End Times

2018 will be a year that sticks with me for many reasons but the biggest is the loss of my mother, something we knew was coming but which, as they say, you are never prepared for when it happens.

With mom it was a slow decline that we could only bear silent witness to. It was an awful burden but never more awful than her own, a woman who had suffered enough in her life.

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Good Grief

Grief is a different monster for every person. To some it is robed and silent, watching from a distance, for others it is hulking and ever-present, pushing in on every breath. Everyone experiences it and it’s lifequakes differently. There is not a right way to go through grief and until you get into self-harm and self-destruction it gets blurry as to what the wrong way to deal with it is. You just – deal with it. The best you are able to. The last thing anyone can do is tell you how to go through it. That amounts to telling someone with their eyes closed how to navigate a room with no light. Sure, you can point things out and give ‘tips’ but in the end the person has to find their way forward for themselves.

The thing with grief though is it isn’t an enemy.

It isn’t a villain.

Even though we see it that way it is but a pale sheet in the form of the thing we loved and lost, ever with us, step by step and hand in hand. We can embrace it or fight it and it’s that decision which forms what it becomes to us.

It is as featureless as the pain we feel, forming its face to match our hearts.

Angry.

Sad.

Outraged.

Heartbroken.

Guilty.

Comforted.

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Requiescat In Pace

There are two things in life I don’t think are ever possible –

You can never repay the debts owed to the people who you love and who are there for you in life.

No matter how long you have, no matter how many words you use, you can never tell the people that you care about how much they mean to you.

It seems like I have said these things or variations on them a thousand times, and I will keep saying them because it’s true. I just don’t know if you can ever show someone how much of an effect they had on you with words or a simple deed. The beauty of it all is that you never need to say those things because the act of friendship and of love can transcend simple words and acts, as the spirit and memories can transcend the body. For me, it’s always nice to be thanked for the things I do but just in doing them, in doing them for someone I care about or love and knowing that it means something to that person, that is warmth enough.

I met Cassandra Lynn Reimer what seems like a very long time ago. It was 1999 and Back From Nothing still felt fresh and new. We had a wild, crazy, whirlwind couple of months together but made better friends than lovers and it was the friendship that stuck. And it’s crazy how much I am remembering of her now, how much was forgotten. I won’t ever forget how she told me I reminded her of ‘Ducky’ from Sixteen Candles (oops, I have been corrected that it was Pretty In Pink that featured Duckie, sorry), telling me this as we left a Dearborn pizza place on our way to the movies on our first date. I remember arguing, a lot. I remember struggling with who she was, who I was, and who we were together. I remember a lot from when we were together. What means the most to me are two moments in my life for which I was never able to repay her.

The first was that when I moved out at 27 and was moving to my first place she was one of the people who was there to help me move. She didn’t just help me move though, she helped me move, then helped me start putting the place together and bought me all of the things I needed for my first place. No one else helped me put that place together that first night, or helped me make it a home. No one but her.

The second thing was less fortunate but was a sign of pure friendship. I was having trouble with my computer and it was driving me nuts so she offered to come out to look at it and flash the hard drive and re-install everything. It’d take a while but she was game. So she came out with her friend Christy (who became my friend as well) and she set about working on the computer. Half way through, and after she had flashed my drive, she realized she had forgotten to save all of my music, my pictures, my emails, my stories – basically the files that made me who I was. It crushed her and she broke down into tears for over an hour, feeling horrible about it. And it sucked, and it was awful to lose the stuff, but to see how much it hurt HER that she had lost it was worse for me. So I let it go. And I hugged her, and told her it was no big deal. Life goes on. She stayed until the early hours of morning to get the rest of the computer fixed, even though she had work the next day, because she wanted to get it done for me.

And that was Casey.

She was always hard on me, because she expected more from me than I expected from myself.

It was an honor to know her, to have spent time with her, and to have had her as a friend. It was an honor to have been there at her wedding to see her marry the man that she loved and adored. She, who thought enough to invite me, a dopey ex, to her wedding and made sure to seat me at a table with people that would be ‘fun’.

I don’t think I could ever say enough to make you understand the part of my heart she had and took to the grave this weekend, but I can tell you that I miss her. And I will always miss her. There are so few people that you share yourself with in life, few people that get past the defenses and who you share YOU with. For me, she was one of those people.

Rest In Peace Casey.

Thank you.