Family isn't always blood. Sometimes it's just someone, a friend who you can just trust more than anyone else, and is always there for you when you really need them to be. This is something I have learned over the past year, and it's made me value who is really in my life and who I can rely on for anything.
How can your life be ruined even before you started? Maybe not ruined, but certainly damaged. Such a damaged human being from the start. I always felt disconnected from every person, but most of all, family. I would be the one who was a goody-goody, while my sisters rebelled. They always treated me like the annoying youngest sister. The only one who wouldn't go out. The one always upset. Always jealous and longing for love and attention.
I remember back as far as four and a half years old. Vivid memories of living in a basement apartment in North Denver, my Mom being on ADC and the County Nurse coming to visit and bringing a box filled with staples: rice, cheese, powdered eggs, milk, etc. I can still see the box on top of the table, way above my head. I can still feel the sensation of climbing up on the chair to look at all the goods being pulled from the box.
I was the second-born son out of three. I was the middle child. I grew up in an average, hard working, middle class family. I had a seemingly normal childhood. I was a B average student. I was a terrific athlete. I had a big dream of playing professional football. I had no doubt in my mind I was capable of doing so. I was confident, driven and motivated to accomplish my goal. I was an unstoppable force. I wanted to make my family proud. An unexpected football injury in high school would change the course of my life. I would become a victim of America's opioid epidemic. My addiction, however, would teach me the importance of family. I would also learn the power of unconditional love, which is something the world needs more of.
It has been a while since I have checked in and just given an update on my life. How is everyone doing? Obviously you can't respond to me (unless you reach out on Instagram! Don't forget to follow) on this platform but I hope those who read this are doing great. I have been doing great as well. Life keeps throwing the usual curveballs, but I've been doing a great job at catching them.
Lately, a lot has been happening in my life. I wanted to share this story because I am hopeful that it will help someone, somewhere. I know that someone, somewhere has to be going through at least something similar to me. I want you to know, you are not alone. Some people will go through far worse in their life. This may all seem like a molehill to you. Let me tell you, friend. Right now, to me this is as large as Mount Everest.
It was the day before Cameron’s ninth birthday. I expected to hear an excited voice on the other end of the phone in Windsor, but there were only sobs and tears. Cameron’s classmate, Destiny, had died suddenly two days before, and my youngest grandson was feeling deep, deep sadness. “I’m not going to have a very good birthday tomorrow, Papa,” was the only clear sentence he managed to articulate at that point. This is the rest of the conversation as best I can recall.
Late again! My new doctor that is, who I met last year in the emergency ward after suffering a rather nasty concussion while curling.
When my grandson was born, I felt I was too young to be called grandpa. I was a very young first-time father and was only 35 when my grandson was born. So, when I made that declaration, my daughter asked: "What would you like to be called then, dad?" and I responded "PAPA!" From that point on, I was PAPA. A title I take very seriously and with the greatest of pride.
In 2002, my “mother” got pregnant for the sixth time. She had kept three of the kids, put one up for adoption, and the other lived with the dad. She wanted to get an abortion so she could keep doing drugs, but after my dad and grandma didn’t let that happen, she kept the baby, but also kept doing drugs. In March of 2003, on a snowy day, that baby girl was born, and that baby girl was me. After spending nine months in the womb, exposed to meth and god knows what else, it was a miracle I didn’t have any apparent problems, and an even bigger miracle I had turned out to have no problems at all!
I'm not sure if it's a "me thing," or if over time I caused myself to become the person I am today. I keep searching for love, and usually it starts off well, and then ends up like everything else in my life. I was never given the opportunity to experience real love from my dad, so I think that resulted in me looking for love within the people I date. Nah, my dad's not dead, yes he was apart of my life growing up, but he still wasn't there. My mother had to beg him to show up and be a father, and it felt like maybe it's me, maybe I caused everything. We lived in the same household, and I felt unloved by him. I never heard my father say "I Love You," "You're Beautiful." Certain things I wanted, he didn't do, well most things. Actually, I realized it is a "me thing," because he tells my younger siblings everything I wanted to hear for the past 20 years of my life. So yeah IT IS ME! I've dated a lot of guys, made a lot of mistakes looking for love, and I really wish I could start over. It's funny how—well not really funny—but the guys I speak to can never love me the way I want. Is it me? Do I come on too strong, too fast? I rush things. Yeah, maybe that's it. I have so much love to give; I'm such a loving person, and all I ever wanted was love and loyalty in return. Even though my dad has done me wrong, betrayed me, called me out of my name, and physically abused me; I have no clue why I leave the door cracked open. I never completely close it, and keep my life pushing. I keep thinking maybe he'll come around, maybe he doesn't hate me, and I'm overreacting. My heart won't let me hate him, and I don't know why. He's the reason for my heartbreaks, and the constant search for love.
One of the things I stand against entirely is parent’s disciplining their children by giving them embarrassing haircuts. I feel this way based on experience, and the day I had to go to school with one of the worst haircuts ever. Even as I write about this experience, the feelings of embarrassment come back to me, and it hurts. I was in the eighth grade; I remember the day before the haircut like it was yesterday.