What Do You Think

I think it is a challenge to live a solitary life. I don’t dislike it, but I reminisce  too much about sad events. It’s like my past has tentacles that slither out of the photo albums, out of the closets, out of the desks and cabinets to wrap themselves, insinuate themselves into my present. I spend days prying their suction cups off of my psyche, until I give up and just allow the octopus to swallow me whole.

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striped reflection

The SLOG of Joy

Grumble. Growl. Grunt.

.   Swear. Sweat. Stomp.

. Punch. Pound. Pant.

.  Breathe. Binge. Boss.

.  Shout. Scream, Smear.

.  Fall in a heap, exhausted. Then get up, clean up, and do it all over again.

.  There is joy in this. This “living” we do. No matter how sweaty, or dirty, or ugly, this “living” is a beautiful thing.

.   There is no ‘give up’ here, no ‘quit’ , no ‘over it, no ‘packing it in’.

This is where every. breath. matters.

.    DO YOU HEAR ME?

EVERY BREATH MATTERS.

Right now, in my little trailer in the middle of down, down, way down and out USA, I am deciding to care. I am deciding that my sufferings will amount to something, that all this silence and fear and worry  in my heart will be done away with, that with this breath of life my Creator blessed me with will be used to help someone else live, too.

.  I know I’m a rag-tag mess. I can’t think straight most of the time, and there are days I can’t leave my house. I am oppressed by an illness that tells me I don’t have it, and that feeling like I’m sick is a sin. I’m not exhausted, it tells me, I’m lazy. I’m not in excruciating pain, I’m a dope seeker. I was not abused, assaulted and raped, I was promiscuous.

.  I am here, I am now, and with my God’s help, I will reach out to someone else. And with my God’s help, I will not believe the lies. Instead I believe the Bible, God’s own letter to me, and to all his children. I want to live.

A Psalm of My Own

Written after Fighting With Myself All NightWIN_20200720_06_43_02_Pro_LI (3)

.           Jehovah knows my suffering, hears my pleas each day

.          He knows the pain this madness brings, knows I’m made of clay

.          I thought I’d be forsaken, and all my hope was lost

.          I struggled to awaken, eternal darkness was the cost

.          But my God cares for me, He hears my cries and screams

.          He pulls me out of raging seas, makes pleasant peaceful dreams

.          How can I show my thankfulness, show Him my endless love?

.          I’ll walk with Him in faithfulness, Praise God in Heights above!

.          I will love my God whole-souled, pray, meditate and preach

.          No matter how lame, tired, sick or old, new sheep I will love and teach!

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Big Sky.(not my photo)

THE PAIN of it ALL

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What do I say to a black mother whose son was murdered at the hands, or knee, of a white man?

.   I saw George dying, in front of all the world, murdered. Every fiber of my being cried out for action to save him, knock that cop off of him, hurt those who were hurting him, scream “STOP!!!!!” at the loudest volume my wind and stretching vocal cords could scream. I saw him die. I could see the actual moment the life left him, we all could. His killer’s arrogance galled me, I cried as if George was my own. Those awful, endless minutes are now emblazoned on my conscience, and the world’s. But George’s suffering was finally over, the pain had ended for him. His family’s pain goes on.

.    My daddy died unjustly, and it took years for my anger and pain to subside. But, then, I am white. And it wasn’t a police organization, or even a police man who killed him. For me it was a hospital, who killed him just as surely as if they kneeled on his neck. And he was a Sicilian man, very dark complected, 1st generation borne of immigrants to this country, but I suppose he will be considered a “white” man by history.

.   But the pain I felt is the same pain George’s loved one’s feel in this sense: there was death, it was not natural, there was injustice, and there is anger. I feel it now, these years later. I was righteously indignant, I loved my daddy more than any girl ever loved her daddy, ever in the whole world. Whole universe I thought. I never saw his flaws, he was a hero to me, and they murdered him, and someone had to pay. I had to make it right , for him. For his memory.

