I didn’t die

March 3, 1980. He went to surgery. I went to school, despite loud, vehement protests. By the end of the day, he was dead. She was too devastated to speak to my baby sister. So I told her her daddy was never coming home again. I was 16 years old.

I shook my fist in God’s face. I swore I would never speak to him again. I questioned whether He even existed at all. After all, the others (Santa,tooth fairy, bunny) were myths.

But the belief in supernatural forces was reinforced by weird, unexplainable things that occurred in our house that first year. Things moved around, noises heard, smells. My uncle swears he walked up to the sliding glass door, peered inside, walked away — weeks after he died. How do these things happen?

Everyone went to Disney that summer. Not me. I wondered how they could forget him so easily? I stayed home alone with a friend. The weird noises continued.

I met a guy when they were gone. He was older. He seduced me. I was 17. Looking back, I know he took advantage of me. I was so lost. Turns out he was bisexual. It was the beginning of a mysterious sexually transmitted disease called AIDS. Add this fear to all the others I was dealing with.

Then I met my ex-husband. I didn’t let him take advantage of me. I waited until I was in “love”. We were inseparable from the day we met. He’s a year older than me. Highschool graduate. We had a very turbulent relationship from the very first day. I was too needy. Afraid of people dying, afraid of not being loved. Afraid of AIDS. Afraid.

I slept more and more as the year wenton. One day I woke up and believed I would die the following May. Out of the clear blue sky. I was convinced. It consumed my thoughts all day everyday.

She seemed determined to poison his memory that year by telling me some of his secrets. I just loved him more and loved her less. She kept pointing out how I was just like him, contempt on her face as she said the words. I felt so alone. So lost.

I sank deeper into depression. When the anniversary of his death came, I was looking at the pills in the drawer, telling myself they wouldn’t miss me when I was gone, they would be better off without me.

I don’t remember how, but I told one of her sisters what I was thinking about. She told her she had better do something, find me help.

I saw a therapist. He said part of me wanted to die because I never got to say things to him that needed to be said about the time he went crazy. Never got to say sorry. Never got to say I love you. Never got to say goodbye.

His words made sense, but I was still convinced I would die in May.

I didn’t die. Twenty five years later on May 15, 2006, I was baptized. The old Michelle went into the waters of the Atlantic Ocean and rose again into Jesus Christ. Born again. New. I’ll always wonder if the Lord was showing my child self a vision of something I couldn’t fathom?

His… Michelle

Linking with the writers @Chronicles of Grace 4 Unforced Rhythyms.


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