Tuesday, May 31, 2011

It's really gone.

Last week we came home after a visit with my mom and the answering machine was blinking. A single message that changed everything. A couple of words that I’ll never forget.

It was Rambo’s Dad and he said:

“Tell your wife that her childhood home is no longer there. They bulldozed it over today. It is gone.”

I stopped dead in mid-stride and literally sucked in air. I might as well have been punched in the gut. I kind of feel like I was – by the hand of God.

I never expected my reaction. I think I never really expected for the house to be gone if I’m being honest. The house was proof we existed. Proof I grew up there. Just proof.

And though a flood came and the world strapped the words “condemned and abandoned” on it – yet the house remained. It stayed.

While I proclaimed to the world that I had said my last goodbye and that I wanted it gone because it was an eyesore – I was lying to myself.

Rambo left shortly after I got that message that night to go run an errand and because I told him I was fine. Before he was out of the driveway I was bent over the sink, white-knuckling the edge, praying to God I wouldn’t lose it in front of my kids. I willed the sobs not to come – but they did. I couldn’t stop the pain from coming out in tears.

My 5 year old Banana said, “Mommy, I’ll miss that house too. It was a good house.”

I kept telling her I’d be fine. I knew that I had to warn my parents so they wouldn’t be surprised the next time they drove by so I called and told my mom it was gone. I could hardly talk. I think even my mom was shocked at my reaction and I kept saying, “I’m fine – I have no idea why I’m crying – I wanted it gone…but now it’s like it’s really over. It’s done.”

I hung up and kept crying. I just kept seeing that land without our house…..like we never existed….and I picked up the phone again and stared at it. I wanted and needed to call Jenny BUT I don’t reach out. I don’t let people in. I don’t admit weakness and I was so ashamed to be so sad after so long for something so stupid…..but I’m also a different person now.

Now I know friends need to help other. Friends need to feel needed and wanted. Friends want to help – but they can’t if you won’t let them. And I also knew if this was Jenny – I’d want her to call me.

I dialed her number and got her voicemail and I decided right then to leave a message. I told her I was hurting and I was confused by my hurt and 10 minutes later I texted her and told her to not worry about me, that I was fine. Jenny called back that day and we talked and calling her was the right thing to do. For her and for me. (thank you Jenny)

It has been close to two weeks since I got the call that my childhood home is gone. I have driven by it nearly every day. I cannot and have not looked at the site. I just can’t.

I suppose that makes me weak but for some reason – I just can’t. I have purposefully avoided that road when and if I can. I have turned my head and even shielded my view with my hands so as not to see it.

And I’ll keep doing that – until I can look and not want to throw up and curse God and fall to my knees.

You see, when the flood happened – everyone fell apart. Everyone. Except me and Rambo. We picked up the pieces and stayed strong and made our home ready and did whatever was needed to in every moment. I never grieved or cried or let myself actually see what was happening.

I have images of my father literally on his knees wrapped around my sister as she sobbed and shook….and images of my mother standing in her newly remodeled kitchen wracked with her own sobs as she desperately tried to wipe the mud from her new floor she spent weeks picking out.

I never let a single tear fall during that time. I was 3 days out from tummy tuck surgery and the physical pain was as bad as the mental pain. My surgeon was pissed off I wasn’t resting and pissed off I was in dirty flood water and mud but she hugged me and said, “I know it’s where you have to be.”

Rambo would see me working in the mud next to Red Cross workers wearing masks and boots and gloves knowing my stomach had an end to end open wound in it and he’d beg me to sit down and stay away – knowing the whole time I wouldn’t – I couldn’t.

In my head I did everything right and I stayed strong…and now three years later when the house is finally torn down…I can see I did a lot of things wrong.

I never let go and I never let myself feel the pain of my loss. I never cried.

Strong isn’t always better. You can pretend you’re fine and that you’re over something until one day you get a message and you find yourself on your knees again.

