Sunday, March 25, 2018

It ended before it truly began.

*I am engaged*
I thought to myself. It was strange and yet amazing all at once. 
Someone wanted to be with me and love me for the rest of my life. 
That was something I never thought would happen to me. 
Of course other than my mother's unconditional love, everyone else only"loved" me in a bed and would leave shortly after.
So for Chris to truly care for me and then want to marry me, it was like a dream that only happened for other people. Not for someone like me. 
I was always too hard to love. And never was a loss to anyone.

I still feared an abrupt ending. I felt as if he could change his mind at any time and I would be back to where I started from .
The mind games I played within was worse than what anyone could do. 

But for now, I decided to go with it and live and love him while he would stay around .

It was Christmas Eve and mom and I had wrapped gifts. She had her glass or two of wine and I of course snuck in my own glass whenever I went to fill hers up.
She sat in her chair, proudly looking at our decorations and her beautifully wrapped presents under the tree,she decorated so well and perfect. 
She hadn't been sick as much that day so it was counted as a good day.
We talked about everything that was going on and she beamed about how beautiful I would look in a wedding dress. She apologized for not having a dress to pass down to me from when dad and her were married.
I told her it was fine. I completely understood.
She then says " well,I guess it isn't such a bad thing, because considering we divorced, it would not be good luck to wear anything I did marrying him" 
I laughed because it was true .😂
Married 12 years and there were worse moments than there were any good. She always said the best thing to ever come out of their marriage was me. I was born on their 1 year anniversary.

Dad had another child with his first wife when he was a teenager. A son. His name was Chris. 
I had met him the first time when I was around 4-5.
He was 15 years older than I was so we didn't really have anything in common. Aside from our eyes and our dad of course 😃
I had spent time with him several times throughout the years but Dad was absent in his life also. 
My brother,Chris had diabetes and the things he had in common with our dad was alcohol. 
When he was in his 20's, he went on a binge and because of his diabetes, he went into a  diabetic coma.
They saved his life but couldn't save his eyesight.
That changed his life in more ways than the obvious.
He told me many times that he stopped taking drugs and drinking and he wanted to become a preacher. He wanted a relationship with me,more than we had and he tried having one with Dad but Dad wasn't able due to his active alcoholism.
It hurt Chris but he was more concerned about how dad treated me. He would aplogise for him constantly.
Chris would even talk to Mom when he called the house. Mom accepted him even when she's wasn't married to our dad. 
Chris had a kind soul and was truly the best part of dad. He was trying to become better than how he was treated. Which makes this next part more tough...
Chris lived with his mom's mother because she adopted him. 
I spoke to him the weekend before and he told me how he called Dad and dad said he didn't have time to talk to him and hung up. 
We planned for him to come visit that following summer. He wanted to meet my boyfriend,whose name was also Chris. He told me he loved me and to keep my head up. He said I was worth having an awesome life.
Christmas Eve, while mom and I were having wine and talking, the phone rang. 
Mom answered and within the first 25 seconds, I knew something was wrong.
She said " oh no"!
I jumped up and urgently asked what was wrong.
*Who is it mom*!??
She put her hand over her mouth and started crying.
* What now*!?!??
She wouldn't answer me. 
My heart pounded and I ran to look at the caller ID box.
It was a call from where my aunt and mamaw and papaw lived .
So I figured my dad had been in an accident or jail. My thoughts raced.
* Mom wouldn't be crying if dad's in jail. So he must have died*.
I sat on the floor at mom's feet and demanded she tell me what was going on.
She said into the phone
" You can tell her. I'll be here with her. I'm so sorry"
Mom handed me the phone and placed her hand on my shoulder.
* Hhheeello*
My voice was shaking. I wasn't ready for any bad news. Dad wasn't the best but I didn't want him to die. 
My aunt was on the line.
" Tiffany,honey. I have some bad news"
She was bawling
* Tell me*!
" Tiffany, it's Chris. Your brother"
* Huh.. what's happening*!?
" Honey, he passed away".
* Whattttttt*!???!
*What.!?How!?. What happened*!?!
" He was home alone while his grandmother was Christmas shopping. He had a seizure and couldn't get to his medicine. He fell face down and couldn't get air. He suffocated by his bed ,on his floor. His grandmother found him after she came home and noticed he wasn't answering her calls"