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Another Day in Paradise

.   They hated me at that hospital, I believed. They had been out to get him, because we were poor, and because everyone knows doctors and hospitals only want one thing, right? Money. And we all know that there are very baaaad people in the medical field, there is a long, very, very long history of distrust in the Sicilian immigrant community against the “establishment”. It carried down from tyranny and mafioso, in the “home” country, where my ancestors were murdered and enslaved and oppressed by terrible injustice. Not only was the regime murderous and corrupt, even the local officials were, requiring payoffs and inflicting gross injustice and physical pain on the poor people who were supposed to be under their care. They had no choice, starve, be murdered, or board ships of misery with their last pennies to try living in a beckoning land across the great sea.

.  My granparents had experienced the ghettos in New York when they arrived, cramped, dirty, unlit, no facilities, living in dark, dank, freezing, stinking tenant housing in their new country. Now, instead of their tropical isle, where they knew the enemy, there were new enemies to contend with. Such hatred, such predjudice, such injustice, such poverty. All these conditions shaped the mentality of generations, the distrust of the “system”, the lack of eqaulity, the oppression…

.   My father was an angry man. For as far back as I have memory, he was mad at what he perceived as injustice in government. In another age pehaps he would have been a radical, I dont know. But he worked so hard, all his life, had  access to more education than his parents ever had, served in the military and was able to move to Florida in his early 50’s. which had been his lifelong dream. He never stopped working, even then, and I had everything I needed as his kid, except love. But I adored and idolized him, to my mother’s dismay. When I became his sole caregiver, he was my child, and I determined to never let anything bad happen to him. For all the grief I had put him through in my life as an addict, now that I was sober I would appease his every whim, and ease his Dementia and Alzheimer’s. He was my reason for being, for except for my dear shih-tzu’s I had lost everyone in my family, and had no children.

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Always a Dapper Dad

.    I was a she-bear when it came to his care. Endless research, talking to pro’s and others  on caring for the elderly. But no matter what I promised him, no matter how good I cared for him, and no matter how totally committed I was in my devotion, I was not able to save him from being killed.

.   So, then. What can I say to the millions of traumatized, oppressed, angry people who are fighting right now? They will do what they believe they must, to find relief for their anger. But to the loved ones of a man who died unjustly, there is something I can say, even in my proverbial “whiteness”:  I am so, so sad for you.  I can relate. I can relate to the sickening feeling in your gut, that horrendous hot ball of lead where your heart used to be. I  remember the anger, the absolute bursting feeling of helplessness, the burning knowledge that this should never have happened to your child, your son, your daddy, your husband, your brother, your uncle, your nephew, your cousin, your dear, dear friend. Your Beloved.   

.   My pain was real… Your’s is all too real right now. I will never question your pain, or think I know what you should feel, or do. I never want to exaccerbate your suffering. everyone grieves in a different way, for different lengths of time, for different reasons. there is never a right or wrong way to grieve. I wish you peace, someday…healing…a lessening of this great burden you carry.

.   My anger  was only relieved by my learning the true reason for death, suffering and in justice. Knowing and believing in the the knowledge that God will soon do away with the true source of the evils we experience as humans. the tormenter of us down thru the ages, all the way back to the garden of Eden. The father of the lie, Satan.

God had an answer to Satan’s lie right there on the spot: Jesus Christ, God’s Only-Begotten Son and The King of God’s Kingdom would crush Satan and throw him and all his cohorts into the Abyss!! It will happen very soon, when God says it is time! Then the words of Revelation will come true!

Revelation 21:3-5 reads:

.  ” With that I heard a loud voice from the throne say: “Look! The tent of God is with mankind, and he will reside with them , and they will be his people. And God himself will be with them.(4)And he will wipe out every tear from their eyes, and death will be no more, neither will mourning nor outcry nor pain be anymore. The former things have passed away.”

(5) And the One seated on the throne said:”Look! I am making all things new.” Also he says:”Write, for these words are faithful and true.”

.   Such beautiful words…a beautiful dream, perhaps? No. A promised reality from our God who cannot lie, whose purposes always succeed, and whose prophecies always come true. I have a favorite scripture about the surety of all God’s promises coming true, maybe because I am a farmer at heart, who has always loved the rain.

