Posts Tagged ‘Death’

It’s been a while since I’ve come to my little corner of the internet to find solace and space to work out what’s going on in my head.

Today social media is plastered with the news Chris Cornell of Soundgarden committed suicide. Some people are rushing to condemn him and all who take their own life. Many are reaching out to the people they care about with a plea they seek help if they’re contemplating suicide. And so many are having the same reaction people have any time a celebrity takes their own life: shock.

And I’m over here just trying to make it to Friday evening when I can hide away from obligations for a few hours and try not to think about death again. May 12, 2010 a man I loved hung himself. He was 28.

We were estranged, but I kept in close contact with his mother, sending her cards for different holidays and special occasions, calling regularly, and visiting when my schedule permitted. When I found out he died I was driving to the store for my mother, in her van. I almost hit a school bus. I didn’t make it to the store. One of my sisters had to come pick me up in a parking lot. My hands were numb. My lips were numb. My feet were numb. My ears were lying to me. I’ve had hearing problems since I was a little girl; I didn’t hear her right. Mama meant her other son. She meant her ex-husband or a cousin or the neighbor or her dog. Somebody else. Anybody else.

Every year I think it’ll be fine. I’ve prayed countless times to be less effected by it; I continue to pray. I take a personal day off work May 12 and spend it with friends or family and make it a day about love and being with people who are important to me. Without fail, each year the dreams come back, I hear his voice again, I see him walking through a crowd, the smell of his cologne hits me from an unknown source – I’ve been woken up by it in the middle of the night with no windows open in my apartment- and I break. Again.

This year I really thought things were going to be different. May 12 I spent chilling on the couch, eating junk food and watching Netflix with a friend of mine. We just hung out in our pajamas and laughed and talked for three days straight. The day passed and I was okay. Until last night.

It’s hard to explain why dreams in general mess with me so much. Many of them are vivid to the point I have trouble separating them from reality sometimes. The ones of him shake me to my core and it’s like he dies all over again. Each dream starts out with the same theme: he’s been dead, but, in some perfectly logical and plausible way, he comes back. From there they vary; some are happy, many are dark and violent, and some are purely macabre. All of them hurt. Last night’s was violent. I woke gasping for breath. Today after work I drove past a small indie music venue near my house. I don’t normally go near it, but I had an errand to run nearby. One of his favorite bands is playing tonight. They’re onstage as I type. Just a couple miles from my house. All I can ask myself is, “Why tonight?” May 19, 2010 we buried him.

Seven years later and it still hurts. And I hate it. I wish there were a stronger word than ‘hate’, but that word wouldn’t be enough either. I hate hurting. I hate missing being able to pray for him. I hate missing hoping he’ll get his act together and come home. I hate still caring. And I’m tired. I’m tired of the dreams and seeing him and smelling him and hearing him.

I’m tired of hurting, because of his decision to die.

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Byron's Memorial - Cheyboygan 036My uncle passed in October. I was preparing to go to St. Louis for a premier that, in the end, was rescheduled after all our travel arrangements were made and for an in studio interview about a project I did with the website I write for. My parents waited until I was off the air to tell me. I am forever grateful to them for creating a bubble around me, cushioning me from the news until after I left the studio. My brain wouldn’t process the news and I told my dad the joke wasn’t funny. Surely it had to be some twisted joke (our family does crazy pranks and, while this would have hit high on the macabre scale, wasn’t out the realm of a possible joke). My whole body went numb. I thank God in heaven a friend was with me. Thankfully she was the one driving. We discussed staying in STL or going home. The decision was made to stay and finish what I went there to do. I’ve rarely been more eager to not go home and yet run there simultaneously as I was that weekend.

The election was a mere three weeks away and, being a political and pop culture blogger, I had no time to waste or give up. I trudged on, refusing to stop, willing all tears to stay locked away. When we had a small memorial for him at my parents’ church I sat in the back texting with a friend. She’s the reason I was able to keep going. I doubt she’ll know how much I owe her for saving me like that. As of this writing the cause of death is still undetermined. Until now I haven’t stopped. I haven’t allowed myself the time or space to process what this loss means.

My uncle’s “official” funeral service was held in northern Michigan. Firefighters and Marines gathered to give him a proper goodbye. One of my other uncles was given his fireman’s helmet and my mom was given the flag and saluted by a Marine. Someone photographed the service.

I finally have a copy of the pictures. I opened them thinking I was okay to look at them. It’s been close to three months since his passing and I honestly thought I had it all under control. For the first time I let the tears fall.

My uncle wasn’t perfect. I hold no illusions. But he was a hero. He was a Marine. He was a fireman. He was a father, grandfather, brother, uncle, cousin, friend. He made mistakes and had his demons. He was generous and unreliable. He was prankster and made us laugh. My best childhood memories include my uncle and his son (my cousin passed November 2011).

My uncle loved his God, his family, and his country. He served his God, his family, and his country in the Marine Corp., as a firefighter, and as a small business owner. He was hero but most importantly he was my uncle.

At ease, Marine. Semper Fi.