Father's Day was a wonderful day for Jenny. She cherished every moment of that day and in the days following she wished she could just go back to that day and stay there. Jenny, Zachary,
Derek, Deanna, Gracie, and Danielle all went to their apartment one block away from Mark's. Derek, who had been a good family friend for years now, took Zachary down to see Mark for the day. Derek
told Mark that he was seeing Jenny and Mark was okay with that. Not more than 20 minutes later, Mark brought Zachary back to Jenny. He couldn't handle him because he was crying. Derek's kids were
over for the day. He had 2 boys and 1 little girl from his past marriage. Jenny had taken care of his boys a few times while his ex-wife was at work and he was incarcerated a couple years ago.
Jenny loved every moment of this day. She played catch with Derek's oldest boy, read books with his youngest boy, and held his daughters hands while she tried to walk. Zachary played with the
little girls while the boys played ball and the adults talked and joked around. Jenny looked around and saw what she had always wanted. A real family. She had always loved Derek's boys. They used
to call her Aunt Jenny. At the end of the day, his kids went home with their mom. Derek went to the car and told Tracy, his ex, that we were together. Tracy was furious! "If I knew you two were
together, I would've never let the kids come over here!" she fumed. In the next week drama seemed to be everywhere. Tracy was infuriated with Derek and Jenny.
Tracy said that she and Derek were trying to work things out and that he had cheated on her by being with Jenny. The kids were no longer allowed around Jenny. She was devastated, but kept up with the motto she adopted during her fights to get her son; "Fight for what you want". She was sure that eventually, she and Derek would be able to see the kids again.In the midst of the stress, Jenny had let the stickers on her car expire. She didn't have the money to renew them and neither did anyone else. Derek had the bright idea to take a valid sticker from a license plate at work and put it on Jenny's car. Jenny was worried about Danielle. Her blood pressure kept sky rocketing and they had no phone. Jenny refused to let anything happen to her "sister", so she did it.
Going to Jail?
One night, Danielle's blood pressure went off the charts. Jenny left Derek at home with Zachary and took Deanna, Gracie, and Danielle to the hospital. As they pulled up to the emergency room, a cop
pulled them over. Danielle went inside and Jenny spoke with the cop. He ran her plates and saw her sticker was supposed to be expired. "It's a felony to falsify registration, ma'am" he said to her.
Jenny was pissed off at this point. Something was very wrong with her friend and he was worrying about her car registration. He told Jenny he was towing her car. Deanna came over and began
complaining that they would have no way to get home. "Well it doesn't matter because I'm taking her to county jail." At that point, Jenny was handcuffed. "You're under arrest for falsifying your
registration, this is a felony and you are going to county jail." he said to Jenny. She started bawling like a baby. "Deanna, listen to me right now! Zachary needs to have a dose of his Tylenol
with codeine every 4-6 hours. You have to take the big Q-tips and the saline solution and clean around the stitches on his mouth! Listen! Write it down! Deanna, honey, please, if my son dies I'll
lose it, I can't do this! Check his shunt on the back of his head for any inflammation, if he starts to zone out you have to make sure he comes out of it! Make sure he doesn't get too hot he could
have a heat stroke! Oh my God, Deanna, baby girl, I can't do this, I can't Mark's going to take my baby from me!" Jenny was hysteric. No one was trained to care for him after his surgeries. What if
something happened while she was in jail, no one had money to bail her out and Mark would take her son forever?
The officer put Jenny in the back of the police car and began writing the paperwork. Jenny couldn't control her crying and by then everyone was watching. She had never been handcuffed or in the back of a police car before. She was terrified and embarrassed. "Okay. She's got a disabled kid at home, I'm gonna let her go on a misdemeanor." she heard the cop say over the radio. "Thank God!" she thought. "I'm going to let you go on a misdemeanor, but I still have to tow your car." he told Jenny. "As long as I don't go to jail, I'm happy" she thought to herself. "I like your shirt by the way" he said. Jenny looked down. She was wearing a shirt she made herself. It was a plain black tank top with the words "Got MILF" on the front. "Is he hitting on me?" Jenny questioned in her mind. Jenny got out of that sticky situation, but not without losing her car. The tow bill was more than the car was worth!
One day Tracy called Jenny and told her to have Derek call her to come see the kids. When she got home she gave him the phone. Derek argued with Tracy on the phone for an hour before he came inside
again. He kissed Jenny, told her he loved her, and that he'd be back. That night Deanna's daughter, Gracie, fell asleep in Jenny's arms. She was in this big bed with her niece, but not her
man. "Where is he? What is taking so damn long?" She wondered to herself. The next morning Jenny got up and looked around the house. No Derek. She knew. He left her. Deanna woke up and asked if he
was home. Jenny gathered her emotions, looked at her best friend, which she now called her sister, and said, "No, he abandoned us, he's not coming back."
