Archives for posts with tag: saying good-bye

I’m sipping my coffee. My face is wet with the tears that just keep coming. The phone call this morning was brief. Heartfelt. Tender. My sister’s resolve and her will to hold her feelings in check impress me, even as I continue to weep. We kept the call brief; no doubt she has other calls she wants to make. Neither of us like crying “out loud” in a public way, and seeing as we’re so “strong”, we manage not to cry on the phone. Much. The call ends, the tears start.

I consider not writing, but… grief isn’t an everyday experience. I already feel… shattered. This, in spite of knowing it was imminent, in spite of being “well-prepared”, in spite of speaking gently and explicitly with my Mother, herself, about this moment, frankly, compassionately, honestly… in spite of spending yesterday well-supported by a loving and concerned partner… nonetheless; I am crying. Routines are something I can fall back on to hold life together, until… something.

“This, too, shall pass.” (I know, I know – I fucking know that, now knock that shit off, while I shed these honest tears for the passing of a complex woman, who gave me life. I’ll be okay, just not… right now, exactly.)

…Anyway. No idea how this amount of grief may affect my writing. I’m glad you are here. I hope you are well. Maybe I write a lot more than usual over the next several days? Maybe I find myself unable to lift my hands to type words in row at all. I don’t even know. I guess we’ll find out together, eh?

It’ll be okay. I reflexively offer myself all the comforting platitudes I can find. “We are mortal creatures.” (That’s a very real observation, at the moment. Painfully real. It offers no particular comfort. Perhaps it will later…?) It’s not really helpful, and I let it go.

…I don’t really know what else to do. So… I begin again.

Tuesday it was Kate Spade. This morning, I read that Anthony Bourdain has also taken his own life. I pause for a moment to consider the engaging chef whose books and television shows entertained and educated me. I enjoyed his wit. The headline “Anthony Bourdain Has Died” didn’t prepare me for the further information regarding his suicide. There’s a certain different ache in my soul when I read of suicide…

…I know what despair feels like.

Well, shit. It’s a scary, seriously frightening and frustrating world these days. I get feeling overwhelmed by despair. Some days it is hard not to. We will see, for days to come, articles about suicide help lines, and some analyses of what drives people to take their own lives. There will be salacious gossip about the lives of the fallen. Someone will share a recent article about the high rate of senior or veteran suicides. Most of the people who read those will shake their heads, and turn away, unaware someone dear to them is on the brink of making that major “life” decision.

Connect with your loved ones, your friends, associates, and coworkers. Be sure to mention that they matter to you in an authentic way, and be real about it. It’s not about hyperbole and fake compliments, and it isn’t necessary to use superlatives. Easier to straight up give voice to that thing they do that you enjoy, or count on, or appreciate, or wish you did as well – or, fucking hell, just have lunch, or coffee – make time. Be present. Don’t rush those connected social moments; they are what matter most in our days. There’s no knowing when someone may choose to check out, and while you may not be able to change their mind about it, you can, at least, enjoy who they are while they are here.

On the other side of the equation, please consider sticking around awhile? If you’re considering a firm end to the chaos, and stress, and trauma, and struggle, and despair… please, just for a moment, consider that there may be other things you have yet to try. There may be practices that improve your experience, even if they don’t change the entire world, itself. Incremental change takes time – please give yourself some. Someone, I promise you, will miss you if you go.

I stayed. There are a lot of verbs involved, but it has been, very much, worth it to have stayed. I’ll go on with that, with staying around I mean, because things got better. Things continue to get better. I can’t promise that for you, but I can assure you that choosing change results in changes, so long as you do the verbs. ūüôā Your results may (will) vary, and the changes you choose in life may be somewhat askew from the changes you subsequently find unfolding around you, but change is. Despair isn’t particularly sustainable, it’s just annoyingly difficult to see through when we’re feeling it.

