Sunday, April 6, 2014

Death Doesn't Become Her

She is dead. I have to accept that and stop trying to stick it in a bottle like some random note cast out to sea hoping someone finds and reads someday, like whatever you wrote will mean something to them so you don't have to feel it now. This is real. I turned my back on this kid thinking we'd have so much time when she got older, freed herself from her mother's clutches but just like some cliche' Lifetime movie, she up and died from some crazy ass neurological disease that I'm not even sure they've a name for. I don't know because her mother never told me she died. Only through hours of web stalking did I finally come across an obituary posted to a random church site in Florida. There she was, completely grown up in her senior picture and dead. My mouth, breath, soul was hollow and suspended in confusion for who knows how long as I stared at that picture, still not believing this was true.

The last time I spoke to her, 8 years ago, she'd begged to come and live with me. Her mother had sworn she was lying, the guy she was marrying was a decent fellow, treated Olivia just fine. I wasn't sure what to believe, well going by her mom's track record I knew but didn't want to deal with it so I did the easiest thing, cut them off and moved on with my life. I never really forgot about her but truthfully, I'd been sick of her mother for quite some time. She was kind of a crazy, obese slut who perpetuated drama every second of her existence. I only hung in for as long as I did because I didn't want to lose the kid. Then-my husband's brother died. Then-my brother died. I was tired of dramatic, sad shit.

That day when her mother called and said "Dude, do you not want us to call you anymore? Are you avoiding us?" I should've been real, should've said "No you fat whore, I love your daughter just fine, I'd like to keep talking to her, it's you that sickens and torments me in ways that I can't even fathom at times." Instead I just replied "Yes, please leave me alone." like a total coward. It's what I've always been good at, running away, starting over, erasing people from my life like unwanted words.

Things had been going well. I'd finally resigned myself to the fact that comedy was over, made my peace with it and had turned my full attention back to writing the novel I'd been working on for the last few years. Then just before Christmas, while walking my dogs, this image of Olivia flashed in my brain. I had this overwhelming sense that something wasn't kosher.

Almost every year since social media became a thing, I would look for her or her mother, not to contact them, just to see if they were alright and would always come up empty. This time I kept digging and Googling until I discovered their names had changed after the wedding, which led to the church website and the obituary of the child who I saw the moment she was removed from her mother's womb as a horribly prepared lamaze coach. I lived with them for the first 4 years of Olivia's life since her father was nuts and urinated in Pepsi bottles that he kept under the kitchen sink. He wasn't the best role model. According to the obit, she'd been gone for over a year. According to the write up, she'd suffered from some sort of neurological illness and had done so for quite some time.

Naturally the guilt caused any sort of creative flow I'd been riding to completely cease up and being the born quitter that I've always been, I immediately abandoned my novel and went into a shell. Three weeks ago, I finally summoned the guts to write her mother a letter, telling her all the things I loved about her child, how I was sorry for abandoning her and that I couldn't imagine her grief. There was no extension to resume our friendship, I have no interest in that, just an overall message of pure regret. I hope it made her feel better to know that I will always feel like a massive shit heel, I really do, she deserves that and I can only hope it helps. It was still selfish though. In the back of my mind, I thought if I wrote that letter, maybe, just maybe it would unlock the mental stockade I'd placed myself in, that I'd resume writing.

It hasn't.


  1. Thanks for reading Barnes. It helped to write about it. I hope things are going well in your world. :)

  2. oh yes very well. Always want to read your stuff, I won't say I always enjoy it, but it is very affecting.