Monday, January 20, 2014

what i'm learning about grief...

Everyone dies.

That's that there is to learn about grief.
Deal with it.

i was always taught that death, though sad, is a necessary part of life. that growing old is a privilege and heaven was a better place that what we could imagine on earth. my grandparents died. my great aunt & uncle... now i have four guardian angels - great. that cant be all that bad.

some kids i went to high school died and if affected me. i mean we were kids. losing your classmates at that age isn't supposed to happen. it was sad and i grieved along with the rest of my small town.

the first person that was really close to me to die was friend i was starting to get to know better. an unexpected accident during a party i was supposed to attend, but i hadn't gotten back from visiting my family yet. he died while i drove to him. he was a great person, a happy soul, and he challenged me - but he was gone before he had a chance to really do anything with his life. my heart hurt for a long time after that. but that hurt wasn't about me really, but of what he would miss.

that's all i knew about death until this year. in april, my father died. the official report says heart disease, with a secondary contributing factor of cocaine. its a hell of a fucking drug, you know. i'm laughing because that's the first time i've said (or typed) the secondary cause out loud outside of a small circle. i never wanted my little sister to know that he was still fighting his addiction to the end. i mean she knew- but i didn't want her to have that last image of him. i held back on telling her that he battled with it for years. or that it was a contributing factor in my strained relationship with him. she so just wanted her daddy back so badly, i couldn't be the one to ruin the image she had of him before i absolutely had to. if i'm being honest, while i was stuck in my anger toward him- talking to her about it would have made it a little too real for me as well. i just wanted my daddy back too.

i was supposed to call him that morning to tell him i would be out to see him the next month. i remembered i hadn't told him yet while i was in the bathroom mirror. but it was already 10:30- i needed to get out the door to work. it would wait until after work. i missed my last chance. he died while i brushed my teeth.

when i got the phone call about his passing, a part of me died in that parking lot. knowing i had to tell my siblings gave me an all out anxiety attack. i told my brother, who wrote him off years ago, and heard the tears he tried not to let fall through the phone. he did what he was trained to do as my big brother- make sure i was ok. but neither of us was. neither of us was ready, even though we knew it was coming. i couldn't tell Maya though. she needed someone with her- calling would have been cruel- or that's what i told myself. really, i just couldn't do it. Orion's reaction was hellish. hurting her like that would have crippled me. i enlisted my mom to be there with her so i could make more calls. i should have done it myself. she told me later we should have talked about it and i couldn't register anything but frustration. i dealt with all his affairs, his family, his remains on my own- how could she have needed more from me? but until writing this, i didn't realize all the calls and arrangement and tying up loose ends overwhelmed me- but she & i never talked about it at all. i'm a piece of shit for that.

i still haven't dealt with his death yet. i know its real. i know i wont have another chance to have my daddy back, but ... i refuse to even open the package his ashes were mailed in. the final paperwork from the coroners office is still sitting, unopened, on my desk. the last of his belongings are in an ottoman so i dont have to see them. i don't know when i will ever deal with it. knowing i will never have another shot to be angry with, be cold to, want to love or tell him i'm hurting without him- its just too hard. i'm never going to see him again.

i asked her that day to play basketball with my nephew and me. she said it was too cold. i asked again, rebuffed again- so i walked off in a huff with one of my many "whatever"s for her. that was the last thing anyone in my family said to her. she was battling with a pain so deep, she attempted to kill herself three times before he succeeded that day and last word she heard from her family was "whatever". i'm a horrible human being. she died while i watched my other nephew play with his brownie.

the image of her body is all i see. i stare at walls and see her. i wake up out my sleep because i dream about her. people ask me questions and i still fucking see her. i just want to see her smile again without having to physically stare at a picture, willing myself not to take my focus off of it. she was all alone when she died. i was not more than 50 feet away and she was alone. i know i could have sat and stared at her for days and she would have found her time, but i RIGHT THERE. she didn't know that i loved her. she thought she was replaceable. she thought her being gone would be easier. i cant change that she was sick, but damn it if i couldn't have tried harder- to have more for her than "whatever".

my whole life, my parents told us that no matter what happens- the three of us had each other. that we could fight, argue, kill each other- but we were the only three that really got what the others needed. where we came from, what we went through together- the "power of 3"- and they were right. no one else gets this. no one else knows why i need her. why i haven't taken an actual deep breath in over a month because it physically hurts to try- except him. but even he doesn't understand it all because she was necessary to translate. just like i translated for them. there is something magical when all 3 of us actually stop and look at each other. i happens every time we're all in the same room after not seeing each other for a while. an inside joke that's not really funny or serious or sad or mischievous. its just... us. and that's never going to happen again. i'm never going to see her again.

i'm not daddy's girl anymore.
i'm no ones big sister anymore.

and what grief taught me was when i was given the opportunity, i was a failure at both.

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