It’s been over a week since I sent the Steve Laube packet out. I know it’s barely enough for it to have gotten there and even if it has, it will probably be weeks before I get a response. Knowing that does not make the wait any easier. God, grant me patience.
We were on our way back home from dinner the other night. I was in the back seat with Kamden. He was being a little fussy so I was holding his hand. Kamden’s car seat was in the middle and I was to his left. My right arm was trapped underneath the top of his car seat, so I was reaching over with my left hand to hold his. With my head resting on the top of his car seat, my thoughts drifted to my sister, for some reason. The 5th anniversary of her death is in less than 2 weeks. Maybe that’s why. I started to think about what I know of the car accident. How she lay in a stranger’s arms afterward, in and out of consciousness. The car she was driving had veered right. We think she nodded off. 7 o’clock in the morning on an hour commute. She overcorrected, flipped the car on its side and hit a telephone pole with the top of the car. My eyelids became wet as I thought about what must have been going through his mind as he body fought to stay alive. Most likely, she thought of her one year-old daughter, having spent two weeks with her and Richard, her husband, after being away from them for two or three months as she dealt with post-partum depression among other issues that were weighing on her.
In the days that followed her passing, I was looking through pictures for ones that could be used for her memorial. I came across some of me and my, at the time, soon-to-be ex-wife, Liz, and some of me and my ex before her, Courtney. She had written little notes around the pictures. I was suddenly aware that my little sister viewed me as a screw-up. She didn’t say it but I felt like a failure and a disappointment to my whole family.
Her life lit the fire beneath me to give me the desire and determination to what I want to do while I can do it—to go all ahead full with Lost Gods. But until now, I have not had the courage to move on. I hold the memory of her in my heart, but until now, I’ve been afraid to rejoin those pieces of her that are still alive. Afraid because of what those notes said. Each day that goes by and I pass up the opportunity to reconnect, the fear grows, the guilt grows and the more haunted I am by the ghost of my sister. I don’t want to be haunted anymore. And I want to get to know my niece.
Now that I think about it… it’s not my sister’s ghost that haunts me. It’s mine. My ghost. The ghost of all my failures and mistakes. They’re all mine. I own them. I cannot erase them. Nor would I want to. Without them, I would cease to exist. So, how do I get rid of my ghosts? I have to realize that right now… I am not a failure. I am the best father I can be. I am the best husband I can be. I am the best son I can be. I am the best brother I can be. I am the best Christian I can be. I am the best correctional officer I can be. I am the best writer I can be. Right now, I am the best Kenn Phillips I can be. Even if I fail, and I will from time to time, as soon as it’s over, it’s on the past. As long as I continue to try and make the present a success, than I will be a success.
Without the past, the present does not exist. Without the present, there can be no future.
All ahead full. My two years in the Navy inspires me still, it seems.
“All that I wanted were things I had before. All that I needed I never needed more. All of my questions are answers to my sins. All of my endings are waiting to begin.”
From Circle by Slipknot