See me…

OK.  Borrowing some courage from Alex tonight.  (This morning?  Feels like night until I’ve slept a few hours, so… still Tuesday to me!)

I commented to her that there were things I was afraid to write.  But I started this blog so I could tell those stories.  So, I’m going to try to tell them in pieces.  Bite-size chunks.

Who was I?  Sometimes I don’t remember.  She is so far away and I don’t remember how to see the world through her eyes.  I was invisible, most of the time.  I learned to cope with the world through observation, rather than interaction.  Receiving attention was painful.  To my very core, I was so uncomfortable with it.  And yet, I was constantly seeking it through one way or another.  But if I had it- I couldn’t dare to act like I deserved it.  There’s video of me, my senior recital.  A whole frickin’ audience there to listen to me sing for like, an hour.  I had a good voice and I knew it, but I couldn’t let myself act like it.  I loved to sing.  I hate that video.  It’s painful to watch because I can still feel that pain when I remember it.  KNOWING that… I can’t even find the words.  But instead of smiling and interacting with an audience, like I KNEW a good performer would, I pretty much just ignored them.  No eye contact, no smile, it’s so awkward.  It’s not like I didn’t know I was doing it, but you couldn’t have forced a smile on my face for the whole damn universe.  I was physically incapable of doing it.  I mean, I could smile “off-camera” but if it was in anyway attached to my own self-worth, I just couldn’t.  I was not meant to shine in the light.  That’s what I believed.  And I couldn’t dare to change that.  The very thought was offensive.

And I kinda hate her.

I honestly don’t know where those beliefs came from.  I’m lucky when it comes to family.  Lots of love and support, and yet…

Man, this was unbelievably hard for me to write.  But that’s good.  It felt different writing about it, kinda like when I wrote about self-harm.  This is a really really deep piece of me that I hate to look at.  And I right now I feel sad in my heart for how much I resent that poor stupid girl who couldn’t do any different.  (I know she wasn’t stupid- don’t judge me while I’m busy judging myself!)  And now I’ve kind of ruined it by making a joke.  That’s what happens when I get close to something in therapy, shed a few tears, make a sarcastic funny comment, and then it’s gone.  I’ve disconnected.  But… I’m learning.  And it kinda amazes me right now, how much easier it is to sit here and feel this shit while blogging.  This just might be the safest place in the world for me right now, and that’s kinda weird.

I feel like I want to verbally and emotionally vomit all over my keyboard.  How’s that for imagery?  But I’m not sure where to take this story next.  SO… bite sized chunk.  And I’ll just sit here while I feel it.  I think that’s good.

I WILL however leave you with a song…

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High Hopes

New plan.  Post before reading.  I get so into reading what everyone else is writing and then I can’t find the words to post about my own stuff.  So here’s the dealio:  As I mentioned before, I’ve been sort of overwhelmed with some things.  My parents were here a couple of weekends ago, which was great- they came specifically to help me clean up and organize my apartment (Trust me, I needed outside help!).  But I was so sick the whole time.  I didn’t want to eat, I didn’t want to do anything, I couldn’t sleep, and dang it, throwing stuff away is HARD for me.  It was work, just sitting there watching my mom go through stuff asking me if I was keeping this or getting rid of that.  So I was exhausted after they left.  Slept for like 24 hours after that.  (But my apartment looks much better now, less depressing, so thanks mom!)

Anyway, I’ve just been getting sicker and sicker.  Feeling crappy more often than not.  No appetite, losing weight, not sleeping, more pain.  I finally heard back from my surgeon who had taken my biopsy slides and history to a “conference” she has with other IBD specialists in the area.  They all pretty much agreed that I had chronic pouchitis and it wasn’t going away.  I could keep trying to treat it medicinally, but she (and they) felt like it was really only worth it if I needed that peace of mind of feeling like i had exhausted every single option.  They all felt that it would probably end the same way- needing to have the pouch removed and having a permanent illeostomy.

