AUGUST 22, 2021: “Everywhere” …

Zachariah …

I don’t know exactly how to express what I am feeling right now, other than to just write these words of gratitude. Not a day goes by since you had to leave this place – two years ago this night – that we don’t see you, hear you, and feel you in every space we are, and I don’t think that will ever change. Even with all the things you broke, and the unspeakable ways you hurt us both in your literal insanity, I look around at “everywhere” and marvel at the life you left behind for us “from the ground up” from the broken pieces the people who were supposed to love you left you in.

It’s my truest prayer that you can still “see us” and you know we’re doing okay. No, better than okay. We’re not just QUEENS – we’re the ENIGMAS you loved back to lifeeven despite yourself. You’re in all our conversations, every one of our smiles, all the songs we sing, and the endless joy and laughter we embrace. The enormous light you left behind us has fully engulfed that last bit of your darkness, and now only “the brighter side” of your legacy lives on in every precious ounce of our grey.

It was an honor to call you ours, and only ever ours. It always was and always will be. Though you’re not physically “here” with us, you’re still everywhere, in everything, and I suppose that’s just the way it was supposed to be. You were one of our most beautiful seasons, but seasons must surely change. We love you. We miss you. We won’t ever forget you. We’ll just take you how we have you into the rest of our days on this Earth until we can see you again.

Today, we decided not to shed a tear. God knows we deserve better. Instead, we’re just leaving some of your ashes at the pier, then have Red Robin teriyaki burgers in your honor.


MAY 28, 2021: “So Take The Best Parts Of Me” …

… locked away without the keys, and know that I’m forever by your side.

“The Brighter Side Of Grey” ~ Five Finger Death Punch

… that moment you realize yet again that your child’s creative talent puts even your best work to shame, and all you can do is sigh, because “with all that I’ve done wrong, I must have done something right”.

She is my gift to this world.

They both are. My legacies. My everything. The Brighter Sides of ALL my beautiful greys. Have I ever told any of you that I am THE luckiest queen on this Earth?


Her “Principles of Design” series freshman project. She was asked to use “random bits and pieces” on a 4×7 surface to present her personal interpretations of design concepts such as “Unity”, “Emphasis”, “Symmetry”, “Contrast”, “Rhythm & Movement”, and “Asymmetrically Balanced”. Each of these “bits” of cardstock and paper were individually hand-cut and arranged …

MARCH 25, 2021: “86,400” …



This Cosmos and its Creator are so beyond good to me in every way, shape and form, and I cannot say it enough. This was the last thing I needed to rectify within my formerly “broken heart” so that when it’s my time to touch The Brighter Side Of Grey, I will do so with my soul completely healed and whole. From this point forward, it’s just a very GREY “86,400 seconds a day” for as many spins around the Sun I get to make just shining my Light in all this DARK.


It’s never to late to start again! Indeed it is true that forgiveness is for us, but the TRUEST power and grace are found in the forgiveness we extend to others.

“Hurt people” HURT people.

“Healed healed” HEAL people.

While no one REALLY knows what the end game here really is, I’m pretty dam sure that FORGIVENESS is the answer to the greatest cosmic mystery of all — “WHY ARE WE EVEN HERE?” You will never understand how much NONE OF US really deserves to be forgiven for ANY of the shit we manage to do until you’ve had to learn about it the way I have. I am here to tell you it’s EVERYTHING! Wherever you are on this globe right now, take a good look around at everything you see. IT COULD ALL BE GONE TOMORROW! Choose your battles well, and spend those seconds wisely, so that if you have to leave tomorrow, you’ll leave in “PEACE” … not “PIECES”!

MARCH 10, 2021: “My Grey-Aversary” …

On a beautiful Tuesday afternoon, exactly one year ago today, “the music wheel of destiny” stopped my world, and my heart, and sent me straight into the breakdown lane of one of the busiest highways in Dallas so that I could literally “cry my eyes out”. It was as if Zack were singing this beautifully haunting melody to me, my daughter, and my son in a message from “The Brighter Side Of Grey“, where in our hearts we know he finally is. If you haven’t ever heard this song, I cannot urge you enough to listen to it, especially if you are at odds with yourself over the legacy you are going to be leaving behind for your own children and loved ones.



Today I’ll stay grey, just like the sky in Dallas as I write this, because if I’ve learned anything in my “fifty-ONE-derful” years of life, it’s that life really ISN’T a game, it’s a song, and I fully intend to enjoy every single chord until I reach The Brighter Side of every fucked up, twisted moment of my absurd and beautiful life.

