Thursday, June 11, 2009

Chapter Three

Sistas by you.

Each house seems to naturally divide my life into the chapters of my story.

In Chapter One, I came home from the hospital in a Christmas stocking during one of the worst blizzards in Chicago's history. Coincidentally, my husband was also brought home from the hospital in a Christmas stocking-- I'm guessing that's unusual for two Jewish kids, no wonder we've evolved into such bad Jews.

Chapter Two, a temporary apartment in Florida, was short and uneventful. My only memory is of there being loads of nasty ducks outside; perhaps it's not a coincidence that I love to eat Donald with pancakes and hoisin sauce.

Chapter Three was the majority of my childhood (six to seventeen years old).  We lived in a townhouse in South Florida. I had chicken pox there. I watched the coverage of Ronald Reagan's attempted assassination with my cousins who were visiting in that house. I had mono there. In high school I used to shut my bedroom door and talk on the phone until 2a.m. Then in ninth grade, my dad moved out... hence began Chapter Four.

About a year after my father got his own apartment I answered a phone call that would change everything.

"Hi, is your mom home?" her voice sounded restrained and nervous.

"No, who's calling?" I answered, feeling a pit in my stomach.

"It's the hospital, there's been an accident and your father's here."

"Is he okay?" I barely got the words out, he was obviously not okay.

"He's going to be alright," she responded. Clearly, he was not okay.

He'd been in a head-on collision. He'd been pried from the car with the jaws of life. He'd broken nearly every bone in his body. His teeth were knocked out. The internal bleeding lead to his spleen being removed.

The other driver was dead.



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27 comments:

Jill Stevens, Licensed Acupuncturist, Chinese Herbalist said...

This is sad Laura. As you already know- I cry when I read it. I love you.

Florida Girl In Sydney said...

Jill- It's sad for both of us, sorry I made you cry, it's a bad day for us. At least the photo of us is cute.

Amanda said...

Hey there...I hope venting made you feel at least a little better about everything. Wow, you've really been through a lot...I think you're incredible for keeping your sense of humour and lightness of spirit in the face of such darkness in your past.

xox

Teresi Family Oz Blog said...

You know that I know exactly where you're coming from.... And I know that it doesn't make the pain or sense of loss any easier. But, you do have the support and love of an absolutely awesome mom. You've also surrounded yourself with caring friends, have a wonderful husband, and are raising two terrific kids. It really doesn't get much better than that. * Hugs *

Florida Girl In Sydney said...

Amanda- I thought a lot about putting up such a serious and disturbing (for me) post, but someone once said "At least once a month, pick something you are afraid to write about and write about it anyway". Thanks AAYSR, I actually did it.

Ana- Yeah it's sad, sad, sad. But I am aware of how lucky I am at the same time. Hey, everyone's got a story, right?

Florida Girl In Sydney said...

And fyi, I actually had a normal happy childhood-- very. I think of it more in terms of a crazy thing that happened to my family and then changed it forever. I wasn't abused or bullied or starving-- but we've all got our own shit.

Suzer said...

That is just one you can't fix:/

As an aside, it sounds as though we were both born the same year, in the same city, although you don't look as old as me?

Jen said...

Oh my goodness. What a tragic tale.

I am sorry that you have such a story to carry around in you heart, it must get heavy at times.

Good on you for creating a wonderful life and family for yourself.

I often think about how it seems like everyone has some kind of scar from their childhood, some large, some small.. no one seems to get through unscathed. Maybe that is part of the grand plan. I dont know.

Thank you for sharing, I wish you much love.

Jen
xo

Jenny said...

This is a really poignant post. After reading it I couldn't help but think about the 3 wonderful men in your life today- your husband and those two amazing little boys.

Natalie said...

Good job. Difficult subject matter, but written with grace. Smooch, hug to you.xx♥

Anonymous said...

Hey, I read your blog b/c I am moving to Australia this summer with the hubs and a 2-year old. I am a lurker, but I couldn't pass this post by without saying...something. I'm sorry for your pain. I'm especially sorry b/c you've brought a lot of laughter into my life as I read along with your adventures. Take care!

Florida Girl In Sydney said...