I had already decided after the miserable weekend with my folks, I was having surgery of some sort.  I am just too exhausted to keep going like this and to not be able to enjoy spending time with loved ones.  We moved to this town a year ago and I literally don’t know anyone here because I rarely leave the house.  No friends.  No family.  Just the hubster- who is wonderful and all, but ya know we need more than that.  So I’d been doing the research.  I spent a lot of time over at jpouch.org and I did a lot of research on k-pouches and the BCIR.  These are basically similar in that they still use an internal pouch like I have with my j-pouch, but instead of wearing an ostomy bag, you plug a catheter into it to empty a few times a day.  But no outside appliance to wear.  So it sounds pretty good.  But I can still get pouchitis with it and likely would since I’ve had it already.  The pouchitis might cause symptoms like cramping, stomach pain, and fatigue but I wouldn’t have to worry about urgency and continence anymore.  The other drawback is that there are only a few places that do k-pouches or BCIR.  And if I have a problem then I have to fly to wherever I had the surgery done intially to get it fixed.  So it could end up being costly and still not resolve some of my main issues, namely the fatigue.

So I had a lot of decision making to do there.  But I’ve decided the traditional illeostomy has the best chance to make me feel better so that’s what I’m doing.  (It’s possible I may be able to try a k-pouch later down the road, but that depends on different things.)  So Nov 7 I am having the surgery done.  When I come out of it, I’ll have a hole in my stomach with my gut sticking out and what they call a “barbie butt”.  Yeah.  They’re gonna totally sew up my back end.  Which, I think right now, is bothering me more than anything.  And it’s really hard to put words to it, but I think that when you’ve survived bodily trauma, you become extra protective of your physical identity.  And now, once again, I feel like life is just laughing at me right in the face.  Growing up LDS, you’re told “your body is a temple; that’s why you don’t get tattoos and piercings, etc”  But I feel like “God/life/chance/universe/whatever” has done more damage to my body than anything I have ever chosen to do.  At least when I get a tattoo or pierce my nose, or color my hair blue and green, it’s my choice and it comes from a place of honoring my body and the person who lives in it.

*sigh* I’m delving into a new topic there… anyway, bottom line.  Big life changes goin’ on, and I HATE CHANGE.  Do NOT WANT.  But such is life… mine anyway.

=-=-= For the record, I do know that some people out there have it far worse or have had similar experiences.  It’s not the end of the world for me.  It’s just tough going through and I need to talk about it somewhere!

I’m going to add this video.  The song has been in my head all day… it makes me grieve for lost innocence and lost dreams… and… just makes me feel so many things.

The sun starts to cry…

Holy anxiety, Batman!  Been back and forth to bed a few times and it’s not taking so I guess I’ll write.  Sometimes that helps.  A while ago I mentioned a video that gets my little PTSD heart all teary.

Try to forget that this is a Supernatural fanvid.  It’s sort of “alternate universe” anyway, but it shows this character who has literally been to HELL and seen all sorts of awful in his life.  And then see him trying to live a normal life.  Wake up in the morning… those moments you lie in bed, wondering how you’re going to get through another day.  Then putting on your best face and going to work.  Then the moments when that unreal reality sneaks its way through.  And you try to lose yourself in the monotony of repetitive tasks, till another reminder finds its way in.  See the contrast between the memories and the present day… and how the memories themselves seem to be an alternate universe.  Not really real.  Not until you are reminded again.

This video could possibly be trigger-ish for some, so keep that in mind before watching.  For me, this was like finally being able to SEE the experience that just doesn’t have words.  It was affirmation.  But it is somewhat graphic and I don’t want it to be something that causes a flashback or anxiety itself.

video by Loki/SecretlyToDream “Till the Sun Starts To Cry”

The first time I saw this video, I cried and cried.  It was beautiful to me and I couldn’t stop watching.  I would be REALLY interested to know what ya’ll think.  Does it still translate if you’re not familiar with the show?