Since COVID crashed our concert last year, Gia still hasn’t read the letter Zack wrote before he left. She knows this song exists, but isn’t allowed to listen to it until she can first hear Ivan singing it on stage. That will be the night I finally let her read the words he wrote “in case he was gone tomorrow”. PLEASE listen to this song. It may just change the trajectory of your legacy and how you look at “grey” forever.

FEBRUARY 15, 2021: “Power, Grace, And Beauty Rising” …


I am me. My very best friend, and the one person in my life I know will never let me down. I’m the person I get to be with until I take my last breath and set my eyes upon the The Brighter Side Of Grey, and the only one I can count on when all my cards are down, come Hell or the highest of waters.

I’m the Queen Of The World who has crossed on over to the upside of just about everything, yet I’m the most wretched in all the land. Love me or hate me, I DON’T CARE, ’cause at least I know it’s true! I have the world’s biggest ego and the confidence of a lion, yet I’m humbled by the power of my insignificance. I am big. I am small. I’m but a pebble skipped across the ocean. I am valueless and valued all the same!



I’m an oxymoron.

I am power, grace, and beauty rising.

So are you.


It was the day the world went wrong. I screamed ’til my voice was gone and watched through the tears as everything came crashing down. Slowly panic turns to pain as we awake to what remains and sift through the ashes that are left. But buried deep beneath all our broken dreams we have this hope. Out of these ashes, beauty will rise, and we will dance among the ruins. We will see Him with our own eyes. Out of these ashes, beauty will rise. For we know joy is coming in the morning. In the morning, beauty will rise. So take another breath for now, and let the tears come washing down. And if you can’t believe, I will believe for you. ‘Cause I have seen the signs of spring! Just watch and see! Out of these ashes, beauty will rise, and we will dance among the ruins. We will see Him with our own eyes. Out of these ashes, beauty will rise. For we know joy is coming in the morning. In the morning. I can hear it in the distance … and it’s not too far away. It’s the music and the laughter of a wedding and a feast. I can almost feel the hand of God reaching for my face to wipe the tears away and say, “It’s time to make everything new.” “Make it all new”. This is our hope. This is the promise. That it would take our breath away to see the beauty that’s been made out of the ashes. {Steven Curtis Chapman}

FEBRUARY 3, 2021: “F8” …


As defined by Merrium-Webster:

… the will or principle or determining cause by which things in general are believed to come to be as they are or events to happen as they do …

… and also …

Traditional usage defines fate as a power or agency that predetermines and orders the course of events. Fate defines events as ordered or “inevitable” and unavoidable. This is a concept based on the belief that there is a fixed natural order to the universe, and in some conceptions, the cosmos.

But here’s the deal …

Life isn’t one solid picture, and it doesn’t come wrapped in a bow. So why do we even need to define it? Fate. Destiny. Any of it? Why do we insist that everything show up for us in perfect order? If I’ve learned anything by now, it’s that the only semblance of “order” I can count on is – OH, that’s right – there isn’t one! So, I just let all the pieces show up in their perfect cosmic timing and let them fall in place. The “big picture” you see above is actually a screenshot of my Instagram, where I dropped nine separate pieces of my favorite album of all times. You know, the one with The Brighter Side Of Grey. I asked my followers to back out of the post to see “F8” in the bigger picture.

Sometimes in order to really see something “bigger”, you have to step back and see it “smaller”. Life is but a mosaic of random and senseless things that somehow come together at the end just the way they were supposed to. So, try to stop worrying, always do your best, and let your mosaic reveal itself at it’s own due pace and time. Fate is what is happening as you are being shattered then put back together as a masterpiece of heartache, love and Light.

JANUARY 1, 2021: “Twenty-Twenty-ONE-Derful!” …


500. The number of days that have passed since Destiny took me by the hand and started leading me down a path I never saw coming. With that in mind, and in keeping with my “Fifty-ONE-Derful” years of life thus far, I have dubbed today as January 1st, “Twenty-Twenty-ONE-Derful”! Realizing, of course, that I am blessed beyond measure to find myself in a place that while on the surface seems dark and tragic, at it’s roots is nothing short of a miracle, wrapped in iridescence, and adorned with the most beautiful crown a queen could wear.

