Wednesday, July 22, 2009

RIP Tina

An old friend of mine passed away last week.

I met Tina through one of my oldest friends, Michael. He and I were next door neighbors when we were super little- he was still in diapers when we met. Of course, I was already potty-trained and 6 months younger. Go me!

We attended kindergarten together and his mom watched her 3 boys and my sister and I every day after school for years and years. Our moms are still best friends.

Michael is... not smart. He is actually pretty damn stupid, but I love him. Flaws and all.

Tina and Michael met when they were about 20 years old. She was lots of fun to hang out with, but came from a life of being shuffled from foster home to juvenile hall to her completely fucked up mom's house back to foster home. So she was a little bit reckless.

Coupled with Michael's lack of brains and her carelessness, they made a baby. Tina was horribly sick through the entire pregnancy. She had to be on bed rest very early-on and was hooked up to a fluids IV at home. Michael wasn't a big help to her, but his mom let her move in until the baby was born so that she could make sure Tina and her future grand baby were taken care of.

Tina recruited me to help her through the delivery. She was afraid that Michael would bolt from the hospital the second she screamed at him in anger. The day came for her to finally give birth and we all rushed to the hospital at an ungodly early hour in the morning.

She delivered with the assistance of a mid-wife. Michael, surprisingly, made it to the hospital and was not looking terribly uncomfortable until Tina had to start pushing. A nurse held one of Tina's legs back while I held the other. Michael looked like he was going to pass out and mumbled something about needing to get out of the room.

I knew how important is was for Tina to have him there, so I held Michael tightly with my free arm. The baby boy was born and two ecstatic parents cooed over him and both cried with joy.

Unfortunately, the joy didn't last between Michael and Tina in their relationship. He got bored or distracted or forgot he was a baby daddy and went off to start a new relationship with another lady. Tina moved into her own apartment and relied on public assistance for her income. Michael was almost completely uninterested in spending time with their son.

Michael went on to have 2 more children with 2 more ladies in the next few years. Like I said, not so smart. He has neither the resources nor the dedication to be a good father to any of them.

Unfortunately, Tina went back to what she knew- living recklessly. Drugs, stealing, drinking, constant drama. She got tossed in jail a few times, but didn't slow down at all. She couldn't concentrate on ruining her own life while raising her son, so Michael's mom and dad stepped in and he has lived with them since the time he could crawl. Tina didn't see her son for years.

Last year, Tina was thrown in jail for yet another drug charge. Just before she was sentenced, she noticed a lump in her breast. During sentencing, she asked the judge to allow her to suspend her entry into jail so that she could seek medical attention. He assured her that it would be taken care of while she served her time. They would provide her with medical attention during her 6 months in jail.

But they didn't. By the time Tina was released, she was sick with cancer from her head to her toes. It went from something possibly minor to an all-out war against her system. She knew that this was it for her- that she wouldn't survive this attack. Tina went through every kind of cancer treatment possible to extend her time on Earth so that she could try to right some wrongs.

She spent time with her son. She stayed at her father's bedside while he died. She spent more time with her son.

Then, she died. I'm not sure if her son knew her well enough to feel the incredible pain of saying goodbye. But knowing Tina, she felt every last second of every day she didn't spend with him. If she had known that her life was going to be so short, she would have been there. She would have tried harder to be a good mother. I can't imagine the pain she went through- knowing the choices she had made were so thoughtless.

I just hope that she has found peace. That she connected with her son, who desperately needed to feel loved by his mother. And I hope that Michael, at some point, realizes that he needs to put his desires on the back burner and give his son a father.


Rassles said...

Tabbie, I'm sorry to hear about this. And I'm not good at comforting people, so I will just stop there. Do her good.

Mike said...

Very sad to hear about your loss.

Tee aka The Diva's Thoughts said...

Wow...this is really sad. :(

Bob Dobalina said...

I still get incredibly angry when I think of the criminally negligent prison system that KNEW of the problem and still did nothing for her. For fuck's sake, even a radical mastectomy if nothing else.

Love and prayers to the boy and his gram. Tell them I am owed a lazertag rematch next time they are out this way.

Philly said...

This is sad, sad for everyone involved.


Das Meems said...

Oh tabbie, this is so sad... So.
Unfortunate ... Does it mean we always revert to what is comfortable instead of making a change for the better ... Trying some new behaviors on for size and just Trying?

What can be learned from this story? To love more?to give more?

Anonymous said...

So sad. Mostly for the abandoned baby - who had two parents alive, yet neither made this miracle their priority. Stuff like that can ruin lives, even with an angelic grandmother who stepped in. That's the real tragedy.

sid said...

I hate cancer. I hate everything about it. I hate that the treatments, the cure ... makes you puke your guts. I hate that even though you've tried every fucking treatment in the book you might still die. I hate that in the last few stages in robs you of soo much.

Sorry that you had to lose a friend to it.

TC said...

That's sad :(

It's also pretty disgusting that they promised her medical care and withheld it. There has to be something her family can do about that, right? I mean, it won't do her any good, but it might help provide a little for her son.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry for your loss. It's sad, but sometimes death, or the prospect of, is what it takes to make some people realize what matters. And yet, still there are those that don't. At least she made the best of her final years.

Anonymous said...

Oh man, I'm so sorry to hear about that. Let's hope the father straightens up.

Anonymous said...

Aw, lady, I'm very sorry for your loss.

Losing a friend is heartbreaking.