Wednesday, February 20, 2013

This is me. Now.

I don't talk about my grief because this is supposed to be a happy place. But I kind of feel like not talking about it is more of a lie to you guys than it is a service. So here it is. (Warning, this is intense so feel free to come back tomorrow when things will be funny again.)

The truth is, I am exhausted. Both mentally and physically. All the time. I think about my brother and how he died (let's just say it was the worst of the worst) every day. Every. Single. Day. Probably every hour of every day. Some days every minute. It is not something that will ever go away. It is a part of me. It has changed every single aspect of who I am. Anyone who knew me before it happened has to get to know me all over again. Because the girl I was before is not the girl that is left standing here today.

I wish that I could have gone home for Christmas. The Christmas that was the last time everyone in my family got to see my brother. And I didn't. Because I was nine months pregnant with The Cool Cucumber. The last time I saw him was almost a year before he died. And I can never change that.

I wish that the remaining members of my family could find some peace.

I wish that I had never seen the face of a mother who has lost a child. My Mother.

I wish that one of my remaining brothers would put aside his hate and open his heart to me. For both of our sakes.

I wish that I could explain to people why this is so much harder to get over than a normal death. I wish that I could let them know that the violence of it all has affected me in every way possible. That PTSD is a real thing. That no one wants to fake this.

The world in general causes me anxiety now. I can't watch the news because it makes me fold up inside myself to watch all of the horrible things that are out there in the world. I can't watch movies because the violence in them does the same thing. Even at work I am triggered every single day by something mindless someone says.

There are days that everything I see and hear remind me of my brother's brutal demise. That send my mind to dark places. That make me think of the unthinkable. That make me relive every last detail of what happened, down to his last breath. But I have to keep moving. Keep living. Act like I am OK. Through it all.

There are days when I am afraid to leave my house. Days where it feels like the world is going to crumble around me and everything good in my life will be taken if I take just one step. Days when I feel like it will never get better and I will never be okay again.

But then there are days that are not so bad. Days when I feel like it is getting better. And there is hope.

The reason I do my puppy dogs and rainbows post is not to be all, "Hey, look how fucking awesome my life is and yours isn't." It is because some days looking at them is all I have left to hold onto. Some days are just so dark I need to have somewhere to find the light.

I see people differently now. I am more empathetic. I care about people who are hurting, even if I don't know them, simply because I wish that someone had done the same for me.

The ones who haven't been there for me have kind of fallen away from my life. Not because of what they did, but because I have changed and they don't know that. I miss the people that are no longer in my life, but I just can't do anything about it. It is hard to explain that one single moment in time has changed every fiber of my being, but it has. And I could never explain that to someone. There just aren't words. Because there shouldn't have to be.

But there are new people that have surfaced. People who have meant more to me then they can know. Just by being present. Being with me, even when we don't acknowledge why. Just by being good people. Some of those people I found through this very blog. And I love you so much for that. More than I will ever express, because I am just not good at that kind of stuff.

In the long run, my brother's death has made me better. I am no longer selfish or vain or careless. I am very purposeful in everything I do. I am a better friend. A better mother. A better person.  I feel more. I care more. I am more. Shockingly, I am actually more positive and see things in a more forgiving light now.

But I sure as fuck wish I could've reached enlightenment in a different way. Because though I am outwardly better, I am inwardly irreparably broken. Forever. And that is OK.

72 comments:

  1. I have nothing of value to add, really, other than I'm sorry and I hope it gets easier as time passes. I'm glad you stuck around here.

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  2. I agree with Jenn. I can't even imagine the things you have had to go through and I am so sorry that everything still feels so raw. I am glad for you that you were able to see the positive and make changes to strive to be better. I do hope things get a little bit easier as time goes on. Xoxo.

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  3. You described grief and loss perfectly. I am just so sorry, because knowing you will never be the same again is a hard truth to learn. Thinking of you.

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  4. It does get better. And while the memories will never go away, and your brother will always be with you, it does get easier.
    I can't imagine what you are going through. But I know that when I was caught up in my anxiety issues and it felt like "faking it" was so dishonest and that I wanted to lash out and scream at everyone who walked by because they couldn't understand, that eventually the faking just helped me remember what a truly good day felt like. And then I eventually didn't have to fake quite so often.
    I hope that you will continue to share. I wish that I could. I have been pretty open about my anxiety and depression issues and the people who took time to be understanding of me when I was going through that are my most cherished friends, and those who weren't there, they're still my friends and we have a friendship again, but they'll never understand who I was during that time and why I am changed.
    You are needed, you are loved, and you are a wonderful person.