I once heard it said that fifty is the beginning of our golden years. As such, I find no coincidence with regard to the fact that as I’ve walked through the fog to the Brighter Side Of Grey, I’ve also managed to stumble upon The Golden Circle. Indeed I’ve come to bittersweet, endearing terms with “my why“, so from this point forward it’s just a matter of discovering “how” and “what”.

If I could have one wish right now, it would be that I really could just zap you all with “this thing” that’s coursing through my veins. It’s my super power, my ultimate peace, and absolute euphoria! It’s the simple yet overwhelming joy in finally realizing that not everything is about me, because I am nothing, which is why I am everything. The paradigm has shifted. The cycle is broken.

It is not in my nature to ask for anything from anyone, especially inasmuch as I not only have every “thing” a woman could ever want, likewise I have everything a human being will ever need. Still, here I am asking. First and foremost, if there is ever an opportunity for you share something poignant I’ve said or written that has touched you, will you please share it so that perhaps some of these pebbles I’m skipping across the pond can radiate even further? Second, sit with this beautiful song I love so much and really let it sink in. Let the words wash you clean, lift you up, and encourage you. Let them help you cry if you need to. Let them validate and give you the permission you may have been searching for to let go of some of your burdens and cut yourself some slack so that you too can discover “your why” and become an iridescent Light unto the masses. And last but not least, make it a beautiful, powerful, and epically life-changing year my friends …



When you were standing in the wake of devastation. When you were waiting on the edge of the unknown. And with the cataclysm raining down, insides crying, “Save me now”, you were there, impossibly alone. Do you feel cold and lost in desperation? You build up hope, but failure’s all you’ve known. Remember all the sadness and frustration – and let it go. Let it go. And in a burst of Light that blinded every angel, as if the sky had blown the heavens into stars. You felt the gravity of tempered grace falling into empty space. No one there to catch you in their arms. Do you feel cold and lost in desperation? You build up hope, but failure’s all you’ve known. Remember all the sadness and frustration – and let it go. Let it go! {Linkin’ Park}

DECEMBER 24, 2020: “‘Twas The Night Before Christmas” …

… and all through the land, every creature was patiently awaiting the band …

A VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS TO MY AMAZING KNUCKLEHEAD FAMILY AROUND THE GLOBE … not the least of which is Ivan Moody, Chris Kael, Zoltan Bathory, Charlie Engen and Andy James. 2020 wasn’t half as bad as I suppose it could have been because of all of you! Wishing you all so much love and a POWERFUL 2021!

NOVEMBER 25, 2020: “Will The Sun Rise?”…


After a deep and meaningful heartfelt intersection with my MUSE last night, or rather should I say, “a 4am meeting of the masterminds” (because after all, isn’t “4am when most masterminds do their best work), I’ve decided this needs to be said …

This song? It’s a favorite of mine! I still love Dokken very, very much, and still listen to them ALL the time. (“Under Lock And Key” is one of my lifetime favorite albums.)

“Will The Sun Rise?”

As I told my muse, the meaning of this song used to go RIGHT over my hairspray encrusted head. But now when I hear it, it wants to make me sad. I’m a grown up now. I’m a mother now. If I’m lucky? I’LL BE A GRANDMA ONE DAY … a “Crazy Grandma Cat“! These days we are living in, where it seems that Atlas really is falling?

The contemplation of “the Sun rising of it all” does tend to give cause for a fair amount of panic. But then I stop and think for a minute about everything I know to be true, and my perspective instantly shifts!

“Will the Sun rise? Yes! It will! I’ve “gotten to learn this” the very beautifully hard way. The lights go on. Then they go off. The dark of night comes. Then so does the Sun, to reveal the Brighter Side Of Grey.

Meanwhile …

Now is the time to share this song with your still impressionable teen. Have them listen and tell you how it makes them feel. The words to this beautiful, 35 year old melody have never been more relevant, and sharing them with a young person in your atmosphere could be a great opportunity to start a “music therapy conversation“.

I’m STILL the most blessed woman that I know!