.   This is in the Bible book of Isaiah, in Chapter 55, beginning in verse 8: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, and your ways are not my ways,” declares Jehovah. (9) “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So my ways are higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. (10) For just as the rain and snow pour down from heaven And do not return there until they saturate the earth, making it produce and sprout, Giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,(11) So my word that goes out of my mouth will prove to be. It will not return to me without results, But it will certainly accomplish whatever is my delight, and it will have sure success in what I send it to do.”

.   Yes, The Creator of the entire Universe has everything taken care of, he has told us that he will be the only Judge, and His Son will carry out his Judgement.  The Ride of the Four Horsemen is already well underway.  One day soon our dead loved ones will be resurrected and what joy there will be, when this earth is finally free of evil and we will live forever in peace.Artwork and Pictures 056

.  Please take the time to learn what the Bible says, I want you to have the peace of mind and heart that I finally found. It is not too late, my friend.

VERTIGO, INSOMNIA and PAIN (oh, my!)

Cant wake up. I feel like I am sick inside, hot and cold, sticky and uncomfortable one minute , all dry and freezing the next. I feel like I’m going thru withdrawals, and twitchy, jerky-but from what?!? I feel that it is the Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo that I have endured since a series of concussions in 2013…BPPV is a type of vertigo from crystals in your inner ear becoming dislodged from a blow or hit on the head, and generally rights itself after 1 Epley Maneuver, which a trained pt performs.

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This is Sooo frustrating, because I don’t have a pt here, and the condition makes me so discombobulated and groggy that I can hardly go anywhere!So I have attempted the maneuver 4 times on my own, with no success it seems, and keep falling asleep everywhere I sit down. The other wrinkle to Post Concussion and TBI cases like mine, is the head injury caused a short-circuit from brain to diaphragm, so when my shuts down for sleep mode, I quit breathing. “Sleep Apnea!”, you exclaim, brandishing a Bi-pap and  Mask… (oh, I just want to interject that I have had brief BPPV free days when my excelkent PT Tom helped me for 2 years… he would do the maneuver when needed and I balance trained and did exerciwes regularly)

So, going back to the CENTRAL Apnea, I have been sleep studied a second time since moving here, and had my poor septum done again, and the Nose Guy (ent) who performed the surgey said, “If you cant breath thru this nose then I dont know what else to do for ya!”

He checked out my sleep settings on my machine, said they were fine and sent me on my way with a script for little nasal pillows instead of the “Alien” mask I wear now.

Insurance doesnt pay, etc, etc So I go to bed, fight with the Mask until I’m finally exhausted and angry, then I drift for 20 minutes before ripping the parasitic thing off my face , flinging it wildly across the room, knocking my water off onto my med box…This causes me to rise up like a crazed Mama Kodiak, comforter flying like a war hero’s cape, kicking my medicine box across  imaginary goal posts, with different colored pastel tablets raining down, as if confetti!

After this nightly comedy of errors and arrows, I give up and decide to paint faux chintz wallpaper onto my bedroom walls. At 4AM.

Is it any wonder I am tired all day?

Oh, the truly funny part is that I went to bed at 7pm. so that I could be alert and well rested today!!

Oh Happy Day!

I am happy to say, I was able to get back into my blogs here at WordPress, after a lengthy absence. I was unable to remember my sign in information for the longest time, but finally I was able to get back here!!! My sister blog, Out of the Gutter Art, has been languishing also, even tho’ I have been furiously creating beautiful “Outsider” Art this whole time.

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“The Sentinel’s Prayer”, acrylic on canvas, Susan T. Martin2017

I have had many upheavals ans bumps in the road as far as my emotional well being is concerned, but with the help of God, the Ultimate Therapist, and my human therapist (who is stellar!) I have come through victorious! The triggers were many, as this is the month my Parents died, and it also houses both mine and my Mom’s birthdays. I am a JW now, so I don’t celebrate my birthday, but it still holds significance in my heart, a marking of the passage of this fragile life.

