Saturday, February 5, 2011

payment in full

image by Troy Kajala

March brings the one year anniversary of Tina's death.

Tina is Emily's mom. She was twenty-five and Bill was thirty when she born, and for the first few years it seemed as though everything would be okay. Not that there weren't huge red flags in regard to Tina'a mental illness (she was bi-polar with personality disorders and munchausen's) but then, it would be at least four years before it all fell apart and a bitter custody battle ensued.

By the time I met Bill and Em, they were living 5,000 km from Tina, and like the rest of Tina's family and friends, trying to avoid contact. By then she'd pretty much gone off the deep end, God love her. She'd become addicted to oxycontin, oxycodiene, zopiclone...I don't know what else. I do know about addictive behaviour and she was living the life. Almost a year after her suicide, there are only five pictures of her tagged on Facebook and a slew of private messages and emails did not turn up any more. It was like that with Dale too - we have precious few of him in the last two years.

Anyway, we've thought a lot of her in the last ten months. It's true that she was hard to deal with, and we often ignored her because even though she said she was calling for Em, she would ask mostly about Bill and what he looked like now, or what did I look like, or what were we doing.

We have some guilt around that, but mostly we have peace.

I'll never know if Tina knew she'd be giving us peace, but I know that Dale knew and he was okay with dying if that meant we'd all be free. Dale wanted Jamie and I to have a chance to start over. Tina had lived with the depression and mental illness since she was a child and had very little in the way of support.

Sunday Feb 6/11

Yesterday we had cable, internet and a landline installed again, after a period of (maybe?) three years! At any rate, I had to go to work afterward and wasn't able to finish my post.

I've been thinking a lot about Tina, though not steady. Sometimes weeks will go by and it won't dawn on me that Em was born to someone else! Then she'll laugh or run, or get mad and make that face where she purses her lips - and I will see Tina's teenaged heart shining through. I can see her before she became too jaded, before the illness seized and destroyed her. Before she realized that she wasn't strong enough to navigate this's so sad.

Then I start thinking about how alike Tina and Dale were, how lucky it was that we all ended up together. I have my two girls, Bill has the fmily he was wishing for, Em has a mother she can count on, and Jamie has a father that she can trust.

I have so much I can't even name it all here.

Because of that, both Dale and Tina are in a good place. By that I mean, we think of them often and wish them peace, we mourn the loss of what might have been in the future and we wonder if they come to visit us as often as it seems. We hope they know that whatever mistakes they made here on earth have been forgiven. They owe no debt to any of us. As each of them faced their moment of death, the slate was wiped clean.


  1. kate, you may not be perfect (nobody is), but i know your heart is in the right place. you're truly an inspiration. the world is a better place because of people like you.

  2. I agree with you, and it is good that you all found each other. You have a good heart.

  3. Great post Kate. You're a good person.

  4. I wasn't sure anyone had read this one. Thanks for your comments!

  5. This is a tragic but beautiful story. I have recently lost my brother to suicide and I am finding that blogging is helping to deal with and sort out my's very very very hard. My heart goes out to you. I am enjoying your blog. Peace. :)

  6. Eve, thanks so much for visiting!