If you look closely at the image on which I’ve put the lyrics to this song, you will see that it’s the “negative perspective” of a sketch I made from my father’s cigarette ashes years ago. But look below now to my “brighter side perspective” today. It’s my truth in my grey and it’s EVERYTHING! And, with that, I once again leave you with this …

NOVEMBER 1, 2020: “Crossing Over” …


All perched alone he sits there broken. An eldered man with storm clouds setting in his eyes. He counts the sands of time – remembering day’s gone by. It seemed like yesterday before it washed away. Hey, don’t wait for me there – just find your own way. Hey, don’t wait for me there – ’cause I’ll be there soon enough. The widow’s life ticks out like clockwork. A thousand tears she’s cried a hundred time’s before. But now that he is gone, she’s ready to move on. It all just fell away – it seems like yesterday. {Five Finger Death Punch}

Some days I rise with all the words I need to say just pouring out of my soul, and often because of a dream. Like today, which would have been our 10th wedding anniversary. It’s been just over a year of on this road I never planned to travel, and though I knew it was fast approaching, I also knew it would be a major turning point in my final ascent out of the darkness and into The Light. Let me tell you how my beautifully shattered life works

To begin, indeed I dreamt last night, but not before closing my eyes to the sound of the Halloween shenanigans of my daughter and her crew. Did I ever tell you that the singular flaw with Williamson Manor is that her theatre and game rooms are directly above my bedroom? Yup! That’s true! As it turns out, however, it’s not a flaw at all! Believe it or not, especially in this last 438 days, those echoes of stomping, laughing and chaos into the wee hours of so many nights are a lullaby to me. It’s why he built this home, from the ground up, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Knowing she’s here, happy, safe, and whole, is one of the realities that comforts me the most. But damnit, I’ve digressed! Where was I?

My dream! I was front row center at a Five Finger Death Punch show, but instead of a traditional concert venue, it was an intimate gathering where Ivan was singing to me:

The widow’s life ticks out like clockwork … a thousand tears she’s cried a hundred times before. But now that he is gone, she’s ready to move on …

As he was singing, a tear fell from his eye, but it wasn’t Ivan’s face. It was Zack’s face, on Ivan’s body, holding that legendary mic stand in one hand, while reaching out the other to me like a muse. It was the most beautiful insanity imaginable! In the dream, I was thinking, “This means something! What does this mean?” Then I woke up and I knew.

In order to fully appreciate where I’m going with this, you must understand that I am led solely by intuition and feelings. Call me a spiritualist. Call me a “good witch”. Call me whatever in the actual hell you want. It’s my truth and it’s never gonna change!

In every thing there is a meaning, in every moment a message, and something means everything, even if it’s nothing!

Am I bat-shit effing crazy? Perhaps I am. At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter, and let me tell you why: What if I’m RIGHT? What if it’s true? What if the Cosmos really is trying to speak to me? What if it really is Zack communicating with us through the fog and the crows and the lights in the bathroom? That, my friends, is the “crazy” blind faith that costs me nothing, but gains me everything. Sooner or later I too will cross over, and either I’m right or I am wrong. Meanwhile, just after waking from that most ethereal dream, this was right beside my bed. It’s nothing, really. Nothing at all. Just one of Gia’s bracelets that either Good Cat or Bad Cat must have found and deposited at the exact spot my foot hit the ground. “C’mon Cat, it’s just a bracelet.” Umm, ya think? But why did it show up in the endless twist of “F8 this way?


Ten years ago today, I kissed a frog who turned into a king. Five years ago today, that king turned me into a princess. Today I woke up from a dream on the edge of literal “eternity”. With that, I was reminded again of the endless joy he brought to my life that I get to keep until it’s my time to see the brighter side of grey. There will never be a day that I’m not eternally grateful for the true love and immeasurable gifts he left me with, not the least of which is the fire he lit in my soul that will light my way through every darkness. Loving that man changed my life forever in every best possible way, so it’s no wonder that losing him has done the same.

Today is the day! It’s time for me to move on, whatever that actually means, and I’ve asked God to show me what’s next. Sufficed to say, my heart is completely open to anything and everything. So, now I’m just going to take a deep breath and hold it in for as long as I physically can, knowing full well that when I let it back out, I’ll be making all the space I’ll ever need for whatever in this world is coming next for me. Knowing me the way I do, and knowing GOD the way I do, chances are that it’s probably going to be something extremely wonderful and sublime. In the meantime, win, lose, or draw, this is the beautiful picture of the me that I’m always going to love the most, and “me” I’m always going to strive to be in my soul …

Happy Anniversary Williamson!

I don’t mind you hanging with us as long as you feel it’s necessary, but hey – don’t wait for me here. I’ll be there soon enough.