Now my associations to birthdays is a very negative one, as my Mom died on her birthday, March 21, which also heralds the first day of Spring. Also my Dad was well into the dying process at home with only me there beside him on my birthday 2 years ago. That was a horrible, horrible time, as he suffered much. In the days that seemed to drag on forever, I remember at one point whispering to him “please don’t die on my birthday Daddy…” This sounds to me now like a rather heartless and self centered request, but he understood my trauma, I believe, even in the midst of his own, and did not. Rather, he fought his last fight during the wee hours of the next morning, finally succumbing at 6:15 the next morning. What a long, dark night that was.Picture 012

I am finally not grieving the devastating sword thru my middle grief this year, but I anticipated the day with much apprehension and mental nail biting, as well as obsessive compulsive behavior, manic activity and lack of sleep. I am still feeling the effects, and most likely will have them build to a crescendo as March 21st approaches. Mom died in a less dramatic, but equally disturbing way, having to be taken to Hospice House rather than dying at home as she so desired, surrounded by her kitties. I have imprinted on my brain her sitting in her bed like a deflated teddy bear, whose sad eyes cut right thru me as she said, “Susie, I’m not ready…” However the cancer was by this point ravaging her brain, and I could not physically care for her at home.

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here I am after Mom had died, well into my Dad’s last years of Severe Dementia and Alzheimer’s. I was his, and Mom’s sole caregiver.

I had a fourteen day vigil beside her bed, singing, praying , reading the Bible to her and holding her hand. Finally at the point of total exhaustion and grief, I fell asleep beside her, and as I dreamed of happier times, she breathed her last. Ours was a bond stronger than death, and I so eagerly anticipate the day when they are  both called out of the memorial tombs in the grand resurrection , when I will run into their arms again.

This hope is made even more sure this month as  millions of humans around the globe, and me fulfill our obligation to mark the Memorial of Jesus Christ’ death, just as he commanded us to do at the last supper. On this occasion, just hours before his death, be broke bread an drank wine with his apostles, saying, “Keep doing this in remembrance of me.”

I praise Jehovah above for the undeserved kindness He has shown by providing the life of His perfect Son as a ransom for the sins of all mankind. By this loving act, every human on earth has the chance for living forever, without sickness, mourning, pain or death on a beautifully restored Earth. I raise my hands and my voice in praise to God, and thank him for his Son, My King and Savior, Jesus Christ!Picture 018

You can join the Witnesses all around the earth at sundown on March 31st , 2018 as we join in remembering the Greatest Gift Ever given. You can ask any of Jehovah’s Witnesses for an invitation, or directions, or any other questions you may have and they will joyfully tell you. Also, the website jw.org will tell you what you need to know!

So, despite all my challenges, and mental health issues, I can take comfort that one day soon I will be reunited with all my loved ones. I also am so grateful to God for forgiving my multitude of sins by way of the ransom sacrifice of Jesus Christ. I hope someone else out there

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can find this comfort also!!!

Musings on a Tuesday

Hello dear Friends,

It has been such a struggle during this cold and gloomy weather to drag myself out of bed, to put my feet on the floor, to be motivated at all. I have in my mind always that I should be helping other people to come to know Jehovah, to help them see His great love for them. That I pray daily for these things is some comfort, but this huge burden of immobility just crushes me down and makes me feel unworthy, and lazy.,

Over and over I have been reminded that Satan uses this as a tactic, that discouragement can distance us and keep us stuck in the mire of self hate, the sediment of low self esteem and depression. Recently at my meeting for worship

we went over the fact that those feelings can be overcome by considering the ransom of Jesus Christ, and by earnest prayer for soundness of mind, which is promised to God’s faithful ones.

It is very easy for me to not take the steps I need to take, but then the way to death is a wide and spacious road the Bible tells us, while the road to life is a narrow and cramped one. I must struggle thru the weeds and brambles on this hard and narrow road, not fall prey to the worldly wolves and lies that are strewn about like stumbling blocks. Keeping my eyes fastened on the light I see before me at the head of the path I will throw off these burdens and keep climbing.

