If you read my blog you know I just lost someone I dearly love. If you read my blog you probably read hers, and I can’t say anything worthwhile to you so I’m sorry. I’m processing all the everything, and I don’t have a fucking positive spin for any of you fucking optimists. Don’t tell me anything about time healing or getting over or moving on or whatever fucking cliche pops in your head. I haven’t even got a good Bible verse. Maybe you have one that’s not cliche. If you do, go ahead and comment. But if you’ve heard it before, I have a hundred thousand times and I don’t want to hear it. Pick something new. Go search for it, and stay away until you find something I haven’t heard.
How do I keep it together in front of people who don’t have a clue why I’ve been “triggered into depression?” (fucking clinician-speak!) I can see it before I even start. Tell them the whole thing and they’re bored before I start… “hmmm, OK so you never met this person but you met online…, (eye roll).” Fuck you. She was more real, more a friend, than some people I see face to face. People I know face to face don’t understand me at all because I don’t let them in. Not even Mrs. M., although I did tell her why I am sad.
I don’t approach grief “normally.” Yeah, not that you’d want to do it but I actually had a college class called “the Psychology of Death and Dying.”
So, it’s a great fucking day, isn’t it everyone? Let’s get started.
In the class the professor offered us the now-classic Kübler-Ross 5 stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.
I didn’t go into denial. I’m a realist. I never started thinking any “I can’t believe it” shit. “Yay, progress before we even start! Good job, Deon.” Fuck you. Oh which brings me to the next stage, which is where I start as a baseline. My friends death just pushed the anger amp to 12, where it’s normally preset at 8-ish.”
I didn’t even experience it as “stages.” I guess if it did, I might be “normal.” Instead, all the shit hits the fan at once. Except denial. And bargaining. There’s no asking for more time, no way to prevent any of my other good friends from following her. I may be trying to strike a bargain here, but I don’t really think so. You medical and counseling professionals can decide, but to me, suicide is first, deeply personal. If you choose it, it’s your choice, and no one can do shit about it. But secondly, suicide is NOT deeply personal. It ripples out and hurts everyone around you. We wish we could help, we wish we could fight it for you but we can’t. We want to say things and do things that will encourage. People who pray, really do pray. And beyond that, although we wish it were different, your experience is yours and we can’t do more to fix it. So I just ask: Please don’t choose that. Please stay and fight. For my own selfish reasons: you encourage me every day you’re able to wake up and walk with me. Or hide in your fort blankie while I wish I could. So here I am, in anger, depression and acceptance. And in hope for you and me, because although it might currently be shredded tatters, hope is all I have.
As far as I know, so far, I haven’t indulged in any self-destructive behaviours. Except I cancelled a follow-up doctor’s appointment she set up to discuss the medi-go-round she put me on to see if it helps with my depression. Fuck, my friend’s suicide really fucked up any positive impact the meds might have been having. Irrationally, I want to feel something other than numb and crushed and hurt on the inside. Rationally, I know that hurting myself or destroying my things isn’t going to do any good. It’s just adding “a whisper on a scream” as the song lyrics go. Add shit to shit and all you get is a bigger pile of shit. But what the hell, throw on another shovel, because once you’re buried, one more can’t hurt much.
I feel nauseous. I haven’t puked yet, but it’s possible.
I went to work today. Not that I’m getting shit done. I haven’t told the boss. She might be sympathetic. My old boss was just the last part of that word. The new boss is better.
I was really afraid, with all the rage, to even start writing. I don’t have a structured writing plan, I just write whatever pops into my little nutter of a brain, and I let it fly and let the readers decide if it’s shit or not. I usually try to be funny. I make a conscious effort at it. There isn’t anything funny today. Today sucks. Yesterday sucked. And the day before that sucked.
I can’t express the rage well. There isn’t a vent big enough. There aren’t words strong enough or loud enough. So while the world spins around and everyone ignores me because of my mask, I’m screaming and crying on the inside. Which doesn’t feel effective at all. It doesn’t feel like anything at all. I wait for the moments when I’m alone, which isn’t nearly frequent enough, and quietly mourn. I like music so I listen to music when I can, but all weekend, even my surfing didn’t get me anything but sad songs. I got an email from a friend with a link, and that was a sad song too. I don’t know if it helped or hurt more, listening to music. I went from classic rock to classical to modern rock to blues to whatever, and they all sounded sad. I went to church and felt like a zombie. Someone whack me, please. I have no idea what the pastor or adult Bible teacher said. Then I drove home alone and my family went their ways and did their normal things.
And then I backtrack to process our relationship. Did I do everything I could have done? Well, she was in South Africa and I’m stuck here in my bunker with no travel budget, so geographically I’m useless. I couldn’t have physically been there to help. I did pray sometimes, but maybe not enough. I prayed like I always pray for all my friends in this community – for us to get through the depression seasons, for us to not be self-destructive, for our words to be nurturing enough and soft enough and strong enough and gentle enough and loving enough. For her, it wasn’t enough. I prayed for her to be healed, through the drugs, through the other treatments, or by miraculous means outside of treatment, just like I pray for my other friends here. And for her, I got an answer, not the answer I wanted- not in this life, Deon. Maybe in the next one. I’m not bitter. God chose not to answer my prayer the way I wanted it answered, for reasons I do not understand and may never understand. And she chose to try to make her own pathway to free herself from her suffering, and I hope she’s truly free.
I’m not angry or bitter with her either. Her circumstances were unbearable, she was strong but how much suffering should one person have to endure?
Did I say what needed to be said? Who knows? Would you believe, we joked and even teased and flirted a little with each other, even though I’m a married guy and she was a woman’s woman? I told her she was beautiful, and I meant it, and I never actually got to see her face. I just knew it was true. And somewhere in there, I did tell her that I love her. And I mean that, too. I’m sure I even told her that God loves her.
(I guess it’s hard for God to express his love through our broken nature, so He sent me to her to say it. And to the rest of my readers: we’re broken people in a broken world muddling through with each other’s help. God uses willing people to send His message of hope and love. Some people don’t know that when we’re motivated to help someone whether that’s God using us to show His love, but I believe it’s true. I’m willing, and He loves us even though we have to muck through all the shit.)
So yes. I said what needed to be said. I just wish the answer to my prayers for her was a different one, but it’s God, Who has His own plan, whatever that is, not a cosmic vending machine. I can’t just pick item E12 like a bag of chips or a candy bar. Wouldn’t that be nice? I’m angry at God but I can’t just ask for what I want and always get it. If we could, wouldn’t we all pick the things that make it easier instead of going through and enduring the scars? I can’t even pick understanding, or not hurting, or how to heal the next person before they leave me behind. Or how to be healed myself. I just have to accept whatever reality is, not filter any meaning from it.
Acceptance is supposedly the last stage in the grieving process. But acceptance isn’t the death of grief. It just means you cry and hold on to what you have left.
I don’t have any good answers. I don’t have any good words to say, so if you stopped reading mid-stream, I understand. But if you made it through, please understand that in my alleged acceptance, I’m holding on to you. I wish I could hold on tighter.
PS. If you have that text that I haven’t heard before in this kind of situation, do pass it to me.