Wednesday, November 01, 2017

When I die...

With all the death in my life I'm ready to make some decisions for when I die.  Oh, I'm not sick.  I might be like my grandma who is still kicking at 96.  Or an anvil could fall on my head tomorrow.  But I've seen what the lack of planning does.  I know this is going to be a work in progress and I'll probably update this specific page when I make my own updates.  I'll date them so it makes more sense.

Years ago I watched a documentary with a friend.  It was called "A Family Undertaking" and was about the funeral industry and other options (focusing on natural burial).  It really got me thinking and questioning.  And now I've started watching a YouTube channel called Ask a Mortician.  It's been super fascinating and is definitely been getting me thinking.  I've always been fascinated by death.  Especially how someone's life force is inside of an organic machine and then at some point it no longer is.  You're left with what I affectionately like to call an "edgar suit" (men in black reference).  Sounds morbid but here is the thing.  WE ALL WILL DIE.  There is no question about this.  EVERYONE DIES.  But I've been to enough funerals over the years to know what I do and do not want.  There is still more I'm wanting to suss out but it'll start with what I *do* know.

**November 1, 2017

I'm debating on whether I want to be cremated or if I want a green burial.  I know I want one of those two things.  I do NOT want to be embalmed with my eyes glued shut and my mouth either sewn shut or my jaw wired shut.  I want to donate any parts to people who need them that I can (if I can).  Organs, corneas, whatever.

I do not want a service in a church.  Do it somewhere outside, if possible, or surrounded by nature somehow.  I don't want bible verses or discussion of heaven or hell to happen.  I don't even really want God discussed in services either (by all means talk to one another about it if so desired, at the after party, which I hope there is one).  Afterwards, drum circle, music, pass a joint, make something, whatever.  Hell, tell stories, play games, make jokes, especially ones in poor taste.  Celebrate that I was here.  Recently I posted on Facebook that I want one person to give a whole speech entirely in puns.  I'm actually not kidding.  If someone can make that shit happen, I'd love it!

So, from what I know a green burial is the MOST green way to do away with your remains.  It sounds cool.  I wish I could just be buried on a mountain but I don't think that can happen.  If this ends up being too cost prohibitive or, honestly if the powers that be (husband and/or kid) would prefer me be cremated I think I'm okay with that too.  That one can be even more fun (yes I said fun).  If I'm cremated I'm okay with anyone who wants some ashes getting some.  Bonus points if anyone wants to do something cool with them.  Mix with paint, make art.  Mix with clay, make pottery.  Spread here.  Spread there.  Wear it in a MFing locket!  Have it put in blown glass art.  I just want some to be spread on Paradise.

This informational tidbit expresses, in part, why I do not want a traditional burial/funeral.

I have more thoughts and so I'll leave it at this for now.  I'm sure I'll write more later, you know, if no anvil ;)

Sunday, July 23, 2017


We're finally moving out of our "six months equals five years" home.

I'm trying to find balance.  Not get angry and bitter about this place but still be motivated to move.  I understand the draw to see all the negative is a way to pull myself emotionally from this place I've called home for so long.  I created a sort of pro/con list.  I'll share it.

Click for more detail

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Queen of {broken} Hearts

Facebook keeps you updated on all the things you've been through over the years with their "on this day" feature.

This morning I saw a reminder of when my dear friend, Heather and her husband brought us a captain's bed for the living room and took away my old, but well loved couch.  Sarah was going to come over to help move things around.  Truth is that we were well equipped in regards to assistance.   She called to cancel.  She was so apologetic.  I wasn't worried about it.  It as the last time I heard her voice.  Two years ago.  I haven't heard her voice in two years.

I've been cold about her death.  I've held on to anger about her taking her own life.  I've held onto anger for her not asking for help.  I've held on to anger at her mother feeding her insecurities in countless ways so she felt she could not help.  I've held on to anger about numerous people who *could* have helped over the years and *should* have helped and did not.  I've ignored any pain.  I've ignored any feelings of loss.