Physically I may be weighed down, and my mind and body are full of sin and imperfection, and my breaths come more shallow and labored than ever before. But just like the Bible says at 2 Corinthians 4:16-18,” Therefore, we do not give up, but even if the man outside is wasting away, certainly the man we are inside is being renewed from day to day.(17) For though the tribulation is momentary and light, it works out for us a glory that is of more and more surpassing greatness and is everlasting,(18) while we keep our eyes, not on the things seen, but on the things unseen. For the things seen are temporary, but the things unseen are everlasting.”

I hope no one else suffers from the disquieting thoughts that I do, recurring images of the life I once lived, that come unbidden to frighten and distract me. But these I know, and I want others’ to know, will one day vanish forever, and will NEVER AGAIN poison our lives. We will be free from all the flashbacks, all the debris, all the residual effects our current circumstances inflict on us. I believe this, I  know and have faith in this fact this because God has promised it to me, and to all who serve Him .

I want to read it now, so I will write it down here:

Revelation 21:3-5 With that I heard a loud voice from the throne say: “Look! The tent of God is with mankind, and he will reside with them, and they will be his people. And God himself will be with them. (4) And he will wipe out every tear from their eyes, and death will be no more, neither will mourning nor outcry nor pain be anymore. The former things have passed away”.(5)And the One seated on the throne said, “Look! I am making all things new”. Also he says, “Write, for these words are faithful and true.”

What incredibly beautiful words. What a certain promise.

I feel better already!

Where Am i? Where Have i been?

Strange days, these. People are acting wild, out of control. There is fear in their eyes, urgency in their speech. Anger in their hearts.

I have been running away again, from storms, from memories, from emotions. Thankfully running towards God, who has taken me in, again. I am so grateful.

I had a bad episode last night. The rabbit hole. I was in and falling fast, the need was to cut and run-out the door, into the street-no looking back. The memories flooding in, the doubt, the helplessness, loneliness, the inevitability of it all… 

I had to find a way to STOP! , and I could not. I began to panic, and sobbed to God, to please , please intervene before I disappeared completely. I had nearly lost my grip when I could feel the glimmer of a change- like a tiny golden wisp of thread-blowing in my direction. Kind of like the tiniest branch coming towards me, or a vein full of golden “life blood”.

The thread reached me, thru the darkness, or perhaps I reached for it- maybe both? I felt my panic lessen, my breathing subside just an eensie bit. More prayer, more sobs, more beseeching, the thread grew side threads, auxiliary branches that began to wrap around my heart.

This force gave me the strength to pick up my Bible, all dove gray and soothing, and it opened to the 65th Psalm. The words like chamomile tea, like warm fuzzy socks on my troubled hands, my aching head.

He is there, He sent me help. Jehovah hears, He knows.

I begged for an angel, and He sent His Word to me.

I saw hope in the shape of golden light, threads of golden light to wrap around my broken heart. To bind me up until the final healing comes.

(The big bad wolf has had his day, and now the sheep can come out and play. In the freedom of untroubled love, We shall serve Our God above!!!)

Maybe I sound like a raving lunatic, but I honestly do not mind, because I know what happened last night.

Jehovah saved me from the trap of the birdcatcher, to live another glorious day. He put the Bible in my hand, a song in my mouth, and words of praise on my lips. The raging sea is calm now, the outlook serene.

Come storms, if you dare. Jehovah’s outstretched arm is not too short. jehovah always saves those loyal to Him.

Praise Him in the Heights! Praise Him in the Heavens, and On the Earth below!

It WILL NOT BE LATE!!!!

Trying to Grieve

Whew, this is a toughie. Daddy died March 7,2016, and I know how you all have followed our journey. He was such an amazing man, and a great father(despite minor glitches, like most dads). But for me, he was my world in these last years. The reason I got up in the morning, the reason I stayed up all night. He was my dearest friend, after we lost Mom, and he was my child in so many ways.

It all comes full circle, first I am a child, they wipe my dirty nose, dirty butt. They watch me grow and change into some sort of adult, full of foibles, full of flaws. But also full of amazing acts of genius, and supreme acts of love. Sure, there is anger, and dysfunction, but the parents learn to accept, to forgive, and to love unconditionally.

