Monday, June 13, 2011

What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Stronger.

OK let's just do this.  I have not blogged in so very long because I knew this post was coming.  I can't tell my story without it, but having to face it, well.......not sure it's worth it but I will tell you before I finish, if I even do finish.
In 1981 I married at the age of 22.  I was madly in love with fellow punk rocker singer Tony of Trudee and the Trendsetters.  We met, we fell in love, we did a duet "I Got You Babe" by Sonny and Cher and we were the it couple.  I didn't know at the age of 20 that love was all consuming, I was not sure that I liked it one bit and I am (quite frankly) still not sure.  At the age of 21 I had lost the battle and I gave in to this thing that people live forever to find, I was in love and I couldn't deny that and fortunately , for me, so was Tony.  We were young, blonde, rock star wannabe's having the time of our lives and it is something, someone, sometime that I can stuff away but never, truly forget, try as I might.  We moved in together in 1981, actually I moved into the house he shared with his brother and a couple of friends, on Lovers Lane in Akron. I must have been out of my mind in love because I moved from Bath to Lovers Lane and I was happier than I had ever been. I got a job at the Burger King on Arlington and I walked or took the bus so I must have been a little dazed and confused..but I did it and I only met wonderful people when I lived there, I liked my neighbors and the customers at Burger King, it was not what I had imagined in my little all white party girl world, it was new and exciting and I started to really care about the people I was meeting.  Lower class, middle class, upper class, it doesn't really mean anything, people are either good or bad, happy or sad, and it doesn't much matter after that does it? My neighbors in Bath would not have been one one hundredth as kind to me as my neighbors on Lovers Lane, and I was very unlikeable and out of place with my clothes and my hair and my attitude, but no one there cared...they decided if they liked me or they didn't and that was that.  I remember once while I lived there (there was a lot of petty theft) someone helped themself to my new bike, I saw it sitting outside of a grocery store down the road in "no man's land" on Arlington St.  I went in, threatened to beat the crap out of whomever took it if they gave me "one bit of shit" while I took it back and rode it home, I did, and no one followed me.  My guess was they were standing there in shock for at least a few minutes while this skinny white bitch walked in and told them all off threatening bodily harm to a room full of very large bikers and gang bangers.  That day I was not a member of either gang, I was just a stupid girl in love who wanted her damn bike back and I got it.  When I told Tony he was more than a little mad at my ignorance and I decided I probably got really lucky and he was absolutely right.  We married in 1981 when I was only 22 and Tony 25 but it seemed like the right thing to do.  We stayed on Lovers Lane for 5 years before moving to a little duplex his brother purchased in Ellet.  It was around that time that we decided to have a child together.   When I was 27 years old I realized what life was all about when I first held my son, my first child, Cory (named after Tony's favorite baseball God Cory Snyder, had it been my choice he was to be Oliver but no one wanted him to get the crap beat out of him in school so Cory it was).  I went through DAYS of labor, try as I might I could not have this child because of the size of my pelvis (who knew)?  Fortunately before they let me die, they did an emergency c-section and Tony was there through the whole thing.  He was so so good to me when I was sick or crazy and I was usually one or the other.  I remember my dad never left for 3 days, he just stayed there.  My Mother came and went and for her it was so awesome that she tried because she was so scared and nervous and for her that meant, not dealing with it (I get it).  After Cory was born my dad brought me the cutest damn thing I had ever seen, it was a satin football jacket with the official Chicago Bears logo (orange and blue) because Tony was such a die hard Bears fan.  It was Cory's first gift and it hangs in my bedroom closet today, it's about as big as my foot and I will never forget how cute he was in that thing and I will never forget that I knew my Father loved me, something I had never been sure of until I saw how scared he was that I wouldn't make it and how special his gift to us was, it was sentimental and meaningful and it spoke volumes.  Tony LOVED it and Cory wore it until he was probably 2.  There are things about my life as Mother that I did not understand, there were things I understood completely and one of them was this...a whole lot of changing had to happen or Tony and I would not make it, this child was to important and I suddenly was not willing to compromise his destiny to hold my marriage together.  When Cory was 2 it was over, I had to make a move so he would grow up with every possibility available to him.  Tony's depression was starting to take over, it was no longer a situation that was "sometimes" it was all consuming and his drinking worsened and his ability to function failed.  I tried every which way to fix and mend and cover it up and pretend but finally I needed to get myself together and make a life for my child.  If Cory hadn't come along I probably would have stayed so I feel in some odd way Cory came to save me and he did.  I will NOT ever disclose the specifics of the things we went through, Tony was not Tony by the time it all went down, he was a shell of the wonderful guy I met and married and I forgive him, I will not look back with blame because we both had to deal with each other's issues and my inmaturity had to be hard to deal with.  After we seperated Tony called me one night in a horrible state of mind and asked if I could please come stay with him, he was sick and he needed meds.  I went over but realized I couldn't handle the state he was in, he was so so down, sad and actually physically sick from trying to quit drinking and my heart broke.  I ran and got him a 12 pack because he begged me for it and I could not stand seeing him suffer like that.  I then called Mike (his brother) and I went home.  Being back there in that house, in that cycle was to much and I had to go.  Somewhere in the back of my mind I knew it was coming to a head and that my time with Tony, who had become one of my best friends at that point, was over.  It was not long before I got the call one morning from Mike, wonderful, long suffering, Mike...that Tony had killed himself.  For a matter of minutes, time did not exist, it just.......stopped, it came to a hault and there was no, past, present or future, it was all just......silence and everything went gray, my kitchen, on Smith Rd. where I was standing went gray, the phone was yellow, the cabinets were blue and white but for a few minutes, seconds, years...who knows, they were gray and there was no time.  (Gotta pause to get through this one brb)......