I felt sick. 
*How could something this awful happen to such an amazing person*!??!
Mom was hugging me and crying,my aunt was crying, I was dry heaving.
I asked her if dad knew. She said yes. I'm not sure why that question and her answer was so hard but it was and I all of a sudden felt worse. I felt for my dad. Knowing he hung up on Chris days before and now Chris, his only son, was gone.
Age 30. Christmas Eve. Died alone on a floor .
The whole situation is horrible.
I hung up with her and called my dad. 
I've never heard him weep as he did when he heard my voice. I couldn't control my crying. Mom took the phone and she said his name so lovingly, it made me cry harder and at that point I didn't think that was possible.
She cried with me and with Dad on the phone. 
I went to my bedroom, leaving mom on the phone with my dad.
Face first into my pillow, crying and talking to God out loud. Asking him why did he allow this to happen to someone who has turned their life around for the better. Why him. Didn't he go through enough already!?
I was angry and so sad. Just when I had a family member that I was getting to know and that cared for me, he's gone. Gone before he ever had a real shot to do the things he planned to do. He wanted to help addicts and kids that were like he and I. He wanted to meet my Chris. He was so kind. 
He was abandoned at age 2 by both parents and had diabetes throughout his life. Didn't he suffer enough to not die like this!?
Mom must have heard my rambling to God because I felt her sit on my bed. 

" Sweetie, I'm so sorry. He was a sweet person. 
He was living for Christ and on his way to be someone great for Jesus.
I know you're upset and I understand but you can't blame God. God didn't take him. God just welcomed him home. "
*Mom, this isn't fair"!
" I know it isn't. I've known Chris since he was practically a kid. He had a tough life growing up. "
* I know that mom, that makes this worse . He died all alone. Before he could really do the things we talked about not even a week ago! Plus he lived the last few years a blind man*!
" Tiffany, before he lost his sight, he was a lost person, living like a lost man. He was on the same path as your dad. Through the blindness, he found Jesus. If he would have still been lost, this situation would be worse. He died a saved man".
That sentence stopped my anger.
I suddenly realized exactly what point she was making.
She said " God has a reason for everything. He has a plan and His plan is always perfect. This is a bittersweet example."
My admiration grew 10x for my mother in that moment.. here she was, fighting her own battles and still had the faith of a saint. In a horrible set of circumstances,she still found the light in very dark moment.
She said she told my dad the same thing. He was without words. Mom said " I hurt for him. He doesn't know how to be a dad but the fact remains that he is Chris's dad and he's your dad. This is hurting him so much and I told him if I could do anything to let me know"

* I love you,mom*
Mom made me some of her amazing tomato soup and grilled cheese and we sat under a blanket on the couch watching TV for the rest of that Christmas Eve.

We couldn't attend his funeral for several reasons. One being the long drive. There wasn't any way we could travel to Michigan from where we were in the middle of winter especially. Mom was under doctor's orders to not do much because chemotherapy made her vulnerable to other sickeness along with her just not feeling that well. 
I stayed in touch with family that did attend and I called my dad to make sure he was as ok as possible.
He made sure he had vodka in his system for the trip.
I won't judge him for that. He lost his son. 
The guilt he carried was enough to bring down the strongest person so he did what he had to in order to deal with the situation.
It was a somber Christmas, but mom's words reminded me that God has a plan and that my brother Chris, wasn't suffering anymore and he was ok.
To this day, I remember what she said and I use that advice for other hard situations.

My Chris would never meet my brother Chris, but one day, we will see him again.
That's one thing I look forward too.

2007 was a roller coaster of a year.
It was only the begining of a life that had I not lived it, I would not believe it myself.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

A Night To Remember

I rarely was able to get out of my own head.
I was convinced that nothing would get better for me. 