MAY 15, 2020: “Back To The Castle” …


Okay people, I’ve been SHOOKEN by a “Ghost” again in ALL the most beautiful ways …


This is Ivan. He’s the lead MANIAC for the band of my life, Five Finger Death Punch! Ivan isn’t your run of the mill guy, and to some he may seem kinda scary. Covered in tattoos as he serenades the world from the darkest depths of his being, he’s the living embodiment of alchemy, and one of my very few heroes! He level’s up his “Phoenix” to an entirely different vibration if you can just look past the scars on his bleeding soul. “What you see is what you get.” Nope! Not with Ivan! He’s a completely open book and a total mystery, as on one hand he seems to be telling us everything about himself, while on the other no one really knows him. That’s how I feel about myself by the way, but where in the HELL was I going with this? It seems I’ve run amuck yet again.

Ah, yes, “the video”. Earlier this week he posted a clip of himself “TikTok-ing” with his daughter which immediately cut my heart in a brand new place that I never knew needed to be cut. It was one of the sweetest things I think I’ve ever seen, while also one of the saddest. You see, I am a daughter who cannot help but wonder, “What could have been if my larger than life dad had danced with me in the living room”?

HERE’S THE THING: He’s probably worth a gazillion bucks and has a cult-like following worldwide. But when the lights go down at his final show, what do you think that beautiful little girl of his will tell her about her daddy? “Grandpa Ivan was a rock and roll star” or “Grandpa Ivan danced with me in the living room”? I’m betting it’s gonna be the latter.


Now, about that legacy you’ll leave behind. WHAT’S YOURS GONNA BE? You may not be a perfect parent, because no parent ever is, but trust me when I tell you that it’s NEVER too late to change the ending of your story. This, my friends, is what us “knuckleheads” call “The Brighter Side Of Grey“, and I’m here to tell you IT’S EVERYTHING! Despite the mottled undertones here about the struggles with my own father, I very much want to end this entry with a “brighter side of grey” I’ve found …

My daughter had two dads to take her to the castle, which I find rather amazing. While her “step dad” escorted her to most of them, her real dad escorted her to a couple too. Neither of them was perfect, and both of them hurt her in complicated yet delicate ways, but at the end of the day I just know in my heart that she’ll treasure those dancing days forever! She’s an incredibly lucky girl, but I’m an even luckier mom, so beyond thankful for both of the Princes who danced with their Cinderella!

MARCH 10, 2020: “The Brighter Side Of Grey” …



I’m writing this in case I’m gone tomorrow. I’m writing this in case I’ve moved along. There’s something that I hope you’ll remember: That life is not a game, it’s a song. So take the best parts of me, locked away without the keys, and know that I’m forever by your side. When the lights go down, know that I am never far away. When the Sun burns out, I’ll be waiting on the brighter side of grey. If you’re reading this, I know you’re feeling sorrow. If you’re hearing this, I know you’re probably scared. Just know that all the things you want are borrowed, and all you get to keep is all you’ve shared. So wipe away the tears for me, know that we’ve made history. Remember no one ever really dies.  When the lights go down, know that I am never far away. When the Sun burns out, I’ll be waiting on the brighter side of grey. {Five Finger Death Punch}

THIS PICTURE. One I sketched in my early 20’s using the literal ashes from both my father’s and His ashtrays. At the time, I had no idea the impact this or any of my 32 Sketches would have on me down the road, yet as I look at them now, I can’t help but notice that although I was in very dark place when they were born, something inside me was distantly hopeful. Still, this one. It begs the younger me to stay focused on the very bright future I couldn’t see through the fog I was in, yet was patiently calling to me all the while.

If you know me well, you know that grey is my favorite color, which is evident in my predominately “black and white” or “nothing but grey” artwork. What’s interesting about this one is how poignantly it reflects upon the mental illness I fought so hard to overcome for the better part of my life long before it was diagnosed. My disease imprisoned me in the dichotomy of black and white thinking and held me for ransom in the compartmentalized boxes of my mind where I stored all my pain and trauma. Before I put went into remission, I was unable to accept people, situations, emotions, or behaviors as anything other than “good or bad”, “right or wrong”, or “one way or the other”. MY ENTIRE WORLD WAS BLACK AND WHITE AND THERE WAS NO ROOM FOR THE GREY! I had a defensive view of both the positive and negative qualities of myself and everyone else, and there was no way for my broken psyche to allow anything in between to exist in one cohesive space.

