A mere two weeks after we were married, we found out my wife was pregnant. The following January, I started writing letters to my unborn child. Then, less than a month before the due date, I began having a series of dreams, in which terrible things happened to both my wife and child in the course of the delivery. My panic attacks returned. I made a mistake and told my wife about these dreams, and she told me to leave our apartment until I’d talked about my dreams with someone besides her. So I called a few people, and when they didn’t answer I called Wayne Martin. My brother J.P., his son, hanged himself at age ten in 1999, and my brother Brian’s first son had died in childbirth just two years earlier. I thought, even though I hadn’t even met Wayne Martin until I was 15, and even after running away from home and making a home of my own, maybe I was finally subject to some sort of family curse. I told him that I just needed him to be a father for 20 minutes. And then, despite my expectations, he was. He told me about being on anti-depressants for seven years after J.P.’s death, about his fears for my sister Brianne, who was two years old when J.P. died, about missing even getting to be my father. “I think you learned how to be a good father from a bunch of bad ones. Now the only worries you got are the ones in your head.”

Just added to The List and the Story: My Aughts

AuthorJohn Proctor