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    1. thanks, sarah. glad you are getting better too.

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  5. I can unfortunately relate, a little too well.
    Hugs to you.

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  6. You just put into words exactly how I've felt since losing my best friend. I think the hardest part has been the fact that I missed an opportunity to see him one last time because, like you, I was pregnant. I passed up sitting through a long Easter vigil service because I was too pregnant to sit that long, and handle the sleep deprivation afterwards. A couple weeks later he was gone. I've found that as time goes by the edge comes off the pain, but I'm not the person I was before I lost Ben. There are no words that make it better, but if I met you I would give you a hug because I've felt this pain and the only thing that made it better even for a few seconds was a hug.

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  7. You brought tears to my eyes. I can't say that I know what you are going through because I do not. I have lost loved ones but not in the way that you have. So for me to say that I know what you are going through, that would be a lie. I really can not even imagine what you are going through. I do feel for you though and am always here if you ever need an ear to bend. It is hard to believe that we are now adults.. I can still remember being those 3rd graders riding our bikes around Manito. Oh if only to not have a care in the world like those days....

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    1. right? worrying that my Guess jeans with the ankles zippers weren't clean and tomorrow is friday. those were the days!

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  8. Just love and sympathy for you today. And I hope that you are proud of sharing with your readers honestly. It takes courage to bare your soul to strangers, even strangers who know a part of you through your writing and feel like friends.

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    1. it was just time to tell you all the truth. because this is a place i built for women to be able to be real. and i wasn't.

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    2. Aw, babe. You were being as "real" as you could at the time. One.Day.At.A.Time. XOXOXO.

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  9. It's terrifying how quickly your world can change, and sadly, it's not always for the better. There were days that I couldn't focus on even the near future, due to the overwhelming devastation I would feel, and the crippling effect it had. Instead, I would just focus on small increments of time, sometimes it was minutes, othertimes it would be hours, and slowly got easier. Thank you for being honest and putting it all out there. SOO much easier then feeling like I am the only one falling apart at times.

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  10. This was incredibly brave and I thank you for sharing. There are so many things that I wish I understood, this situation being one of them, and I just pray that with time peace will make each day easier.

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  11. I'm a new follower [maybe a couple of posts now] and while I love posts where unicorns shoot fart sprinkles I absolutely adore posts where people share real life. It helps other people realize they are not alone in their feelings - which can be a very powerful thing. Your honesty & ability to share this with your readers is wonderful.
    I'm praying that the pain lessens for you and your family.

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    1. Stick around, Tamara. Helping others feel less alone is what this blog is all about. Along with some laughter and unicorn farts!

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  12. Thank you. Your words have helped me pick up the pieces from a great and unexpected loss that I have experienced as well. I hope we can all heal together.

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  13. I'm so sorry. I have a brother that I expect to lose at any moment due to drug abuse/mental illness, and although he is still technically "here" he is not the same. And that changes every part of you, too. It's not the same as such a violent death, but nonetheless I can understand where you're coming from. It does tend to make you nicer, more forgiving, more empathetic to others because it makes you think about what they could be going through. There are no words to say that can make you feel better, I think sharing your story sometimes is the best medicine. Hugs to you and I hope you find peace and joy in your life.

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  14. There are many trite and inane things I could spout, but I always find it to be inauthentic and annoying. So I'll just say this. Hugs, from afar. And peace to your soul.

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  15. Life really sucks sometimes. I am so sorry that you lost your brother the way that you did. Losing someone you love to violence must be it's own special kind of Hell on Earth. It's sad beyond description and I pray for peace to find it's way into your heart and for those of the rest of your family who are still hurting.

    When I miscarried my twins (NOT comparing my grief to your grief in any way...I HATE The Pain Olympics), I remember watching Nurse Jackie on t.v. I'd smile at something and feel normal for a second and then see the beautiful peace lilly that my college girls sent me and remember that I was far from normal and that I just might feel broken hearted forever. I was no longer me. I lost my optimism and my hope. I go back and read my few blog posts from that time and I cry all over again. The pain never went away completely but I have some hard earned insight and growth that I like to think makes me a better person, like you've described. I can say that I now have peace but I will always have moments of sadness and I am okay with that. It makes me human.

