Wednesday, April 05, 2006

A Letter to Camie

If you haven't read the previous post, "A 'Death' In The Family", PLEASE read that before reading this. This won't make sense unless you read that first.

When the chaplain and the police came, I was cool, until they showed me Camie's obituary. I lost it. Actually started crying, even though I knew it an excersize. Felt freaking real.

Then, part of MY job as a parent is to sort out my feelings, and try to imagine how I WOULD feel if Camie had died, and write a last letter to her. Her obituary said she had died at the wheel of a car, killing three others with her, as a result of being high on weed. To my mind that's so unlike her, the but point of the excersize is, you just never know.

Here's my letter. This will go to Camie tomorrow at a luncheon. She's incommunicado, so there's no chance she'll read it till then.

"Dear god, Camie…. How can you be gone?

You left for school this morning so happy. Freshly showered, your hair still wet, pulled back in ponytails, still smelling like fresh soap and shampoo when I hugged you goodbye. I told you have a good day, you said, “I will. Bye, poppy”.

I cleaned up, showered, got ready for my day. Then came a knock at the door. Strangers were standing outside. The rest is a blur.

Someone, somebody, told me you were dead.

Nah, that’s not possible, I told them. The people assured me it was true. They even showed me your picture to prove they had the right kid. That’s when I lost it.

That’s when I lost you. That’s when I lost my baby.

Camie, how can you be gone?

I still smell the aroma of the shower you took this morning. I walk in the bathroom and see the clothes you were wearing on the floor, the shower still wet, the towel you used still damp, your toothbrush and toothpaste still lying on the counter where you left it. God, I don’t want the stuff to dry! Please, God, make everything stay just as it is, for a little while.

You left the CD player in the bathroom turned on, and I don’t want to turn it off, because it seems like I’d be turning off some part of you. I can’t do that yet. I did pick up your make-up and put it back in the make-up case and close it. I don’t know who will ever open it again.

I don’t even want to dump out the cold cup of coffee you left on the kitchen counter. You put it there, and for some reason I don’t want to move it, yet.

Camie, how can you be gone?

The blankets on your bed are still pulled back, right were you left them when you got up this morning. Dear god, your voice still speaks on your voicemail when I call your cell-phone. I don’t know how many times I called just to hear your voice again.

Camie, you were such a giant part of my life. I didn’t realize until you were gone. I loved talking to you, hearing you talk about friends and school and life. Watching you grow, teaching you about life, helping you learn, and finally being able to trust you was one of the most satisfying things in my life.

And now I find my trust was misplaced! You smoked dope and got behind the wheel of a car! Camie, dammit, how could you?

You were in love, and had everything to live for, and everything yet to experience in life. Gabe will miss you horribly, probably almost as much as your mother, your sisters, and I.

You’ll never get to see your baby brother grow up. You’ll never get to college. You’ll never see your own children grow up, some day. I’ll never get to see the grandchildren that might have been.

We’ll never go camping again, or drive to Lake Tahoe to play in the snow late at night. We’ll never lay on the rocks by the river and watch the stars again. I’ll never get to roll my eyes over your choice of music on the radio, or poke you in the shoulder or on the back of your knee until you’re annoyed, just because I love you and like to tease you sometimes.

I will remember wonderful things, Camie. I’ll remember laughing with you at stupid jokes. I’ll remember having serious talks with you about boys and feelings and life. I’ll remember going to movies, picking you and your friends up at the mall, having a house full of giggling kids all there because of you. I’ll remember being baptized with you.

I’ll remember the absolute and complete joy at watching you grow from an awkward child into a beautiful young woman that I loved and respected.

Camie, how can you be gone?

I have a hollow, empty place in life, now. I’ll have it forever. My baby daughter is dead. That makes no sense. Even seeing and hearing the words, they still make no sense to me. It shouldn’t be possible. When we’re young we live forever, right? Isn’t that the way it’s supposed to be?

Camie, you were supposed to come home tonight, after school. But instead, I’m lost and adrift because something so valuable was so meaninglessly torn away from me. I suppose if your death had meaning, like if you died trying to help someone, or even if you had a simple accident which wasn’t your fault, I could cope better.

But you chose to smoke! You chose to be wreckless, and that’s just not like you! You chose to be dangerous, and you killed yourself and three others. Now, not only me, but three other families are going through what I’m going through. It’s just so senseless, Camie. So senseless.

Camie, I love you, and will always love you. I know the real you, and it wasn’t the real you that did this. That was someone else. The Camie I know, I will miss forever and ever.

Camie, how can you be gone?

All my love, Dad

April 05, 2006

(Mike Jones, for Camie Jones)"


Don Pelón said...

I just stumbled on your blog through a couple other links - so forgive me for intruding. But your letter is so compelling, and it makes me wonder what kind of letter our Father in heaven would write for any one of us?

Mike J. said...

It's no intrusion, you are most welcome.

You know, I've thought often about how I love my own kids, and how, if I love my kids so fiercely, deeply, and would do or give anything for them, just how deep, strong, and passionate is the love God would have for us? I try to be a good dad. God is the perfect father.

Amen, brother.

one4JC said...

Wow...I also stumbled into this and sat and cried as I read this letter. The love you have for your daughter is amazing...Between that and the post on Nic's blog about keeping the flame going I am ready to move to California to be your newest friend LOL

PS. My children are already in Heaven waiting for me but someday I will get to experience that same love for my child