An old friend recently posted this pic of me from the night that I met my late husband; it was taken on September 29, 1990. So hard to believe it's been twenty years!
Anyway, with Tina's passing last weekend, it seems that Bill and I have even more in common than our love for the kids and similar goals for the future. When I saw this picture of me, my first thought was she has no idea what she's in for. Dale and Tina turned out to be very much alike, except that Tina had a bigger mean streak than Dale did. Both of them died young - Dale was thirty-five and Tina was thirty-eight and they both suffered for years and years.
In the pic I'm twenty-five and single for the first time in almost five years, Jamie would have been about twenty months old then. The night I met Dale I was supposed to meet up with a bunch of friends at a nightclub called Branley's but this guy Shawn called. Now I have mixed feelings for Shawn - I always liked him, but never that way, so when he called to ask me over for a drink I politely declined.
"Sorry," I remember saying, "I gotta take a cab to Branley's and I won't have enough money left if I stop off first." The truth was, I knew he was interested but didn't want to ward off any advances. Still, he kept trying.
"My buddy's here and he'll come to get you."
"Hmmm. Think he'd give me a ride to Branley's afterward?"
Turned out his buddy was Dale. I can picture him now in his Saskatchewan Roughriders football jersey, Levi's and sneakers. From the moment I met him I really liked him, and after we woke up the next morning he drove me home and asked me out on a real date. Shawn tried warning me that he would break my heart and he did, but not for several more years.
I find it ironic that both Dale and Tina suffered from Borderline Personality Disorder. It's characterized by depression, black and white thinking, fear of abandonment, substance abuse, anger issues and suicidal thoughts. Of course, Tina was also bi-polar and had another mental illness called Muncheusen's, but essentially it came down to two things - they were both charming, smart and attractive, but neither had the strength to survive. Dale died twelve years and three days after the picture was taken.
During the next seven years I would be plagued a variety of emotional issues and crippling shoulder pain. Bill survived a mild heart attack but still deals with depression and occasional shoulder and back pain. The kids are still doing well and we pray every day they continue to do so. I know I'll always worry, knowing that Jamie and Em were so badly effected by all the chaos, but they seem stronger for having survived it as well.
Tomorrow, Bill's sister is coming into town and we're all seeing a movie. Since we're too far away to have attended Tina's service, everyone thought a Family Day would be good.
Have a good weekend!