The first time and the last time… self harm

Someone else wrote about the topic of self harm the other day and I thought I would share my own experience as it is part of the road I have traveled in learning to cope with trauma.  You can read the original post at http://heathershelpers.org/2014/10/13/self-harm/

 

9207e756b2b8db7d3438541448c4626f(picture was found on pinterest, don’t know who to credit)

 

I remember the first time… I supposed anyone would.  It was… 15 years ago?  I was trying to deal with the never ending anxiety and constant state of alertness I was in.  I had a little corner in my bedroom, I lit some candles and some incense and tried to meditate.  I hadn’t ever really tried this before, unless you count prayer growing up… and even then- I’ve always had a hard time being in the moment- connecting to it.  I can recognize that now.  But growing up, I didn’t know those words… have the language.  I don’t know why I disconnect, disassociate.  It’s just always been a coping mechanism I guess.  But in the year after the rape, I started to learn the words, and I started to recognize the ever present state.

I had also just started massage school.  So I was learning new things, about body awareness, mindfulness… things that sounded wonderful and I KNEW they could help me.  (It sounded so easy in those days….)  So yeah, candlelight, incense, deep breathing… try to clear the mind… HA.  I kinda freaked out.  A lot.  And I remember looking at that incense stick kind of curiously.  And I wanted to feel it.  I picked the stick up and just slowly pressed it into my arm.  Just drawn to it.  And it was such a relief!  Suddenly clarity!  CONTROL!  visibility.  Things my insides did not have.  It was… peaceful.  Just what I had been looking for!  I pressed it into my arm again, feeling that connection to my pain.  And I just started repeatedly jabbing the thing all over my arm.  I don’t know how many times.  But it was almost like taking a paint brush and painting pretty little dots.  Springy… from one to the next.  It was… happy.

(It’s really weird looking at this memory and smiling… because I know how fucked up it is.)

And when I was done, my arm was a mess… but I was proud of it in a weird way.  I remember the next day, I was sitting in class… and I had pulled the sleeve up on my shirt just a little bit.  I want to say it was accidentally… but I’m not honestly sure there wasn’t some part of me that wanted someone to see it.  And I remember I caught the girl sitting next to me staring at it, and I said something crazy about grease splatter and I’m sure she didn’t buy it, but I think she was the only one who really saw it.  Eventually they healed.  I remember it kind of scared me, the power I felt when I was doing it, and the ease at which I got caught up in it… I only did that one other time, years later.  But I remember for the next few years, when summer would come and my arms would get a little color, you could see all these white spots, scars all over my arm.  And I always liked the way they looked.  I admit, even now, I wish I could still see them, but they eventually faded away.

I think it was a while before I tried anything else.  A couple of months at least.  I think I’d had some medication changes that made my anxiety skyrocket… I can remember taking my lunch break at work and going to the grocery store where I bought a steak knife.  And I can remember going back to the parking lot at work, sitting in my car and lightly running it all over my arms.  Just enough to leave scratch marks.

Here’s the thing- I’m kinda a wuss about pain… well, I used to be anyway.  I don’t know if I ever cut deep enough to draw actual blood.  So I call myself a scratcher 🙂  But yeah, the steak knives and the “scratching”- that became the method of choice for… the next 2 or 3 years?

The last time…  I had started taking ambien again to help me sleep.  The drawback was that I looked forward to that first hour after taking it, because it was the best I felt every day.  (I missed the whole drinking, partying, etc stage in life so ambien was really my first experience with anything remotely mind-altering.)  Ambien always made me feel so damn creative!  And I used to write a lot.  So I remember reading some things I had written the next day.  And it freaked me the hell out.  I can’t even remember what I wrote, but it was about cutting and blood and it was just messed up.  And I started to worry that I’d do something while on Ambien and go too far.  Control was a big part of the need to cut, so losing control just wasn’t going to work for me.  I decided I was done.

The next time I felt that urge so powerfully, I tried painting it.  I went to Walmart, got a cheap canvas and some paints.  I came home and started painting.  First the flesh, then the cutting.  And it actually worked for me.  So well, that for a long time, all I had to do was look at my painting and it brought relief.

