I’ve been reliving the night of June 6, 1993 for almost 20 years now without realizing it. It was the first night after my dad died. I stared up at the ceiling in the dark. I had pages from a magazine pinned to the ceiling – probably of Blas Elias or PJ Harvey or some weird ’80s hair band. My parents’ room was upstairs. It felt like the darkness was swallowing me up like a blanket. It felt like no one was upstairs – physically or metaphorically. I could feel this demon darkness just wrapping me up to take me away or suffocate me or kill me.
It’s the only night of that summer that I remember. The feeling of just complete loneliness and fear is the same flavor of panic I get when friends leave town, or when I go to a store with someone and we get separated, or a boyfriend goes on a trip, or lets go of my hand, or doesn’t pay complete attention to everything I’m saying. It’s irrational, panic inducing fear.
My mom should have come to my room and hugged me. I should have gone up to her room and hugged her. Someone should have been there for me. All I can do now is think about that night and give that poor little girl a hug.
Being able to relive that night for the first time since it happened is actually kind of a relief. Actually, it’s making the connection that every time someone leaves me, I go right back to that dark bedroom alone. No matter if it’s leaving me for 30 seconds, or a few days, or forever, I go right back to feeling that dark demon is trying to pull me under.
Now I can remember that night and feel the same panic, fear, and loneliness. But it ends. I have a panic attack or cry or whatever, and it’s over. And when it’s over, I realize that I’m okay. My life is awesome. I’ll go to sleep and the sun will rise and so will I. It sounds so stupid, but that’s what fears are. I guess I didn’t really have faith that the darkness wouldn’t kill me in the night. Somewhere in me, I actually thought I might not wake up in the morning. Because that’s what a 15-year-old who just lost her dad felt.
So I can have a little pity on myself for taking breakups so hard. I think I felt like I literally would die from being left. Crazy.
There’s another night that probably will surface some day. The next summer, my mom had an allergic reaction to one of her glaucoma medications and went into anaphylactic shock. I had to call 911 while she was unconscious on her bedroom floor, follow the ambulance to the emergency room, check her in, and wait in the ER waiting room alone.
Man, I’ve been so focused on my dad’s death that the horror of that situation has never really sunk in until now. I was almost an orphan. I saved my mother’s life. A 16-year-old had to call 911 for her only living parent. That’s fucked up.
Anyway, she pulled through in the ER and was moved to another unit. She told me not to worry, that I shouldn’t have to spend the night in a hospital, and sent me home. So I went home to an empty house and spent my first ever night alone.
Later she realized how awful that was and apologized to me for not making me stay in the hospital with her. She obviously wasn’t thinking too clearly and only thought that a kid shouldn’t have to spend a night in a hospital room.
I don’t know, maybe that night doesn’t mean anything to me. I have a feeling, though, that there’s a backlog of shit in me and I just can’t even see the things I’ll have to deal with down the line.