How did this happen? The general consensus is that my “splitting” was the result of severe emotional and psychological abuse from my childhood, and I do tend to agree. I was raised in a conditionally based system of reward, praise, affection and acceptance. If I was “good”, I was praised, affirmed and rewarded. If I was “bad”, I was admonished, punished and rejected. They “washed their hands” of me whenever I screwed up or simply failed to follow “the rules” and ZERO was the validation or consideration of my feelings. My mind would “split” as I desperately attempted to shield myself from the constant fear of being abandoned, betrayed or eviscerated by anyone who claimed to love me.

For the record, I do not believe these traumas were visited on me purposely, but the trauma was real indeed, as was the effect it had on my damaged psyche. For years in the wake of not only my broken childhood, but as much so in the wake of my own self-inflicted destruction and imprisonment, I felt alone and voiceless, regardless of the people who “appeared” to be standing beside me. At this point it, is no longer a secret that I myself attempted suicide on November 8, 1996 and lived to tell about it. But I’ve digressed …


Music of all genres has been an integral part of my mental health journey and recovery, but one of my favorite bands, Five Finger Death Punch, has been at the forefront. Their songs have not only helped identify some of my lost and broken feelings, but have also given my former “voiceless self” permission to either cry my feelings to the surface or YELL AND SCREAM THEM OUT LOUD! I’d pre-ordered their new album months ago and had been counting the days until it was released, so I was stoked to finally get to listen to it, starting from the beginning, as I headed out of the house today. Meanwhile, when THIS SONG cued up, I had to pull my car into the breakdown lane on the highway as the words began to cut me in all the most bittersweet ways. I couldn’t stop the tears, or the physical heartache, and I literally couldn’t breathe. It was one of the most cathartic, awful and beautiful moments of my life, as if he were singing it to me himself. To me. To her. To Christian. To the very few people he left behind that he truly loved and let into his very private world and who loved him just the same. Someday, when it’s time for her to read the letter he wrote but never gave her, I will let her hear the song. Knowing God the way I do, when she’s finally able to receive these most beautiful lyrics of both our lives, in conjunction with the most impeccable words a secretly dying father could possibly have written to his daughter, they will become as significant a part of her healing going forward as they have been to mine.

HERE’S THE THING: Grey is not just a color to me – IT’S EVERYTHING IN BETWEEN! It’s the grace I’ve received that is so undeserved, yet given to me anyway by The One who has never loved me with black and white conditions. He “takes the best parts of me and locks them away without the key” and I know He is never far away. He’s the Light that shines ahead of my journey and dilutes the blackness of the abyss into the most beautiful shades of grey. For more than four decades, I lived a black and white existence with no room for the forbearing grey I knew I needed but didn’t know how to connect with. As I look back at this picture now, I am filled with the most unbelievable solace you can imagine. It reminds me of just how far I’ve come, that it was always supposed to be this way, and there is always a “Brighter Side Of Grey”. I’m not gonna lie … it is now my final wish that when it’s time for me to move along, this is the last song I hear as they bid me farewell.

MAY 21, 2019: “The Letter” …

"The God Of Thunder"
~ by Gia Embach ~

To Gia (my baby girl, my daughter and my princess),

I want you to know that I have been struggling with a lot of things here lately that have a lot to do with you but are by no means your fault nor have you done anything wrong, nor do you need to feel guilty or responsible for any of the things I’m telling or feeling. It is important for you to understand that you are not in any way shape or form responible for my happiness or well being nor should you make ANY significant life choice based upon how it will affect me or your mother unless it is something that is clearly stupid or hurtful to us or yourself. So if you see me upset or crying please don’t ever worry or wonder if you did something or if there is a problem with your mom and I.

I have come to some realizations with everything that has happened this past year with you, with boys, life changes and the stuff I found on your phone. I see now that you are not a little girl anymore and that my time with you is running out very quickly. It really caught me off guard and I’m really struggling with it because I always thought I had so much time left with you. Now that I realize you will be out of the house in 5 years and how little time that is there are so many things I want to talk to you about and tell you about to get you ready for the world and life without us to prepare you for what is to come. I’m trying to pace myself on these discussions because I want us to enjoy the time we have left and I don’t want you feel like there is always some heavy, serious or sad discussion that I’m always about to have with you. I know what a downer that can be and I’m sorry these things are uncomfortable but you know they are necessary and I am only doing this because I love you so much.

