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Julie Quarm
6:34 AM (5 hours ago)

to me
This is Patrick, Maddie's dad. He doesn't say much but when he does it kills me. Melanie grieves very publicly with anger and I don't know what but he just holds it in then writes sporadically...

http://wpatrickhiggins.wordpress.com/2014/03/24/phantom-limb/

Love you

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Anthony Quarm
9:29 AM (2 hours ago)

to Julie
That was a hard read. And I know from loosing my dad how much truth there is in it.

I forgot his voice a long time ago. One night I had a dream where he came to talk to me. I always know my dreams aren't real... I am always acutely aware of the fact that I am simply watching constructs of my imagination from a third person perspective. But when he visited, it felt real... and I saw him through my own eyes, not from above. When he spoke... there was a reassurance in that bass that I haven't felt since I was little.

The dreams I had where he came to see me were welcome, even though the morning brought a sadness that was unbearable. Feeling that close to something that is now gone is a drug more addictive and powerful than anything on earth. Luckily I was young and I had hopes even then of going on to start my own life... and resurrect my father not through some mystical ceremony, but rather, by becoming him in my own way. I knew that the best way to honor him would be to be the father he was to me, to my own kids. That is true immortality.. as I then hope that my children grow up to hold those values dear and, in some form or another, become me.

Loosing Eve though would be a pain that I don't know how I could function. S simple trip to CVS would leave me sprawled on the floor in a manic mess, sobbing uncontrollably as I remembered her going down the aisles hugging each and every nutcracker for two years in a row. Every molecule that makes up my body wishing it could go back and be that nutcracker, just to feel her arms again. And that is just a simple trip to the pharmacy. The grocery store would haunt me with visions of her riding in the little red car, singing Christmas carols at the top of her lungs while a smile instantly appears on the face of every single adult in the vicinity. Target... that would be one of the hardest. The stabbing feeling of not hearing her calling out for an icee. Not hearing her say "wait wait wait" to go back and pet the toy animals again, or glance one more time at that doll on the rack. But going home would be the hardest thing of all.

That place is drenched in memories. How could we continue to live in that house? Just imagining this brings out a fury of emotional death. My mind flashes with images of me slamming my forehead into her wall, smashing through Horton... trying to become one with her room. Laid across her bed, unable to breath from crying so hard, twitching almost like seizure. I'm emotionally exhausted just thinking about it.

The pain from these moments is so deep that to survive our brain has to create short circuits around it. It forces us to forget small details at first, then large ones. There comes a time when all we have left of someone that is gone is a few mental pictures. Silent and unmoving pictures. Like a movie where the reels motor slowly died, until it settles on one image from one scene with no sound. And slowly the heat from the lamp fades the image until you are left with a memory of a memory. If I didn't have pictures of my dad, I wouldn't be able to tell you much about him anymore. Over the past 22 years I would have forgotten the color of his beard (not remembering it as a bright rust color, instead just *knowing* it was reddish. Knowing... but not remembering). He is perpetually a few feet taller than me. It is alien to picture him standing beside me, slightly smaller in stature than myself. It is even more alien to imagine him as having aged. He will always be 40 years old. I can't begin to imagine him as anything older.

And that ... right there... would be the absolute hardest part of loosing a child. Never seeing them grow up. Never being able to imagine who they could have become. With the irony being, the older they get, the more wonderful they become. Loosing an infant would be devastating.... but it is the loss of potential that is the hardest. Loosing a 2 or 3 year old is devastating squared. They talked to you. They said, I love you". They hugged and kissed you. They expressed dreams and wishes. Maybe they even, very seriously, told you that one day they would marry you... and got very upset at the notion that anyone else might tell them otherwise. And I figure that as they get older... as they become even more unique and even more defined, it becomes harder and harder still to say goodbye... because you are saying goodbye to so much more. You are saying goodbye to less potential, and more to definitions of being.

When my dad passed away I imagine the one solace my grandmother found was in knowing he had had children. He wasn't leaving a complete emptiness behind.

Loving is such a dangerous gamble. The more people one loves, the more they stand to loose. The day we brought Aeris home, we were setting ourselves up for years of happiness, and a day of devastation followed by weeks of emptiness. Atlas, Ajax, and Callie are still at some midpoint in that parabola of emotions. We have our children with the expectation that the parabola of our own lives will end before theirs does. It's an odd gamble really.. we are betting that we will die before we have to deal with their death, but in doing so - we have simply handed the grief over to them.

