Living in a ghost town (Part 2)

Miss my daughter

So it’s taken me a while to get to this post.  Not because I haven’t had time.  I have.  Not because I don’t know what to say.  I do.  It’s because this subject brings up so much emotion, I have to be in just the right frame of mind to write about it.  I think I am there now.  We’ll see how it goes.

I have written before about my daughter and the relationship that we don’t have.  If you missed it, you can read it here.  So I won’t bore you with the details of why we don’t see one another.  Suffice it to say, it is the biggest price I paid for being a drunk.

In my previous post, I talked about living in a town where I have to deal with the ghosts of my past – the negative ones.  This part of living in a ghost town is different.  It’s more about living with the ghosts of good memories, but knowing that, at least for the time being, I won’t be able to make more of those types of memories.  It’s the joy of being reminded of all of the good, happy times that I had with her, but in the same instant feeling the painful loss.  It’s the definition of bittersweet.

When I am driving around Tucson, I am constantly bombarded with memories.  I often have to drive by her old school, and I think about the day we went to register her there.  I remember the parent-teacher conferences, the beautiful email I received about her from her Spanish teacher, the fun I always had chaperoning field trips.  I am not exaggerating or romanticizing when I say that we had a wonderful relationship.  We liked each other.  We had fun together.

I still live in the same apartment that I lived in with my daughter.  When we first moved in, she went around marking her territory with white chalk.  Her first initial was on everything…the patio furniture, the plant pots, light fixtures, and stuff in her bedroom.  It was only recently, when my husband realized how much I looked at those things and felt sad, that he got rid of them.  There’s still a little bit of her writing on the back of the bathroom door though, and I kind of like it there.  All other traces are pretty much gone, done so at my request, because I just couldn’t stay where I was emotionally when I saw them.  It was way too heartbreaking.

Who am I kidding though?

Whether or not there is something physical there to remind me that I lost her, I think about her all the time.  I miss her all the time.  I love her all the time.

It’s not only the ghosts of the past that haunt me now, it’s the ghosts of the present too.  I am at the point now, having not seen her in over two years, that I look for her wherever I go.  When I see a girl that is about her age, and there is any similarity to what she looks like, my heart beats a little faster, my throat starts to tighten, and I feel kind of panicky.  Then I see that it’s not her and I there is both sadness and relief.  Sadness that it’s not her, and relief that it’s not her.  What would I say to her at this point?  I don’t know the right words.  Maybe there aren’t any.

Ugh.  This post is harder than I even thought it would be.  Is there any other pain that is worse than being separated from your own child?  Not just physically separated, but emotionally as well?  I don’t think so.  I’ve suffered a lot of pain, and this is by far the worst.  There are times that it is utterly unbearable.  My heart aches.  This isn’t how things were supposed to turn out.

I keep a box in my closet that has photos and little things that she made for me over the years.  On her 16th birthday, I wrote 16 little notes to her, wishes that I have for her.  I will do it again, each birthday.  I hope that someday she will read them.

14 thoughts on “Living in a ghost town (Part 2)

  1. Dear, dear Jami. If only I could help you to stop pining and leave it at the foot of the cross and in the Savior’s loving arms. I know about pining. I’ve been doing it, too. It’s a sadness so deep that nags on the soul. It threatens us in that it comes without our thinking or obsessing about it. Just out of the blue. And I feel my loss all over again. Mine’s way different than yours, however…..and I’m so so so so sorry that you are in such agony. If I could take any of it from you, I would. I’m going to pray that the Lord would fill you with HIS peace so you can stop pining and being in such agony. I love you.
    Love, Teddi

  2. Jami, I know this was hard for you to write. I feel your heart and your love for your daughter. I feel your regret and desire for things to be different. I sincerely hope that the two of you will be brought together again. I never thought that I’d be close to my mom after all we went through when I was younger but both of our hearts softened to make it possible. We both got to a point where we felt centered enough to trust again. It takes two. All you can do is keep healing, keep praying and keep hoping so that when the opportunity comes, you’ll be ready. Much love to you.

    • Thank you, Karen. I know that right now all I can do is stay sober, carry on, and be ready for reconciliation, if and when it comes. Thank you for your encouraging words about you and your mom. It gives me hope. 🙂

  3. Your honesty and candor are so amazing, Jami. I too can feel your raw emotions jumping off the page, you express yourself in such a beautiful way, I want to print it out and mail it to your daughter so she can read it. And maybe she will, someday. We have seen some miraculous things happen in recovery, haven’t we? How about the miracles of you and I waking up sober today? We know that anything is possible, so hope is not a wasted emotion here. It’s learning how to live in the meantime that is the challenge, and my prayer for you today is that you find the peace you crave.

    Thank you so much for sharing this pain, it is my hope that your burden is a little lighter!

    • You’re so right about the miracles in recovery! Just today (it was a really crappy day at work) I had to remind myself that every single day that I don’t drink, it’s a miracle.
      I really do hope my daughter will read this someday. I hope she will know how much I love and miss her. Until then, I will continue to learn to live in the meantime (I love that!)

  4. Sigh… you are so beautiful, Jami. I felt every word. Time takes time, don’t forget and don’t ever give up. Write those letters. Write them every day. Heck, get a journal and write in it daily–give the journal as a birthday present. Or even start a private blog and write on it often, then you can add photos and videos. I think they have services that will even publish your blog as a book?

    I’m so glad you shared. (just noticed your theme name is “misty lake” which is fitting because now I’m misty eyed.)

    xo, christy

    • Thank you, Christy. Those are such great ideas. When my sponsor first suggested that I start saving things for my daughter, I thought she was crazy. But I have found that it helps. When I get things down on paper, it gets it out of my head, and I have some peace.
      Thank you for your kind words.

  5. Sometimes I try to think of things to say after reading something so powerful and tugging and longing like this, and in this case, I can’t. I just wanted to tell you that I hear you here. I can feel this coming straight from the heart and I can hear the strain in this. I have listened. Thank you, and I know that what happens, happens for some reason the Creator has divined it to be…outside of my scope and yours.

    Blessings – to you and your daughter.


    • Thank you so much, Paul. I believe, as you do, that God has a reason for this whole situation with my daughter. My hope is that one day I will be able to look back and see what it is.

  6. Hi Jami, so nice to stumble on your blog and this heartfelt post! I can so relate, I didn’t get to see my daughter for a while either, also due to my drinking. So I can totally feel your pain… I hated those days. I wish I could say something to make it all feel better… And I don’t know the circumstances, but please, keep your hope alive and have faith! You will reunite! Goodness. This is turning out hard for me to write… I can’t quite put down what I am feeling. ***Just know that your not alone!*** Sending any hugs!

  7. Beautiful. I sat in silence after reading this, to reflect on your pain and strength to continue. Often I find myself tangled up in my own self-pity and darkness, yet reading such emotive posts as yours remind me that perseverance is the only option. Write the letters. Encrypt pieces of yourself on paper to withstand the corrosion of memory and time. Your mind is not your monster – prepare it for flights, not for falling. ‘Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.’ – Neil Gaiman, ‘Coraline’.

    • Thank you so much for your comment. I really love that quote you included. I think that is definitely something that I will journal about that. There has to be bad news for there to be good. I love that. It gives me hope.
      Thanks again,

  8. Pingback: Living in a ghost town (Part 3) | Sober Grace

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