Tonight, I'm just sad.  I miss her.  I miss her smile.  Her evil laugh.  Her desire to do right by everyone she encountered. Then there was her longing to feel worthy..... and that last bit complicated our friendship.  She couldn't stop trying to *do* for me.  I didn't want her to.  I just wanted her to *be*.  Part of me fears she took it as rejection.  It was after I told Sarah that I didn't want her to counsel me, to try to fix me.  A mutual friend said at one point Sarah thought our friendship was over.  I heard this and I was baffled.  We still talked after that, but it was strained.  One night I was telling her how hard things had been lately.  At first she was quiet.  Then she told me she wanted to help but didn't know what to do.  She was queen at putting on a front (that worthiness thing), but in that moment, she was so very real.  She let me see her vulnerability.  I just said it would help to listen and that if I needed anything I would ask.  Things shifted in a good way.  I don't remember if it was that night, or another, but one night after that we talked.  She heard me and my sadness and I heard hers.  I invited her over.  I said that I was depressed and she was too, and it was better to be depressed together. We ate chips and dip, we crafted, we didn't talk much, but we shared space.  I'm grateful for that time.  I'm grateful that we mended fences.  I likely wouldn't have forgiven myself if we didn't.

And tonight.  A dam has broken. I've cried more tonight for her than I have in the last two years.  My heart aches.  I'm sorry, Sarah, for hardening my heart.  I didn't want to hurt.  I didn't want to miss you so much.  But I do.  I miss you so very much.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

The struggle is real?

Counseling was so very perfectly timed.  I typically have been going every other or every third week.  I think I even skipped a month somewhere in there.  Things were going pretty well.  Honestly, even after Cecily's passing I felt I was handling it fairly well. Then came the memorial.

I'm struggling.  There are so many facets of just what my grief encompasses.  First. Of course I miss my friend.  She's an amazing woman, and I can still feel her out there.  I love her so very much.

Second.  Our friendship was unique (aren't all friendships?).  I'm not going to say better, worse, or whatever.  Cecily was so private, and I feel like so many things about her need to stay private even though I'm weirdly *not* private.  But it puts me in this place where I feel like our friendship seems made up.  The general public doesn't know about our long conversations.  About all the things we talked about.  The things we shared with eachother.  Hopes, dreams, insecurities, fears, frustrations.  We daydreamed about a future when we were a regular part of each other's lives.  Planned community.  Working the earth.  Surrounded by children, critters, song, art.  I think in our 10 year friendship we had only one tense moment.  And it was over a misunderstanding.  Once it was cleared up we were fine.  I don't judge other people's more tremulous relationships with her because she was passionate.  They had firey ups and downs and that is beautiful too.  And I do have friendships like that too.  But ours was not that.  I feel like because she was so private she never said much about our relationship so now that she's not here it feels like it could be perceived as all in my head.  For those who know me, you know I struggle with the "it's all in your head" bullshit.  But as much as it's something I struggle with I read our old messages, I think about old conversations.  It wasn't in my head.  It was very real and it remains very precious.

Third. That insecurity I have.  I always struggled believing that this amazing woman found me valuable.  I was startled when Cec faced having to go in to the hospital to take care of her out of control pain, she still was pushing to see me.  I mean ME.  She was in pain and she "really wanted to see [me]."  Me?  I'm still blown away.  I did my best to lighten the mood.  I gave her vinyl spiders (she giggled, I love her laugh).  She planned on freaking the girls out with them.  I changed her white board from saying "comfort goals" to say "comfort goats" and drew a picture of a goat saying, "you'll be okay!"  (more giggles)  I climbed in the hospital bed with her.  We showed each other pictures on our phones (saved Snaps for the win).  We chatted.  I did what I could to make her laugh.  Later that night, via messenger, she lamented that we didn't take a picture when we were cuddling and said we'd have to take another one later.  She said I saved her life.  My heart hurts right now thinking about it.  I still love her so very much.  I can talk myself out of a lot of beliving that people care about me and that our friendship is all in my head (my depression has given me these skills).  But with Cecily I couldn't deny it. I look back in my old messages with her and never once when I was being insecure did she make me feel dumb.  She just lovingly, patiently reassured me she loved me.  That I was her friend.  And she expressed her own insecurities to me.  She struggled to believe she deserved my attention.  I lovingly assured her it made me happy to give her the attention.  It was the least I could do considering I couldn't physically be there like I wanted to.

Please don't get me wrong, I didn't put her on a pedestal.  I saw her human parts.  I saw her struggles.  It made her more precious.  She was human.  She was real.  She was the sister I couldn't have even dreamed up for myself.  I wanted to be old people with this girl.  If she weren't so private I'd tell you all of the day dreams we had for one another.  Our plotting.

