It was pink. A lady name Linda bought it for us before my daughter was born. We called it a “hanky”. It was my daughter’s comfort blanket. Silky on one side, soft and fuzzy on the other, and about the size of handkerchief. It had silky rectangles on the edges and a tag that she practically rubbed a hole in, rubbing it as she sucked her thumb. She took it everywhere. This was before we had our third daughter. So, she was still 3. The unthinkable happened, she lost it. It wasn’t unthinkable, it actually happened once a week, but I always found it. We warned her every time that we may not always be able to find it. We were trying to teach her to be responsible for her things, especially the things she cherished.
We had been at the library and stopped to get gas, so I back tracked, but there was no sign of it. Went back later that night, nothing. She was fussy and missing it, she even had a back up for when she did this, it was green. No good. She still wanted the original at bed time. She fussed but eventually went to sleep. She was a fantastic sleeper.
The next day, she was still visibly bothered by not having what she was normally comforted by. I was staying home alone during the day with the girls. I’ll just say, it was a low point. I didn’t appreciate my opportunity as dad. I wasn’t good yet. I was still close enough removed from addiction to be concerned about–so, even things like a lost hanky worried my wife, and I just didn’t like myself. I had gotten our middle daughter down for her nap, naturally, she had her monkey-Toby. My oldest, was defiant and wanted her hanky. Which I guess wasn’t something unattainable to her, as I had always retrieved before. She had lost her cool, inconsolable, normally I’d have to control my anger in that situation, but not this time. This time, I just went down to a knee. Like, buckled. I was at a serious breaking point. I could not fight what we clumsily call “demons”. I couldn’t breathe. Which freaked my daughter out. I’m mean-immediate shock at seeing me in this state. Stopped crying and went to the occasional sniffle. When I finally drew a deep breath, it was hard to contain the emotion in the moment, but I choked it back and mumbled “I can’t find it.”
That’s when she said a mantra. That’s when a three year-old said the phrase, that at times, is my life raft. “Daddies don’t give up“. She didn’t understand why it wasn’t at the library. It always had been before. She urged me to look after the nap, she was just like her mother in that moment. She said what I was suppose to say-that it would be okay, she would sleep with her green one. She was so little and couldn’t read her dad, she had never seen me that way-honestly. She couldn’t read that I was struggling with things she couldn’t see or possibly comprehend. But that phrase broke through the roar in my head Daddies don’t give up and I latched on to it. It’s what I say when the roar becomes too much. Sometimes the roar becomes too much for some. Apparently, it was too much for Robin Williams .
Rest in peace Robin Williams, you burned brightly.
To those who ever need it, here’s a website for help. Seek it…