I woke up on July 5, 2001 in my big sister’s room. This was not an entirely uncommon thing as I was often too frightened to sleep in my own bed as a kid. I remember the time was 11:06 a.m. I was surprised to have slept in so late but had this strong feeling to go back to sleep. Something yelled at me to just close my eyes and not rejoin the world that day. As you know, I had already become accustom to ignoring that little voice so I got out of bed. I walked past the front door which had my luggage stacked before it in preparation for a trip to stay with my dad for the summer.
I was set to depart with a friend the following day for the small town in Iowa where he lived. My mom and two sisters were sitting around the breakfast table laughing. As soon as I walked into the kitchen the laughter stopped and the mood rapidly changed. Everyone was staring at me with big eyes. My mom looked scared. It was a look I had never seen on her face before. No one said a word. It was terrifying. She stood up from her place at the head of the table and escorted me to her room. She has this huge California king size bed that has this tiny indention where her small body has never strayed from. She took me to the far side of the bed, a place we had never convened before. I was confused and scared. She began to explain to me that she got a call very early that morning from my Aunt Janice.
My dad was dead.
I have never been so mad at my mom, or anyone, in my life. I couldn’t understand why she would play such a mean joke on me. I hated her. She tried to hug me, and I threw her arms off of my shoulders. Through broken sobbing I yelled, “Why are you doing this to me?!” over and over. My empty stomach came alive with molten lava that tore at my insides. I was sick and hot and angry and confused and in disbelief and so very, very angry. I can’t remember her face or the words she said to me after that. I only remember colors. The tan and white of her room. The red that burned through my eyelids as I tried to wake up from this nightmare. I have no idea how long this went on for.
The next thing I remember is the idea that I had to call my friend to tell her our trip was cancelled. My mom offered to call her parents, but I insisted on doing it myself. I don’t know if I was being dramatic or just needed to hear myself say it out loud. I dialed. She picked up. I do recall this conversation very well.
“Are your bags packed?” I asked in a casual tone. “Yep! I’m so excited!” she responded with thoughts of a summer vacation full of fun and adventure. “Unpack them. My dad is dead.” I said brashly and hung up the phone.
The rest of the day is a blur, as is the rest of the summer, except for going back for his funeral which has become a fusion of memory and reverie. I was as close as you can be to an addict, and his death hit me hard. It hit all of us hard.
Losing my dad at 13 was a trauma fit to derail any functional childhood, but what happened after would change my life forever.
Hi, I’m Jace, and I’m a sex addict.