This has hit me so hard.  A great deal of my previous losses I've been able to temper with bullshit.  Focusing on frustrations.  It helped me distance myself from the grief.  I can't find a thing that does that me for Cecily.  It has been one of the biggest, most profound losses I've encountered.  I'll say it again.  I love her.  I love her so much.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

The Day After

Cecily's celebration of life was yesterday.   It was a fascinating thing seeing so many people from so many facets of her life.  One thing was for sure.  I'm fairly certain that everyone in her life is an excellent hugger.

I stood up to do my damndest to honor my friend.  I told the story of how I played my ukulele for her.  How I was out of tune and I don't play well.  But how she still connected with the music and teared up. I pointed out in surprise that it was not due to my playing.  I don't know if my point of the story got across.  But for me it was about her sensitive soul.  This activist had this tender bit of her and it was startlingly beautiful.

Then I read what I had written in the wee hours.  I may have changed a word or two in the reading of it, but it's what I had printed out to read from.  The line breaks were often used to remind me where to pause in speech.  Here it is:

I found a small quote by Thomas Moore
“We need people in our lives with whom we can be as open as possible.
To have real conversations with people may seem like such a simple, obvious suggestion,
but it involves courage and risk.”
I think he’s right.
There’s never been a greater blessing than to have been able to open yourself to another person and still be loved,
especially in spite of all the parts of yourself that you may not like very much.
I believe Cecily was one of those people Mr. Moore was talking about.
She has been someone I always have been able to speak freely to without fear of judgement and without fear of abandonment.
No small feat.
I have always admired her authenticity.
Her strength.
Her commitment to stand up for what was right,
and to stand up for others, who cannot do so for themselves.
I have always admired and valued her propensity to love deeply and completely.
In these last few weeks it’s been easy to get caught up in wondering what if she were still here.
The battles she would have won.
The songs that would have moved her.
The world she would have touched
and in doing so all the beauty that would have been brought forth.
I’m sure the thought will make it’s rounds again.
But as long as I can remember to,
whenever I feel I have the choice,
on days where I just don’t want to be sad (but it is okay to be sad)
I will instead choose to think of the millions of ways my life is better
for having been able to call Cecily my friend.
I am forever changed because of her.
She has taught me that being vulnerable takes strength.
It takes very little strength to pretend things don’t bother you,
to turn a blind eye to wrong doings
and to live shallowly. 
It takes a whole lot more courage to show the world your soft, sensitive self,
to admit that there are things that can crush you,
and even sometimes going as far as to divulge just what those things are.
But she helped me embrace all these parts of myself that I struggle to look at.
She has taught me to be kinder to myself. 

I’d like to read a little something by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross
“The reality is that you will grieve forever.
You will not ‘get over’ the loss of a loved one;
you will learn to live with it.
You will heal
and you will rebuild yourself around the loss you have suffered.
You will be whole again
but you will never be the same.
Nor should you be the same
nor would you want to.”

I believe she’s right.
Because of Cecily I can love more deeply.
I can laugh more freely.
I can forgive myself more readily.
Because of Cecily the world is more vibrant.
She helped me see joy in connections,
in the natural world around us
……and even in sugar laden chocolate and frivolous tv.
And no matter what self doubts I have
she made it clear that she saw me as something more than I ever could have seen on my own.

Cecily will never truly be gone.  Because we are changed by knowing her.
I know I’ll never be the same. 

And remember, “grief only exists where love lived first” -franchesca cox
Imagine all of that interjected with me trying not to cry, and failing.

Lots of insights flitted about my head throughout the night.  One thing, entirely having to do with me alone, was the acute realization that as I'm getting older, or maybe it's less about age and more about something else, I'm becoming more awkward.  I don't know if I'm just not as good at hiding my insecurities as I once was or maybe I'm more insecure.  I'm struggling dramatically to talk to people.  I feel like my life is one big dose of open mouth, insert foot.  Everyone was gracious, of course.  But I was so ridiculously awkward.  You should have heard my inner monologue once someone gave me the "what is wrong with her" look.  I tried to figure the math of it.  "Maybe if I stop talking after *this* moment I'll be okay."  It was better, but still painfully difficult.  One of the hardest things was when people would tell me I wrote/spoke well and all I knew how to say was "thank you."  There was something left hanging in the air but I didn't know how to fix it.  I would start rambling then get THAT look.  Then I would promptly excuse myself.  I'm getting worse with people and have no idea why.

Okay.  I'll write more about my insights later.  'Til next time, friends.