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I still get the urge.  And there have been a few times I have come pretty damn close to giving in.  But it’s been about 12 years now since I painted that picture.  Being stubborn sometimes plays into my favor… and now I’ve got the control issue working for me instead of against.

So that’s my story.  I thought the post I linked to above went into why people self- harm and explained it pretty well, so I didn’t repeat.  I also thought she listed some great alternatives… coping strategies.  I think we all have our reasons and our methods for getting through it.  And I’m not really sure why, but I really felt the urge to share my own experience here.  Read Heather’s post above, if you haven’t.  People are complicated things and we deal with things in complicated ways.  It’s so hard to know how to help or react to someone who is dealing with some of these things and one of the things I hope to accomplish in keeping this blog is normalizing what might seem like really abnormal behavior.  I’m not in any way saying that self-harm is a healthy coping strategy, but I think it helps to know that we are not alone in our experiences.  We are normal people just trying to get by.

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=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

Full Disclosure:  You know how when you share something like this you kind of get that little bit of anxiety about what people will think when they read it?  Someone in group therapy once derisively called me a “mormon drug user” when I mentioned ambien.  And it really stung.  I have anxiety that people will read this and not think my experiences are valid… (“ambien? ha… what a sheltered little girl…”) (“only a scratcher?  That doesn’t count!”)  I actually KNOW that people won’t think that, but I’m still afraid they will?  Hmmm….I’m really in a sharing mood right now.

And the questions pour out…

So it’s been awhile since I had my last BIG anxiety attack (the kind where I want to crawl walls and rip my hair out.)  I don’t know why things were going well- had decided to attribute it to therapy.  And that probably is it.  BUT as I posted previously- I am having ANGER these last few days.  And I don’t deal well with anger.  I just don’t even know what to do with it.  Few things really even make me angry, but not feeling in control and feeling invalidated or used will make me angry.  My last post- the car smashing- that was about not feeling in control with my health issues, which I’ve already ranted about, so I won’t again.  (not right now, anyway!)

I had trouble sleeping that night, all the anger and anxiety.  Finally started to doze off a couple of hours before my dental appointment, but you take what you can get, right?  I kid you not, I had just relaxed when I got a bunch of txt messages.  From my brother.  Who I’m going to call Alec.  I ADORE my brother.  I can’t even tell you how awesome I truly think he is.  But he has the same capacity for just pure #$%#$^.

I crave closer relationships with all of my family.  Alec in particular is very distant.  He has told me in the past that he avoids me because he can’t deal with what happened to me (the assault.)  That hurts like hell, but I have to respect where he is too, ya know?  At the same time, he’s… not stable.  Just a few years ago, he stabbed himself in the stomach with a huge knife because he was angry.  I’m not really sure if that was a suicide attempt, but there have been those.  And he takes his anger out on himself.  I worry about him all the time, but never really know how he is doing because he tries to hide everything.  So Wed, when I got his txt asking for money because he’s going to get evicted… I was sick with worry and anger.  Anger because I know he is trying to manipulate me right now (this is the only time he makes contact) and worry because I don’t want to see him in trouble!  So- both anger triggers hit.  And everything just snowballed into that awful anxiety again.

How do you help someone you love that refuses to be helped?  I know this post probably makes no sense whatsoever.  I feel protective of my little brother and so frustrated at the same time that I have left a lot of things unsaid.  On the plus side- it sounds like he was able to avoid eviction for now.  So there’s some relief.  But sadness too.

This may seem so random, but I think of my brother when I hear this song.  It sings to my worst fears, but also my wishes to understand better what he is going through so I could help.  Except, if he doesn’t want my help… do I have any right to try to give that to him?   I don’t know any of these answers.  So here’s a song to ruin your day…

 

The Patient

So Thursday night I went to bed around 9, exhausted from a few stressful days and not sleeping well for a couple.  I thought I’d be out in seconds.  Nope.  Lay awake for hours.  But it was still restful so I just relaxed and figured I would eventually fall asleep.  At about 3am I finally took an Ambien.  Still no help, but I lay in bed, still sorta resting but not quite sleeping and too tired to get up and do anything else.  At about 8 or 9 am I KNEW I had to get some real sleep so I took a Klonopin and a mild muscle relaxer.  FINALLY SLEEP.  With the exception of getting up to use the restroom a few times I slept till about 10pm, when my husband came from work.  (And I mean REALLY SLEPT.  I WAS OUT.)