Watching mom go through something neither of us could control was tough.
Adjusting to our new life wasn't easy.
We rolled with it and prayed for the best.

The week of Christmas that year,
Chris had been acting secretive.
I prepared myself for his departure from my life.
Because that's how it always worked for me in past.
Mom wasn't convinced like I was that he was going to break up with me.
She said he was different.

To me, it would turn out the same,just with a different person who decided that he had enough of me and everything I was going through.

With that mindset, I was truly surprised when he came over one evening and asked Mom to let me try on one of her rings...
We both were confused about that question.
She agreed and I put it on..
He asked Mom what size the ring was.
She told him 5-6.
He looked like he was taking mental notes on the ring and its size.
I asked him why he was being extra weird, and he said he wasn't. 
And I wasn't buying it...
Especially after he asked Mom to borrow that ring. She looked as confused but agreed as long as he brought it back soon. He then left shortly after having me try on my mother's ring.

I told Mom that he was being sketchy but I couldn't figure it out exactly. 
She smiled. 
Um. Why are you smiling, mom?
She didn't answer and went out of the room 

Thinking to myself, * what is in the water they're drinking tonight*?

Mom asked me later on, after that whole ordeal of weirdness,
" Do you see yourself and Chris together in the future"?
Ummm. * Well, I'd like to say yeah,but nothing ever lasts nor stays the same, so I doubt anything will ever last much longer in my life that's good, anyway*

She said
" Stop feeling sorry for yourself, with that kind of attitude, nothing good will last"
*I can't keep anything good around,mom*
" Can't, couldn't ever do anything, Tiffany. Stop saying you can't and believe that you can"

*You always say that!*
" Because it's true. Can't isn't in my vocabulary and it should not be in yours"
 There was no arguing with her. I mean I did but it didn't get me far.
She said 
" Listen to your mother for once. Mother knows best"

I smiled and agreed.
She assured me we would both be ok and our lives would be ok. She assured me that as long as I kept my faith in God, everything would always be ok..

Chris's family had planned a Christmas dinner on Christmas Eve Eve.
I was invited and was excited to be out with Chris for an evening.
Mom told me to go and have fun. She said she would leave the porch light on and for me to check in once there and come see her when I came back home.

Chris was acting weird the whole evening. 
I couldn't figure him out.
We ate dinner and exchanged gifts.
His family was welcoming to me each time
He brought me over. 
When it was time for him to take me back home, I noticed a few looks I was getting and that made me paranoid. I wondered what they may have figured out about me and now they probably hated me.

(Yeah,I know, I was extremely dramatic in my thoughts. 😂)
We said goodbye and Chris took me home in his mom's car. 
He had his own car,but something was Wrong with it, so she was nice enough to let us use it to get me back to mom's.

The drive was maybe 6 minutes.
He was now acting fidgety. 
His hands were sweating and I was so confused.
He asked me random questions and would get really quiet.
I laughed at the awkwardness and that seemed to have made him extra nervous.

Once we pulled up to my driveway, the porch light was on as mom had said it would be. 
Chris asked me to sit with him for a few minutes. He said he already had talked to Mom about it.

Why would he need to talk to Mom, and about what.
I couldn't control my crazy thoughts and so that lead to me prepping myself for his break up speech...
I know, my thoughts escalated quickly. 

I blurted out to him
* Look, I can't take this build up any longer!
If you're going to ditch me, hurry and do it!
I know you've already told your family that this would be the last time I would be around. So just make it quick!*

I was almost in tears. 
The look on his face was something I won't ever forget.

He said " what are you even talking about"!??
I said* you're breaking up with me*

Again,the look on his face 😂..
He said " why in the hell would I do that!? And why do you think that"!?

* Um because, you're being weird. And secretive. And I got looks from your family tonight. I think... and plus I know you're tired of me and everything in my life. I'm too young anyway and you're better off without me*

After staring at me for what felt like forever, he put his hand on my hand and started to smile and then he freaking laughed at me!!
I was so damn confused.
* Why in the hell are you laughing!?? I don't think this is funny*!

