WARNING: This post contains spoilers of the novel A Constant Reminder by author Lolah Lace. If you have not yet read the book, you may want to come back to this post after you’ve read it. Otherwise, enjoy!
I wanted to do something a little different from your standard author interview. I wanted to actually interview the characters from some of my favorite stories, and when I read A Constant Reminder, I knew I would have questions. I hope you enjoy this intimate chat, and if you haven’t read the book yet, please click today!
Musings IR Romance Junkie: First of all, thank you for sharing your story with the world. I’m sure it couldn’t have been easy to see your past retold in such a public and personal way. Have you read the story? And if so, how did you feel at the end of it?
ROXY: Thank you for having us on. Yes I have read our story. It wasn’t easy to read about my life, the good and the bad but it was a very accurate story. The book made me relive a very traumatic time in my life, a time that wasn’t pretty. Reading it opened wounds. At the end of the book I felt relieved that it was the past and through it all I’m a better person, a more forgiving person. Honestly I’m just glad it’s out there. Maybe someone else can learn from my mistakes.
ADAM: I didn’t read the book. I lived it. It hurt. I really didn’t want to read about it. That was a terrible time in my life. It was torture being happy one minute and in pain the next. I prefer to live in the present. I can’t change anything I did. I can just try to make amends to the people I hurt with my lies, my violence, my past addiction. I’m a father and a husband now I want to focus on being a good man, not the past.
ROXY: Adam is really not feeling the book. I understand why he feels that way but I think I’ve healed in a way that he hasn’t experienced yet. He still has nightmares so reading the book would have not been a good idea for him.
MIRJ: Roxy, I was in a similar situation-being with a man who was fighting his demons and struggling to get well. Just how difficult was it for you to forgive Adam the second time? Was Morgan’s health the ultimate determining factor or did you truly surrender to your feelings for him?
ROXY: Forgiving him was the hardest thing I ever had to do. I thought I was going crazy. My mind was playing tricks on me. The trust was so broken that I had a hard time even believing my own mind, my own heart. I realized that during the transplant I was worried about him just like I was worried about Morgan. I had to go see that he had made it out of surgery. I hated myself for giving a damn but I did. I cared and my brain hurt because I couldn’t turn it off. You know turn off my feelings. That might have been the first time that I was real with myself and how much I loved him. Adam giving his bone marrow wasn’t really a factor. Before the truth came out I knew the man he was and he would have helped anyone. He is just that type of man, a good man. I feared, honestly I don’t know what I feared. It was just the hurt was so deep and the love was too. How do you pick one over the other?
MIRJ: Adam, what was your time like in prison? You found your spiritual self and got educated in the process, but how challenging was it being locked away and unable to enjoy the freedoms you took for granted?
ADAM: Prison was terrible. I don’t talk about that kind of stuff in front of Roxanne. It was terrible and not in the violent way, in the depressing way, in a lonely way. Time fuc– it messes with your mind. You think about suicide often. In the state I was in before prison I was already trying to kill myself with smack. Those bars make you look at yourself and the man you truly are inside. Prison peels away the layers of bullshit, ego, vanity, arrogance, intellect and all the above. Whatever walls you built to protect yourself are stripped away until you are left with only yourself. You have to have some faith, some family, and some religion just to make it, just to be able to forgive yourself. Education was always important in my family but after my father died I just gave up. There’s nothing to do in there but learn. As far as freedom, when I was free I only wanted to get high. Once I was clean I didn’t miss that feeling, not at all.
ROXY: Adam blamed himself for his father’s death. He couldn’t control what happened but for some reason he thinks he could have done something. Sometimes I think he still blames himself.
ADAM: Roxy’s right. I did feel that way, maybe I still do. I was in the car when my father had a heart attack. We hit a tree. I was knocked out cold. I always believed that I could have saved him if I would have been conscious. I know CPR. I don’t know, minutes matter. I have saved kids and adults from drowning. I was a lifeguard every summer in high school. I literally had breathed life into more than one stranger. But I couldn’t help my father. He wanted medical school for me. I thought that was what would happen but then the accident. You know, I just, I just couldn’t understand it at the time. Why wasn’t I able to save him?
MIRJ: Roxy, you not only had issues with Adam betraying you, but your best friend as well. She said some pretty hateful things to you about not only Adam, but the way you chose to live your life in general. What’s your relationship truly like now?
ROXY: I think Erika and me are in a good place now. I love her. She is my sister but her attitude and opinions can be a bit abrasive to some. That’s who she is. I wouldn’t want her to change. Now she is happy in her relationship with Teri and I’m happy in mine. It makes us appreciate the friendship we have when we are both in a good place.
MIRJ: How are the kids and the new home? Adam, do you still run the garages and work there, and Roxy are you still with MetLife or are you a stay-at-home mom now?
ROXY: Our home is nice, a bit bigger than I’m use to, but comfortable. Morgan adores her baby brother. Things are good. Morgan hasn’t experienced any complications from the transplant so I’m really happy about that. Adam has been so much help with our kids. I didn’t have that kind of help before but I did have my mother.