Suzer- and I would have said you definitely look younger than me. I lived in Chicago until I was six.

Jen- Thanks for such thoughtful words, I agree.

Jenny- I know, I can't stop thinking about them either-- contrary to this sad slice on my life, I know I'm extremely lucky.

Anonymous- Thanks for peeking out from behind mystery curtain number four, I really love knowing you're there. Good luck with your big move!

JD at I Do Things said...

I'm so sorry you had to go through that. First your dad leaving, then the terrible accident, then the permanent departure from your life.

Obviously you needed to let this out (The "Jazzercise" post was not enough!) I hope it helped to talk about it a bit among friends who really care about you.

Dina said...

That is a lot of shit for anyone to handle.

I think you're very brave for telling your story.

Hugs to you and your sister.

MB said...

Wow. Sad story, great and brave writing. And you are right, "we've all got our own shit", some are just shittier than others I guess. What is 'they' say...that which doesn't kill us makes us stronger? You seem really strong!

Corrina said...

Aw, sweetie I'm sorry that your past is so painful. I hope posting this was a little cathartic for you, at least.

I haven't seen my biological father since I was 16 and I, like you, have no idea where he is or what his life is like now. I've accepted that some things are for the best, even when they're painful. He made his choice to walk away and I imagine that I'm a lot better off without him in my life.

You have a wonderful family and you absolutely deserve that. :-)

All my good thoughts to you and yours.

A Free Man said...

Here's the thing. Since becoming a Dad, almost any Dad story can move me to tears. As this one did. I don't really know anything about parenting and I am probably fucking it up royally. But I know one thing about being a Dad for sure - you stay. Leaving is the only unforgivable offense.

NinaBellina said...

Hello friend - I've always admired your strength, and your honesty - Both attributes have set me straight on many occasions - Today, I feel the same respect and admiration for you that I always have, but with a little extra appreciation for the way that you've risen above so much to become the amazing person that you are. I miss and love you (yes, I'm crying) Can we just do a facial mask, a bh, and some plum wine??? : ) Alway, NinaBellina

NinaBellina said...

oops, I was crying so much that I forgot to thank you for posting one of my favorite pictures of you and Jill - You girls are seriously pretty! The picture reminds me of times spent looking at pics in the
Econlockhatchee Trail apartment -
Good times....

Gypsy said...

That breaks my heart, Laura, but I'm proud of you for writing it and for being strong.

Christine said...

I'm so sorry.

Erin said...

Oh Laura, what a moving post. You've told your story in a great way, with a bit pleasant nostalgia, humor and raw emotion. You know my father's story so you know I relate to the abandonment you feel, just in a different form. I admire your strength to put it out there, and I hope to draw from it someday when I put my own story in writing. Other people have said it, but you are doing a great job raising two wonderful boys, with a great man beside you. For that I'm happy for you.

You are making lemonade... and doing a damn fine job! xoxo

Juli Ryan said...

Thank you for sharing something so personal. This is a beautiful and very moving post.

Florida Girl In Sydney said...

JD- Yes, apparently I needed to get it all out.

Dina- Thanks and hugs to your sisters too :).

MB- Yeah, we've all got something.

Corrina- Seriously makes you wonder how a father can leave his kids-- I'll never understand it.

Free Man- Yep, exactly.

NinaBellina- Miss you, love you.
Wanna come visit?

Gypsy- Thanks girlfriend, inspired by AAYSR advice.

Christine- Thanks.

Erin- We do everything when we're ready-- it's been twenty years since my dad left. It looks like I'm getting a cold again it started last night, but I am planning another little expat party here.. I'll be eviting you soon.

JuliRyan- Thanks so much.

Rassles said...

Well...um...on the bright side, now you have an amazing story of personal strength to keep you awesome.

Silver lining? I totally found you.

Marketing Mama said...

What a sad story. I didn't have my dad growing up either. Even though he's a jerk and I'd rather not have anything to do with him, at least I know how to find him if I need to. That must be so hard for you. The not knowing.

Florida Girl In Sydney said...

Rassle Dazzles- Thanks girlfriend.

Marketing Mama- Daddy drama, I guess I'm not alone huh?