I Escaped, Then My Dad Died

It’s crazy how life has a way of transitioning to places that seem to not benefit us in any way. 

At a time I believed I needed protection the most, I ran. I ran to a place that was so dark yet comforting at the same time. 

I initially thought the silence and separation would lead to being missed and would create a pathway back to having meaning in his life. Maybe the saying could be true that distance makes the heart grow fonder…it didn’t. Instead, I was becoming dependent upon the bubble I created within the darkness, the disconnect…the muffled expressions of life that I would muster up and show others who still had access to me at work. It seemed that my protective bubble of taking it one moment at a time was my only way to survive. The numbing effects of the darkness lead me to a stillness that helped me stay sane, or at least what was left of a sound mind and a tenacious spirit.

Internal turmoil didn’t need much to flourish still and cause me to feel suffocated. As my body grew cold and my heart struggled to pump at its usual pace, an escape plan seemed to appear out of thin air. All within seconds, I found the strength and remnants of hope that assured me I’d eventually be okay once I and my son were out. I figured there would grow some degree of tact…a resurgence of energy connecting with those I loved and who knew me best. So that’s where I landed. 


The place that I once vowed never to spend too much time in since graduating and leaving for college. Nothing at this point really felt safe. Unlike most other times, I didn’t have a plan. I told myself to simply breathe and make it another day without letting too many people know how broken I really was – I was the strong one who solved problems for everyone else, remember?! 

Fighting the urge to stay hidden in the bed I left cold at age 18, only allowing tears to flow unannounced; I no longer cared much about the Tabatha Brown-inspired mission I was on to become a Vegan. At that moment, all that mattered was knowing better than to leave food on the stove after dinner was made in the house. Did I mention it was homemade Chicken n’ Dupplins? Well, that strict upbringing and respect for the time my mom spent cooking saved me from the stress-induced bad habit I have of not eating while depressed, stressed or angry. 

After some time, I finally shared with my supervisor that I would need to change my leave status to emergency medical leave. I knew that I actually needed to take extended emergency medical leave – FMLA. I needed help..but I didn’t want that nasty feeling to build up in my stomach as I heard myself say that no one believed I was that sick or in need of that much time off

Months later…

…prescribed psychotropics, an intensive outpatient program completed, and the weekly therapy sessions commenced, so I figured it was time for a purge. 

I set aside time to meet with my dad.

He made us dinner. I was nervous yet feeling like I had nothing more to lose. We had a chance to talk about the differences in opinion we never spoke about, which led to our distant relationship. 

I’ll take extreme corporal punishment, for $5000 Alex.

So much for a win…I left feeling exhausted, upset, and numb all at the same time.

I eventually needed to go back. Pick up the pieces, and try to rebuild from whatever pieces I had left behind. So I made the dreaded flight back to what was no longer home. I began to fight for a new life each morning. Try to get my mojo back without being triggered too much by the ghost of what was now my past life. I had not envisioned this. I could no longer see what it would become either.  

A new place to call home.

A new life.

A new Pursuit of PEACE.

A new HOPE.

With time and a new year of life to celebrate….a new text that simply read, “He’s gone”.

I have yet to truly process it all since I’ve returned to that bubble of protection. Only this time, it was no longer about me pushing my way through or trying to manage my overloaded bags of stress and burnout. I had to allow myself to step away on a spiritual level and allow God to carry me through…as he continues to do in this very moment. 

Isaiah 41:10

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.


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