JUNE 1, 2014: “Speaking Of Ghosts” …

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Dear Tonya:

Wow! Thanks a lot and now I’m in tears. I literally cannot remember the last time anyone other than my husband, sister, son or daughter have ever said such things to me. I know there are people who know “some of what I’ve been through” but not too many people will say the words. Okay so before this week is over I am going to send you what parts of The Diary I already have, but I still have so far to go. Everything about Zack and me is still too overwhelming for me to even begin to write about, although I’m sure the words will come to me just like all the rest have when it’s time.

I am so thankful for this season of change and yes I do also believe that your brother would have wanted this. And yes I understand how this makes you feel closer because that’s how I felt those several years after he left that I was always up there with your Mother. And as far as Zack’s take on my deep bond to your family and my failure to somehow “with time” have Mitch “and that two years” just somehow fade away? It’s just something he has always understood and THIS is why he is who he is to me. He isn’t offended to live with my ghosts and he has genuinely embraced them with me. I am so lucky and I can’t say it enough. Not many men could do it! Peter certainly couldn’t. He didn’t get it a all and to him Mitch was just “the guy she dated while we were divorced the first time who hit a brick wall on his motorcycle and died”. His response to my inability to let it all go was, “Well just get over it. People die, I get that, but stop making it all about you! Be happy with your car, your house and all your Louis Vuitton bags and TAKE CARE OF MY KIDS please while I’m out here working so you can live in this house again and get to shop at Neiman Marcus however and whenever you want”. “Whahhh, you’re so mistreated Catherine, get over your damn self!” That’s what Pete thought about me and Mitch. Do you see what I’m saying? But with Zack? Not so much. He cried when I told him about “that day and night” and has never ONCE failed to realize that just plays out loud in my head and often from out of nowhere, an when it does, he just holds me and cries with me all over again! He’s an angel, I’m telling you, he really is. Thanks for all you’ve said Tonya. I am so happy you’ll move to Texas one day. For real!

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MAY 31, 2014: “Because It’s NEVER Really Goodbye” …

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Dear Catherine:

I just wanted to say that I’m so happy we reconnected. I know, initially, my reason was to see if you could help me and Steve. But just talking to you, I get what an awesome person you are. Inside and out. I knew the first time I met you that you were the one. I wish things could’ve turned out different, but you DID say you believe in fate. And Zach was your fate. I’m so happy you’ve found the love that you deserve. This is going to sound strange but reconnecting with you makes me feel a little bit closer to Mitch. Is that weird? He would’ve wanted us to stay in touch. I’m sorry I didn’t. Especially knowing now what you’ve been through. I wish I could’ve been there for you. But the situation being what it was, I don’t know if that would’ve helped or hurt you even more with me being a constant reminder. You’re a beautiful, strong, amazing woman and no amount of surgery or disfigurement could EVER change that. Zach sees it. You should too. But I get where you’re coming from. It would just be nice to feel “complete” physically. Well, I love you and I’m looking forward to spending more tine with you when I become a Texan. BTW…I’ve always wondered….does Zach ever feel strange that we’ve reconnected? Just a thought. Oh, and don’t forget to send me that Diary. I’m a big girl and I can take it. My memories of him are all wonderful. Nothing can change that. Also, it’s always interesting reading about the same experience from someone else’s perspective.

G’night. – Tonya

MAY 29, 1998: “Silent Lucidity” …

LXRF4225SILENT LUCIDITY

Hush now, don’t you cry, wipe away the teardrop from your eye. You’re lying safe in bed. It was all a bad dream spinning in your head. Your mind tricked you to feel the pain of someone close to you leaving the game of life. So here it is, another chance. Wide awake you face the day! Your dream is over or has it just begun? There’s a place I like to hide – a doorway that I run through in the night. Relax child, you were there, but only didn’t realize and you were scared. It’s a place where you will learn to face your fears, retrace the years, and ride the whims of your mind. Commanding in another world, suddenly you hear and see this magic new dimension. I will be watching over you. I am gonna help you see it through. I will protect you in the night. I am smiling next to you, in silent lucidity. If you open your mind for me you won’t rely on open eyes to see. The walls you built within come tumbling down, and a new world will begin. Living twice at once you learn you’re safe from pain in the dream domain – a soul set free to fly. A round trip journey in your head. Master of illusion, can you realize? Your dream’s alive, you can be the guide but … I will be watching over you. I’m gonna help to see it through. I will protect you in the night. I am smiling next to you in silent lucidity. {Queensryche}

It was Mitch’s 34th birthday and he started his special day by making good on his promise to go to Christian’s school, meet the teachers and pick him up. At lunch, Mitch explained that he was going to marry us, we were going to be a family, and how happy he was that he was going to be a permanent part of his life. It was an extremely powerful, PIVOTAL moment for all of us and Christian was ecstatic. Later that day, we took Christian back to my mom so we could return home and get ready for his party that night. We had originally planned to ride out on our separate Harleys and meet up with some friends for dinner, but my bike wouldn’t start so we just rode out together to the The Blue Goose in Addison where they were all waiting for him. We celebrated all night long and he excitedly told everyone that we were getting hitched!

