Tag Archives: friend

A letter to someone I love

8 Apr

Dear friend,

I have known you for what seems like forever. We grew up together, raced cars across my kitchen floor, played in my dads’ old flat-bottomed boat parked alongside my house and rode our bikes far past the mail boxes where we were forbidden to go. You watched me dance and swim. I watched you wrestle and play T-ball. You watched me struggle through my first back surgery in middle school and saw me cry when kids made fun of me. I watched you struggle through elementary school and saw you cry when kids made fun of you because you were just so incredibly smart and misunderstood. You watched me drive away to college and I watched your face dip in the sunlight. I saw your loneliness play shadows across your face as you watched your closest friend and constant ally drive off.

After that afternoon, things changed didn’t they? I was no longer there to protect you and you were no longer there to comfort me. We had been separated by miles and miles of fields and desert. I made new friends. I didn’t call you. I never forgot about you, but I forgot how much you were like me. I forgot how much we needed each other. I forgot about our summer walks and our midnight secretes when I came home to visit. I forgot to call you when the summer ended and I forgot to continue our friendship during the long winter months.

How could I forget?

Things got hard for you at home. Your parents divorced and you got lost in the shuffle. You were left to fend for yourself and grew up too quickly. You didn’t have me there to try to console you or set an example on how to cope with such a loss and a change. You didn’t have me there to try to help you.

I just wasn’t there was I?

You moved out on your own at 16 years old. You started drinking and making bad decisions. You got into trouble. You didn’t know how to live life yet. You were just a kid. I was an adult by that time. I should have been there to help lead you through the maze and the mess that had sprung up around you. I should have called. I should have told you that no matter how far away I was, I was always there for you. I thought you knew, but I should have told you.

I should have…

Still more years pass and things get even worse for you. I get late night drunk calls where you don’t know where you are and don’t know how you got there. You get beat up multiple times and wreck your cars. You are spiraling out of control. I want to help, but I don’t know how? I want to save you, but it begins to feel like you are beyond saving. Or maybe I just don’t want to deal with you anymore. Maybe I think that you are old enough now and should know better.

I was heartless wasn’t I?

Because the truth is…no one is beyond saving. No one deserves to just have people turn their backs on them. You didn’t deserve that, but that’s what I did.

And now things are better. You don’t drink as much, but you still drink too much. Now you don’t get into trouble, but you sit at home. Alone. You sit in your apartment with your loneliness and I sit in mine with my guilt. We don’t talk about it much do we? We don’t talk about those common traits that run through our veins.

I now find myself in a position to want to help you again. I want to help you, but you’re not that young kid anymore. You’re a man. A man who doesn’t really want to be helped. I have to respect that.

But here’s what I want to tell you if I could, or rather, what I will tell you when the time is right. I’m writing it now because I don’t want to overstep my bounds and you may or may not read this post. I hope that you do read it though. And if you do…well…we can talk about it. Or, if you don’t want to, you can just pretend like you never read it.

I have to say something because I hear too many stories of people saying nothing and then regretting it later when the unimaginable happens.

Life can be better friend. Life can be so much better.

You deserve the best. You deserve to be happy. You are an amazing person. One of the best and brightest that I have ever known. You don’t have to sit in your loneliness anymore. You don’t have to sit in unhappiness. There is a life waiting for you out there that you’ve never even imagined. You are a good person. You are a person capable of loving and being loved. You mean the world to me and I don’t want to spend another minute sitting in guilt over this and wondering what I should have done. I have done that enough.

I have been there. I have felt those feelings and wondered where the bottom was. After Oli was born I thought that I would never smile, laugh, or love the same again. But, I did. I did. And so can you. It just takes looking at everything from a different perspective. It takes not always trusting what goes on in your head as the truth. Sometimes our own minds are our biggest deceivers. Our biggest enemy lies inside us. It doesn’t have to stay that way. You can change it. But you must be willing to step outside what feels comfortable. You must be willing to do something different. It’s not always fun at first, but I promise you. It is worth it.

I love you.

You are worth it.

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She asked if she could see my baby.

29 Jan

“When someone is crying, of course, the noble thing to do is to comfort them. But if someone is trying to hide their tears, it may also be noble to pretend you do not notice them.”

― Lemony Snicket, Horseradish: Bitter Truths You Can’t Avoid

Seth and I decided to go to the Nevada Blind Children’s Foundation open house. I was nervous about taking Oli out anywhere besides the doctor. I didn’t want people staring at her or asking me questions about her eyes. I didn’t want to have to start explaining my baby to people. She was only a week old.

We had to make the trip though. We didn’t have any other place to go. I needed to talk to another parent about what it was like to raise a blind child.

The open house was in Las Vegas. I tried to prepare myself on the hour long drive there. I didn’t want a lot of people looking at her or touching her. She was so small and I felt that fierce need to protect her like I had my son. I brought my baby sling to put her in.

I brought it because I knew that it was the best way to hide her from the world.

If I could only hide her for a little while longer… maybe eventually I would be ready for the world to meet her. Right now, I just wanted to get in, ask my questions, learn the secrete language or hand shake or whatever it was that I needed to learn in order to live this life and function normally.

I really thought that these people would give me the magical keys to my new life. I thought they would open the door for me. After all I was now part of their club. I had a child that was blind. I thought they would just sit me down and explain it all.

It didn’t happen that way.

They were very nice. They told me their son was 3 and had bilateral microphthalmia. I remember that I really wanted to meet him. I wanted to be able to picture what Oli would be like in 3 years. I wanted to see what his eyes looked like. I thought that because Oli had the same condition as him they would be very similar. I thought all kids with the same diagnosis were similar. Obviously there was so much that I didn’t know. I was disappointed when they told me that their son wasn’t there.

The mother of the little boy approached me.

“How are you doing?” she asks me.

Of course I replied, “I’m fine. Thank you.”

“Can I see her?” she startles me with her question.

Oh my God. The moment of truth. Someone wanted to look at her. At least this was someone who was familiar with her condition. I felt a tiny bit more secure as I pulled the fabric back from her face. She peaked inside the sling.

“She’s beautiful. Congratulations.” she smiles.

Congratulations?

I don’t think anyone had said those words since we found out about her eyes.

As tears welled up in my eyes the next words out of my mouth were spoken with complete honesty and appreciation for that one word. Congratulations.

“Thank you.”

Thank you for reminding me that she was a baby. She was my baby despite her disabilities. I should be proud of her and people should not be afraid to congratulate me.

That word was spoken by a woman who, through her own experience, knew exactly what I needed to hear. She could sense that I was frightened about what people would say. Frightened by the way people might look at her.

She knew what I needed and that is exactly what she gave me at the moment when I needed it most.

Comfort.

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