Friday, September 23, 2011


A while back I rented Stephen King's 1408.

At the time, I lived alone. Studio apartment. It was late at night when I started the movie. The beginning was creepy. Made my skin crawl. I had to shut the movie--figured I'd never get to sleep, not with the lights off, anyway.

The next day, when it was still light out, I finished the movie. And although it continued to creep me out ... something else happened.

The secondary story became more apparent. That's what a good movie, a good book contains. A secondary story. 1408 had one I did not expect.

See, the movie is about this writer. He visits haunted hotels, and sleeps in haunted rooms, and writes books about the experience.

When he is more or less dared to stay in a New York hotel, specifically in room 1408, it is the first time he ever encounters anything truly paranormal. Usually his writings uncover fakes and frauds. But this time, in room 1408, all of that changes ...

What the "ghost" does, however, is show the writer flashes from his own past. Which, who has a past that isn’t scary as hell, especially when confronted by it in a strange and isolated hotel room?

And it was this writer's past that just wrecked me emotionally.

See, the writer was married. They had a young daughter--this pretty little girl of maybe ten. Without much detail, we learn that the young girl is sick, dying, and eventually, died.

This guilt of not being able to do more to save his daughter ruins the writer's life: he leaves his wife and buries himself in his work. His writing. But the haunted room brings clips of his daughter to the forefront.

And at one point in the movie--she is there, in the hotel room with him. She tells him she loves him, that she wants to be with him and with mommy.

I kept expecting her to change into some horrid creature. Like the child monster that crawled out of the television set in The Ring.

That never happened.

Instead, he hugs his daughter, tells her everything will be all right. He assures her that this time, this time, they can stay together.

And then without warning, she dies in his arms. She just goes limp. Lifeless...Her head dropping, eyes closed. And she is dead. Again.

He lost his daughter a second time.

The point of this blog is personal. I'm divorced. Didn't want to be. But there was nothing I could do. There was no saving the marriage.

I have three kids. They are my life. My world. My everything.

And though I live only a handful of miles away from them, and though I get them every other weekend, and one day during the week, and see them at school and sports events ... I can't help but feel, sometimes, like they have died. Or that I have.

The loss I feel is that great. The pain is that powerful.

And what is worse, at the end of each visit with them, when I take them back to their mother, I feel like they are dying on me a second time, or that I am. Every time.

It never gets easier.

Can't imagine it ever will.

I was that writer. John Cusack's character. Helpless, as I watched my kids slip out of my life. Lifeless am I each time I take them back to their mother ...

So, Cusack writhe’s in agony over the loss and second loss of his daughter -- I was overcome with such emotion. I cried. I sobbed. It was uncontrollable. It lasted for what felt like forever.

It was a horror movie. Supposed to be scary.

And instead, to me, it was the saddest movie I'd ever seen. The realest movie. The rawest.

There is no real point to this blog.

Just that, to overcome the gloom and depression I feel, that constantly sinks in, I thought I needed to write out my feelings. I know other people who have gone and are going through this. And while we all work to deal with such “loss” in our own ways, dealing with it is exactly what we struggle to do—whether people who have been through it can comprehend the constant pain, the overwhelming emptiness—or whether they can’t. It is so real.

There is not a day, not a single day that I don’t think, “Holy shit, I hate my fucking life! I fucking hate it.” I go to work. I smile. I get home, and I almost can’t stomach the thought of an hour alone. Without my family. I do it though. Day in. Day out. For the last five years—and I do my best not to dwell on missing so much from their lives that I am more a stranger than a father. That when I go to bed at night, I am not comforted, because they are not in the bedrooms next to mine. Or when I wake up, I do not get to see their faces. Or when I get home, they are not there to greet me.
The pain is real. The emptiness crushing. You get this, or you don’t. I guess that’s all there is.

I am more messed up than ever imagined, than anyone should ever be.

Enjoy your Friday.

--Chase N. Nichols
Hey, follow me on Twitter, or don't. You know what? I could care less.

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