After dinner he wanted to go play pool, so we all gathered out front to caravan in the cars that were available since none of the boys had any business driving anywhere. We wanted them to leave their bikes at the restaurant and take the available cars to The Fox & The Hound then return to get them later when they were sober. Mitch kept insisting that he wasn’t inebriated and refused to leave his bike behind, so before I knew what was happening amidst the chaos, I turned my head to see him and his friend Robear sitting on their bikes revving their engines. I ran towards his bike frantically begging and pleading him not to go, but the bikes were so loud, he was beyond drunk, and he didn’t even notice much less hear me. As they pulled out of the parking lot and made their way up Belt Line Road, I swear I knew that I would never see him alive again.

Just Past Midnight, May 30, 1998 …

Minutes later, he hit a brick wall, less than half a mile from our destination. Keep in mind that he wasn’t wearing a helmet and it was estimated that he’d been going 90 miles per hour. Once again my life was as mangled as he was … that first man I’d ever truly loved or been loved by rode off with my heart in a “Blaze Of Glory”.

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MAY 24, 1998: “My Declaration” …

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DECLARATION

I’ll take you just the way you are, imperfect words inside the perfect song. I feel you closer than you are but I’ve been waiting far too long. It’s my declaration to anyone whose listening … You’re my inspiration as I stand alone against the world. Cause you love and you bleed and you stole my soul to set me free … It’s my declaration.  Do you care what I believe, ‘cause I’m still breathin’? Or that I wear your heart upon my sleeve? Sometimes I think you never knew, the only truth I see is you. It’s you. And are there any words to say that would ever mean enough, when the light runs from the day, will the darkness be too much? Will I ever be enough? {David Cook}

I returned from the gym to find Mitch pacing frantically as I pulled into the driveway but before I could even put the car in park, he had jumped into the passenger seat and said, “DRIVE! We have to get to the hospital NOW!”  Fifteen minutes later in a family-filled emergency room He and Mitch finally got their chance to meet. Mom, grandma and Christian had been in a near-fatal accident and but for the grace of God they were all alive! Amidst all this chaos however and before I even realized it, I looked to find the two of them outside the front doors of the emergency room in what was obviously heavy conversation. According to Mitch they had been speaking about the expectations and boundaries each of them had for one another and when the conversation was, they shook hands and returned to the waiting room. For me, it was a 10-ton weight lifted off my shoulders because I still loved Him and very much needed his approval before I could move forward in my new life with Mitch.

The six days that followed the accident were a whirlwind of excitement! Mitch was overjoyed that He had given him his blessing and went full steam ahead with the plans he had for our future. He had called his mom that Sunday night, gone to see a jeweler on Tuesday and called his travel agent on Wednesday. He wanted to get married on a beach in Tahiti the weekend of my birthday that September. Especially exciting was the fact that Mitch had asked that he finally be allowed to go Christian’s school, meet his teachers, be added to the “pick up list” and take him out to a special lunch that afternoon, just the two of them, which, he did. How could I have possibly known how that what began as perfectly beautiful day with such high hopes for an entire future would go so tragically wrong?

JANUARY 1997: “The Odd One” …

RBPT9569ODD ONE

Odd one, you’re never alone. I’m here and I will reflect you. Both of us basically unattached to anything or anyone unless we’re pretending. You live your life in your head. Some call it imagination. I’d rather focus instead on anything except what I’m feeling, what I’m feeling. Odd one. Aye, it’s gonna be okay. Aye, we’re gonna laugh at this one day. Odd one, I wish I was you. You’re never concerned with acceptance. We are all desperately seeking out and fitting in with anyone who will accept us. But not you, odd one. Aye, it’s gonna be okay. Aye, we’re gonna laugh at this one day. Don’t let someone tell you you’re no one. Don’t let someone tell you you’re no one. Odd one. {Sick Puppies}

Home was my haven after Jay and Abby, and I didn’t really get out much. Once I was feeling physically better, I started working out again at a different gym I’d been a member of for years. It was my first visit back when I made eye contact with this very cute dirty blond. We flirted back and forth and I really enjoyed his quiet attention, but it was quite some months before we spoke.

It was a Saturday night, about 7:30, and the gym was all but empty. Unbeknownst that he was there, he walked up behind me, pulled the microphones from my ears and the much-anticipated conversation began:

“So, why aren’t you out with your boyfriend right now? It’s a Saturday night?”

An hour later we were at dinner and soon thereafter an item.

Kirk Mitchell Boone was a strikingly handsome French Cajun boy from Haughton, Louisiana with whom I had a lot in common. He was genuinely kind, treated me with respect, and always had me laughing. With Mitch I felt a total safety that I had truly never felt before, and although I was careful, things progressed quickly and by the end of that year I was sure he was “the one”. Mitch was everything Jay was not … there was not a manipulative, narcissistic, self-serving bone in his body where his love for me was concerned and he never once took me for granted! We were very happy and my family liked him well. By this time, however, I had firmly decided I would not bring another man into Christian’s life unless I knew that he was going to be the last. For that reason, their contacts were brief, which was something Mitch very much respected. I was so happy, and things couldn’t have been better. Even He had finally resigned himself to the fact that I was probably going to marry him, and although He still loved me, was willing to set me free once and for all because He could see that I was truly happy. In the two years Mitch and I were together though, the two of them had never met in person and had only spoken on the phone a few times when He would call the house. That was all about to change.