When he got home, we had something to eat and watched a little tv.  And by 11 I was ready to go back to bed.  Just so freaking tired!  So that’s what I did.  And I slept again until about 3pm.  Got up for a bit, hung out with the husband, started feeling sick to my stomach around 9 so I went to lay down a while.  Got up a couple hours later then finally went to bed again at 2am.  Slept until about 8pm Sunday.  He’s working overnight again so I HAD to stay awake but all I wanted to do was go back to bed.  I haven’t eaten hardly a thing the last few days.  Everytime I eat I just get terrible consequences (yay for IBD).  So I have no energy.  I’m exhausted, depressed, and all I can think about is how I wish I would just die already.  What God or WHOEVER is asking of me is just too hard and I want to be done.  I struggle to see the point of me living when I am spending most of it in bed.  And it this point I just feel crappy all the time and can’t get excited about the things I love.  I don’t think I’d say I’m suicidal.  I’m too damn stubborn.  But I would happily die in my sleep.  I had a scope for my jpouch last Monday and a teeny tiny part of me hoped I wouldn’t wake up from anesthesia.  I knew I would, so the disappointment was small when I did.  But it just sounds like such a great way to go.  And I don’t know what I’m really holding on to right now.

There’s just soooo much that I feel I will never find my way out of.  Dealing with things, weights, emotions, depressions, fears, anxieties, beliefs, etc. I’ve carried my whole life.  That alone weighs a TON.  Now I’m being asked to deal with this chronic illness that should have technically been “cured” when I had surgery… nobody seems to know what to do to help me anymore with that.  I’m afraid this is the life I have to look forward to.  I scares me, it depresses me, and I just want to go to sleep because i can’t deal with it all right now.

This song has meant a lot of different things to me over the years, but it seems to fit here pretty perfectly.

 

Tool, “The Patient”

(lyrics are in the video)

 

And now its 5:30am and I am going to try to get some sleep before therapy this afternoon.  Back to bed it is!

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THAT IS ALL.

I haven’t seen Barbados

*Deeeeeeep Breath*  Ok.  I’ve been avoiding writing about my assault.  I just don’t even know where to start.  It’s been 16 years- nearly half of my life has now been defined by the fallout.  It’s hard to separate the parts of me born of the rape from the parts that were always intrinsically me.  I just can’t remember anymore.  But my anxiety has been getting worse.  Now I have these crazy tremors and my legs and jaw just randomly shake no matter what I’m doing.  It’s getting a lot harder to cope with all this stuff.

I have therapy later today.  I haven’t slept in two days and I feel like it’s time we start talking more about the trauma.  So I pulled out my trauma binder.  In the few years shortly after the rape I participated in a lot of group and individual therapy.  I have this notebook full of my own notes, homework assignments and some cool handouts.  I found this poem and it’s what I want to share:

 
The Rape Poem
by Marge Piercy (This poem first appeared in “Red War Sticks”)
Feminist Alliance Against Rape Newsletter Apr/May 1975

There is no difference between being raped
And being pushed down a flight of cement steps
Except that the wounds also bleed inside.
There is no difference between being raped
And being run over by a truck
Except that afterward men ask if you enjoyed it.
 
There is no difference between being raped
And being bitten by a rattlesnake
Except that people ask if your skirt was short
And why you were out alone anyhow.
 
There is no difference between being raped
And going headfirst through a windshield
Except that afterwards you are afraid
Not of cars
But half the human race.
 
The rapist is your boyfriend’s brother.
He sits beside you in the movies eating popcorn.
Rape fattens on the fantasies of the normal male
Like a maggot in garbage.
 
