Carry On

It's been 2 months and 11 days. I'm supposed to be over it, right? That's the protocol for mourning. You're allowed to talk about it for a couple of weeks, three at most, and then you're supposed to be done.

But I'm not done.  I still bring you up on a daily basis in conversation with other friends, and I can tell, to a certain extent, that it makes them uncomfortable. And I don't bring you up to make them uncomfortable. I bring you up because you were a very important part of my life for eight years, and you're still a part of my life, even if you're not here physically anymore.

I don't know how to do this. I just don't. I can go a few days and function normally, but then BOOM--it all comes back. I suppose that I'm still in that stage where I can pretend that it's just been a couple of days since we've actually talked, and I can deal with that. But then the fact that you're gone--that you're really gone, and that I will never talk to you again, always comes seeping back into my consciousness. And I weep. Or I try not to weep, depending on the company I'm keeping at the time.

I've found that I'm at my best when I'm either alone or with "our people." I have isolated myself to the extreme over the past two months and 11 days, just because it hurts so much. When I'm alone, I can talk to you, even if that sounds crazy to other people. Sure, you don't answer back, necessarily, but it still helps--just to talk to you.

When I'm with the people who loved you as much as I do, that's okay as well. Because I know that they feel exactly the same way I feel. Or they feel it even more, because you were even more to them than you were to me--you were a mother, a daughter, a sister, a partner. You were "just" my best friend. And I try to be very conscious of that distinction--of the fact that I'm not suffering nearly as much as Beau. As Trey. As Joey. As Beverly. As Krissie. But it's still okay, because I'm with people who love you as much as I do--people who love you more than I do, because they were your family.

And then I go out with other people, and as much as I have a good time in the moment, as much as I care about those other people, it just makes me even more sad. Because it makes me miss you all the more. And then it all comes crashing down again, that I will never talk to you ever again. You will never text me again. We will never go to a parade again. We will never watch a Saints game together again. We will never sit on your porch and drink beer and talk about life again. We will never take our kids to City Park, or the zoo, or to a movie, or the skating rink, ever again. We will never marvel over how much Emmeline and Beau have changed over the past eight years ever again. When I'm so angry at Kenny that I don't know what to do with myself, I can't talk to you about it anymore.  I'll never get another text or phone call from you because you're so angry at Trey that you don't know what to do with yourself.

You'll never call me and ask me to pick up Beau from school. You'll never call me and ask me if I'm on the way to the parades. We'll never sit at Pete's on a Sunday night and discuss relationships and the Mayan calendar and death and reincarnation. We'll never again laugh together at the time Emmeline shoved Beau off the couch while we were watching, or reminisce about the time Beau broke his leg at his fourth birthday party and none of us knew it and made him open his presents anyway (that sounds terrible, doesn't it?).

I'll never replace the friendship that I had with you. That's not to say I don't have other good friends; I do, and I've never been more grateful for their place in my life than now, when they've helped to hold me up since you've been gone.

But you're gone, and that just kills me. Because you were an everyday part of my life, and I don't know how to do this without you. You were my sister, even though we weren't related. You were my Cancer friend, who always knew exactly why I felt guilty for something stupid. You were one of my soulmates, in that you understood and accepted me completely, even though you were always the better version of what I maybe could be. You were my better. You were the one who made me want to be better, with your complete acceptance and love of everyone (with maybe the exception of Bobby Jindal and Daviid Vitter). You broke my heart when you left.

You break my heart every day in your leaving, although I know you had to go.

I don't know how to do this without you. It's trite, but it's true--there's a huge hole in my heart.. I'm doing the best I can, but I still don't know how.  I miss you. I love you. And I thank you for the meaningful coincidences.



This is the thing to bomb. This is the beginning—from "I" to "we." If you who own the things people must have could understand this, you might preserve yourself. If you could separate causes from results, if you could know that Paine, Marx, Jefferson, Lenin were results, not causes, you might survive. But that you cannot know. For the quality of owning freezes you forever into "I," and cuts you off forever from the "we."
--John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath



[Michael's] personal account of who initiated the physical encounter is forever lost to the grave, but the initiation is likely to be the central question in the case.

To believe [Wilson's] scenario, you have to believe that [Michael], an unarmed boy, chose that man to attack. You have to believe that [Michael] chose to attack a man who was wearing his gun in a holster. You have to believe that [Michael] chose to attack even though he was less than a hundred yards from the safety of the home where he was staying.

This is possible, but hardly sounds plausible.

The key is to determine who was standing his ground and defending himself: the boy with the [cigarillos] or the man with the gun. Who was winning the fight is a secondary question

That said, we’ll have to wait for details of the investigation to be revealed to know for sure. But while we wait, it is important to not let [Michael] the person be lost to [Michael] the symbol. He was a real boy with a real family that really loved him.

--Modified slightly from "A Mother's Grace and Grieving," written for the New York Times by Charles Blow on March 25, 2012, about Trayvon Martin's death at the hands of George Zimmerman. 


In my Lucia's absence
Life hangs upon me, and becomes a burden; 
I am ten times undone, while hope, and fear,
And grief, and rage and love rise up at once.
And with variety of pain distract me.
--Joseph Addison



I'm going to try to write this post without reverting to the words that describe my mood best right now--maudlin, morose, mournful, mad. All of those wonderfully descriptive M words. Maudlin, in particular. But, who am I kidding?

Last Tuesday night, I lost my best friend. And I've wept more in the past month than I probably have in years, because we all knew it was coming. I've thought a lot about that, recently--whether it's better to know that the death of a loved one is coming, like Kara's, or for it to take you by complete surprise, like a Mack truck ran into you, as it was with my brother's accidental death 13 years ago. And although they're both terrible in their own ways, I guess I've decided that an anticipatory death beats out a sudden one, just barely. Because at least you get the chance to say goodbye.

I won't rehash the beginnings of my and Kara's friendship. If you really want to know, you can read about it here. I guess just suffice it to say that, for now at least, I feel completely bereft. (Even though she's playing our song as I type this--every little thing's gonna be alright.)


Conversations with an Eight-Year-Old, Volume 2

E: Mom, did you get a haircut?
Me: Yep.
E: You look weird.

Eight-year-olds--a never-ending confidence booster.