A Way Forward

The fifth anniversary of my mother’s death has finally come and gone. Five years ago, it felt as if my entire world had fallen apart. Turning the clock back, exactly five years ago, my father and I had just finished taking care of my mother’s rabbits after the emergency services rolled her lifeless body out of my parent’s home. We had tried in vain to contact my sister and brother in law, until at the very last moment my sister called our father. I can still remember his face, hearing his sobs as he explained it. I don’t know how my sister handled the news, but I know she was just as hurt as the rest of us.

I remember coming home and pulling out a revolver, then playing Russian roulette on my stairway. No matter what happened, I couldn’t get a round to go off. It was always a different number, a chamber opposite or just under the hammer. I pushed myself away and tried to get some sleep, but such was impossible; it seemed as if my entire future had come crumbling down. I had only just left club fed a little more than a year prior and had not even published any of the books I had written in the past two years. My mother had insisted we could do it, that she would be there to help me. In return, I helped her however I could.

The year prior, I had actually intended to move away from the midwest USA, possibly to one of the coastal areas. I knew a number of people in the Pacific northwest, so I thought I would try living there for a while. Unfortunately, I found out that I had a hernia that summer, and with no health insurance I was scrambling to find a solution. My mother found a place south of my state that would do it for a cash price, so I went there and had it repaired. By the time I had healed, it was already late fall and it delayed my trip. When I was finally up there, I found out that the area really wasn’t for me, but decided I might try again the next spring.

It wasn’t to be. That winter, my mother had complications with a medical procedure and was in the hospital for a few weeks. I ended up taking care of her rabbits for that time, so I determined I needed to stay a little bit longer — at least until my sister returned from her deployment. Even though I felt frustration with where I had lived for the better part of 30 years, moving away wasn’t a rational decision until things were settled at home and family. I later determined that it didn’t matter where I went; I would always be a rejected outcast, no matter what, so I needed to focus on what was important to me. That was writing, even if it wasn’t a recipe for success.

As I sit here writing this, with only 29 minutes left in the day, I keep hoping to find a way forward. It is frustrating and I often find myself wondering if I should have done what I tried to do that night, five years ago. What would have changed? What would have been different? Would all my questions be answered, or would I merely be led to more complex questions? I have no answers; only theories. Speculation. Uncertainty. I attempt to answer it with writing, but it is always hollow and fragmented. I can only come to the conclusion that there may not be a way forward — simply forward. I can’t change the past, nor can I stop the future. I can only go forward.

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