My last post was in July. Since then, my life has been a whirlwind to say the least. More like a tornado. Or a tsunami, or an earthquake, or whatever other natural catastrophe you can think of that would equate decades worth of damage.
The last post was about portrait work during a special I was running. After that post, everything went nuts. It’s been so long that I don’t even know how to start or how to organize the events that took place one right after another, it like a sick grotesque form of “fuck you Kaitlin” dominos.
Since my last post my dad has died, I ended my engagement, I took ownership of a house, I changed my career pathway, I dated and broke up with someone, I dated someone new and still am, one of my best friends passed away last week and all throughout this I have struggled with depression and anxiety that’s been the worst it’s been in years. I’m still here to fill you in on all of this, so I guess that counts for something.
Let’s start with July 29th, the day my dad dropped dead on the floor of my dining room and I was sitting on a beach in Florida, absolutely hammered off of rumrunners.
7/27/18 – I was in Florida visiting my then-fiance Ryan. The “then-fiance” part is a whole other part of this story, which I’ll revisit in a later post. We were at Coco Beach with his sister and brother-in-law. I had begrudgingly left Baltimore two days prior, not wanting leave my dad in the care of my sister. He had been diagnosed with glioblastoma brain cancer two months before this and I had been handling all of the doctor’s appointments, treatment plans, insurance and bills by myself. My dad begged me to go to Florida for a few days, he said I needed a break. I know it upset him to see me so exhausted and stressed out over a situation he felt that he was responsible for. “Everything will be fine” he said over and over again. “I feel great.” I hugged him outside and left, turning around twice before I finally took myself to the airport.
7/29/18 – Two days later I was on the beach, drinking rumrunners. The breeze was cool and the sun was hot and I was relaxed and optimistic things would be ok. I was watching Adam and Ryan play in the water, waiting for myself to get so warm that I had no choice but to join in. Out of nowhere I see Adam running towards me, with a floppy Ryan. Ryan’s shoulder was sticking out of his body, a wave dislocated it. I almost threw up looking at it. Our fun day suddenly became awful. We called paramedics over who then called an ambulance. This wasn’t Ryan’s first rodeo with a bum shoulder, but the pain was terrible nonetheless.
I sat in the front seat of the ambulance in a bikini and covered in tanning oil, still pretty wasted off of those rumrunners. I got sand all over the seat and apologized to the paramedic, a muscly man with tattoo sleeves and Oakley sunglasses. Ryan was in the back on a stretcher.
“Hey, your stepdad is calling me,” he said through his pain. Weird, I thought. I checked my phone and saw I had a lot of missed calls. My first thought was that something happened to my little brother. He did run himself over with a golf cart once.
I called my mom back. She was crying. I got frustrated because I was wasted and couldn’t understand her. “What are you saying to me?” I yelled it over and over again. “Your father is dead, oh my god, I am so sorry, he’s dead.”
I don’t remember my response or my reaction, I just heard a scream that couldn’t have come from my body, or could it? I looked at the paramedic. He assured me my boyfriend was going to be fine. I had totally forgotten Ryan was even back there. “My dad just died,” I said. “What? Are you serious?” The paramedic looked at me in disbelief. “Yeah. He had brain cancer.”
The rest of the four mile ride to the hospital was silent. I don’t even remember if Ryan said anything to me and if he did I didn’t hear it. My entire world was different, it all changed with a two minute phone call. Nothing would ever be the same and neither would I.
We got to the hospital. The paramedic told me to sit there as long as I needed. Still in a wet bathing suit (and still very drunk) I walked into the hospital. A woman tried to make me go through security before I could see Ryan. Not really sure where I’d hide anything in a bikini. I remember she got rude with me and I threw my beach bag in her face, the sand going all over the place. The paramedic told her to leave me alone, that she had no idea what I had just gone through. She was still rude and I was still drunk, so I’ll leave it up to your imagination how the rest of that encounter went.
Ryan sat on the hospital bed. “What happened?” he said, but he already knew. “He’s dead. That’s it, that’s what happened.” I was numb. I made a few phone calls to some friends. The rest of the day was meaningless.
8/1/18 – I was stuck in Florida for about two days. I couldn’t get a flight home without it costing four figures. It was probably for the best considering that being over a thousand miles away from home allowed me to process what was going to happen when I returned. I flew home alone. Ryan didn’t accompany me. He had a boss that refused to allow him to leave, if only for a day. Ryan has since left there and has a better and more meaningful job if anyone was wondering.
That flight was so long. It was only two hours but it felt like a lifetime. In a way it kind of was, I was returning home but nothing was familiar. From that moment on, when my plane landed in Baltimore, I would never be in the same place as my dad ever again.
I walked into my empty house. Everything was in its place. I looked at the spot where my sister and uncles found my dad that day, you’d never know that’s where it happened. They said a brain aneurysm most likely caused by radiation. His tumor was large and deep, we knew this was a risk before starting treatments. I stared at that spot for awhile, later buying a nice rug to put in its place.
The days that followed were weird. I smoked A LOT of pot and ate a lot of pills to calm my anxiety. I slept on the couch for months afterwards because sleeping in my own bedroom just seemed too normal. The month of August will forever be lost to memory.
8/7/18 – His memorial services were scheduled for August 11, 2018. He didn’t want an open casket or a funeral. Just a one day service complete with a list of “dickheads” that weren’t allowed, his choice. We went to plan it, Allison and I, numb from multiple doses of Klonopin. We joked about putting our dad’s ashes in the creepy teddy bear that they offered as an urn.
Two days later, Ryan finally arrived in Baltimore. After a tense day and argument, I gave him back my engagement ring and told him to leave my house.
Part 2 will be up soon.