On this day 12 years ago, I got up, chucked my new bright red uniform on, grabbed my new polka dot backpack and scraped my hair back into the tightest of ponytails. I went about my regular morning routine singing Busted in the bathroom mirror, arguing with my sister as to who was most deserving of the first shower and just like usual, I didn’t think about you at all. I was to be that ‘cute’ little naive Year 7 kid, or so I hoped my day would pan out that way.
Growing up you were never a consistent fixture in my life. I knew you were ‘there’, that you were living but I also knew that you were killing yourself more and more by the day. I’m sorry for telling you to bugger off and leave me alone when I was 8 years old, however, you were the monster that haunted my dreams, you were that broken promise on Christmas, on my birthday and on all the other days in-between. More so, you were my only dream and hope for the future; that someday you’d come running back into my life, that I would be your beautiful princess again and you would have learned to put us before a bottle of Jack Daniels.
Did you know that I used to sit on the bottom step every Christmas morning and cry? Cry because I always thought you’d come running through the door with a sack full of presents and be there. The presents didn’t even matter, I just wanted you to be there, with me, with us and see for yourself what great children you had. I wanted you to want me like I’ve always wanted you around.
That ‘perfect’ Christmas scenario never came though, neither did that happy reunion. You lost yourself, you took away that chance and you left me and my brother to pick up the pieces. You did this to yourself and that’s the most frustrating thing. You’ve missed out on ‘us’.
I used to think your death was selfish, that you’d mistreated me. I’ll always have this missing jigsaw piece in my day, at my birthday, at Christmas and you’ll always be in my thoughts when the lights turn off at night. That doesn’t make you selfish however.
Growing up, I’ve come to realise that you did this because you genuinely thought we’d be better off without you, that you were the dark cloud looming over my life. You weren’t, your addictions were. It would be selfish of me to expect you to be here when your actions on this day 12 years ago, proved that you didn’t want to share this earth with me no longer.
You didn’t want to share your demons that were eating you inside, you didn’t want the help and for you, there was only ever one way out. I’ve come to realise that and that’s okay now.
I can’t help but think about all the years you’ve missed out on. You left me over half of my life away yet the pain, the regret and your being still lives with me everyday. I would say I miss you as a person but I don’t miss the addict in you.
I miss the man that told me that carrots would help me see in the dark, the one that came home from work and told me he’d stolen the local park (I remember coming home from school that day with a flat-out iron park in the garden) and the one that would go walking with us up the mountains. (We go up the mountains on your birthday and on this day every year just because it’s one of our fondest memories of you)
I don’t miss the man that would get so drunk that he didn’t even know his own name, the guy that sat outside my school and tried to ‘take me’ with him and I do not miss the man that made me feel unsafe around him. I don’t miss seeing my Mum deteriorate into the mental wreck you turned her into either.
If anything, I miss the man you could have been, the man I knew you were without your addictions. You were intelligent, thoughtful, loving; you were misunderstood. You could have been something, you could have been a father figure.
Although there’s still the painful memories of you, I do not hate you one bit. If anything, you’ve been the most influential person in my life. You’ve made me stronger, you’ve made me think and you’ve given me the biggest advice in life.
I’ll never really know what went through your head this day 12 years ago, I’ll never know what I meant to you but I will forever know how much my life is worth because of you. If things ever got that bad, I will forever know that there’s support out there, more so, how I would make those I’ve left behind feel.
You are the person that’s taught me to fight through the bad times, crawl through the really bad but always keep my head upright. Your life and the way things panned out, is everything I don’t want mine to be. Thank you for influencing that.
I’m 23 years old now, your son is 21. I would say that you’ve missed 12 years of my life but you’ve missed so much more than that.
I know you’re looking over us, I know you cared but I wish you knew what losing you would do to us kids. We always cared, we always loved you and you’ll always be that blank-space on our Christmas present list. This day will always be spent thinking about what could have been of us.
You weren’t worthless, you weren’t a failure and you were loved more than you knew. I hope you see this now.
I would say this day get’s easier in time, but it doesn’t.
Everyday that goes by is a day you’ve missed out on, that I’ve missed you and a day that’s spent thinking about how things could be.
I wish I could have changed your mind, supported you and told you everything would be okay.
This is just another year, another milestone and another day spent wishing things for you had turned out differently.
I love you so damn much,