Later that day, Danielle showed up. She had a list. A list of Derek's things. Jenny had held on to the hope that maybe he had gotten a flat tire or something else had kept him away, but at that point, her heart was crushed. "I trusted another man with my heart, I said those 3 words. He said that he loved me…that's real nice. I can feel the love, let me tell ya!" Her thoughts ran over and over inside her head. She kept her cool and tried to act as if it didn't matter. She gathered his things and wrote her own list for him. It read:
"$62.41 for your insurance payment I made yesterday
$4.71 for the pack of smokes I bought for you yesterday
$20.00 for the gas I put in your car yesterday
$60.00 for the camera I sold to pay your bills
Another car to replace the one you made me lose
Oh, and you can go ahead and keep your so-called 'love'
Jenny had never been "left" before. She had no idea what to do. She let her guard down and now she knew she shouldn't have done that. Jenny called up a couple friends, got some alcohol and drank until she couldn't drink anymore. She resorted to cutting again. She was broken. The next week or two was a blur. She stayed drunk, day and night. Mark kept Zachary for her and she tried to recover from the massive heartbreak. The divorce day was here. Jenny went to talk to Mark early that morning, but it ended up more of a physical conversation than anything. Deanna kept Zachary as Jenny and Mark headed to court. They were divorced. They began casually dating after the divorce and Mark even stayed the weekends at her house until they broke up in October. Dating Mark didn’t take her mind off of the one that still had her heart though. She wrote a poem for Derek, but knew she would never give it to him:
I won't tell you
How much I miss you
Or that I sit wishing
You'd come back to me
I won't let you know
That I feel so alone
Or that I still love you
And wish you loved me too
I won't write this for you
And give you the satisfaction
Of knowing how much you meant to me
At one point in time"
Jenny began dating her ex-husband again. She needed someone badly, and he was there. She came to visit at his place with Zachary on a regular basis. Although his friends now hated her because of
the lies he told them when they split up, she ignored the stares and whispers and went on about her business. On several different occasions, though, she became furious with Mark for smoking weed
with his friends in the house with their son. She couldn’t stop him of course, but threatened to not let Zach stay the night with him if he continued it.
Danielle was due any day, so Jenny gathered boxes full of baby clothes and bottles for the new baby, Xavier. Jenny couldn't stand to stay at the trailer alone, so she and Zachary had been staying with Mark, a block from Deanna and Danielle. Jenny took the baby things down to Danielle and sat to talk for a while. Deanna was at Tracy's place with her, Derek, and the kids. Danielle talked to Jenny about parenting. She was afraid, this was her first baby and she was going to raise him alone. Jenny told her everything she knew and everything she remembered "Mom Brenda" had told her about raising kids. She knew how upset Danielle was that her mom wasn't there for the birth of her first child, so Jenny did the best she could to reassure her and answer all her questions. They saw a neighbor drive by with subs bumping, music as loud as it could go, and a baby in the backseat. Danielle was furious! She vowed to never put her son through that. "Once they're old enough to tell you if it's too loud, you can turn it up, but if they can't communicate with you, there's no reason to have the music up that loud." Danielle explained and Jenny agreed. They also agreed that it wasn't right to smoke around small babies and that classical music was good for kids. Danielle told Jenny she was being induced that week and that she would call her as soon as they got home from the hospital.
The baby's first night home, Danielle asked Jenny to stay the night and help her take care of him. Of course, Jenny said she would. Every 2 hours, Jenny got up and changed the baby for her. She showed the new mommy the easiest way to make him bottles and the different ways to burp him. Danielle was exhausted, so Jenny took over for the rest of the night.
It was time for Jenny to face her fears. She needed to go home, back to the trailer. Jenny hated it there now. Everywhere she looked, she thought of Derek. She missed him and still hated herself
for letting her guard down so soon. Jenny had no car, no phone, and was stuck 6 miles away from civilization. She made it a week before she had the urge to go back over to Deanna and Danielle's
house. She didn't know why, but she knew she needed to be there. In the back of her mind, she was hoping to talk to Derek. She hadn't seen or spoken to him since the night he left. She needed an
explanation, she needed closure. Jenny tried to use other outlets to make the pain go away instead of cutting, so she wrote:
"4 AM: I was awoken by my ex-husband. He said someone had come and banged on the door and that I needed to wake up. I sat up and tried to open my eyes, when I heard him say, the words I have grown to hate hearing from him, "You need to wake up, so-and-so's here." That always meant someone in my family has died, again. "Danielle's being taken away by ambulance." He said. "What's wrong, what happened?" He didn't know anything. I ran as fast as I possibly could, asthma attack and all, in my pajamas down 6th street at 4 am.
