I’ve been considering sharing my personal story for while now. I think it can be cathartic to do so. I think now is a good time to start the story. I’m going write it in sections for easier posting and reading. I want to be as honest as I can in this and I hope that I won’t inadvertently offend anyone. I don’t know if my story will interest anyone, I just want to write it.
To begin, I need to share a bit of my relevant background. The part of my life that I really want to write about has to come later. There are things in my past that have to be said first.
As a child, my life was blissfully wondrous. I was born in south Florida, but my family moved to north Florida when I was two. I remember the move with shocking clarity, but I remember virtually nothing about my life before the move.
Don’t worry, I won’t describe every detail of my life, just what’s relevant.
We moved to north Florida in the winter after selling our house down south, but before purchasing a new home. As a result, we were sort of homeless for a little while. It was an interesting experience, and really just a lot like camping. We had a large plot of land in the country and we just had to manage until our mobile home could be moved in and set up. For me, it wasn’t that bad at all. My poor mother could hardly handle it, though. I was simply too young to fully understand what was going on.
My parents slept in a tent and my brother (age four) and I slept in our car. We would stay up late by the campfire and get up at sunrise to go into town and warm up at the local Hardee’s. My brother and I both got caught colds from sleeping in the car with no heat. I remember sleeping on the bench seats in Hardee’s until they closed during the time that we were sick.
My father was disabled by an accident that broke his back when he was younger. I’m sure sleeping in the tent on the ground was not good for him. Possibly due to the stress of the whole situation, he had a seizure. Throughout the years that I can remember, he had one medical problem after another and was in and out of the hospital. I was a kid, though, and this was normal to me (although frightening at times) because it was all I knew.
All in all, childhood was beautiful. My parents home-schooled me and my brother, but also had us in Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts, as well as ballet and sports, respectively. We were socialized as much as possible even though we were home-schooled in the middle of the woods. We traveled the U.S. and stayed with relatives and friends. We attended religious conventions and met people from all over the world. We had all sorts of pets, including some wild creatures such as caterpillars and snakes. Both of my parents were patient and nurturing, gentle and affectionate. My brother and I spent hours outside every day playing and climbing trees. Besides my father’s medical issues, my childhood was a lot like storybook.
Two months after I turned nine, my family went to South Carolina to visit relatives. We stayed at hotel because my father didn’t along with my mother’s aunt (I didn’t know that until years later, though). In all of our travels we had stayed at so many hotels, and I simply loved it. This time, though, my father was in more pain than usual. I knew his pain was bad, but it really was normal to me and his more intense pain one night only alarmed me a bit. He said he was okay, and I naively trusted him because he was the adult.
He had a heart attack that night and died.
All of this is important because I was a decently normal and very happy child up until this point. I was a little odd and I had few issues with anxiety, but for the most part nothing was really a problem (at least not one that “Daddy” couldn’t fix).
My life changed in absolutely every way that night, forever.