Was Thanksgiving just 8 days ago? It seems surreal to me that just 8 days ago, I still feel I came thisfreakingclose to death.
Some of you might know this story, having read this post over on my Facebook page, If you haven't read it, go take a minute. It's not a long post, more to the point and certainly pretty void of the emotions I've been feeling 24/7 since then. I spoke more about candle safety and very little about how much this shook me up. To the core. And who do you talk to about shit like this? I told only 4 people. Well besides the 7,000 crazies following me on Facebook. :) I can't even bring myself to discuss it with my children. How do I look them in the eye and tell them I almost killed myself (along with 4 others), just 8 days ago? On Thanksgiving night? Just shy of it being 10 years ago that their Daddy died?
Let me tell you about those 4 others in my house that night. And the 1 who wasn't there. First let's start with the one who wasn't...my youngest daughter, who is 14. She had gone home with my oldest daughter (20) from our Thanksgiving dinner so that they could go Black Friday shopping together and have a sleepover. The only child of mine who doesn't really remember her Dad as he hadn't lived with us since she was 1 and died when she was 4. This was only the 2nd time she had slept over at her sisters' apartment and the two of them would've been left with only each other. :(
Who was there? Let's see....My son (17) and his best friend (18) of 10 years. The best friend being the sports star in baseball and football of our high school and his mom being one of my best friends in the world as well too. (Haven't been able to even talk to her this week at all because if I do, I will LOSE it.) My bonus step-son who lives with us. Why is he my bonus step-son? Well, my kids Dad, who passed away had a son from his first marriage. This boy is my step-son's younger brother but we've (I've) always treated him as one of my own too and he needed a place to stay last winter. His mother is also one of my very best friends (yes, my ex husbands first ex wife and I are best friends!). Who else you ask? There's one person not accounted for right? Yep. Here goes...
My niece. 11&1/2 years old. Daughter of 1 of my 3 sisters. On my FB page, I refer to this sister as the 'missing, but not so missing, addict sister.' And that's a pretty accurate description (and btw, at this time, she is in the 'missing' category again). I was given custody of this child by the state when she was just 6 months old. She was born 14 weeks early, weighing just 2 pounds and was 14 inches long. She spent 3 months in NICU as an infant. Then 3 months in a foster care hospital, growing stronger while the state searched for family to take her in. They found me. She grew and prospered every time she lived with me and was neglected and abused every time the state gave her back to my sister. She was neglected and not wanted when she was given to another sibling of mine at one point. She was emotionally abused and verbally taunted and bullied by a foster home the state placed her in at one point as well. After 8 long years of custody fights and family battles within my family, the state finally terminated my sisters rights. There was some discourse and dysfunction and lots of raw emotion within my family and it didn't work out for me to adopt her. Long story for another day. You know who did adopt her though? Are you ready for this? My ex husbands first ex wife and her husband. Yes. They are now, and have been for almost 2 years, my biological niece's legal parents. They (or rather she) were her babysitters for me when she was an infant and they've always loved her unconditionally since the day I brought her home, at 6 months old, just 6 days before Christmas. She had come home with her 'big brother' (my bonus step son) after their Thanksgiving dinner, 8 days ago, to spend the rest of the holiday weekend with us and go to my other sisters house and get to see our kids, her cousins.
I cannot get over the fact that they would've probably perished with me. And that this is how my life, and their lives, would've ended. That after all the fighting I did to 'save' my niece for so many years, that I also would've been the one responsible for her death. That I would've taken TWO CHILDREN, ages 11 and 26, from one of my best friends. That I would've taken a son from another best friend. To know that my son and his best friend weren't even supposed to be here that night. They were sleeping at the friends house and came back here after I had fallen asleep. I didn't even know they were here until the next morning.
For 8 days, I haven't really been able to shake this 'thisclosetodeath' feeling and last night I couldn't help feeling like it would've been the night of my wake and this morning I woke up with tears in the corners of my eyes and while I don't remember dreaming, I do have this overwhelming feeling of sadness and literal pain in my heart at the thought that this would be the morning of my funeral and how much raw pain my children would be in right at this moment. And that's killing me emotionally. Absolutely gut wrenching, tears again welled up in my eyes as I'm typing, lump in my throat, hard raw emotion. I still can't believe the 100's upon 100's of times I've fallen asleep with a candle lit and NEVER had any problems. I can't even imagine how my daughters, and my sister, my aunts, my uncles, my cousins, my friends, my community would've gotten through the numerous wakes and funerals and sadness of this past week IF I HADN'T WOKEN UP WHEN I DID. I have gone through SO much tissue this week as I'm carrying this guilt and sadness everywhere I go. I've gone through a pile here this morning, just typing this all out. But it hurts so much to keep it inside and I feel the 4 people I've told really don't understand how close it really came for me. And how much it's hurting me still. As a mother, you just imagine the worst case scenario, especially after waking to a room FULL of thick black smoke that you've inhaled and coughed out of your lungs for 8 days afterwards.
Many of you who are going to read this probably know of the great blog and FB page written by Doyin over at his FB page Daddy Doin' Work and by now, if you've been around, I'm sure you've read his blog on "Achieving Happy." (I'm tired of posting links already and I'm hoping this is all even going to work so I'll let you go find it if you haven't yet read it, you need to.) I've re-read his post a few times over the last 8 days and I'm really hoping that it took him at least 8 days, if not more, to come to all of those realizations. Because 8 days after my 'almost demise', I'm still not feeling any of that....but I guess the point is more that since this happened, since I've been re-reading his words, that state of mind IS what I hope to achieve.
I hope to get out of this funk...trying NOT to dwell on the what if's as the holidays come upon us, as I deal with my feelings and my kids emotions as we come upon the 10th anniversary of their Dad's passing in January. I mean, really, MY life and their lives DEPEND on me a whole damn lot and I'M STILL HERE. I have no intention of going anywhere. No intention of leaving my kids. And this incident I hope is teaching me just how one stupid, careless mistake could have wiped me out, along with innocent others I love, in one flipping, freaking instant.
Now I'm going to try and post this, crossing my fingers and hoping this works...and then share it with you all on Facebook to spread these words:
BLOW OUT YOUR FREAKING CANDLES MY FRIENDS!!!! Because what a stupid, senseless loss of lives I almost was responsible for and will always carry with me. I don't want this feeling for anyone else, or even worse.........