He said " you need to chill. I am always weird and always have been, which you should know by now. We've been dating for awhile now. Aren't you paying attention?"
I went to answer but he basically told me to shut up in the nicest way possible 😂
He said" I do have something to ask you and that's why I'm so nervous. I've been thinking about this since we met. I knew I loved you when I saw you. It sounds stupid or like from a movie,but it was love at first sight. I've never met or been with anyone like you. You're gorgeous and funny and smart. You're bossy 😉😜 too. And a little crazy but that's all ok. I've been stalling all night and now I have to ask because I'm running out of night time and Wanda is going to wonder where you are .
I talked to her about this alot and she told me I have her blessing as long as I treat you right and get and keep a job and don't do the things she knows I shouldn't be doing. My family knows what I am going to ask too. I was supposed to ask you at my mom's, with everyone there but I panicked and couldn't do it. That's probably why they looked at you like you said. I want to be with you forever and have a life together"

I can imagine what my face looked like listening to his words. 
My mind was racing and my heart felt like it was shaking the whole car. 
I completely thought this conversation was going a different direction.
I was speechless.
After some more silence, because our minds were going faster than we could keep up  with, Chris took a deep breath and pulled something out of his pocket.
His hands were shaking. 
He said " oh, this is also the reason why I needed your mom's ring...
I love you and you're nothing like anyone I've ever met. Your age doesn't match anything about you."

He takes another breath and opens a ring box...

He says" Tiffany, will you marry me"??

At that point I was crying and shaking.
I said " YES!"
He put the ring on my finger and one look at it, caused me to bawl like a baby.
He says " please don't assume things anymore. You should know that I'm not going anywhere and believe that"

We talked for a few more minutes but I couldn't focus. I was so happy and filled with joy,that I sounded like a blubbering idiot 😂💍💚
I told him we would talk more the next day and figure out our plans.
He agreed.

I didn't want to leave but I had to.

Because my life is ironic and crazy not so funny and ,funny things always happen to me, to end the most amazing, romantic moment of my life, the passenger side door,was messed up and wouldn't open. 
So instead of a cool, perfect, graceful exit from the moment and of the night, I had to climb over Chris to get out of the car 😂😂.
He walked me to the door and as soon as I shut the front door behind me, and was sure he was not in earshot, I ran to mom's room. I was crying hysterically. 
She was sitting up in bed all peaceful when I busted in, bawling.
She jumps up and says " what's wrong Tiffany!??! What happened!?! Did he do something!??"

All I could do was stick out my hand in her face. 
I couldn't speak because of my dramatic, over the top crying.

She looked down at my hand and the look of mama bear left and there came a huge smile across her face 
She teared up and said 
" Oh, honey, it's beautiful!!
I'm so happy for you!
He finally did it!"

When I found my words, I told her I was so happy.
She asked about the details of the proposal. I happily told her everything. Like two giddy school girls, gossiping over a cute guy, we went over the night's events.
She said " he gets more charming every day,doesn't he"
She said" now, what did I tell you? Everything is going to be ok! Your mama is right about a few things,isn't she"?😉

I told her I was worried about what others would say or think because of my age. 
She said " I'm your mother and it's no one's business. I approve and y'all are happy,that's all that matters"

I hugged her and thanked her for being a big reason I had even known about Chris and for having my back.

I laid down that night so filled with joy and giddiness consuming me, that I barely slept. I couldn't wait to see Chris again and make plans. 

I thanked God for bringing me to that place and for leading me to the one I was going to marry. The one I didn't know existed. 
I was not going to worry about my age or what anyone thought. I was going to enjoy this for as long as possible.
I had peace, finally. and everything about Chris and the future marriage seemed right. It felt like this was a part of my purpose in life.
I felt God was with me and that He set everything up for this moment and for the future.

God knew me before I was born. He has been planning my life before I took my first breath.
Through all the darkness, He shined his light and blessings upon me. 
I clung to that moment.
It carried me longer than anyone knows. 

Maybe I can be something more than a lost cause that everyone leaves... I thought to myself..