I got the idea about this from some comments, as I usually do. This might take a couple days to get right, but Ill do my best. Bear with me if it jumps and the point bounces a couple times, though I will try not to let that happen.
First- No, I am not the perfect person that is all wonderful, and has been always. That is so far from the truth it isnt funny. I was a mental case once (ok, Im probably still slightly off). I was a drug addict more than once. I have smoked cigarettes for over 15 years, and I am not yet 30. I did my first shot at age 12, right along with my first bong load and third cigarette, if memory serves me (not counting the three times I smoked when I was 7, and totally got caught for). I was a bonafide meth addict by 16. I did it for many reasons totally irrelevant at the moment. I was a high school drop out that thought "I have all the time in the world to finish school, I can work and party, and live that lifestyle for a bit". Yeah, I was totally far off on that idea. I partied for about 9 months when "ta-da!", I started barfing. Nope, ITS THE FLU! Thats what you get when one night in a sad, sad, drunken "I miss playing with that baby!" that you basically were raising till you moved out gets you. It takes one time, thats it. Too late to say "maybe we shouldnt do this".
So. There I was. 17, on my own, and pregnant. TERRIFIED. But, knowing I could do it. How hard could it be, right? WRONG. Its hard. Its scary. Its life changing. And it takes every ounce of your being. So, me, my oldest two childrens dad, and a baby. Marriage at 19, and another baby one year and 2 days later. The happy family. NOT. Kids, and young, irresponsible, and selfish at that. Two kids having two kids isnt a great combination (Side note- I wouldnt take it back for anything, I only now realize how stupid and moronic it was to think it would be easy), and it tends to bring out the bad side of everyone involved. It doesnt matter how good your intentions are for those little lives you had. How hard you worked. Life is life, and every-time you think "I got this", life has another lesson for you. But, it keeps us on our toes, thats for sure.
So. Im 20, turning 21 in a month. Deciding that there is more to this, and so I go back and get my GED, get enrolled in college (with the help of a very good group of people dedicated to helping families get built up together, with all the advice on the world for self betterment), and find a good job. One that will help me get into a career while going to school. Thanks, Tom! Its looking up. Everything is going well. We are getting there! My 21st birthday was great! I had a family, friends, and almost a career!
Then a day that will radiate in my mind for ever, as if it hadnt already been my anniversary. Yeah, double tap. My life turned upside down in one minute. Based on a drunken fight, and 5 words I will NEVER say again, to anyone. For any reason. No one deserves going out of this world with that thought in their mind.
Story- It was my second wedding anniversary. My high school sweetheart. We went to a concert. We were drunk, as most people of our age group at the concert were. We had a fight. A silly fight that was based on the fact we were kids and highly jealous of everyone around our mate. Thats it. So. He gets kicked out, I follow, we go back, he gets kicked out, I follow, We go back, We get kicked out, I tell him the worst 5 words of my life because he thought one of our friends was flirting with me. STUPID! "I dont love you anymore." That was NOT the truth, in the slightest. Not at all. Nope. I go back. Next thing I know: "Ty was hit by a car, you gotta go!" Me, being mad still, and thinking he was pulling something to get me back out, "Go make sure its him and come and get me." The look. The look that still sits in my mind as the last second of sanity for a very long time. I didnt need a confirmation. I knew it, and was already hearing sirens in the distance of that lonesome, desolate piece of highway that became a teeny town with a teeny bar next to a big ole lake. I ran. I tripped over a dog. I took off again, with people yelling behind me. I still see the car sitting there. The car that had a huge dent on the hood. I see a cop. He comes over, and before he can even contemplate me, I say "Im his wife! Is he ok?" Then I see his feet. His shoeless feet. I remember screaming, and taking off in a dead run. The cop yelling "Someone keep her back!" I was tackled into a ditch by two people that I later found out were my friends. I pulled the ground, fighting, kicking, screaming. I remember them saying "we cant hold her", and three more people dog piling me. They werent listening! I just wanted to tell him I loved him! To take it back! I still do! He was still alive then. I know I pulled those five people 15 feet. They and the cop told me. Next thing I know is I am being picked up. "You need to go to the hospital, life flight is on its way, do you have a ride?" My friend that showed up and was the root of the fight: "I only just got here, I can take her." Well, we start walking. I am freaking out, but the cop says "yeah, they said he would make it." Nope. He was saying that to get me out of there. Right before we get to the car, the cops back. "I am so sorry to have to tell you this, but he didnt make it ma'am. I am so sorry." Everything in my world fell apart in that moment. What was supposed to be a night of fun with my husband turned into the defining moment of my life.