ADAM: I feel guilty for not being there for Morgan. Maybe I’m trying to overcompensate. I still run the garages. I go in a few days a week, the days Roxy is home.
ROXY: I’m still at MetLife. I did take some time off after I had Cadam but not much. I’m able to work from home a few days a week.
MIRJ: Adam, in spite of your violation against Roxy when you were high, I was constantly routing for your recovery and well-being. Were you ever tempted to get high again when Roxy left you both times?
ADAM: Oh god yes, it felt like something died in me. It felt like history was repeating itself with the death of my father. I was tempted but I just couldn’t disappoint my mother and Morgan. I knew that one day she might look for me. What if I died a junkie? I just couldn’t do that to her, you know, give up.
MIRJ: Roxy, how are you doing? How have your family and friends reacted to your and Adam’s marriage and the new baby?
ROXY: My mother was really happy. I really think she had this fear that I wouldn’t be able to get over the past and find someone to love. My mother has always liked Adam. She knew we broke up but I never shared with her the real reasons. There was something in me that didn’t want to ruin her image of him. I was unconsciously protecting him. I’m not even sure why I never told her but it felt wrong to have her hate him. Overall I think that our friends and family are truly happy for us. Some know the truth others will find out.
MIRJ: Adam, do you still visit Tony? Was he ever really a friend or someone you just got high with?
ADAM: Okay I didn’t really expect that question. I don’t do it often but I have been to visit Tony. We were really friends. I confided in him. He told him things I couldn’t share with anyone. Tony didn’t judge me. He accepted me for who I was at that time. I felt like he would be there for me no matter what.
MIRJ: Adam, has your mother truly accepted Roxy in your life, and how did she react when she found out that Morgan was her actual granddaughter?
ADAM: I told my family I was going on a brief vacation when I was in the hospital donating bone marrow. Later, I told my brother the truth first. I had to tell my mother once the book was released. She had already accepted Roxy and Morgan but hearing the truth about what I did hurt my mother deeply. She freaked. She stopped talking to me for a while. She continued to talk to and see Roxy, Morgan and Cadam. She needed time to process and I gave it to her. We are in a good place now. Time is a godsend.
MIRJ: Adam, something that has bothered me that I wanted to ask you for the longest. Why did you keep Roxy’s purse all those years? Especially after you rediscovered it and knew who Roxy was?
ADAM: The purse yes, I had stashed it there the night I went to my mother’s and she caught me in her kitchen. Tony didn’t want it in his van. My mind was solely on getting high. I just tossed it in my old bedroom closet where I throw everything. I would have gotten rid of it later but there was something in my mother’s words that let me know I really could never come back. I was arrested shortly thereafter. After year in County lockup and my prison sentence upstate at Chippewa I just forgot about that night, that purse and what I did. After the store manager was shot that was the incident I relived over and over in my mind. I was more lucid on the convenience store than at the campus that day. I keep Roxy’s stuff because down deep I felt it might be the only thing I was left with in the end.
MIRJ: One last question for the both of you: Have you truly moved on from everything that has happened or is Morgan truly a constant reminder?
ROXY: I mean —
ADAM: Morgan, I’m sorry, Roxy you go first.
ROXY: I really believe I have. The book has been therapeutic for me. I never thought of Morgan in that way. She was my saving grace. She was the reason I could move on and live life. I had to live for her. I had blocked that time out and it was easier having a baby to care for, to think about 24/7 and love. I didn’t have the time to feel sorry for myself. I mean some people could look at Morgan as a constant reminder but to me she was and is the greatest gift. I never felt like she had any bad connection to the attack. I still can’t bring myself to say that “R” word, especially now. I know that she is going to have questions for us when she gets older. I can only do the best I can to answer them.
ADAM: For me Morgan was someone to be feared. When it was clear to me she was my daughter that was a hard fact to swallow. I know the junkie asshole I was. To see something so beautiful come from that, it scared the sh— out of me. I can’t lie. I keep my distance at first. Morgan scared me. I was scared of this little girl, my own daughter and I didn’t know why. I thought she would hate me. I felt that she could somehow sense that I was a liar. But Morgan is not the kind of kid you can stay away from. She draws you to her or maybe it was just that she was my daughter and I couldn’t stay away. I was afraid to love her because I always lived with this paralyzing fear that my secret would come out.
ROXY: Yeah I remember how Adam use to keep his distance. He waited for Morgan to come to him. He never tried to force himself on her.
ADAM: Knowing Morgan was happy was all I needed at first but then I wanted to be a part of her happiness. I wanted her to know me. I wanted her to be my daughter. I wanted to be her father even if it was just an illusion. I love my kids and I never thought Roxy would ever forgive me. I’m not sure I deserve this life but I thank god I have it. I will protect it no matter what.
ROXY: Thank you for talking with us. I really wanted people to know out story and that through all the pain and hurt you can truly experience love and be happy in the decisions you make.
MIRJ: Thank you Adam and Roxy! I know some will find your story controversial, maybe even unforgivable, but I find it inspirational in a lot of ways. I’m glad you two were able to heal and move forward, but for those who can’t or just haven’t or need the encouragement, there are resources:
National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-HOPE
Narcotics Anonymous: http://www.na.org