person stronger, not the pain or the injustice, but the memories and the things I have learned from my daddy.
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
There’s too much worry, too much stress – too much for me to throw onto your delicate shoulders. Mine are becoming stronger, but only temporarily. Sooner than need be, the weight of this whole thing will drop, dragging me down with it. When will that be? I’m not sure. Am I looking forward to it? Absolutely not. But will it happen? Yes.
Sunday, September 13, 2009
Please keep on going no matter what. Promise me you’ll keep going. It’s what I want from you. I don’t care how hard things get. Think of me; think of how much I want you to move on. Do great things with your life. You have everything you need lying in front of you. I know you’ve had a lot of bad things happen in your life, but you’re strong. You can get through this and everything the future holds. Stay strong and keep going. I’m sorry I’m not strong enough. Be strong for me.
I love you,
² Names have been changed
This is a suicide note from a friend of mine. She wrote it a couple of months back. She’s still here today, thankfully. But this note still hurts me every time I read it. The realization that I almost lost my best friend is so overpowering.
Many things bother me about depression. Depression itself doesn’t bother me because I know that people can’t control it. The fact that people don’t understand it is what bothers me. People think depression can be “cured” by the person admitting they’re depressed. This is far from the truth. Many people need counseling called psychotherapy or antidepressants to help cope with their depression.
Some turn to cutting or other types of self-mutilation to help cope with the emotional pain that they’re going through. Many believe that there’s nothing else that anyone can do to help them. Many believe that this is the way their life will always be – dark, cold, and lonely. They believe that there’s no turning back to the life they used to live, all because of what the depression has done to them.
Many lose their friends, their family, and anyone else that was close to them because the person often fades slowly from life, becoming less and less social. Things like “Feel my pain, hear my screams, and watch me fade” are used often to try to help the person explain how they feel. In reality though, sometimes they don’t know that what their feeling isn’t normal. They begin to feel that they’ve felt this way their whole lives.
I guess I ask you this: Why does depression exist? Why do we sometimes have to feel like tomorrow will only be worse than today? Why do we sometimes just want to be alone with our depression, and other times want to be around people, just to try to make it fade away? Why do we have to feel the hurt from the depression sometimes?
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
December 2008: My dad was murdered.
February 2009: One of my best friend’s brothers died in a car accident.
July 2009: My grandma got stomach cancer and started getting weaker and weaker from the chemotherapy.
July 2009: My grandpa became weak from my grandma being sick.
August 2009: My Papa got bladder cancer.
August 2009: My other grandma started having heart problems.
September 2009: My uncle died.
I’m not trying to win your sympathy – I don’t want it. I’m only trying to make a point, in one way or another.
My question is this: If death is inevitable, then why do we fear it so much? Why do we blame ourselves? Why do we scream at the God we believe in, asking Him how He let this happen? It’s inevitable – nothing we do will bring the ones we love back to us. But it feels good to try, sometimes.
Those two girls that have suffered through this with me know just how this whole thing has affected me. Death isn’t easy. There’s really no way to prepare yourself for a loved one’s death. Neither my dad’s, my friend’s brother’s, nor my uncle’s deaths were expected. But for a while I asked God why he didn’t give me a warning about the deaths. With my dad’s death, I thought at first that I missed the signs that He gave me. Part of myself still believes that I missed them. But now, I realized that it wouldn’t have helped to suffocate this pain. I would have still hurt in exactly the same ways.
We’re so afraid of living while another is gone. But we have to realize, eventually in our lives, that death is, in fact, inevitable. But that doesn’t mean we’re ready to deal with the pain just because we know one day death will come and conquer the ones we love, though. Even when death is expected to take the one we love, it hurts us and kills a part of us that will never return. That hole will always remain eminent in our hearts, unable to be filled ever again.
Well, it was back before settlers even came to the New Land (America). They started wars in order to obtain land and to attempt to come to some kind of an agreement between Indian tribes. They also created alliances and then later betrayed those alliances, creating wars and hatred between colonies. But this was hundreds of thousands of years ago, right? How have people, as a mostly thriving world, not “grown up”? Can we not communicate and come to an agreement using calm words of intelligence? Must we use violence to get our point across?
I guess I just question all of this because of something that ruined the girl I used to be. It happened just nine months ago. My dad was assaulted by someone he knew and somewhat trusted. A few hours later, my dad died from what happened to him that night.
This “Daddy’s Girl” was, and still is, torn apart. I probably always will be. How am I ever supposed to trust again when the fear of being betrayed still makes itself clear in my mind? How am I supposed to view any kind of violence as “good” when it took my childhood hero, my inspiration in life, and my cheering section?
I don’t think the people in this world realize, unless they are “victims of homicide” themselves, that violence not only kills the one that was physically hurt, but it kills a part of the ones that loved him as well. Their lives will never be the same again due to this stupid act of violence towards another for no reason at all.
There is no trust in violence – it can never end well. So why do we, sometimes readily, partake in it?
-Definition: a non-premeditated killing, resulting from an assault in which death of the victim was a distinct possibility.
-Sentence: 50 years, serving a minimum of 25 years.
-Definition: unlawful killing of a human being without malice aforethought.
-Sentence: 10 years, serving a minimum of 5 years.
-Definition: accidental killing of another.
-Sentence: 5 years, serving a minimum of 2.5 years.
-Definition: the sudden, violent attack of another.
-Sentence: 2 years, serving a minimum of 6 months.
How do the above sentences add up to the death of another? I don’t believe in the death penalty because I believe the offender must suffer their time in jail, but I do believe that they should spend more time in jail than this! But look at the gap between second-degree murder and voluntary manslaughter. How is this fair? How does our legal system offer the opportunity to serve less time for good behavior? They committed and were charged with the crime! In my opinion, they shouldn’t get less time because they “found God” or decided to be good AFTER they committed the offence and got caught. Am I the only one that thinks this?
In the newspaper today, there was an article about a man who used his business’s money to buy personal necessities. He was sentenced to serve ten years in federal prison. Does this make sense? He didn’t kill anyone; he just spent money that wasn’t his. He will spend more time in prison than someone convicted of Involuntary Manslaughter and Assault. How is this fair?
Our legal system is messed up in this way. How does one who killed another not receive more jail time? I guess I just don’t understand how this is fair.
Will someone please explain to me how this makes sense?
* Sentence varies from state to state
* Definitions from www.dictionary.com
Thursday, September 3, 2009
I love writing - about anything. But I'm only used to posting my work about depression and the things that go along with it. I'm not used to posting my opinion on other things in this world.
This is new. But I'm excited to keep posting. Maybe this will help me to speak my mind a little more. Maybe not. I guess we'll wait and see...