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March 29, 2003

March 29, 2003

That date is frozen in my mind. Time stopped and life left me for what I thought was going to prove to be permanent. That's the day I lost a child. A little girl. Kadence Kai was her name, though I was never to hold her tiny body or witness her take a breath.

I woke up the morning of my baby's funeral and my then husband, father of Kadence, explained calmly that he "just couldn't do it" and he left for work without another word. My parents refused to attend, as did my siblings and every other person I knew.

I drove to the funeral of my baby alone. I got out of the car and I walked to the Garden of Angels where Kadence was to be laid to rest alone. I stood alone while the rain started to pour and a pastor I had never met mumbled, almost to himself, and went through the scripted service. He was disinterested and I was broken.

I cried alone while I watched my baby being lowered into the ground. I drove home alone. I went about that day and every one after it alone. Being in a crowd made no difference, I was alone.

Friends, listen to me when I tell you that moment in time, that moment I realized that not ONE SINGLE PERSON on this earth thought that I was worth even standing by my side at the most crushing moment of my life was the most alone a person could possibly feel.

It hurt to breathe. It hurt for my heart to beat. Rainy nights drove me to the brink of insanity and snow I could not deal with at all. I would go to the Garden of Angels on those nights with a t-shirt on and sit in the rain or the snow because that's what my daughter had to do. I denied myself food because she couldn't eat. I denied myself happiness and no matter how brief and fleeting that particular feeling happened to appear, it dissipated quickly with crushing guilt taking its place. My baby couldn't laugh, why should I? I put myself in situations where I knew harm would come to me. I thought nothing of stepping in the middle of a knife fight or getting involved in disputes where firearms were involved, each time hoping that would be the one that took me to see my baby.

I started using drugs. Narcotic pain and anxiety medications, specifically. I did it because I couldn't even get someone to care enough to just (PLEASE!!!) kill me and I did not want to feel. I lost so much during that time. I lost who I was, not that I was anybody other than "Doug and Pat's daughter" or "James and Ty's sister," but I didn't have any idea who I was or what was important anymore. I lost family and friends and that hurt for a long time. I hurt myself continuously and I could not punish myself enough for losing all those people and letting all those people down.

Then I woke up. What did I lose, really? Not one of them was there for me at a time when I needed someone (Anyone? Please?). It was then I understood that they were never there in the first place. While I was thinking about it, I had just made it through something that most people won't get through with an entire city of people supporting them, and I did it alone.

Alone taught me everything I needed to know about controlling my emotions instead of being controlled by them. Alone taught me to be a warrior. Alone taught me addiction is a choice and not a disease. Alone taught me how to survive. Alone taught me how to forgive. Alone taught me how to love myself. Alone taught me to treasure every single moment of happiness you can share with someone else. Alone taught me that you can't run from your truth and truth can be ugly. Alone taught me how to love. That's my favorite lesson.

I love hard and without fear. I can do that because if you and I are toxic to one another, I am very selfish (another thing alone taught me) about the preservation of my happiness and I will love you from a distance. When I say "from a distance" I mean that. I won't call or write. I won't send text messages or Christmas cards. I will have love in my heart for you and I will wish you the best, but that is the extent of our relationship.

The last thing alone taught me is how to forget. I won't forget you completely. A song will come on the radio and I may think about you. I may hear your name and wonder how you are from time to time, but it won't ever be enough to pick up the phone to call you.

It is time for the people that want to be in our lives to start making the calls. You put some effort in because I have learned to be alone. I don't need anyone outside of my husband, our children, and our grandbabies. I mean that. I know what it means to love someone and I know what it feels like to not have that reciprocated from literally every living being I knew. If I tell you I love you, I mean that. If I tell you that you are my friend, I mean that. When I tell you I'm finished with you, I mean that.

If you feel like any of this applies to you, it probably does. I didn't write about my baby to get sympathy but to illustrate, with the clearest picture, just how alone I have learned to be. It makes me appreciate so much more that I don't ever have to be alone again.