Tag Archives: Grief

I’m Still Standing

When we lose someone we love, it feels as though that particular pain will never go away. What we learn along the way is that while the pain never truly goes away, we find a way to accept it as part of our reality. We learn to live with it, we adapt & go on. We have to. Whats the alternative? I can think of a couple, but none that appeal to me.

There are more than one way to lose someone you love. The obvious one is death. That one is final & out of our control. It is also possible to lose loved ones due to mistakes, conflict or from growing apart. These can also be difficult to move past for some.

Lets focus, however, on loss due to death. Before the second week in February of this year I had lost 3 friends to sudden & tragic death. I knew all 3 of these guys for more than 20 years of my life. One was lost as a result of a terrible auto accident that made it onto all 3 major network news programs that day in Detroit. The second passed due to a blood infection he caught from a chemical burn & the last died from a massive heart attack at the age of 44, 24 hours after having surgery to repair his broken ankle. Not a single one feels fair or makes sense…but what untimely death makes sense? I just know I miss them & know that there are plenty of friends who have already passed who can meet them & help them on their journey. I also know that there is some AMAZING music being made in “heaven” right now, if that place exists.

All this death got me to thinking about friends who’ve gone before these 3. I’ve never actually sat down & counted how many of my friends have passed since it started in 1996 with the murder of my buddy Steve, who was gunned down during an attempted car-jacking after a Motorhead concert. I know the number is somewhere in the double digits, but I prefer to remember them individually. They were all unique & beautiful in their own special way. Each gave something to our scene that could never be replaced & will never be forgotten. I do hope to honor my fallen brothers in some way, whether I write a story about it & them or finally follow through on that documentary that I’ve been threatening to film for years now. They deserve to be remembered & celebrated! I’m grateful & lucky to have known every one of these guys, because the color they added to life was breathtaking. 

Sadly, I’ve become a pro at moving on, but it’s what we do, we endure. When I first begin to notice I’m getting through entire days without crying I feel guilty, as if I’m forgetting. The thing is, I’ll never forget, they walk with me every step of my journey, sometimes carrying me along when I’m unable to walk myself.

You see, at a certain point, I remind myself that I’m still alive & I have to get back to the business of living. I’ve got work to do, a life to live, memories to be made….so much to see, to photograph, to write about…people to meet, faces to make smile, cities to live in for a year, lessons to learn, wrongs to right, maybe even lives to change (hopefully for the better)

I admit that I’ve wasted a lot of precious time in my life. That was one of the hardest lessons to learn…that I’m only ripping myself off by doing nothing, by not believing in myself. I’m done with that. I’m excited about everything that lies ahead for me. I look forward to seeing what changes. I am ready for the challenges that lie ahead. I’m lucky, you see, because I’ve got an army of angels surrounding me with love. 

Now, I’ve gotta get outta here….stuff & thangs ;^)

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August 20th leaves a paradox in my heart

August 20, 2005

I lost my dear friend Eric on this day after a hard-fought 20 year battle with drugs. My heart broke that day & most days since, at least a bit, due to the hole his loss left.

August 20, 2011

This is the date of my baby sisters wedding. A day full of love, happiness, joy, laughter & dancing…yet somewhere, in the back of my mind, I can feel the heartache of the previous experience I’ve had with this date.

I start to question myself the week before the wedding. “Why are you feeling such a strong sense of grief now when you should be so excited, so happy?”  The only clear-cut answer I have to this question has to do with Eric’s daughter appearing my life mere weeks before the wedding, bringing up feelings I had long since buried. Suddenly, I was filled with anguish, pain & grief not felt since his loss. It was as if I reliving that day all over again.

Odd how such beauty can come out of sadness. I’ve never been able to understand this strange brew. All I know is that having my friend’s daughter in my life, to share stories with, to stare at her face when I miss him, to watch her as she learns more about him & looks for any sign that he is in her, the daddy she never knew.

He always loved her. He carried a picture of her in his wallet until the day he died. He never got over the fact that he was not in her life. None of this helps her fill that gaping hole inside her own heart, but day by day, story by story, I watch her get to know Eric a little more. She falls more in love with him & it is beyond words.

Who knows, maybe this is my way of honoring him, by sharing this experience with her. So be it.

Luckily, I was able to find a balance between celebration & grief, at least for a day. The wedding was beautiful, it was magic, it was love. I will smile when I think of that day, my sisters dress, her vows, the photo booth, the dancing…the love

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As Tears Go By

Ok, so…..I’m not a big watcher of television, it’s pretty empty to me, however there are certain actors & certain content that I do enjoy. There is a new show this season on NBC, I think, called Parenthood. It starts Peter Krause & Lauren Graham. I am a fan of Peter Krause from Six Feet Under, which is one of my favorite all time shows. I like Lauren Graham for many things, but mainly, I really liked Gilmore Girls. I can’t explain it, I just liked it, whatever.

So, I have watched episodes of Parenthood on Hulu & by the end of EVERY SINGLE EPISODE I am crying my little crybaby eyes out. I know why this is, I just don’t talk about it, ever. I am pissed, jealous & upset that I have never been the girl who got married & had kids. I’m not sure this is something I did on purpose, well, a few times it was on purpose. I’ve been afraid of everything all my life & it seems I have scared myself out of true love, marriage & children. I’ll just add it to the list of things I never had the nerve to do. That is SUCH a long list & I hate it! I hope to burn it one day.

I’ve gone through a tough time lately. I know this is obvious to anyone who knows me or reads this blog, all 10 of you. lol There are multiple reasons for this, some that I’ve already written about, some I haven’t & some I never will.