Fear of rape is a cold wind blowing
All of the time on a woman’s hunched back.
Never to stroll alone on a sand road through pinewoods,
Never to climb a trail across a bald
Without that aluminum in the mouth
When I see a man climbing toward me.
 
Never to open the door to a knock
Without that razor just grazing the throat.
The fear of the dark side of hedges,
The back seat of the car, the empty house
Rattling keys like a snakes warning.
The fear of the smiling man
In whose pocket is a knife
Waiting to glide its shark’s length between my ribs.
In whose fist is locked hatred.
 
All it takes to cast a rapist is to be able to see your
Body as jackhammer, as blowtorch, as adding-machine-gun.
All it takes is hating that body
Your own, your self, your muscle that softens to flab.
 
All it takes is to push what you hate,
What you fear into that soft alien flesh.
To bucket out as invincible as a tank
Armored with treads without senses
To possess and punish in one act, To rip up pleasure, to murder those who dare
Live in the leafy flesh open to love.
 
 

The first half of the poem especially speaks to me.  The wounds on the inside, invisible, invalidated by those who can’t understand.  I debated sharing a video with this post or not, and I think I’m going to link to a live performance of Tori Amos’ “Me and a Gun.”  Just a warning- this song is pretty triggering.  I couldn’t listen to it for years.  But now I watch this video and I see the very real emotion in her eyes and hear it in her voice.  This is a video that can bring me to tears.

 

 

Lyrics in case you’d like to read them:

“Me And A Gun”

5am
Friday morning
Thursday night
Far from sleep
I’m still up and driving
Can’t go home
obviously
So I’ll just change direction
Cause they’ll soon konw where I live
And I wanna live

Got a full tank and some chips
It was me and a gun
And a man on my back
And I sang “holy holy” as he buttoned down his pants
You can laugh
It’s kind of funny things you think
at times like these
Like I haven’t seen Barbados
So I must get out of this

Yes I wore a slinky red thing
Does that mean I should spread
For you, your friends your father, Mr. Ed

Me and a gun
and a man
On my back
But I haven’t seen Barbados
So I must get out of this
Yes I wore a slinky red thing
Does that mean I should spread
For you, your friends your father, Mr. Ed
And I know what this means
Me and Jesus a few years back
Used to hang and he said
“It’s your choice babe just remember
I don’t think you’ll be back in 3 days time
So you choose well”
Tell me what’s right
Is it my right to be on my stomach
of Fred’s Seville

Me and a gun
and a man
On my back
But I haven’t seen Barbados
So I must get out of this

And do you know Carolina
Where the biscuits are soft and sweet
These things go through you head
When there’s a man on your back
And you’re pushed flat on your stomach
It’s not a classic cadillac

Me and a gun
and a man
On my back
But I haven’t seen Barbados
So I must get out of this

Like it Knew it Was Time To Start Things Over Again

So homework this week was to learn to love my body again.  I kinda hadn’t realized I had stopped, or that it was something I really needed to work on, but the truth is, I realize lately just how disconnected I am from myself physically.  Sometimes when I’m lying in bed, I have to move my legs because I can’t feel them anymore.  I literally forget they’re even there.  And when I start to feel, well, I just want it to go away.  And I think about how sometimes the best part about Ambien is the “out of body” feeling you get with it.   And that’s what I want… out of body.

I wasn’t sure how to write about this,because I realize it’s an issue, but not one I can connect with and process very well yet.  But I came across a song (of course, in a fanvid) and it just really fit.  So I’m going to post the lyrics first, then include a link to the fanvid, just cause.  But I love this song now.  The song is called “Daisy” by Brand New.