I didn’t really come in to your life until you were 4 and your mother and I got married  when you were 5 years old. It wasn’t until you were about 6 or 7 that we really loved each other and took on a father daughter bond. So I have really only been a true dad and parent to you for about 7 years or so and divide that in half because of split custody and it’s more like 3.5 or 4 years that I have actually had to spend with you as a father and much of that time has been spent trying to fill in the holes left by [Him]. It has hit me like a ton of bricks now that you are not a child technically that I have missed a lot of your childhood. This has left me feeling devastated for many reasons but mainly because its just not enough time with the only child I will ever have that I love more than anything on God’s green earth. I didn’t ever even really know for sure that you really really loved me and saw me as your real dad until you wrote me that card on Father’s day when you were 11 or 12 that you drew THOR on (I wish so much I was still your super hero). From the age of 11 till just before you were 13 as I really got to know you better as a person while you matured mentally and emotionally I fell head over heels in love with you as a daughter. I never thought I could love and care for a human being as much as I did then and I still do now. We have so much and in common because of things we have been through our lives. I feel like my love for you grows every day still. By the time I really understood this, this past year I realized you were drifting away and I had to find away to give you some space and start letting you go a little so you can eventually be your own person capable of making it on your own decisions without being dependant on me, your mother or anyone else for that matter. I have been inconsolable on many days since this all happened because I felt like I was losing you physically and emotionally. I could not understand why it was hurting so bad just to think of things being any different than they are now. Even you being distant from us while still here in the house gives me a knot in my stomach at times so the thought of you physically not being here for days and weeks on end was paralyzing to me. At first I thought maybe I was just leaning on you too much for emotional connection because of some kind of distance I was feeling from Mom but I started to think about your childhood and how much I missed when you were a baby and when you were [with Him] on his days even after I came around. I have been feeling unfullfilled as a parent and a father because I missed so many precious moments with you. Gia I would have given anything and I mean ANYTHING to hold you as a baby, look you in the eyes and know you were mine and only mine! That I was your everything and your whole world as a father. Your only super hero dad. I never got to change your diaper, feed you a bottle, help you walk or hear your first words. I will never get to share that with you or any other child and regret that so much. I thought maybe if your mother and I had a child together that maybe I would not feel this way but I realize that I would have only wanted that with you. I hate that I have had to and still have to share you with Pete. I know he was your first dad and that he will always have a part of your heart but it has always made me jealous and hurt knowing I will never have ALL of you which is not your fault. It’s so hard for me to accept that and I’m so sorry I was not able to be your 1 and only Dad from the start. I feel we both would be even closer and happier than we are now if that would have happened. I dream about that everyday now and it always makes me cry. Those were the cards we were dealt for some reason and I guess it was supposed to be this way. Regardless how much of your heart I have I want you to know that you are the only little girl that occupies my heart. You have and always will have all of me. I also want you to understand that I chose you and your mother Gia. I didn’t end up with you by default because you popped out of your mother. I chose to take you on as my daughter. Pete has an obligation to be your father, to love you and do certain things for you. He does not have much of a choice in that even though he does not do the best job at it. Gia I don’t need you in my life, I don’t have to be good to you, I don’t have to love you and I don’t have to care about you. I JUST WANT TO and I chose to. I was not forced to, obligated to nor was I expecting anything in return other than reciprocated love and affection from you. I am the only parent that specifically chose you to be mine and it’s important you know how powerful that is. I would not trade my time with you for anything!! I have enjoyed every minute of it. I have no real regrets about our life together other than the parts I had no control over.

I never considered having kids of my own because I was so content with you, I worried it would create resentment in you and I was so afraid I would not be able to handle the responsibility or that I would do to you or others the same thing my parents did to me(abandon, neglect and/or abuse) I never knew I would love being a father or at least YOUR father so much or that I would even be a good father. So far it has been the privelige of my life to call you my daughter and I have never been prouder to claim anything or anyone as my own despite ANY mistakes you have ever made or will ever make.