I am mourning the loss of so many people that I have honestly lost count. That’s a sad thought within itself. In the last 6 months alone I’ve known 3 people who have passed away from very similar problems. They all died from bad hearts. 2 were Congestive Heart failure.

1 of them was my grandfather, who I barely knew, but he was a wonderful man. I literally found out that he passed away because my step-mother reads to obituary’s & saw his name, saying something to my dad, who then called me. I just sat in silence while he talked, didn’t cry. I was with my younger brother, who’s only 22 & never knew him, so I didn’t want to get upset in front of him, because he worries about me, in that cute, protective brotherly way. It was March 18th, 3 days shy of his 84th birthday. With his second wife they had 7 children, who all grew up to be happy & successful people, because I  believe, they had a loving & nurturing family. I’ve been alive nearly 40 years, I could have had 39 years with this man, but I didn’t because the cross-family conflict ran too deep for me to EVER understand. All I know is that I was the biggest victim in all this conflict, well me & my dad, but he helped perpetuate it once he was an adult. I never did. I always wanted to know him, as well as my 7 Aunts & Uncles & my 18 cousins. I had a little under 2 years with him from 12-14 & I just LOVED him. I was just instinctively like him & that was so weird to me, because I have a hard time comprehending a close & loving family connection. Yeah, I’m close to my parents NOW, but that’s only been in the last 5 years of my life. I wish I could have known the man his 18 other grandchildren called papa. I wish for my dad that he could have felt loved by his father, maybe then so many things would have been different. Luckily for us, I broke our family cycle, someone had to. I wrote an entire blog about him after his passing if you want to know more about our story.

The second person who passed away from Congestive Heart Failure was my friend Kevin, 6 months ago. He was 42 & had a 12-year-old son who adored him & he adored right back. I knew Kevin for 20 years & he was a really wonderful, funny, sarcastic, talented & beautiful soul. He was like me in some ways, sarcasm being the prevailing similarity. He was always struggling to make ends meet, often found himself out of work, never had money saved. Basically, what I’m trying to say is that Kevin struggled his entire adult life. He was stressed a lot of the time. He didn’t get nearly enough joy in his life before his heart gave out on him. That just doesn’t seem fair to me. I wish he was still walking the earth, spending quality time with his son, playing guitar, cooking delicious food, smiling, laughing, making fun of people, breathing. I wasn’t able to make his memorial, which was a sad affair for a few reasons, the obvious being his age, but also that his family refused to pay for a service & so his friends had to scramble to put something together. Luckily, someone knew a person whose family owned a funeral home & they let them use it for free. That was lovely of them. His body was not in attendance though, because that costs extra. Dying is not cheap! Anyway, I was still in Florida then & was struggling financially myself, so I couldn’t afford the plane ticket up. On the day of the memorial, my friend Amy called me several times to fill me in on the goings on; who spoke, what they said, how everybody was holding up. It was one of those moments that breaks your heart, because you know this event is going on & you so much want to be there, but can’t for reasons beyond your control. You feel so alone, because you are not with your friends, mourning, looking at photographs, telling stories. You are all alone, in a state far from anyone who understands the pain of this loss. There were many tears shed that day & night. I still don’t feel a closure with Kevin, much like my friend Angelo who passed away from an aneurysm in January of 2008, which could have been stopped, had he gone to the hospital, but I’m NOT blaming him, I just selfishly wish he were still here, mostly for his children. I couldn’t make it to his funeral either, being in Florida & not being given enough notice to get back up here. Or Amanda, oh Amanda……my ex-boyfriends niece, who I really did love like a daughter/good friend, who passed away in July of 2008 of a heroin overdose. Her funeral was one I was told I was not welcome to attend by my scumbag ex-boyfriend, who by the way copped the dope that killed her & he’s telling me I can’t go to her funeral? Afterward, I was told & saw photographs of the tailgating party they were holding in the parking lot of the funeral home. No wonder this happened, the adults in her life were/are walking disasters in their own right!  Amanda was 17 years old & less than 8 hours away from leaving for Tennessee to clean up her act. She never made it to morning. I’m not now & doubt I ever will get over her death.

Lastly, on March 1oth, I lost someone who I cared about in a special, sweet & unforgettable way. I don’t & won’t discuss it in full, because it is precious & private  memory that most people wouldn’t be able to understand. He was a special person. He was, as one friend put it so beautifully…..magic. He passed away from Pneumonia & Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy, which in lay terms is basically thickening of the heart muscles causing them to enlarge. He also had Coronary Artery disease, which is the build up of plaque in the coronary arteries. As I look at all these big medical terms, the only thing that comes to mind is that his heart was just too big & it couldn’t go on any longer. It’s like his heart broke & just stopped. I can’t express enough how much I wish this wouldn’t have happened, that he would have gotten treatment for this earlier in life or that the hospital could have kept his pulse, heart rate & blood pressure going once they got it momentarily stabilized, but his body was just done. It was done fighting. He may not have been done, but his heart was. He was only 38 & like myself never married or had children, although we both really did want that in our lives.

It is moments like this that cause me to ask myself why. Why do things like this happen? Why are some people SO blessed with a good & happy life, while others are doomed to suffer? A friend has a theory that I kind of agree with, but that’s between us. All I can say is that I hope my loved ones who left too soon find themselves in a happy & healthy life next time around. For my Grandfather (Papa, I guess) I hope he is enjoying his time with loved ones who passed before him & that he is looking over his wife & letting her know that everything is ok & he’ll meet her when it’s her time to go.

I am sad today.

I hope tomorrow to feel happier.

I have grief counseling in the morning & hope that somehow that helps.

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