Lunch with God
by Charlie G
With all that God has done for me;
And I know He has done a lot.
That I should be at perfect peace,
Knowing that I will see my daughter Joy again.
That He has a plan for me, and,
Seems to enjoy showing it to me.
I have been trying to do the right thing since becoming clean & sober and,
Making a promise to Joy at her graveside that I would live a life to make her proud.
Inside of me I am also,
Doing it because I feel I need to make amends to God.
Because of what I did.
I never visited Joy in the hospital without getting buzzed,
At a minimum.
How do you look at your child laying there blind, deaf, and paralyzed?
Knowing that there is nothing you can do .
But I should have.
I was never there when she needed me,
How she needed me;
Clean and sober.
That has eaten at me for over two decades.
'What kind of Father was I?'
To not only not be able to be with her straight, but,
To make the decision that she shouldn't live like that anymore.
It has scarred me.
One Sunday my girlfriend Linda and I went to the beach,
But we didn't.
We couldn't find a parking space.
Not in our secret condo we usually park for free.
Not in any pay lot.
It was Labor Day weekend and they was full;
We finally gave up & decided to go eat and then I was going home to work on the magazine & She was going to work.
We went to the Home-style Buffet on Hallandale Beach Blvd.
We got in line (Labor day weekend, remember) behind a couple with 4 kids;
2 boys & 2 girls.
Idle chit chat and fooling with the kids when one of the girls stood in front of me and,
Looked at me.
Just looked, and smiled.
And I noticed her eyes.
Blue; with silver glittering through them.
I didn't notice before, as her and her siblings were scampering in, out & all around.
But as she stood there looking at me with her little smile -
Her eyes glowed!
And I said;
"You have eyes just like my little girl did. I used to tell her they were sprinkled with angel dust."
Her father looked at me and asked, "How many kids do you have?"
Which is why I don't usually talk about someone's kids.
I looked at him and said I only had one, but I lost her over twenty years ago.
"How?" he asked.
This is where I stopped.
How do you explain that?
How do you explain to a stranger watching your child lay in a vegetative state for nine months
With massive brain damage,
With erratic signals from her brain stem that caused her body to fight them,
So confusing, that she locked into a steel posture.
How do you explain to a stranger?
Holding your breath as her lungs were suctioned, since she couldn't cough up phlegm, so that when it became uncomfortable for you,
You knew to stop suctioning and start pumping air into her.
Through a hole in her throat?
That after nine months, a nurse in a hurry to go home,
Turns her too hard/quick, and she spends the night on a shoulder that's been broken.
That we all spend our lives on a ledge, and as life throws things at us,
Sometimes we fall off.
How do you explain to a stranger the horrifying realization that the only way your child would ever have peace again,
Was to die?
And then causing it?
So I told him only that it was a hard story, but that she had gotten caught in the footrest of a recliner.
And his wife turned to me and asked,
"Is your name Charles?"
When I told her yes, she almost cried/shouted, "I was in the hospital when your daughter was!
I was sick and paralyzed for a short time."
"You played checkers with me at night!"
And I remembered.
It felt like the floor beneath my feet…
Shifted. I felt unsteady.
Playing some board game with a girl who could talk but, I think, the doctors had to paralyze for some reason.
Then she said,
I finished school and actually worked on her floor.
I didn't remember that, but I was getting worse near the end.
Not being able to see Joy without a drink (drinks) and pain pills, and knowing there was nothing I could do to help her;
Then more drinks and pain pills.
I explained what I was doing now, gave her my card as they were led in to eat.
Later, I went back to get more salad and she was at the island.
"Would you mind e mailing me and telling me what it was like, what I was like? I've spent over 20 years trying to not remember that time." I asked.
And she turned and looked directly at me and,
Did more for me than anyone has been able to in over 2o years.
She said softly, yet with such a tone(?) that I have no doubt that she meant it;
"You have nothing to worry about there, Charles."
"You were a good father."
"You were very attentive to Joy."
"You even played checkers with a paralyzed girl at night to keep her company."
"You have nothing to worry about."
How long I have wanted to hear this,
Though I've heard it before, this was different;
She wasn't just releasing words into the air.
She knew me then.
She saw/interacted with me in the middle of my personal hell.
For years I have thought/knew how bad a father I was,
Couldn't be with Joy sober or straight when she needed me the most.
I couldn't remember the details.
But, because the beach was packed,
And the parking lots were full,
I went to eat.
And got in line behind a lady that I helped feel better,
By playing a simple game of checkers with her.
22 years ago.
22 years later;
She helped me feel so much better,
She healed something inside of me,
By speaking a few simple words..
Now, how cool is THAT?