So instead of just feeling the pain and sadness now….today I also get to mix in guilt and anger at myself for not allowing myself to feel it back then.

Just like the scar on my stomach remains…so does the one on my heart.

The house is gone. It’s really gone.

I hope some day I’m strong enough to look at the spot where it once stood….


Island Bandit said...

awwwwwwwwwwww....... i feel so bad for you.
if it makes you feel any better, know that you are not alone in your feeling this way. Years ago I went back to the island I grew up on and decided to take a drive through my old street. It was now a ghetto and our house was the worst on the block. I cried. and cried. and cried.

Dazee Dreamer said...

Oh Draz. I'm so sorry. There are truly so many memories associated with everything in our lives. Hang in there. Big hug.

Cat's Chic Chat said...

Sending big hugs your way. Wishing there were some way to help you through this tough time. But it will get better. Eventually, it's a trite old phrase, but time really does heal.

Red Riding Hood said...

Huge hugs! Such a terrible thing to learn by answering machine. Sometimes I hate those things! Now is not the time to punish yourself for the past, it will only make you feel worse. Instead, acknowledge that you *are* dealing with it now! That in itself is a huge step forwards.

Jacquie said...

I am so sorry you are feeling this pain but remember,this is one of the reason God gave us memories. Nothing can ever take them away from you and you will always have them in your heart.

Laura Belle said...

You will be ok. You will be able to look at where the house once stood, one day. You will always remember the great things that happened in that home. You will overcome the sadness. You will be ok. *hugs*

Karen Butler Ogle said...

I'm sorry, Draz. I would be hurting too. My childhood home is still there though I don't know who owns it now. I also know that the motel where I grew up, the family business, is still there though no longer in the family. Whenever I am in town, I drive by and feel a twinge. It was sold without my approval but there was no way to stop the sell. I miss those days and frequently dream about the old days, or dream that my grandparents and dad are still alive and we are back at the house and motel laughing and smiling. It is bitter-sweet.

Ronnie said...

Big hugs your way. I'm sorry this happened, but thanks for sharing, ladybug. We love you. <3

Joanna said...

I'm so sorry, Draz. I agree with Red - you are dealing with it. This is how, and it's OK.

You're so right about strength not always being best.

Know that I love ya, I'm thinking of ya, and wish there were words that I could type that would make the pain go away.

Ice Queen said...

Oh Love. I am so sorry for your pain. I wish I had wise words to ease your hurt, to make you feel better. But I know as well as you do that I am powerless and I have to just stand back a little and let you feel this. But my heart aches for you.

I am sending you a warm hug across the miles. I hope that you can feel it. The comfort it symbolizes.

Let it all out. Grief must be felt. Expressed. Being strong, silent and all stiff upper lipp-y may be the ideal but it is also harmful to our hearts and souls. Mourning is necessary and human. So do it. In the end, you will feel better and you will come though it even stronger.

rskmom said...


Theresa aka Tessie Rose said...

I'm sorry for your pain.

Sandy Lee said...

I am so sorry. Blogger has finally allowed me to comment. Tears are sometimes necessary. Love you.

Read said...

Oh Draz, I'm so sorry! My heart is aching for you. I think you're exactly right though, you didn't grieve before and now you have to do it. I'm so sorry you're having to deal with this right now (or ever.) Lean on your friends!!

PS_Iloveyou said...

My condolences to you and your family. I'm so sorry for your loss. A home becomes a family member of sorts and when it has to go it hurts much like when a family member finally passes over after being sick for a long time. Take time and grieve for all you've been through and all you've lost.

My thoughts are with you.

AutumnLeaves said...

Egads, Draz. I'm so sorry. I know the feelings a bit, though for different events. And I just wanted to apologize for not visiting sooner. Our modem died Wednesday or Thursday last week and the new one from AT&T just got here today.

Gilly said...

Aw Draz...so sorry :(