This year’s Father’s Day also fell on the same day as Cameron’s date of death. It’s been 4 years without him.
The day before Father’s Day, 4 years ago, Cameron came over to my townhouse to receive the gifts we had for him: a nice shirt from Kohl’s, handmade cards, and a shrinkie-dink keychain from Maggie.
**A little back story: We were in the middle of a divorce, due to his addictions, but he still came over frequently (almost daily) for family dinner, to hang out, go on occasional dates, or to see the children. We loved each other madly but if you have ever dealt with someone with an addiction you can understand why the pending divorce…**
He entered our home, Maggie came running down the stairs to greet him, and the boys were watching tv. We visited for awhile and then he told us he had to leave.
As always, Cam gave a little pep talk to each of the boys before leaving. I didn’t hear what he said to Corbin but I’ll never forget his conversation with Maverick. He placed both of his arms on Maverick’s shoulders and looked him in the eyes and said “you be good to your mother. You listen to her, she’s the best thing you’ve got. Do good in school and do not turn out like me. Be a smart kid and study hard. I love you son”.
Off the boys went to play lacrosse outside, Maggie to play with toys, and it was just Cam and I alone.
He sat down on my steps and we had a very serious conversation about his health. I was concerned about him and I started to cry. He apologized for making me worry and he stood up to hug me. We stood there at the foot of my stairs holding one another as he was shaking and crying and squeezing me so tightly.
Over and over again he said how sorry he was for all that he had done to me and the kids and how he wished things were different. I told him to not give up hope and that things can always change. I let him know how much we loved him and pray for him daily. We told each other how much we loved each other and wished that this divorce wasn’t happening but Cam understood his poor choices led us to this separation.
We wiped away each others tears, I offered him a soda for the road, and we headed out to the garage. We talked about our upcoming plans for Father’s Day and how we wanted to make him his favorite meal and dessert. He walked towards his car, hugging Maggie one more time, and then he turned back one last time to look at me.
He looked at me as if it would be the last time, gave me his half smile, and he got in his car and drove away. I picked up Maggie and we waved to him and Maggie blew kisses.
That was the last time we ever saw him or spoke to him. His body was discovered by his roommate two days later.
Why? Why? Why?!!!!!!!
Why weren’t we able to save him? Why didn’t the treatment centers work? Why was I not enough? Why were the kids not enough? Why didn’t the medications fix him? Or did they make him worse? Why didn’t counseling help?
Why couldn’t he fight a little harder?!
Over the last four years I have accepted the reality of his death and worked through it but this year is different. I’m actually angry he died. This is an emotion on the grief charts that I have never had.
“Why would I be angry?” I would tell myself. “He is finally at peace and not battling any demons anymore!”.
Well, now I’ve changed my mind.
Yes, after four years it has finally hit me that I am mad.
I cannot believe Cameron spun his life into such a way that he died and left a huge mess behind. He left children to mourn their father for the rest of their lives. The same three children he said he loved more than anything. It feels like everything he said was just lies. His addictions consumed him.
His death is undoable. It cannot be reversed. He is never coming back. And that angers me. He didn’t HAVE to die.
Recently, I reviewed his autopsy report for the hundredth time. This time I just wanted to scream. PERFECT health. Perfect body, perfect organs, perfect teeth, strong heart, perfectly trimmed hair and nails, absolutely nothing wrong with him.
He didn’t HAVE to die.
The only reason for his death were the things HE chose to ingest in excess.
Again, he didn’t HAVE to die!
He died because of his poor choices and addiction. I hate it.
He left me here to deal with his “baby girl” who now battles anxiety, sometimes daily, from the trauma of losing her daddy. During her anxious moments she will tell me “mom, I feel like I can’t breathe and that I’m dying”. Oh how I feel anger towards Cameron and want to scream to the heavens “you jerk! How could you do this!!” She was everything to him!
He left behind two boys who loved that man more than anything! He was our protector. He was our giant. He was the toughest, strongest man on the planet in our kids eyes. Nothing could hurt him.
How could he have done this?!
Yes, I realize substance abuse makes people not who they really are but when you are grieving and you hit anger, you just don’t care. Rational thinking is gone for now. Why did he do this?!
Having a delay of emotions on the grief chart can be normal from what I’ve read and that is reassuring. Emotions don’t always happen in the proper order of: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.
No matter what stage we are on in this cycle, it’s difficult. Saying goodbye to a loved one is hard and the finality of it all hurts for a long time.
I know that these feelings will pass soon and I’ll be back to having full acceptance and love but for now, I’m angry.
And that’s okay.
Have you grieved in the traditional order of the Grief Cycle?