There’s one irksome thing about suicide that never fails to leave me feeling bereft and discontent; I don’t know why. No, I mean… I don’t know why. That’s what leaves me feeling so bereft and discontent. I’m not sure there’s any solid “why” to suicide. Surely, people have their reasons. Many leave a note behind, but often those are not public, and even when they are public, they leave so much left unexplained – as if I think there is, or should be, a reasonable explanation when despair overtakes someone. Despair is shitty enough to be its own reason.

One more time, I let the “why?” go, and pause for a moment to say good-bye to a fallen soul. I pause for regret. I pause to appreciate, to mourn, to find personal solace after a time. I pause to be aware I am, myself, okay right now… as though it could creep up on me, and take me by surprise, myself…

…Then I begin again.

It is a Monday. It isn’t a good or bad day, it’s barely even gotten started.

Yesterday evening I had a moment or two of down-deep grieving.

In one case, I experienced the pain and sorrow of seeing people dear to me behave in completely unacceptable ways, and however understandably so, still not okay.  Lingering concerns ride shotgun with me this morning as I ready myself for the day.

In the other case, the wee fish Wyatt surprised me after work by being dead. ¬†That’s just not ever a fun sort of surprise. ¬†As life lessons go, I would have preferred another day, a different fish, or not at all. ¬†I wept without reservations, and found comfort with my partner, who was near-by reading, and as surprised as I was. ¬†He’d also been enjoying looking in on the new guy now and then and had seen him moving about contentedly earlier in the day. ¬†(Oddly, this bit of grief felt so intense in the moment, and seems to have passed. ¬†To be fair, Wyatt had only been mine for about 5 days. ¬†He hadn’t even left quarantine. )

I took it pretty hard in the moment, tears and a feeling of failure, blaming myself – what did I/didn’t I do? ¬†As my emotions began to ramp up my partner turned up, put his hand on me gently and said ”fish die”. ¬†My whole being paused for just a moment, hearing that. ¬†Well, of course. “Fish die.” Yes, they do. Things that live eventually become something that died. Fish, people, dreams… “Fish die.” ¬†It was simple, true, and an observation in the moment that helped me become grounded and calm.

I’m pretty human. I do have a brain injury, and post-traumatic stress. Keeping an aquarium is new for me, and filled with complex process work – I study the tasks and processes that support life in my aquarium as though there is going to be a final exam at the end of the semester. Of course there is; fish die. ¬†It is my honor and responsibility to create a habitat for my fish that supports life for them, that allows them to thrive, not merely endure. ¬†That sense of responsibility is one I bring to my other relationships, too, a step beyond ‘above all do no damage’.

I did some science-y stuff to ensure I learn what I can from the experience: tested the water, looked for process missteps (found a couple that ought not have proved fatal, but better attention to details would have prevented them nonetheless). I observed the environment closely after the fact and made notes about improvements on the next quarantine, and checked those observations against my thriving community tank to ensure I wasn’t carry errors from one to the other. ¬†I made notes improving process steps for my quarantine tear-down/set up checklist. I took a few deep breaths, and said good-bye to Wyatt. ¬†I cried. I cried like a little girl to find him dead. ¬†Some of life’s curriculum is pretty deep.

Today is an entirely new experience. I woke calm this morning, and curious what the day will hold. I slept well and deeply. ¬†I sit, sipping ¬†my coffee, and considering the struggles we have as beings, some shared, some that feel so solitary. ¬†I contemplate the choices we make, and how easily we can choose and choose again, and rage against the outcome of our own choices, seemingly unaware that if the outcome is repeatable, and predictably follows a specific identifiable choice, then we utterly control that experience, not only through our reactions to it, but through the choices that bring us there. ¬†Don’t want it? Don’t choose it. ¬†Simple enough, generally, however tough we may make the process of making a different choice.

Today I choose compassion. I choose tenderness. I choose kindness. Today I choose to smile; there is a lot to smile about. Today I choose eye-contact and conversation; we all spend far to much time feeling alone. Today I choose to change the world.