Then, almost imperceptibly the roles change. The forgetful Mom, the Dad with a hitch in his step. The Child picks up the slack, a little extra help here, a mental nudge there. Then just as if it is a life running backwards, the needs grow, and the caregiving roles become more and more diverse. Take the folks to doctors, look closely to see if the take their meds. help them navigate with a cane, walker, wheelchair-just like they taught us to crawl, hold onto tables and then finally stand and walk.

I led my Daddy back to his childhood, back through his memories. I tried desperately to keep his dignity safe from pokers and prodders, from nurses shouting in his face and grabbing at injured hands. From nakedness in freezing hospital rooms, holding his water, feeding him jello. Making them listen when “MY DAD NEEDS SOMETHING FOR PAIN!!!”Just like he did for me, a 2 year old in an emergency room 50 years before.

But I want to shut those memories away now, the one’s of his suffering, the one’s of his dying in my arms, just the 2 of us here. And the memories of the big silence that seemed to fall over the house the second his last breath escaped. My Daddy, my dear friend, dear father, it is so hard to say goodbye.

I know like a fire burning deep inside that this is not the end of our togetherness. No.

You are sleeping a dreamless sleep, the kind you always wanted, when your mind would not let you rest. You are experiencing no pain, no turmoil or fear, no loneliness. You are in the safest place in the Universe, the Memory of our God, Jehovah. You are sleeping there and so is Mommy.

So are all our loved ones who have died. Jehovah, the God of Eternity is keeping all your hopes and dreams, loves and desires safe, as well as every aspect of what makes you you. And I thank Him for this knowledge, that He so freely gives in the pages of the Bible.

Mostly though, especially during this day, when 2016 years ago He let his perfect, only begotten Son, Jesus Christ lay in a tomb, tasting death for every man. Jesus had been tortured and murdered as a common criminal, nailed to a stake and left to die, he had been spat upon, laughed at, beaten and suffered at the hands of his enemies. And his heavenly Father, Jehovah, let this happen.

Why?

So that all of us, all of mankind, whether good or bad, can be forgiven of all their sins. So that all of us, all mankind, can have a chance at everlasting life. That all of us, all mankind, can join together as a family under Jesus Christ rule as King of God’s Kingdom.

Tomorrow will be the day 2016 years ago, when Jesus was resurrected, and that act, my friends, that wonderful act God performed all those years ago, is proof positive that Jehovah can and will resurrected our loved ones who have died.

To me, this is what will help me grieve, moving past the sadness of my father’s death. Because by Jesus death, all will be made alive!!

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Loving Too Much?

I have been my Dad’s Primary Caregiver for over six years now, and I was Mom’s before that as she battled and succumbed to colo/rectal cancer. It has been a long road, hard yes, but also full of love and tender moments that I treasure.

Dad has been relatively pain free all his life, always proud of his fine health and “dancer’s body”. He says this in a swaggering tone, referring to days long, long ago when he Tap Danced in department store windows and on street corners. Probably around 1936-39. he also has battled worsening Alzheimer’s and Dementia, which is severe now. But , like I said, no real pain except minor aches from time to time.

Fast forward to today. He has declined so rapidly in the past few months, not eating, not getting out of bed, sleeping all the time or staring out in space. Worst of all , though, is this pain. Dad is suffering, and now I fear he will be taken away from me. If that is what has to happen for him to get relief, then I have to do that for him.

It is his hands that hurt him so bad now, and after a doctor visit, xrays and a trip to the emergency room yesterday, he is said to probably have cancer that has metastisized to his bones. The problem is his insurance now.

He has been waiting since the 4th to get the referral he needs from his Primary care Doctor. An 88 year old Veteran who can’t get a simple referral to an oncologist? I am about to get fiesty with the Doctor. I used to be a violent person before God changed me to a peace lover. But when my Daddy is threatened I am like a mother Grizzly.

I hope none of you have to live through these issues in your own life. If you do, try to squeeze every good, kind, loving remembrance out of each moment with your loved one. Even when the are hurting and cranky, even when they don’t recognize you or seem to like you at all- keep squeezing. It is God’s foremost attribute, and when we aspire to love and care for those who are our own He showers His Love down on us. It covers a lifetime of Guilt and broken dreams.

I love you Daddy, even when you don’t know it.