This piece is something I wrote within ten days of my daughter Regina’s death.
I came upon it tonight in a folder called Regina. I don’t often go into that folder anymore. Tonight I’m glad I did. Tim, if your still out there, since our paths have split long ago, I hope this gets to you somehow. If nothing less, maybe there is a Tim our there who fits this story for another daddy who knows about the shades of blue, of loss and hope and the comfort of a friend.

Monochrome drummer

It was November, 1989, VFW, East St. Paul MN.

Tonight, I almost lost my cool.
I’ll never get over loosing you.
I never want to get use to not having you around.

Have I ever loved more? No, I doubt it.

You kid, you have brought the real meaning of loosing home to stay.
Not you, but your passing. God those are the hardest words I will ever have to say.

The gig, I set up on the floor of another V.F.W. Another wedding gig in this good ‘ole boy country band. First song first set the crowd all decide to dance. There you come, pulling mommy’s hand.

No wait; it’s not you, it’s not mommy but they look so close to the two girls in my life it takes my breath away. The shock was real, it was strange. Silently the tears swelled in my eyes and the choking feeling in my throat made it impossible to sing. I cried. As the song ended the drummer handed me a towel.

I didn’t want anyone to see. Well, that is not true. I wanted everyone to see. I wanted them all to see, I wanted them all to know. Oh God how I miss you. It’s been too soon.

Break time. I silently and deliberately walked directly to my car with all the care in the world trying not to stumble. I sat there behind the wheel. I thought about what it was I was to think. I didn’t want to think because without being sure of what was right to think I was sure what I was thinking was wrong. The pain in my stomach told me so.

What is the game I am playing with myself? What and why this torment? What’s real and what ain’t. I could be strong. I had a strong appearance at the wake and at the funeral and at your grave, or so people told me afterwords.

From the corner of my vision I see the drummer approach the car. I don’t look full on at him. The door of the hall slowly closes. The whole world is slowly closing in slow motion. It was then that I realize I was outside in my car.
‘How unlikely to see another little girl who favors my Gina so.’ I could have said that but I didn’t. I didn’t want to. I just wanted to cry.

My senses become acquainted with the chill of a Saturday night in late October. The windows in the car are tightly rolled up. The car is running to get some heat. He knocks on the roof of the car and says” anybody home?”  I don’t answer.  He walks around the front of my car and he prompts me with a head nod to reach over and unlock the passenger side door. Half in, half out, he plops down in the seat.

He’s there, he’s there for me. He knew I was hurting. He just sat silently.

I began to sob. I covered my eyes. I began to cry uncontrollably.
He was there. I wasn’t alone.

I don’t cry alone, only when somebody is there. I wonder what that means?

“I just wasn’t ready for that, to see that little girl.”

God how I was crying. He knew what I meant. He knew I meant the sight of that little girl who looked so much like you.

“Your gonna make it” he said.  He didn’t tell me how.

He grabbed my shoulder and squeezed. I cried loud and hard, big gasping sobs, the gut wrenching abdominal kind. He began to shake me. I became angry for a moment. He was hurting me, grabbing me so hard and still it was comforting all at the same time. He asked about mommy. “Hows Deb taking it?”

“All we do is cry” I said. That’s not true. All I do is cry and hang my head in my hands and wonder why.

Twenty-five years of fifteen minute breaks sharpens ones instinct, breaks over. I wipe my eyes. We both open our doors and we go back in to the hall. I don’t even know if I said thank you to him. He was there for me. He cared for me, he helped me get through a torturous gig. God will have to help me get through life.

A noisy room full of people all celebrating a wedding, all celebrating, all except the drummer and me, we were grieving—together. Nobody seemed to notice, and if they did, nothing was said.

I strapped on my guitar just like I’ve done it for the past quarter century. Long time honey. He sat down behind his drums. There where still children around. Some parents let their kids hang out till the parties over, but our little look alike was gone. Purpose served. Her mommy and dad had gone home for the night. I looked for the little girl who looked so much like you, but she was gone too!

In all this confusion, this I know, I will never get over loosing you.

I thank God for my drummer friend who was now no less a friend but more a brother. For the remainder of the gig he and I played those old boring tunes with a fire and a soul and a unity that was not recognized, well, the bass player did give a little nod, enough to convey ‘cool’.

You would have loved it honey, we were both playing for you!

I’m sure you know that, looking down on me, watching me sing and play. And I know you now know a drummer named Tim B.

The rest of the night, and the rest of my life are for you.

Love, daddy

for Regina Elizabeth Juliano, 1987-1989