    I can also relate to what Heather wrote. I've completely backed away from my dad over the past two years. I feel like his drinking will only lead one sure end and I just can't deal with it. I am tired of the B.S., the lies, the denial, the excuses. I feel like I am grieving someone who is still here, but never really was, if that makes sense, and it hurts like hell.

    I guess my point is, is that you are not alone. Grieving can be a lonely process. Although none of our stories are the same, we embrace your pain and hope that by doing so, you might feel more normal, more you and less alone.

    http://funnylittlepollywogs.com

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  16. You are getting the biggest internet hug I can wrap my arms around today. Love ya, even though I don't "know" you, Mama Boozehound.

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  17. I'm so glad you wrote this; I hope it helps you heal a little bit inside. Sending you virtual hugs, and can't wait until I can give you a real one.

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  18. You are awesomely brave and strong. We all love you! Sending you giant hugs girl!

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  19. I don't know what you were worried about because this is a perfect post.

    And I wish you didn't have cause to have written such a perfect post. I wish there were no more members in the grief club and it was closed due to lack of dues.

    Sending you love and hugs.

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    1. Wouldn't that be wonderful? I so wish! Love, friend.

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  20. While grief and sadness might not be a "popular subject" I feel like blogs have to be real to resonate with people. If the only thing you ever did was make us laugh you would be less real and we might not identify as much with you. I appreciate your candor and I imagine the others do as well.

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    1. Thanks, N. I strive to keep this a place where mommies can be real, so I wanted people out there to know what I am really going through. I was only able to do this because I have such a bitchin, supportive group of Boozehounds.

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  21. Whenever you need to let these thoughts and feelings out, we're here for you.
    Hugs

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  22. It takes more courage to bear your soul than you realize. And you have mentioned your loss before, so you were never "lying". You just weren't ready to broach the subject.

    Thank you for opening up, and letting us in. It's hard, and uncomfortable, but I'm proud of you. I may not know what to say or even how to handle grief, but I am here for you.

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  23. I can relate...the part about forever being changed, I was changed at 20. My dad was murdered while he was walking to meet his carpool.

    I've never, ever been the same...not that I would want to be. I learned very early what was important and I lost more people because of it. It didn't matter, I did find people who tried to understand and because I'm a twin, I had one person in the world who at least completely understood.

    Unfortunately, it all smacked me in the face just yesterday. The guy who did it, originally given a life sentence without parole now gets to take advantage of a "second chance" law in California.

    My thought, he only gets a second chance when I get mine, when my dad gets his....

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    1. So sorry! The court system is absolute bullshit!

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  24. I didn't realize that your loss was so recent. This has been a real mixed up year of firsts for you. Happy firsts as the CC went through all his developmental stuff that is so adorable, and horrid firsts without your brother in the world (his birthday, Christmas, etc.) I'm sure you could call it the best of times and the worst of times. I think you've done beautifully working with a broken heart. I just printed out some of your posts and mailed them to my adopted daughter who is pregnant with her second child. I've told her about the blog many times but she's so busy she never thinks to sit down and "look you up." You certainly make my days better and I'm old enough to be your mom. Change is eternal and learning to live with/love our broken-ness is the work of a lifetime. Big hugs to you.

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  25. I feel for you. I know the loss and the pain is far greater than you can put to words. I lost my father and brother within 3 months of each other very unexpectantly 12 years ago, and it still feels like it was yesterday. ((Hugs to you))

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  26. I have not read any of the other comments, but I just felt the need to extend myself to you. I had a ...painful... childhood(without going into too many details), and I have always felts that it has helped shape who I am, and why I give a give about everything. Being empathetic sucks, sometimes, but I just can't help it, because I have been in nearly everyone's kind of shoes. I just can't be callous or selfish, it's just something I am unable to do, anymore. Strangely, this is a comment about empathizing with....empathy. I know emotional pain, and I know it is just as tangible as physical pain, and maybe even more so, since no one sees it. It becomes more dull over time, and as you can tell, already, I am sure, you learn to sit with it. It still cuts deeply, but you are familiar with it. It is brave of you to break from the norm and let people see you this way.

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  27. I'm new to your blog but wanted to say it takes a strong person to put it all out there and I applaud you for that. Sending positive energy and virtual hugs your way.

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  28. Thank you for sharing. It is very helpful to be honest. I will continue to keep your family in my thoughts. I really appreciate your rainbows and puppies posts since it reminds me to look for the happy moments.