It’s been a sobering fact to realize than no one in my life has ever cared for me the way I care for you until you and your mom came along. My parents simply did not feel this way about me. I know that because they would not have done the things they did had the felt the way about me as I do about you. People make mistakes but a lifetime of neglect shows how they felt about me. This is why I have struggled with self worth and feeling like I don’t matter my whole life. I can’t have that with you. I will not allow you to ever live your life feeling like you are a piece of crap, a nothing or like you do not matter. I want you to know how loved and missed you are even now and also when you leave our home some day. I miss you every single day when you go to Pete’s and I will miss you every single day when you leave the house to go have your life. It’s just something happens when kids grow up I guess. I don’t want you to be sad about this FACT I want you to be happy knowing that even though your first dad was not able to be what you wanted and needed that THIS dad will always do his best to make you feel wanted and loved. You will always be my priority. That being said I am human and a broken human at that and I make mistake, little one and big ones. I am sure I will screw up between now and the rest of our life together and may at times do and say things that seem to contradict what I am saying here but it only because I am not perfect and just as flawed as anyone else but I will do my best and I will admit when I’m wrong or when I have screwed up then I do whatever it takes to fix it with you so we can move forward on good terms. I promise that to you and I hope you can remember all of this even if I’m not living up to my word and give me time to fix things if I do screw this up someday.

You told me your greatest fear was being vulnerable. Did you know that in studies showing vulnerability is quickest way to make someone like you and viewed as a sign of strength? It is our flaws, imperfections, insecurities and willingness to share those with others that bring us closer to the people we love. It’s true that it will backfire from time to time and people will take advantage of it which will hurt immensely and affect your ability to trust others but 9 times out of 10 it will go well. You just have to trust the right people to vulnerable with and we will talk about that more another time.

You have also expressed that you wish to change the world, have a close loving family and wish to be remembered. I assure you Gia if you stay true to your heart and continue to be the person I love so much that you will have these things. I will never forget you and no one who gets to know you will ever forget you either. I’m not just saying this because I’m your dad but you are one of the most wonderful people I have ever met. I know you are not perfect but you are smart, kind, beautiful and compassionate. I would not change anything about you other than the wounds that still hurt you to this day.

I have told you before but I will continue to reiterate until you really get it. You can tell me anything Gia!! Any problem you have even if you did something I told you not to do and I’m disappointed in you I’m still going to be kind to you and help you find a solution to your problem or just listen to you so you can get it off your chest and just feel better. A lot of girls/women do not tell there dad things going on with them, things they have done or problems they are dealing with because they are afraid of ruining their image of “daddy’s little angel” or “daddy’s princess” with their father or that he will think less of them, disown them or be infuriated. Gia I am telling you that I will never think less of you as a person. I know you are not perfect and I know you are going to screw up and do things at times that you are ashamed of and regret. WE ALL HAVE. I know what stuff I did and thought about from your age and on and you will not surprise me whatever it is that you get in to. I think you will make good decisions but if you ever get pregnant, addicted drugs, deal drugs, get raped, get an STD, steal, cheat, shank a biotch, kill someone, strip or even hook I AM STILL GOING TO LOVE YOU. I am also still going to help you anyway I can. I have scooped you off the floor before when things have happened and I will do it 1000 more times if I have to. I don’t think you will ever do most of those things but I really need you to understand that you will always be my daughter and I will always be there for you no matter what even when I know you are wrong at times. If I ever thought you were sitting in the dark somewhere going through something that you couldn’t handle all by yourself and you did not feel like you had anyone to help you it would BREAK my heart worse than any of those things listed above. Almost every horrible thing I went through in my life I dealt with on my own before your mom came along and it was a miserable lonely existence. Please don’t ever allow yourself to live like that EVER. I’m going to ask you to promise me that. If the walls are caving in around you, and they will before it’s all said and done, you have to call me or tell me or your mother.

I would only ask that before you ever make a decision about things you do with yourself, with boys, with other people or with alcohol/substances that you would ask yourself before hand, “what would my Dad think about this, what would my future kids think about this and would I be embarrassed or ashamed to tell someone I loved about this?? And if for some reason you make the wrong decision anyway that you have the courage to talk to me about it or get help if there is a problem associated with it.

I still have a lot to talk to you about on this stuff and I’m sorry this is so long but I had to let you know how I feel about you. I may not ever get to have another conversation about these things with you again because you just never know what will happen. People come in to this world and leave this world everyday and if you were going to know one thing about anything before I die it would be what is written on this paper. I want you to keep this paper and read it any time you feel bad or lonely or depressed and if I’m still around I hope you will call me or find me and let me pour my love and my strength in to you. If I’m already gone I hope you would remember me and call someone else you love to get help. Good night baby girl. Everyday is a new day and no matter how good or bad this day is the next day can always be better. Don’t ever forget these things.