Life Could be Better

"Unless you have experienced it yourself, you cannot possibly understand what is like to sit down with your three little girls, look into their beautiful faces, and tell them that their Mommy will never be coming home again. She now lives with the angels."

At one time in my life things were like, or pretty close to, a fairytale. But things can change in the blink of an eye. It all started with one night that I will never forget, which to a point was the start of my life's' downhill slide.

My common law wife became suicidal for no apparent reason. As people say, things come in threes, well so did this. She had made three different attempts on herself that changed our lives forever. Eventually she got a little better and stopped making these attempts, but I had now been traumatized to the point of being scared to go anywhere and leave her alone.

It put a very short leash on my life. It controlled where I went, for how long and if I got a job or not. I did landscaping, which is outside work and it had gotten to the point where all I did was worry about the next time she would try again, day after day, and my mind was really never anywhere else but there. Every time I heard sirens I got very anxious to the point I thought I might be sick. I got so worried that I had to go home. So you can understand that keeping a job for very long became a problem.

Eventually, I just never worked and stayed at home with her and collected Ontario Works. If you have been on assistance you know it is a very limited budget. Life altogether had become very boring and each day was very much the same. But we loved each other very much and we had a loving family. And, as I mentioned before, she did get better.

Things had been good until the tragedy of all tragedies struck a blow I have still not recovered from. The love of my life, my soul mate, died so suddenly and without any warning that it devastated me in a way I never imagined possible. Unless you have experienced it yourself, you cannot possibly understand what is like to sit down with your three little girls, look into their beautiful faces, and tell them that their Mommy will never be coming home again. She now lives with the angels.

Half a year later we left our home, which was just too hard to live in, and we moved into my sister's basement to be with family and also to finally start working again. I mean no disrespect to my wife as I loved her very much, but as you can imagine, after years of living in fear and worry I was finally able to try and work again. All the worry and constant fear, for the first time in years, had passed.

I worked for a short while until my family said that they were moving. Because my credit was not good, I could not find a place for the first time in my life. I ended up in a shelter for families. Certain things I used to think could not happen to me were happening. With it came a whole new train of thought. It was about SURVIVAL - for myself, and most importantly, for my daughters.

I was both Mom and Dad. I had two little girls (my eldest was biologically not mine and went to live with her father) that were dealing with not having their mother and living in a strange place. I was petrified and did not know what to expect, as the whole shelter idea was very intimidating. But once we were checked in and a few days had gone by, things started to feel a little more comfortable. For once it felt like there were finally people who cared and somewhere where I could turn. There are people who provide you with a sense of security, a decent place to stay, healthy meals, and require very little from you in return. To me I felt safe here while I looked for a new home for my family. If it were not for these types of places there would be nowhere for a man with children to go. You can only feel like a burden to others for so long.

A period of time, about a year before the girls' Mom passed away, she ended up on Percocet. For those that are not aware, this is a strong, very addictive painkiller - an opiate. After awhile I started to get curious about these pills that take pain away. It had gotten so bad that by the time she had passed away, I was eating these pills like they were Smarties, about 35-40 pills per day. Although it became a huge problem in my life, I still believe to this day, that if I had not taken those pills I might not be here right now. They numbed everything. However, these pills also brought me to the point where I knew something needed to be done, and fast. I ended up hearing about clinic 528 from a friend. This is a methadone clinic, and I called them immediately. Lucky for me they did not have many appointments booked and I was able to get an appointment within a week. It could not have been better timing for me as I was desperate. I am still on methadone, which has changed my life greatly. As far as worrying about my next pill, and spending all my money on them (these pills go for $5 each on the street) this has helped.

I ended up in housing after leaving the shelter the first time. For a while everything was all right but then things just started going downhill fast, again. I started having some problems socially with people and ended up in a circle of friends that once again began to blur my game plan. I was ending up in certain situations I did not want to be involved in, before I knew what was happening I was not paying my rent and once again ended back up at the shelter.

I have always meant well, but because of my addiction I can sometimes be easily swayed or talked into something. I have a hard time saying no. So after spending time constantly talking with staff and others, as well as working with a social worker, I started to see that there was more to it than just getting a new place and moving in. I started to see this was all starting to cause some depression. And I had never really dealt with my or my kid's grief over losing their mother.

Choosing the types of people I associate with is probably the best starting point. I have to avoid bad influences. The drama of fighting all the time is starting to depress me. Grief counseling might be a good starting point for me to move forward. Cutting people out of your life that you are used to seeing everyday is a lot harder than many realize. I knew that if I wanted to make progress it needed to be done. You can try to make things seem all better but unless you are willing to sit down and do something different new changes are not going to come about. That is my goal. I currently find myself in shelter once again, for not paying my rent. My apartment was infested with raccoons that got into our electrical wiring and I chose not to pay my rent thinking my landlord was in the wrong. I learned that this was not the case.

All I know is that this is the time, my final time. I really, truly believe that I am realizing the pain/hurt, sadness I was putting my girls through, and I can tell you that they will never, ever have to go through this again. But I do realize that my own health is also important so I can be a healthy, caring Dad. I need to move to a home where there is always food. Our house needs to be stable and the children need proper schooling, with no absences. I feel that this will be a huge step in bringing my self-confidence back. It is extremely hard to live with yourself day by day, when you know deep inside your are not being the dad you know you can easily be.

So I say, bring on the change because with that many more happy and positive things will come our way. Because of my past years, I cannot think of one reason to not have a wonderful life. It is time for positive change so what am I waiting for...?

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