My wife alluded recently to the fact that I had stopped writing. I don’t think of it as having stopped, merely taken a very long pause.
So perhaps it’s time to un-pause? When someone you love takes notice, maybe it’s God’s way of telling you to try again. And there’s no better day to start than today. My wife apparently misses my writing. My kids definitely miss my writing. I have missed writing as well. I think my twin sister would have liked my chronicles. So, 39 years to the day since she was taken from this world, as I wonder at the absurdity of a 43 year-old man with a 4 year-old twin sister, I realize that the good Lord has indeed given me plenty of writing material.
Early this morning, for instance – 2 AM to be precise – I found myself in the drive-thru of a Jack in the Box. In Texas. I was there my because my daughter had woken up. “Daddy,” she said, “I can’t sleep. You should go get us Jack in the Box.” I have a hard time saying no to such solid logical arguments. “If I do?” I asked her, “What will become of us?” She replied quickly, “Oh, you mean Mommy? I won’t tell if you don’t.”
As I waited at the window wondering why fast food should ever take that long especially in the dead of night, I noticed the time. It was that hour all those years ago. It was an early Monday morning then too, in February of 1982. I thought about her and remembered I don’t have much of a memory of her. Then I thought about someone else who was there with me. It was my older sister. She saved my life that night. I should write for that reason alone. But I thought of her and I thought of the guy she was dating at the time. He sang the funeral mass for my sister. His voice – the most beautiful you’d ever hear – still haunts me. He died two months ago and my life-saver is a widow. And I hate that. And I hate all of it. And I cried. Imagine being that mid-wit drive-thru worker. “Here’s your order sir and I regret my life choices.”
I brought our food home and sat down with my daughter. She’s kind of my new twin since she also shares our birthday. She’s 11. She looked at me and asked what was wrong. I told her I had just been thinking about My. brother-in-law and my sister and the whole thing. She snuggled up next to me, put her down down on my shoulder, and softly, gently whispered, “It’s OK Daddy. Now where are my cheesy bacon tater tots?”
Life is funny. I have always recognized that. Even in the darkest moments God has given me light to see His humor. I’ve tried to share that light through difficult times because it’s all I know to do.
This past year has been one of the hardest. One brother’s death, another’s suicide, the challenges of finally doing what I always wanted in terms of career and family and then feeling like I’ve failed, new friends, old enemies, joys, and sorrows. It’s certainly a great palette from which to draw color. Why did I stop doing this again?
Say some prayers for me and for my sister and her kids, please. With God’s help I think I will humbly crawl back into this thing I love.
As for my daughter, her parting words before drifting off to sleep curled up next to me were, “Don’t forget to destroy the evidence before Mommy sees…”