It’s funny. I never knew that life handed me a crappy hand. Well, not until you so lovingly pointed it out to me in my high school yearbook. Remember, it was senior year and my mom died back in March. We were all writing our “KIT” to people we would never see again (not unless they find you at classmates.com or facebook). I was so looking forward to reading your final thoughts on our six-year friendship. We both knew we were in different places and we couldn’t bridge the gap that had grown between our friendship. You liked partying and doing “normal” high school stuff. I liked watching Abe Lincoln documentaries and studying enough American History to make Mr. Smith proud of me. I was okay with it because I felt like this was just my life and it was how I wanted to live it. Unlike you, I didn’t need to regret what I did the previous night.

But then, there it was for all eternity (or for as long as I kept my Senior year yearbook, which by the way, got lost somewhere around 2007). You were sorry that “life had dealt me such a crappy hand.” At first I was like, “What? My life was crappy?” I had no idea that I was given the short end of the cliché stick. However, there it was, written in pink ink inside my yearbook. My life was crappy. You were supposedly one of my close friends and if you saw my life as crappy, then who else did? Were others thinking the same thing as you, or did others just feel sorry for me?

I started wondering why my life was so crappy? My dad had been dead for about eight years and my mother just died of a brain aneurism. But theses were normal things. People died and our parents were not above that law. If my parents died just a little before the “normal” given time limit…well, that was just the way things worked out for me. Maybe the rest of the world wouldn’t see these events as a good thing, but I did. I guess that was why my parents died and yours didn’t. 

When my dad died when I was nine, I didn’t know what being an alcoholic was or what it could do to a person and their family. I just thought my dad liked to sleep a lot and he just picked the worst cologne ever to wear. I didn’t know that wasn’t normal until I got much older. In my mind, my dad would always be a bit of a hero. I never had to grow up learning his truth. To me, he was a silly man who walked around the house asking us if we thought he was sexy (which he wasn’t by the way…I remember he was balding and well, now I know he had a beer gut). He was the guy who would let me snuggle in the couch with him as we watched boxing. This was the man who, for the first time ever bought me a little silver and pearl bracelet and necklace set that said “Daddy’s Little Girl.” I knew it wasn’t real silver and real pearl, but it was the thought that my dad went out of his way to pick something out for me. The last thing he ever gave me was the Cyndi Lauper tape called “She’s So Unusual”. My dad was a weird-o and I was very lucky. Some people never get a chance to even know their dad, and I got to see only the best sides of him. I didn’t have to grow up learning the truth about him and hating him for it. His death kept me from becoming an alcoholic myself. I always felt that my mom had enough of trouble dealing with my sister and I didn’t want to burden her with me turning to drugs and alcohol. Besides, I couldn’t let my father see his little girl go down that path. In a way, I wanted to pick up where his life left off.

I will never hate my father. How many people can say that they never hated their parent? I never had to do that teenage angst shit with him. He was what he was and I accepted him for that. When he died, all the bad stuff went with him. I kept the good memories (but because of my age, I don’t have many memories of him). His death also gave me a different life. Truth be told, I am proud of my life and I am proud he was my father.

Now, my mother dying…that was a bit tougher to understand. I thought I would at least have her for a lot longer then just seventeen years. But, I won’t argue with God. My mom was another big ball of goofy. None of my friends ever met my dad, but some did get a chance to meet my mother. I remember when she died, a lot of people came to me and I mostly wanted to tell people to just leave me alone. I didn’t want all these people making a big deal of things. I just wanted to heal. However, one person handed me a card and it was the best thing ever. She said that she was, of course, sorry that my mother was gone and she remembered how funny my mother was. I was so happy that someone else had this memory of my mother. At least I knew I wasn’t being biased.

When my dad died, I did cling to my mother more. Thank goodness I did because I would have missed out on so many good times. She was an incredible person. Sure, she had flaws, but again, when she died, they went with her. I was never mad at her for dying. I was pissed at God for taking my mother. In my head, I would think, why did lightening strike twice? I gave my dad; did He really have to take my mom, too?

When you called my life a crappy hand, you had no idea what you were talking about. Sure, some unpleasantness happened, but it is the same stuff we will all go through. I just had mine a bit sooner. Also, I got to know my parents through a child’s eye. The last time I checked, a child’s eye sees things adults will never see.  Also, my parents will never age in my mind. I will never watch then age and fall apart. They will always be the parents of my childhood and I will never have to take care of them.

I am thankful and feel blessed for this “crappy hand”. It is my life and no one could live it but me. Things happened to me because only I could handle them. God gave me what He knew I needed and what He knew I could handle. Truth be told, I think you are the one who was given the crappy hand, but then who am I to judge anyone.

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