I’m a mountain that has been moved
I’m a river that is all dried up
I’m an ocean nothing floats on
I’m a sky that nothing wants to fly in

I’m a sun that doesn’t burn hot
I’m a moon that never shows its face
I’m a mouth that doesn’t smile
I’m a word that no one ever wants to say

I’m a mountain that has been moved
I’m a fugitive that has no legs to run
I’m a preacher with no pulpit
Spewing a sermon that goes on and on

Well, if we take all these things and we bury them fast
And we pray that they turn into seeds, to roots and then grass
It’d be all right, it’s all right, it’d be easier that way

Or if the sky opened up and started pouring rain
Like it knew it was time to start things over again
It’d be alright, it’s alright, it’d be easier that way

Well, if we take all these things and we bury them fast
And we pray that they turn into seeds, to roots and then grass
It’d be all right, it’s all right, it’d be easier that way

Or if the sky opened up and started pouring rain
Like it knew it was time to start things over again
It’d be alright, it’s alright, it’d be easier that way

I underlined the last bit,because i think for me anyway, that’s the real point of the song.  Definitely I feel the the river that has all dried up right now,but the idea that the grass can still grow, that things can start over again…. gives me hope.  And hope is a good thing to feel right now.

This video is a SPN video about the character Dean, edited by k9lover27

Not Fade Away

So I’m going to take a little break from writing about IBD and write about some people in my life.   I was having this pain in my rib tonight and so, being a massage therapist, I started trying to work out the sore spot, but also being conscious of my thoughts because I have learned that pain in the body always has emotion attached to it, be it old or new.  As I worked, I had a sudden memory of my aunt T.  She was one of the kindest, most generous and sincere people I have ever known.  And strong.  Very strong.  She was born with Cystic Fibrosis.  Most people with CF don’t live beyond childhood.  CF affects the heart and lungs primarily.  My aunt was one of the lucky few who lived into adulthood.  She married, she even had a child that she was advised not to have.  And I NEVER heard her say a bitter word or saw her unhappy about her lot in life.  In fact, she’d probably tell you her life was pretty great.  When I was in high school, she was finally able to get a heart and lung transplant, essentially removing the CF.  Shortly after, she and my uncle adopted another child.  Things were good.  My aunt was the healthiest I’d ever seen her and I remember her saying once how it was the first time she’d been able to get through an entire hymn at church without having trouble breathing.  A few years later, she went for a routine checkup and found she had cancer.  And it was aggressive.  Because she’d had organ transplants, there was little they could do to treat it.  She had a compromised immune system.

Just weeks after her diagnosis, I was assaulted.  Because I was dealing with my own trauma, I avoided a lot of people in general.  I didn’t see my aunt again till nearly a month later.  I was about to go out of town with my mom and we stopped to see my aunt because we knew she hadn’t been doing well and probably didn’t have much time left with us.  I remember seeing her lying there, so thin and frail, propped up everywhere with pillows.  Before anything else was said, she looks at me, and says “I’m so sorry about what happened…”  and I’m thinking… “sorry for me?  YOU’RE DYING.  You will never see your kids grow up.  How can you be worried about MY loss?”

She died the next day.

I’ve always felt cheated that I couldn’t really grieve for her at the time.  Not like I feel I would have had I not been dealing with my own junk.  She’s often on my mind and I wish that I had been able to spend more time with her in those last couple of months.  There are so many things I would have liked to talk to her about.

I recently lost one of my best friends.  He was also one of the sweetest, kindest, giving people I knew.  I swear he’d give you the shirt off his back with a smile if you needed it.  I didn’t know it, but he struggled with mental illness after a car accident gave him a head injury.  His job kept him traveling a lot so most of our contact the last few years had been online, and it had been a while since we had talked.  One night I find out on facebook that he took his own life.  I’m still having trouble accepting that he is really gone.  He should be here.

I’ve lost other friends to suicide as well, and all of them, all of these people who have died and people who should have LIVED.  These are the people we need in the world today.  I miss them and I miss all the opportunities we will never have.  I don’t know why, but these 5 people in particular have really been on my mind a lot lately.  I hope I never lose the memories I have.  They should not fade away.

I was really torn between 2 videos to end this post with, so I’m using them both.  Love to my dear friends… I will not let you fade away.

The first video, “The Whedonverse: Emotion” is by MrMorda. It captures a lot of the feelings of grief and loss.

The second video is from the show Firefly and is “Calls Me Home” by BuffyProdz. It just makes me think about my friends returning home…

 

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