The drive to my mothers house, where our kids were, was a mix of "its a nightmare", "they are lying, its a mistake, he was already on life flight", to "How am I going to tell his two year old boy, and 2 days shy of one year old girl that their father is never coming back?" I hadnt even thought of the family who raised him.
That night I feel asleep on the kitchen floor of the house that is now mine. My moms. My mom had to tell his family, the highway patrol called her, and also told her they didnt know where I had gone, even though they sent me home. She saw us pull up, and I wasnt even out of the car when I collapsed into her and my dad. Then I saw the face of the one person who has always looked identical to him, who gets more identical everyday. Our son. "My Boy" as his father called him. Or "the boy" when it was us talking together. I can handle almost anything. I pulled three men and two women 15 feet an hour before. What I still cannot handle: Having to tell that boy, who asked immediately for his Daddy, that he wasnt coming back. The part that gets to me most- He knew before we left. My son KNEW. So did I. So did my mother. So did my husband. We didnt listen to that voice that had stopped us from going to that specific annual show for 3 years in a row.
I am not upset about this: His family blamed the whole event on one person. Me. I get it. I was fighting with him, I left him alone, I was more worried about pride than my husband. I still have quite a bit of blame for myself. I still to this day dont know if it was suicide or accident. A good friend of ours and I have talked about this often. We both see that it could be either one. I will say this. That was a short car, his legs werent broken, and he died of a severed left ventricle. He was on his knees when that car hit. Either due to falling or due to his own doing. His BAC was .35. So I dont know. I wont ever until I get to ask him. Either way, I was the direct influence on his death. I know that. So did everyone with a newspaper in this town. Forgiveness for myself was the hard part. I dont know that I will ever get forgiveness from his family and friends. So, I have no idea if that will be hard or not. I dont think I have completely forgiven myself, but I do try. I make strides towards that everyday still.
The next month is still a blur, though I remember a few things. I was a raging alcoholic almost immediately. I was sitting in a bar intoxicating myself when two old men were sitting there talking about "the lady that pushed her husband in front of the car not getting charges pressed because she managed to convince the cops she wasnt there." I didnt yell. I didnt even talk. I just started crying. BAWLING. The lady that worked in the restaurant in that bar was at that show that night. She and her husband were the ones that kept kicking us out. She came out, and hugged me. She told the old men to stop listening to everything in the paper, especially one that didnt give the person being slammed a chance to talk. I felt like the old men were right in their own way. I did, in a way, push him in front of that car. She gave me a hug, took me back in the kitchen, and made me a smothered burrito. I remember scheduling my own viewing the day of his funeral in order to keep the hatred and fighting down. I remember his funeral. No one talked about his kids! Everyone talked about high school! He was 23. No one wanted to acknowledge the two people who were most important in his life. That was my fault. I am their mother.
A friend of mine, the one who says she was holding his head up so he could breathe when he took his last breath, though I dont know if thats true, have had many conflicting events, took a stand. It was lacking a ton of tact, but she was right. "You all should remember Ty for what he was. A father. He was no longer the wrestling and football star. He was a DAD and a Husband. And a very good one. He was a great person with many great things about him. His kids were number one, and you all should be ashamed that you cant even give them proper acknowledgement." It started a fight, but she was right. His kids were his life.
In the time since he died, MANY things have happened, and it will make this longer, so lets just say I rose, fell, rose, fell. All happening a little bit at a time, and making the last few years feel like 20. Its sometimes hard for me to put things into a time frame that makes any sense. I dont know if that is a ton of kids, lack of activity, or what. I just know its hard for me to do that at times.
What I do remember is what it is like to be hated by many for something that you already had your own guilt for. That is probably the hardest thing to deal with, including grief. I wanted to grieve. I wanted to be able to have my time to figure myself out. I wanted to reflect. I wanted normalacy! I wanted it so bad. I wanted to feel like someone cared! About ME! Not only the kids. All of us. I wanted someone to feel like I was worthy of the time of day, and not a burden to be pushed aside and ridiculed.
