Joseph Scialabba is a single father from the Chicago area who unexpectedly lost the mother of his child to drug addiction. This blog post chronicles his experience with raising a female child alone in the 21st century.
104 weeks, 730 days, 17,520 hours, 1,051,200 minutes and 63,113,851 seconds ago was the last time. The last time I saw you take a breath, the last time I saw your eyes open, the last time I touched your hand. This was no fairy-tale ending, this wasn’t the movies or TV, this was the day our whole world burned to ashes. When things start with such promise, such ideals that you both think you are finally getting what you have waited your whole lives for, when it ends in flames, when it ends in ashes; the one that remains is never the same.
It wasn’t always this way; once upon a time I couldn’t have been happier, we couldn’t have been happier. To find someone you understand from the first words spoken is rarer then diamonds, for someone that will look within your darkness and not shy away, is a supernova of rareness. Before the madness, the chaos and the drugs, this was a love story. Maybe not Romeo and Juliet, more of a Bonnie and Clyde thing, then again maybe that analogy is both terrible and accurate at the same time, though they didn’t go down in flames, but of hail bullets.
2 years ago that story was cut short, a movie without a sequel, and a family left behind. For a guy that always, and I mean always had a plan for everything I sure couldn’t answer the question we kept getting asked, “So what is the plan now”. It took 2 years of sleepless nights, hours of therapy, and many questions left unanswered, but we slowly have found our way back to the light, I will never be the same as I was though. To shield my daughter from it all, I took all that punishment, all that pain, all that darkness and kept it. I wanted to let her be a child as long as I can, because let’s face it, kids are forced to grow up way to fast in this era of school shootings and teenage pregnancies.
I always had a solution, even to problems or questions no one had asked, I was the guy everyone turned to when the proverbial sh*t hit the fan. For this though, I was lost, adrift with far more questions than answers. These days for someone that used to run a large company that specialized in party atmospheres, I get social anxiety in the gas station sometimes. I’m not quick anymore, not to anger, not to elation. I roll through emotions slower than a 95 year old bingo player. Stay guarded, I constantly tell myself, and while I know that’s probably the wrong way to do it, I have yet to find anyone that’s cared enough to ask me to take the mask off. I kept things easy instead of running into gunfire, because I just couldn’t take the stresses I had long been accustomed too. Withdrew from everyone and everything that I cared about or cared about me. I found my only refuge the same way I had back during those teenage angst years when the world seemed to be crushing. Funny how simple those days seem now, the paradox of wanting to grow up when we are kids and wanting to be kids when we grow up. So I picked up again, not a needle or a drink, but a pen. I had gone close to ten years without writing a word, and now I couldn’t seem to stop them from flowing off my fingertips.
It’s said, that the universe or god will never give you more then you are meant to handle. I have always been a believer in that no matter how many times my faith has been rattled or I have been shook by life. Our path, my path, ended that day 2 years ago, but another one began in sync. One uncharted and unsure, but one we were thrust upon none the less. It showed answers and truths that I wasn’t ready to receive but have grown to understand since that frigid morning. I take solace that people and families have been helped, and lives have been saved in your memory.
CHICAGO, IL - JANUARY 28: A Ferris wheel on Navy Pier rises above ice along the shore of Lake Michigan on January 28, 2014 in Chicago, Illinois. Temperatures in the city hovered around -10 degrees this morning. The city has had 18 days at or below zero so far this winter, two shy of the 20-day record. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)