I could see their place from my driveway, so as soon as I left out the door, I saw 2 ambulances, lights on, but no siren and I don't see anyone rushing anywhere. Confused, I was thinking maybe, she's okay, it was just a scare, maybe she had a bad asthma attack, and she's okay now. I get to the door, and immediately grab Danielle's pride and joy, little Xavier. He's fussy, and scared, 1 week old and dealing with all this confusion. As I feed the baby, Deanna's 1 year old daughter, Gracie, comes up to me whining and scared, begging for me to pick her up. Of course I do. So holding 2 babies at once, I finally start asking what's happening.
Deanna's crying and freaking out hardcore. "It's just like mom, it's the same thing!" she starts sobbing even harder. I tell her, "Danielle will be just fine, you know she's going to be okay, don't think like that" "No, Jenny, She stopped breathing, she was turning blue! I had to do CPR on her. Gracie and Xavier saw it all!", now she's got that same terrified, scared to death look on her face that she had the day mom died." Deanna honey, you're strong, we can do this, Dani isn't going anywhere, just take a deep breath, and we can do this." I reassure my best friend, honestly believing what I was saying. We load up the kids and diaper bags. Derek and Tracy show up, wonderful. I don't think I can handle this. We all meet up at the ER. Where we wrestle the two kids, while trying to deal with the fact that none of the nurses or doctors will tell us anything at all.
Deanna is calling their father, telling him what happened, when the doctor starts gathering everyone into a small room to the side. They come up and tell Deanna they need to talk to her, but she's
busy with her father, and doesn't hang up immediately. The nurse looks at me, with "that look". I know that. look. I hate that look. I poke Deanna, and say, "Honey, we need to talk to the doctor."
knowing what was about to come. We go into this room. I'm holding Gracie, Tracy has Xavier. They begin by asking who everyone is, and we all introduce ourselves; Tracy is introduced as the sister
in law, and Derek introduces me as the family friend. They begin to tell us that they couldn't resuscitate Danielle.
When those words hit, everyone lost it, except for the kids and me. I am sitting there, watching a family, which has already endured an enormous loss just 9 months ago, fall to pieces once again. This time without the rock of the family, Danielle. I was in shock, and couldn't believe that God would allow such a thing. Just a mere week after a 19-year-old girl gives birth?! By now, I'm crying, scared to know what will happen now without our beloved Dani. They take us back to the ER room.
There she is. On the table, like she's just asleep. We're all breaking down now. Gracie is looking at us, so freaked out. I hadn't even thought about the fact that I probably shouldn't have brought her in there to see Danielle. I try to get Tracy to give me Xavier, in an attempt to get the kids out of that room, but she refuses. I left the room with Gracie, and went outside to smoke, still bawling and trying to calm down for little Gracie. One by one, they all come outside.
The next week is a blur. We go to the funeral home, set everything up. I stayed by Deanna's side, helping with both the kids all the way until the funeral day, which was 3 days after the wake, near Chicago. I remember the first time Derek kissed me after Dani died. I felt like he was just being a whore, but I needed him. I needed someone. I wasn't blood so no one thought that I might need a little support.
Sometimes I really believe that just like soul mates- as in relationships, it also goes for friendships. I believe that Deanna and her family were meant to be my best friends/family for life. All that we've gone through, so much pain, so many good times, and so many memories. I will always claim them as my family, best friends, soul mates. I only hope that Tracy and I can someday settle our differences about the whole Derek thing. We have spoken about it, forgiven each other, and even hung out, but I can still feel awkwardness. Deanna will always be in my life, I've decided I couldn't get rid of her, and she couldn't get rid of me even if we tried out hardest!
Family is family no matter what kind, and family does not quit."
"Dreams and Fears
Just like dreams, fears come true
We learned this when we lost you
Your dream came true
When he was born
But our fears came true
When you were torn
Your long life was ripped away
Now you watch us as we pray
And although we wish you hadn't had to go
We'll all make sure to let Xavier know
His mommy was strong, proud, and pure
We're all so lucky to have ever known her
She was so caring, sweet, and always true
And with every ounce of her soul, she loves you
She's watching us now, from up above
Sad that we must grieve, but sending all her love
She wants us to know, it'll all be okay
And that we'll all see her again someday"
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