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  29. I am not a new follower, just a new commenter. I want to say thank you for putting into words what I could not. My brother committed suicide. My bother was an inmate at the local jail, he was a drug addict, he made some bad choices but my brother was still my brother. If the officers working at the time, would have done there job correctly,then my bother would still be alive. Instead I had to pick out his casket, plan a ceremony, and deal with local media that made him out to be the biggest criminal ever! He was 22, he was smart,funny,caring,and the ONLY one in my family that I could have a conversation with, without fighting. He was an uncle to my children. He was my family that when or if I needed help with anything, he would come, help,play,make me laugh. My brother was not perfect, oh do I know that but no one is perfect, no one makes good choices 100% of the time. Ever since this happened, I struggle everyday not to fight with people over their selfishness, their petty dramas and their "oh my life is over if I don't get my new iPhone, or whatever" mentality. TO struggle with the fact that instead of my family becoming closer that we have all drifted apart, apart, alone in our grief or pretending everything is ok. I am not a good pretender. I never was. If I feel something, it is usually all over my face, or coming out of my mouth. I have lost friends this past year because of them not knowing what to say and me getting angry over the fact that they say nothing. I want to yell at people he did exist, this did happen, and just please acknowledge that he was a person I loved, not always a drug addict who made poor choices. This past holiday season, a new friend and I reached out to some inmates at the local jail, drug addicts, to let them know that they are not alone, that there are people who care, and to offer them hope that this moment in their lives does not define them as a whole but is just that a moment. The anger and outcry we received from family and friends on why would we ever reach out to criminals?! It was embarrassing and devastating and made me sad for society as a whole. But I just keep thinking what if some stranger reached out to my brother, would it have made a difference because it wasn't his family telling him? What if the officers were doing their jobs, what if they found him sooner, would that one more minute, hour, day changed his mind and he would still be alive? I received letters of gratitude from inmates, thanking my friend and I for giving them hope and making them smile. I dint do it for the gratitude I responded, I did it for selfish reasons because I couldn't save my brother so now I know I can't save the world, but maybe just one person at a time. Sorry for the ramble, other than my husband, my new friend who we bonded over our grief(her father, my brother), I haven't been able to let any of this out. So thank you for giving me space to do let it out. And thank you for putting this out there for all the people to read. I am so sorry for your loss, everyone says it will get easier but I am not there yet and now I know it is ok to not be there yet.

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    1. So much that you say here is a mirror of my story. I am so sorry for your loss, and other people's thoughtlessness. Please email me if you want to talk or vent. Love.

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  30. Laughter is very healing. But truth is the ultimate healer. You were so very brave to share this with us. And I likely speak for the rest of us when I say that I feel honored that you did. I hope that the act of crafting your post brought you a small measure of relief, and now that you've shared it you can feel your readers' support—even if it's virtual. I hope each day brings you a little closer to peace. Sending you love and hugs.

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    1. Thank, Elisia. I am lucky to have such supportive readers!

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  31. My method of coping is that every time I miss my mother, who died at 55 from cancer-related paraneoplastic disease just last November, I just do something that would make her proud of me. Mostly I've poured myself into being a better father. There are bad days. But those are days where my mom would have just worked harder. So, then I do the same.

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  32. I am so sorry for your pain and can't imagine your loss. The loss of loved ones stays with me too, and as time passes I have found I still hold onto all the empathy and compassion I learned. I never drive by a hospital anymore without thinking who is sitting there in pain and agony over a loved one- While it makes me sad it also makes me feel so good to be able just to stop and recognize where I am, that I am not in that hospital and that while i may be hurting, that pain is something that I am working towards processing, and that is comforting, that I am at least moving forward with grief in some way.

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  33. I am so sorry. I am so sorry for your loss, and so sorry that I read the entire post and said, "Yeah." I've been reading your blog for a while, and I just want to say..,yeah, I feel you on this. I'm so sorry your brother died the way that he did. I'm so sorry you're having to grieve him so. I'm so sorry I know what you're talking about. I'm so sorry. God bless you.

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  34. I'm so sorry for what you're dealing with. PTSD is real. It does get better....but sometimes it takes a long time. Here's to you - you're strong and sharing this will help others too.

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I love hearing from you. It reinforces that writing this blog is not just a silly waste of my brain matter. If you leave a douche canoe comment, I will delete it. I am powerful like that.

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