The intense and the ugly

The intense and the ugly

Six years and it’s all come full circle. I remember it all and the tinge of sadness that constantly lingered has erupted into a volcano. I find myself doing the usual retracing of steps, reading of emails, counting of days. I can go on and on about what was, and it still won’t change what is. So, the tears remain at the base of my eyes and the ache grows inside me, because surely it has been long enough? Surely.

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The shining dead star

The shining dead star

Kate’s piece on positivity—and the ceremonious celebration of gratitude four days away—places me in a strange cusp, a crack in the veil of pristine white we are asked to gently wrap around us. As though positivity or gratitude is going to whitewash our lives into becoming those pretty pictures we put up on Facebook and Instagram. As though losing a baby is one of those elastic springs one can bounce back from.

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Hibernation to apathy to nirvana

Hibernation to apathy to nirvana

I am hibernating. In summer, in broad daylight. In the middle of the week, in the throes of work. When the world is buzzing around me like a bee in spring, all I want to be is a neatly-curled squirrel in winter. The world is spinning, and no matter how much we try, it’s still impossible to turn time back or sprint it forward. In the middle of all this, in a thorny cage of prickly ‘aspects’ trying to make me care, I am stuck. I am dumbstruck, even as I gently flap my wings and blink my timeless eyes.

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It's complicated

It's complicated

I was told grief would come in waves; remain messy and untamed, and I should welcome it. It wouldn’t always feel this dark and heavy, but there wasn’t a timeline, and it wasn't a linear process. Mental health professionals didn’t give validation to the infamous “five steps of grief” anymore, so there was no pressure to evaluate myself. I should just feel it, talk about it, and know that it was normal.  

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always hearing voices

If I’ve ever felt sadder in my 41 years on this unforgiving planet earth than I did when I wrote “Always Hearing Voices”, I do not know when it would have been. As many of you know, unfortunately, and as Elizabeth McCracken wrote, “grief lasts longer than sympathy” and this song was written in the sober realization of that singular, undeniable fact.  

One of the casualties of hitting the bottom of the well (which I tend to believe is a special place reserved for someone who loses a child), is that it hammers a spike right into the center of your life, and fault lines splinter out in every direction. They create divides between you and everyone, even (and sometimes especially) those that are the closest to you. The spike creates a hole through which every reserve you have is emptied. Every bit of patience, understanding, forgiveness and even, sometimes, love is sucked down the hole, leaving you a twitchy, angry shell, unrecognizable even to yourself.

This song is about feeling wounded by the people in your life who love you the most, and how lonely that feeling is. It’s about feeling lost in the dark, months after your loss. I did not seriously consider suicide because I had a living 4-year old in my house. It’s a pretty raw thing to admit, but if it weren’t for him I have no doubt in my mind that there is an excellent chance I would have eaten a bullet that night. I felt crazy, wounded, lost and completely alone. The concept of suicide was less scary to me that night than was living. It was as simple as that. Sometimes, continuing to draw breath is the bravest thing in the world. I fantasized about suicide, not as a real option, but in the same way someone might fantasize about a night alone with Johnny Depp or Scarlett Johanssen. It ain’t gonna happen, but man, it can be fun to think about.

At the time, I felt like those closest to me were limping away from the accident, not realizing that I was still trapped under the car. I couldn’t even scream, so I just wrote this song.  Grief can have a terribly selfish, self-absorbed face, and it can be as lonesome as lonesome gets.

On the phone, it don’t seem like she remembers me
Or the shape that I’ve been in
On the phone, making noises
I am always hearing voices
On the phone, in the hall and on the run
There’s a rattle in my brain
I am always hearing voices
And they’re flowering your grave
And they decorate your portrait
On the phone, beating hard and back to listening
Where’d you go?
In the dark, we make our choices
I am always hearing voices
In the dark and talking to the gun
And it’s funny how you laugh
How you laugh when nothing’s funny
And I’m picking up my map
And I’m hitting the high ground running
There’s a rattle in my brain
I am always hearing voices
And they’re flowering your grave
And they decorate your portrait

Ever been here? You're absolutely not alone. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255