My Friend from High School Died and it’s Fucking Me Up

This was originally posted on my Medium profile on February 21, 2017.

Last month my friend from high school died, and we don’t know why, he just did, he was in his late 20s and he died of natural causes, which is just fucking me up because what the fuck does that even mean?

Like my brain kind of thinks that if you make it through infancy then random natural causes should be off your list of possible deaths until you are in your late 80s. Unless you’re sick or you get hit by a car or whatever, you should be safe.

But his body just quit. It just quit and there’s no reason to it. He was healthy and in his 20s and it just quit. Natural causes means we don’t know what the fuck happened, he just died.

And I’m not healthy and I’m 30 and I don’t want to die. I say I do all the time and I’m suicidal but I don’t actually want to die, I just want the pain to end and so far the most efficient way for that to happen seems to be death. I learned the lesson of my desire to live when I accidentally poisoned myself with belladonna. (Yes, accidentally.) I don’t want to stop living. I’m terrified of dying too early.

And I’m terrified of my husband dying too early. He’s 35 and since Jesse died my anxiety about my husband randomly dying in his sleep has skyrocketed. (It was already there, because I’m an anxious, fucked-up mess of a human being.) He was sleeping in for a long time the other day and I suddenly had a panic attack over it, I had to rush in the bedroom and make sure he was still breathing.

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Studying Stones

Today’s prompt for the FMS Photo a Day was “Sweet.”
Sept 10: sweet
My lunch was sweet. Today has a hint of bitter to it.

Three years ago in August, my Oma died, just shy of her 93rd birthday. Today she would have been 96.

And for some reason today it’s hitting me hard. The first year was hard, of course; we’d just lost her after 4 years of prolonged illness and suffering, during which she’d gone to the brink and come back so many times we didn’t know how to grieve any more. After she died it didn’t hit me until Thanksgiving: we visited Opa and I just kept expecting her to wander down the hallway, talking about how wonderful the food her daughter had cooked smelled.

She didn’t, and that’s when I sort of really realized she was dead.

Grieving came in fits and spurts. Mostly I was fine, but then a day would come where I would be non-functional and weepy all day because I just missed my mom’s mom so much.

Eventually the time between those days stretched, and I came to a point in my life where I wasn’t grieving anymore. I missed her, but I was no longer incredibly sad. I knew she was fine, wherever she was, and I was fine too.

Until today.

I think it’s because Ogre and I have set the date for our wedding — two years and a month, roughly, from today — and now that I’m starting to gather the disparate threads of wedding ideas into actual planning…it’s hitting me that Oma won’t be there to see me marry Ogre. It’s hitting me that she never met Ogre — I met him right after she died — so I don’t even know what she would have thought of him. (Opa and my Uncle were happy to see I’d finally met a good man.)

And there’s more to it — I’m actually graduating in January. Finally, with my Bachelor’s, after 10 years of work at it. I’ll be walking across the stage in a silly hat and really warm polyester robe and I’ll be getting the piece of paper that makes those ten years of torture worth it.

Those were the two things I always wanted her to see. My graduation and my wedding. Even when I wasn’t planning on getting married, I had this vague thought that if I met someone I wanted to do the whole wedding and marriage thing with, I would want her there.

So today I’ve thought of ways I can honor her spirit at those events. There are already ideas out there for honoring your Beloved Dead at wedding ceremonies. For graduation, it’s customary to go out to a meal afterwards, in celebration (I think). Even if this meal ends up being a sit-down at Wendy’s because we can’t afford anything else, I’m going to set a place for Oma.

In the meantime, music gets me through the oh so bittersweet day.

'course numb is an old hat
old as my oldest memories
see that one's my mother
and that one's my father
and that one in the hat, that's me
it's a skill i'd hoped to abandon 
when i got out on the open road 
but any more pent up emotion 
and i think i'm gonna explode

Studying Stones, Ani DiFranco, Knuckle Down

Young Canadians in politics and the death of Jack Layton

Jack Layton, leader of the Official Opposition here in Canada, died today after a battle with cancer. He was only 61.

I say only 61 because 61 is young. To me, at least — both my parents are older than 61 and I’m only 25. One of them has had cancer and beat it already. I live terrified that it’ll come back and take her from me.

So, Jack Layton is dead. What does that mean for Canada? Canadians, on the whole, don’t get as worked up politically as Americans do. For a long time I’ve thought this a good thing, as there are fewer chances for us to look like idiots on the world stage. (No offense intended to my Yankee brethren, but it’s true.)

However, now I find my thoughts turning. I wonder if we look like bigger idiots for not getting worked up — especially when there are so many things wrong with our country. (Harper being the main one.)

Today there’s been a massive outpouring of love from Canadians across the political spectrum towards Layton’s family — most people agree that, regardless where their own votes went, Layton was a force for good in Canadian politics.

What if we could put that same energy towards our politics? Towards getting involved? Towards being activists?

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