OK, I remember Mike saying "Tracey, Tony's dead, I'm sorry".  Then, I slowly (in my mind) began to fall to the ground, but it was all slow motion and I heard my Mother, who was standing there, saying "What is it"? "What's wrong are you OK"?  She was panicked and she sounded like she was talking from 2 houses away because my hearing was gone for the most part, replaced by this ringing sound that blocked out everything.  I was so aware of dropping, my legs just gave and I began to drop and it felt like it took so long to hit the ground, I heard the phone bounce off the floor and I heard my Mother pick it up and say "OH MY GOD NO" but again she sounded so far away.  The only thing that I knew at that minute, which was really more like an hour, was that I was not alive anymore, I had left the plain of existence we function on and entered a plain of existence that was not real, or not, here, it just wasn't anything and suddenly neither was I.  The only thing I remember after I hit the floor was taking the phone back and saying to Mike "What am I going to do now" and he simply said "I don't know Trace" and there my memory ends for a few moments, an hour, I'm not sure it's blank. I know when I came "out of it" there were people at the house, my sister and that's all I know but there were people there, Tony's sister in law and his Mother came and when I ran out to the driveway to hug Betty (his Mother) I collapsed.  Then the time came for me to tell Cory who was 4 years old.  All he said was "Do you mean MY Daddy, the one who brings me stuff"?  I said yes and he asked if he could go ride his bike and I said yes.  It's odd because it was December but it must have been warm enough for him to go ride because I just watched him go around in circles over and over and I was scared because he didn't cry or yell, he just got the news and went outside to ride his bike.  The realization would hit him a few months later in the heart of downtown Gatlinburg Tenn. on a street full of people, when we were on a little vacation, just the two of us.  Cory started laughing hysterically saying "My Daddy Died" to everyone around him and then he cried uncontrollably and I took him back to the hotel and went home the next day, it was a devestating thing to watch and I felt completely alone in the world, the only one there to piece him back together but I was so glad it finally hit and he got it out of his system, well I'm not sure that's a true statement but he finally released some of it.
One of the hardest things was Christmas at Tony's Mom's house.  Tony had planned and arranged everything including making it all right with the Catholic Church he so cherished and he even picked the dates of things to come, he was buried on our wedding anniversary and I couldn't even make it to the service because the black hole I was in had no ladder yet, I was trapped and could not get out, so I missed it.  I did make the calling hours, I remember Mark (Jendrisak) coming because I love him so much I remember he was there, he said he really didn't know what to say and I lost it, Bob and Ricky Ethington came, I remember that.  I also remember walking up to the casket and trying to talk to him, his Mom held me up and said it was all OK, she was trying to help  ME and she was strong as an ox, her pain was beyond comprehension and I love her so much I will be forever grateful for everything she was to me in this life and on that day.  But I digress.....Christmas Day, Tony had been buried Dec. 12 so this was pretty rough...we went to the Bandrowsky's for Christmas with Joe and Betty , his parents whom I adored and under the tree there were presents for Cory, from Tony, he had taken the time to make sure Cory was taken care of and my heart split into little tiny pieces, some of which I am not sure ever found there way back to the puzzle.  There was a note on them, saying that this was from "Daddy" and he was there, that sort of thing.  Betty brought in the suicide note for me to see, but I couldn't read it, I never could, I never did, I still haven't and I guess I never will but she did tell me that he came to her a few days before he followed through with the suicide and said that I was and would always be his great love, his best friend, so he died not hating me, though he could have hated me, he did for a while I know that, and it was nice to know he resolved that in his heart as I have resolved it in mine.  So that's that, enough, I did it.....I told it and now it goes back where it belongs, for a good long time because I can't do this again for a very very long time.  Who knows where it belongs actually, but it does not belong in my mind and thoughts all these years later, it's to much to hash through it...thanks for listening.  TT