September 10, 2003 was the very first World Suicide Prevention Day.
I wonder now if Katie knew that when she took her own life.
Today it is fourteen years since I last saw my beautiful daughter Katie alive. It’s hard for me to believe sometimes that so much time has passed and at other times, it still feels so recent.
That Wednesday was a beautiful, sunny, late summer day much like any other we had enjoyed before that and yet, I knew there was something different that day. I felt it.
Since my son Adam was separated from his wife Bridget and had been living with Katie and I, naturally I thought I felt like something was going to happen with him.
It was on that morning that Bridget brought the kids by so that Adam could talk to them. I had heard that she was planning on moving herself and the kids out to the mid-west somewhere but I never did get the entire story about that and I doubt that I ever will. If that was true, I was concerned for my son and how he felt.
Because of everything that Bridget had done to cause so much pain, I was concerned that it might be Adam who would do harm to himself or someone else. It never occurred to me that Katie also, was in a great amount of pain as well.
I guess I just wasn’t paying attention to Katie as well as I should have been. She and Adam had never both been in crisis mode at the same time before, that is, that I knew of.
God, how I wish I had done something different that day.
I knew that Katie felt disgusted and disappointed about a lot of things in her life not happening the way that she thought that they should and she wasn’t very happy about not having enough money to be able to do some of the things that she wanted to get done but never in a million years would I have thought that she would take her own life. Never!
When I got home from work that night and found Katie’s lifeless body, saying that my life changed forever is a huge understatement. Something inside me broke that night and I haven’t been the same since. I know it isn’t a break that anyone can see but it’s there, believe me.
Here it is, fourteen years later. My life has changed considerably.
I had only three grandchildren at the time, the oldest being four years old and the youngest probably about one. Not too long after Katie’s death, Bridget became pregnant again and my fourth grandchild was born. They are no longer in my life on a regular basis and I have been excluded from almost every single important event in their lives.
One granddaughter in particular wants nothing to do with me whatsoever. She will not even acknowledge me as a person, not to mention, her grandmother.
This is ok with her father, my son. He does not see it that she is disrespecting me. With that, he and I agree to disagree. All I know is that if he had treated my parents the way his daughter treats me, I would have tanned his ass and he knows it. Regardless of whether I agreed with what my parents said or did, I didn’t let anyone get away with showing them such disrespect.
For the first four or five years I walked around a great deal of the time kind of like in a fog just trying to get my head around the fact that my daughter was dead. Gone! One day she was here and the next, not! Not to mention the fact that she had taken her own life.
My life went from where I was seeing Adam and Katie daily and my grandchildren on a almost weekly basis to hardly seeing the kids at all. Adam and Bridget didn’t even bring them to the reception after Katie’s funeral. Every time I talked to my son, I asked him to bring them to see me and he always had a reason why he couldn’t. After a while, I started calling my ex-daughter in law to set up times with her for the kids to visit because I got the impression that she was the one who made those decisions and what did she say?, that it was Adam’s responsibility to bring them to see me.
For a very long time I started to think that I really had done something to hurt the kids and that was why Adam and Bridget didn’t want the kids to visit me. However, over the years, I get a little more when my son and I talk and what I surmise now is that because my grieving had changed me so much, they didn’t care much for how I acted around the children. I guess I was acting too sad and then the reason was that I was talking down Nana even though it was okay for Nana to blatantly talk me down anytime she felt like it by telling the kids how much she hated the “word” Memere. Now you tell me, if you were a kid of three and you heard that, what would you hate, Memere or the word Memere?
Truth of the matter. Adam and Bridget offered for me to come and live with them after Katie died and I declined the offer. I think that is where I made my mistake.
Yep, a couple of days after Katie died I was in shock but I had not lost my common sense.
I had not forgotten that up until the night of Katie’s death, Adam and Bridget were separated. She was still stouping her then boyfriend/now husband. Did she really think that I thought she and Adam would get back together because Katie died? The first thing I thought of was that she was looking for a live-in babysitter and it was not going to be me.
I guess Adam and Bridget had forgotten that I had given up benefits and seniority at work when I quit my job to be the babysitter of my grandchildren when Autumn and Sami were toddlers and that they did not want to pay me for doing it?
Anyway, enough of the sob story of my life. “It is what it is” is the latest most popular phrase being used these days.
All I know is, like they say in AA meetings, “I am sick and tired of being sick and tired” and it’s time for me to start taking the blame for how I am being treated.
My problem is that I keep waiting for my son to show me that he cares about me. On Labor day all I wanted was to talk to him. You see we usually talk to one another at least once a week. It’s one of the crumbs that he gives to me and that I so gratefully accept from him. So I called him. I figured with it being a holiday, he would be able to talk and because I knew I’d be busy all week running around for my sister Malvina, that it would be a good day for us to talk. He didn’t answer his phone and I still haven’t heard from him yet.
But this past week I had an epiphany. According to Dr. Wayne Dyer, “we teach people how to treat us”.
That’s right. All my kid’s lives I put them and their needs before my own. I never treated them like they were the family pet that only got a hello smooch and then put back down on the floor when I was done. I didn’t walk around eating my food in front of them before I thought to feed them. I was up in the morning before they were, getting their clothes and breakfast ready. I was there when they needed an emotional punching bag because their father had disappointed them and let them down once again.
I never expected to get back all that I have given for my kids but I did expect that they would have learned from my example of how I treated my own parents. What I know now is that I have been too accepting, too understanding and too afraid that I would lose the people that matter the most to me and I settled for a lot less than I felt I deserved. I thought that eventually my loved ones would wake up and realize that they needed to treat me better but I’m beginning to think that only happens in the movies and I figured it won’t matter a good GD to me when I’m dead if that’s what it took and I am not getting any younger here.
The truth of the matter is, there is nothing more to fear, I am alone and people can only give what they have inside to give. I am living with the death of my daughter, I can live with anything else I am given.
I am ok and thank you for reading. Still loving and missing my Katie.