Category Archives: Sad Times

Still Without Him

Marking another year without him, but every day is another day without him. I can acknowledge with grief both that things are easier on a day-to-day basis for me and that I never will be over it. I would never want to be truly over it. To be truly over him.

Even while selfishly admitting that my life does not have the constant, crippling worries about him that it once did, the past 6 years have been really, really hard without him. This year I have not been sick with the usual winter plague. I am (mostly) well-rested and played hermit delightfully all through January with a companion who understands when I need to play homebody. I have made reasonable plans this month to keep busy and occupy my mind with things to look forward to. I felt ready to face the gloom of February without wanting to crawl into a hole. I was caught off guard. This year holds the same calendar pattern as the year his accident happened and it has been a struggle to get through this week. So many reminders of the last times we spent together and the last time I spoke to him. Of taking my parents to the airport at the ass-crack of dawn on a Friday and calling at lunch to remind Randy he was on stupid dog-watching duty at their house after work. To hear his disappointed reaction that I wasn’t coming over the following night because I had plans and his disapproval to know they were with a guy that doesn’t love me in the way I want to be loved. How I would give anything for a do-over of that weekend. To have been there. To not completely melt down anytime my doorbell rings unexpectedly because of that early morning the police came and rang it.

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Filed under All In The Family, Misty Watercolor Memories, Sad Times, Wishful Thinking

5 Years Is Too Long Without You

My brother’s death is the trump card I hate to play and yet cannot escape anytime someone mentions how much s/he hates Valentine’s Day. I too want it struck from the calendar. Five years ago in the early morning hours police were at my door to inform me of a party gone wrong. Instead of casually making fun of the silly holiday or getting swept up in romantic gestures, it is forever tainted with all the tragic tears that Randy died.

“Time heals all wounds” and “It gets better” are supposed to be hopeful words of comfort, but I find them dismissive and full of crap. Most days I can put on a brave face and carry on, but the anniversary sends all the feelings flooding in. Through lots of therapy and so many kind friends it does get easier, but I am still so mad at the world.

I am mad he got the shit luck of alcoholic genes and was surrounded by a society that cannot comprehend sobriety. I can have gratitude his stupid choices did not kill others. I can be at ease that he is no longer in pain and that I don’t have to worry about him anymore, but I am selfish and I want him here. I am mad he left me.

NicRanGalapagos2006

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Filed under A Whole MONTH, Sad Times

Grief – Ways You Can Help

It’s a rough mental week for me and I have a lot of thoughts swirling around my head but they have not been put into words very coherently or in a way I like, so they will sit in the drafts for now. Too many work deadlines today prevent me from messing with them, but in order to not break my streak I wanted to make sure I got something up.

Death sucks – whether expected or a surprise. This is not breaking news and yet as a society we also suck at dealing with it. It is so touchy and uncomfortable, yet the desire to do something persists. When thinking back to those dark times, these are ways that people helped me:

Don’t say the deceased is in a better place, even if there was suffering. The deceased may be at peace, but those left picking up the pieces are hurting and may not have the same religious inclinations as you. “I’m so sorry” is simple, expresses feelings, and far less likely to rub someone the wrong way.

Supply food – it is cliche and casserole heavy in the midwest, but there is a reason for it. This does not need to be elaborate or full meals. Dropping off simple fruit/veggies/snacks were so helpful when I was barely able to get dressed.

Show up to the memorial if at all possible. Funerals are for the living and showing up means so, so much.

If you attend the funeral, sign the guest book legibly with complete address and zip code. Your presence will want to be acknowledged and it is so much easier if cross-referencing is not needed.

Stamps are appreciated and something I never thought of until they were needed (so many were needed). Now when I want to make a contribution, but the designated memorial is outside my scope, I buy a couple sheets of stamps and enclose in the card. Sending out thank you cards can get expensive fast and every little bit helps.

Keep calling. You might not get an answer or a call back. Yes, pestering might make the person feel guilty about not answering or calling back. Keep calling and checking in anyway.

Don’t say “if you need anything, let me know.” Grieving people are terrible at reaching out. Offer concrete suggestions – I want to take a walk come with me, let me help address envelopes, can I help you sort belongings, etc.

If you are close, stop over and do menial tasks. Offer to walk the dog, clean the bathroom, empty/load dishwasher, run vacuum, etc. If you would not offend the person – just DO these tasks.

Talk about the deceased – memories are touching. It might cause tears, but there is a void and sidestepping it is so much more awkward.

It is so true that we remember how people make us feel. I will never forget the kindness and compassion shown when I have been at my worst.

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Filed under A Whole MONTH, Sad Times