If I were to loose Eve, I would be a shell. I briefly glimpsed the fury and rage of despair earlier in my own mind as I allowed myself to imagine it a bit to realistically earlier. If I lost Asher as well, I'd feel like a tree with it's roots cut off.

At that point I'm not slamming my head into walls or sobbing uncontrollably. I am simply numb. Alive simply because I am breathing. If I got the news right now, I wouldn't have the strength to stand... or talk... or even think. I feel like I would sit here staring at my screen, unable to figure out what the point of anything is anymore. If I lost all three of you, I would go on auto pilot. I would sit through funerals... pack things up... clean things out... and say goodbye to all of it. After making sure everyone else was ok (your parents, my family), and passing along everyone's stuff, I would sell the house and leave. I'd go somewhere where I felt I could die in peace. It is too complicated to die around family. I'd rather say goodbye one time, and go give up anonymously somewhere. I don't understand people who start a second life. Maybe they just don't know what else to do. But if I lost my entire family, I wouldn't have the strength to do it again. When I had seizures I lived in a dual world. There was the waking world and the "other" one. Full of other people in another place with other relationships. When the seizures stopped, so did my treks to that place. I have always been confident that I had retreated into my brain during those episodes. Maybe that is what a coma is like... maybe we feel like we are just somewhere else. However I can't tell you how disorienting it felt to fall down that rabbit hole. I could feel the seizure coming on, and the best way to describe it is to image the city in Dark City as it morphs and changes at night to the whims of those who control it below. There is a sense of vertigo and loss of gravity at the same time, and I remember fighting it so hard. Grasping for anything to hold on to to keep myself grounded. I feel this is how it would be to loose my family, and then to one day have another one. It would feel like a pseudo world, designed simply to pretend the old burned down one doesn't exist anymore. Made of fake plastic walls tied up with string. In the matrix, Cypher betrays Neo and the crew by joining Agent Smith with the promise of going back into the matrix. He figures a life of delusional elegance is better than a life of realistic hardships. He speaks on the fact that ones taste buds don't make a difference if your brain believes it is true. And that is the same thing to me. Forgoing the pain and feeling of our extremities, to choose to hide in our brains imaginary worlds.

This feeling, and the loss of my dad, is the same reason I fight with my own pain so hard. People change when they are diagnosed with critical issues. Darrel hinted that Liz had acted completely differently after she was diagnosed with Crohn's. There are documented cases of people being misdiagnosed with cancer, and yet they started to waste away as though they actually were fighting it.

Today, waking up was so hard. I didn't want to move. I pictured myself driving in and part of my brain said I couldn't do it.

I hate that part of my brain.

Rolling over and getting my feet under me felt like a risk. Once the bottoms of my feet hit the floor I can almost physically count as my legs continue bending until the strength floods into them to properly stand up. For a second or so though, it feels like gravity is going to pull me right down to the floor. And during that flash of a second, that little part in my brain lights up and says, "it will be comfortable on the floor". It is the archetype of a devil on your shoulder. Only this little voice doesn't sit their to cheer on moral depravity, rather it seems to be his goal in life to get me to give up.

Knowing how hard it would be to loose either of the kids or you though, is what keeps me standing up. Because I know if I were to give up, all I would be doing is transferring that pain to you. I'd fail as a father and a husband at that point... I would invalidate the sacrifices my dad made for me, and just like Michael, Eve and Asher would grow up with barely any idea of who I was. The man that Eve repeatedly says she wants to marry would be some abstract memory, primarily built on other people's stories. You would be stuck with both of our dreams for our life resting on your shoulders, living in an overwhelming situation of responsibilities and needs that would crush the life out of you, until one day you aren't the same Julie anymore that was married with kids. And at that point, our kids no longer have either of us in the same way they do now.

And so I don't stay there laying in bed. I don't slide out of bed on to the floor. I wait until I get to work, and then it catches up to me on some days and I have to lay on the floor for 45 minutes while trying to get to a point where I can stand back up and truly start the day. It's hard... but its nothing like loosing any of you, so it is worth it.

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