I didnt have family for that, even my mom and dad. After the first two days after his death, I was the burden meant to be shoved off. I dont think they did it on purpose. I dont think it was "I know she is guilty, she needs to pay!" Its my parents. Thats what they do. But, I felt completely alone in a huge world. So, I turned to alcohol and drugs, my long lost best friends. Sitting in a bar, anyone can be a friend for a minute, especially if you buy them a drink. So, I became a bar fly for a bit. At least there, I could find someone that wasnt telling me to go away, or that I was worthless and failing. So, I stayed around the peace. The only thing my family did for me in that time was try to drag me out of the bar once, and keep my kids from seeing me become a crazy person. When I got the phone call from my cousin, it wasnt a request, it was "GO! We dont want you here. You arent doing any good for anyone."
So I did, and had to figure out how to survive completely alone, miles away from everything I knew.
I moved as far away as possible. The whole town hated me. I was a raging alcoholic and drug addict. I wasnt a good mom anymore. I only cared about getting high. THATS IT. I didnt put my kids through it by being around it. I put them through it by abandoning them for my drugs. Moving saved us. I went to a teeny town in the middle of nowhere and started over. After awhile, I was working at HeadStart all day long. After that, I went back to school, and somehow managed to graduate. After a couple few years, I married a man that was security and nothing else, and was able to get it annulled pretty quick, and I had managed to figure out how to run a business. We tried for a kid before we were married. I was told something that apparently wasnt true as apparent by the fact I have two more girls now. I ended up leaving after only a couple of months of marriage. All in all, I moved to Montana, rebuilt, rebounded, and moved home a completely different person. I left everything behind. Closed up shop and headed home, in every sense of the word.
I wanted to just enjoy my kids. Thats it.
Then I met Mike.
The beast is my soul mate. My first one died, and I honestly believe that was meant to be as a way to bring me to who I am now. He is everything that Ty was, only way more able to deal with me. Ty was a hell of a lot more charismatic, caring and sweet, but, Mike is also a hell of a lot more... giving, trust worthy (remember, we were kids the first time around), strong both mentally and physically. Both had huge qualities that I admire, both would have been great friends with one another, and both are Dads that would make anyone proud. I wouldnt trade anything. I love them both, and I know the beast knows, and I believe that Ty knows, that. I think that Ty might have a bit to do with meeting the beast. But, thats not what this article is about.
The forgiveness that I have given myself was something that had to be done with a ton of help. People who didnt know me just telling me that its ok. People I did know (finally) giving me the chance to become better. No matter how many times I have regressed. And I have. Drugs, alcohol, recklessness. The love of a good man that had to learn the hard way what the right way was has managed to keep me here, keep me working back to my ultimate goal, happiness and stability for my family, and happiness on the inside for me, and managed to keep me sane through it all. And has taught me more about myself than I ever would have known on my own.
I have learned something else. Forgiveness is something you cannot ever force. It has to be done on its own, in its own time. You need to first forgive yourself before others can forgive you. Once you forgive yourself, you have been honest about your part, and the people whose forgiveness you seek are able to finally confront that side. Thats what ultimately causes forgiveness. Acknowledging what you have done to cause the need for it. Its the hardest part, but, as always, the most fruitful part.
And this is something we all need to think about. Can we ever completely forgive ourselves, for EVERYTHING? Well, that probably depends on the person. I cant forgive myself for everything, there are things that I wont ever forgive myself for, and that is "5 little words". Words that my mother told me never to say, that the minute I did, I would regret it forever. And she was right. 100%. THAT is what I WONT forgive myself for. I wont allow that. I dont want forgiveness for it. I shouldnt be given forgiveness for it. I caused more hurt in 5 words than I could ever, and I do mean EVER, do with a weapon.
Maybe this is my way to seek peace. I can be at peace with the fact that I cant forgive myself for those words, and I think I am getting there. I think I may be able to be at peace with myself. A compromise, of sorts. I dont want the forgiveness because I dont ever want to forget what caused the need for it. 5 little words.