Thursday, August 20, 2020

How Do You Do It?

 How do you carry on? How do you accept the regret? How do you keep sane? How do you reconcile with it? How do you keep going? How in the fuck do you do it?

The questions could be for anything in your life, right? All of us have that thing, that thing which could have or should have crippled us: a husband cheats on us - a boss cheats us - a friend betrays us - a bad choice hurts us - a loved one dies - a child takes their own life. The thing is countless and all of it is bad enough to stop us, where we give up hope. Give up hope for ever being able to smile, to laugh and to enjoy life. 

The 22 of August is the real date. The real date where my Son made the decision to stop living. To escape from his hurt. To take his own life. To tie a string around his neck and to attach it to the rod in the closet. To end his life by slowly choking out his life by hanging himself. The real date is August 22, 2005 because we got him on the 24th of August in the late afternoon. He was staying with his Mom and his younger sister in an apartment off Jefferson Avenue in Winnipeg. His Mom had gotten upset with him as he had sold his sister's cd player. She got mad and left the apartment and went spent a few days in the Reserve. She told him to move out. This happened on the weekend. I had just seen him that Thursday. I bought him a couple of pairs of shoes; sneakers and casual shoes. That night we went to the discount movie theatre on McPhillips Street. We went to see a late movie, the Revenge of the Sith. As I drove my Son back to his Mom's that night I looked at him as he sat in the passenger seat. How I loved my Boy. I gave him $35 and dropped him off. That would be the last time I ever saw him. I don't remember if I said I love you. 

The day we found him, I was at the Concordia Hospital visiting my brother-in-law. He was suppose to be dying of lung cancer. He lived for a period after been released from hospital. When we got into the car after leaving the hospital, we noticed that we missed calls on our cell phone. The phone rang and my daughter said to get to her Mom's right away. We hurried. I felt it. The phone rang again, it was my oldest sister and she said "Don's dead." I swore at her and said it's not true. I hung up and we drove as quick as we could across the City. When we got to the apartment, my brother Don was there, my Cousin Frank, his wife Chantal, my daughter Jess,  her Mom, my Son's Aunt Susan and Uncle Dan. Our daughter Chloe (she was 9)and our niece Meagan were with us, so Chantal took them to her place. Me and my wife Suz, stood at the door where a cop had blocked the door to the apartment. The medical examiner came out. She spoke to us about going in to see our Boy. She said "not to be alarmed because he had been dead for some time and his tongue was black." 

We went in and the first thing to meet us was the smell of the dead. Our boy was placed on the couch in a black body bag. His head was sticking out. I remember rubbing his head; he had a short hair cut. I miss him so much it hurts. It burns in the back of my eyeballs when I sit and remember him. You see my boy was a good guy. Generous and liked to tease and laugh. He got caught and taken by the drug, Crack. When I was in therapy the Psychologist used to ask me why I don't blame the drugs for his death as I blamed myself. I thought this was weird. Of course the drugs were part of the death but it was my failure which killed my Boy. I know it. No debate on that. 

That evening, after our Boy was carted off in a body bag, I took Chloe to the movies. We had promised her that day and didn't want to disappoint her. She went with her cousin. She really didn't seem to know what was happening about her brother. We went to Cineplex on McGillivray. The movie was Kicking and Screaming with Will Ferrell. I couldn't sit in the movie with the girls. I stood in the hallway just outside of doors. My cousin Peter Swampy was taking his family to the movies. He was living up North in the Pas Reserve so it must have been a visiting trip for them. He says "How you doing?"  You know how it goes just a greeting when you see one of your relatives. So I told him about my Son dying. He put his family into the movie section and he came and spent the next hour and half visiting with me. I remember his kindness and compassion. He is my cousin. 

So I know many folk who have lost children. I see them. They seemingly look normal. Just like me I guess. I pretend every single day. I tease, I laugh, I move around. Inside I am dying. I am crying. I am wanting to stop. To just die already. Of course there are days when I am not moping around and crying. There are in fact many days when I actually enjoy the day, the living. I have grandkids, other children a very strong supportive loving wife and friends. It does not seem to be enough. There is a hole in my life, in my being. I wonder how the other people are managing? How do they do it? 

The pain is almost too much to bear sometimes. The nights are the worst. I sit and try to remember his voice. I wish and wish. You ever wish so much you really want it to be? Not the wishing to win the lottery wishing but the going back in time or being able to reach them wishing. 

So how do they do it? How do they keep living, keep taking care of their loved ones, keep taking care of themselves? When it happens to us, we feel we are the only one to be in pain. Yes there are many more in pain and many more in worse situation but when it is us, it is so personal. We feel we are the only one in pain. It may not be right but it is the way it is. 

Don, Jess, Mike, Dad
Good Night My Boy I will you get you in my dreams.   

Donovan, Jessica, Michael, Dad in 1987 Sagkeeng First Nation. 

Knowledge Keeper and Knowledge Giver

There are many beautiful things in the world. Of those beautiful things are youth. How beautiful everything and everyone is when they are yo...