As I have mentioned, I am an only child, of a single mother. My first memory is of my father leaving when I was three.. I KNOW there was stuff before, but I don’t remember anything beyond the photographs I have of myself as a child. But I remember almost every detail about the night my dad left. We moved away, back closer to my grandparents, and started over.

A few years later, my mom did a wonderful thing for me, she moved in with her parents to save up to buy a home. I LOVED living there, the rules seems horrible and I was living with old people, but my grandfather, my only real father, was so awesome. I KNEW how much he loved his wife, he was active in the Church, and he was so silly. Don’t even get me started on his obsession with Italian food (an Irishman, no less)! He was instrumental in my upbringing, he gave me roots, and the love only a man can give to a little girl. He was strong and kind, and he LOVED so fully. I have SO MANY AWESOME memories with him, while my mom worked to save and pay the bills we did have. My grandmother, also, had given me many wonderful lessons on living, but she wasn’t a replacement Mom, she was (and is) a wonderful grandma! But my dad, on the other side of the USA, was in need of a stand-in. And my grampa, he did the job so well.

In time, my mom had saved up, and we moved into a home of our own. It was really a great feeling, I LOVED the new house, I made great friends, who were horrible influences on me, but I thought nothing of that. I still saw my grandparents OFTEN because my mom was still raising me alone. I was still feeling the fatherly love I craved, even when I was behaving like a fool. My grandfather was my rock.

Until he died. I was in the mess of early puberty, I was already rebellious, and when I was at the mall with my friends, alone and smoking, because it was the 80s, and you could totally smoke EVERYWHERE, even as a kid..I think I was in the 6th grade? Maybe 7th, my mom found me, and told me right there in the mall, in front of my friends that grampa had died. My world was shaken to the core. My one stable influence was gone. My reaction, was poor. At best.

I started drinking a LOT. Lying, sneaking out, I was already smoking, and drinking a little, but this took things to a whole new plane. I was fully in the hands of society. And our culture isn’t pretty. This is when I started using drugs as well. My life was like a spiral into hell, and I really could not have cared less. Really. I was almost SEEKING out things to make me feel anything, to get me noticed, and worst of all, to get me loved by someone of the male gender. I wasn’t having sex..yet. But I was doing what I could to get ANY attention. I had friends who were having sex, but I wasn’t one of them.

Here’s a mish mash of the things that happened to me after my grandfather died that would have made amazing afterschool specials:

  • was almost sold into prostitution by a friends boyfriend for weed because I was a virgin.. she was in the 5th or 6th grade, he was in his 20’s, I was in the 7th grade.
  • spent endless hours driving around in strangers cars searching for LSD
  • lost my virginity at a party-not with a boyfriend
  • skipped school several times a month to stay home and drink
  • snuck out-nightly
  • was sexually assaulted
  • had a boyfriend hit me, in my home, while my mom was at home
  • went clubbing
  • lied
  • stole
  • cheated
  • smoked
  • drank

And this was all before I even entered high school. It didn’t really get any better in high school.

Needless to say, after my grandfather’s death, my mom lost even the lukewarm desire to be involved in the Church, so what was I going to do? I really had lost all my hope, and looking back on it now, I see that this was pivotal change in my path.

I am no longer pitying myself, I embrace the insanity that was my life. (and is still, only in a totally different way). I’m not sharing this blog with my family, as I don’t want them to feel like I’m judging them, I’m REALLY NOT. I am who I am today because of this path, and I wouldn’t change any of it.. even if it meant I could have one more day with my grandfather.