Friday, July 18, 2014

the world doesn't stop

One of the beauties of having your own blog is you can say whatever you damn please. Thank you google for the blogger medium and thank you to all other self publishing sites that allow people like me a means to send thoughts into the world--someone recently wrote (I wish I could find the source) that blogging is very much like sending a paper airplane out the window. You don't know who will read it or what they will make of it or even if it catches their interest.

I've been using my blog these last two weeks to process my brother's suicide. I have my grief and I have the observation of my grief as well as the experience and observation of the grief of my closest loved ones.

I'm tired. I "know" all the things about "taking my time" and "no way of grieving being wrong" and all sorts of other comforting crap. I also know to not be hard on myself, be extra kind, take time blah blah blah blah BLAH.

The fact is this shit just hurts in a visceral inescapable way. And the world doesn't stop. My instinct on Saturday was to consider going back to work. I did. I found the world didn't stop. And I saw that my work had suffered under the strain of the last month, as well as my newness to the job. And when when someone pointed out the real holes, all eyes were squarely on me.

You know, you can't really wave a flag around and say "oh, I'm sorry, your priority suffered because of my family issue and also I don't know what I'm doing yet." And no one else is pointing that out so you soldier on. You try to fix things and fall forward.

Also being referred to as a rock kind of cements that into people's expectations of being an infinite pool of strength--one you can always dip into to solve whatever. And I know I'm not and I'm taught that I'm not. And yet here we are.

This morning I went to my usual work out with my trainer. She asked me how I was and I said "dead tired" and she asked "tired or sad". I put on my sunglasses and hid my face and had a half-assed work out. Its too much to say I'm sad when I'm about to do inchwork crawls up and down the b-ball court.

I'm sticking to my routines if only in a half assed way because ultimately they support me. More than one time in the last week I thought to myself "hey, why don't I put a straw in this bottle of bourbon". See, the problem is I know better. Drinking myself into numbness won't fix anything (it never did before but hey, awareness now) and I hate knowing that.

Fuck knowing better.

I feel my emotions are very close to the surface and I cannot bear to have people see the face of my pain. But the energy needed to project a mask of normalcy is costly and I may have run out of coin to keep it up. 

Despite all that, the world hasn't stopped.

My wife and I plan to foster my brother's little aged dog who may or may not have issues with using the potty. It seemed like a kind thing we could do that was also manageable (and how much chaos can 7 lbs of dog cause?).

My mother is cycling her grief daily. The most intense pain comes as she wakes up and remembers reality. That pain is tempered through the day by routine and our presence. My sister will most likely return home next week. Mom will have my other brother with her. I will continue to come by for dinner or morning coffee depending what I can work out.

We have seen my brother's body. It brought up uncomfortable questions about what really happened at the moment he pulled the trigger. He was a marksman yet the wound he had could be concealed by a hat. No matter what "experts" say about people using guns to end their lives, there is something kind of tentative about a shot not taken in a more decisive location. Did he want to be rescued? Was this an accident?

I really wish that thought would leave me alone because it can't be answered. Not even by experts.

I know these words aren't nice or comfortable. I know some people reading them will be put off. I too wish I could make this sound like I have it together but I'm not together.

This writing is a balm to salve the part of me that wants to scream in the faces of people who don't know or understand. People don't know what to say--I know. And in this moment is the recognition of every time someone brought their grief to me and I came up empty of words or even the proper attention. I also know in the future I will come up empty but hopefully a little less.


  1. Sasha, brave, broken Sasha. When my 15 year old nephew, my beautiful and beloved sister's boy- died suddenly of the flu it was the first real pain I'd let myself feel in nearly the same amount of years. And man did it hurt. Like a fucking freight train. Actually, it hurt like watching a freight train hit me and everyone I loved and my dead nephew and at the same time knowing I could do NOTHING. the helplessness, the unacceptable truth of something that shouldn't, couldn't happen, the wondering , the questions. Nothing helps. The grief and the pain wind through your body as they will. They have their own mission. Three years later, it's different. Three years later its a wound healed over but still there. What helped me most was learning that in stillness, he spoke to me. I didn't recognize it at first. I thought it was memory, then tears would drown out whatever was there. But as I learned to stay quiet and listen, I heard him. I heard him let go. I heard him find peace. So my love, from someone who cannot know your pain, but can imagine your grief - be still your beating heart. And listen, I believe you will hear him. <3

    1. thank you Tia. This is going to take time. Each little bit is unfolding itself at its own pace. Thank you for sharing your story and hearing me. <3

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  3. This culture wants grief to be noble and beautiful: clean, sad, pale. Tears but no snot. Suffering but no screaming agony. But that's not how it works. When you are grieving you can forget for minutes or hours and then be furious with yourself for having been 'normal' - or you can go through all your daily activities through a haze of consciousness and pain. You can want to yell or smack people or just want to collapse in someone's arms and not speak. Things you expect to be hard are okay; things you think will be routine are impossible or induce the kind of choking sobs where you feel you can't breathe. The messiness is normal. Our clean culture is not. I would do anything to undo all this for you. Just sending giant hugs and holding you in my heart as best I can at this distance. Love you.

    1. Valerie, I know you would. I don't love this but I also know that this experience can only be traveled by me. And Mom's my Mom. And so on. Love you so much.

  4. Sweet Sasha, My son-in-law died from a bullet. During this past 18 months, 3 of my good friends have died, one was my very best friend. What I know from grief is to let it do its thing, follow where the grief leads you. I spent time alone screaming, weeping, raging, crying, numb - all full force. What does your grief want to do? How does it want to be expressed? Be kind and gentle with yourself Sasha knowing it's OK to feel whatever you feel and that so many of us love and support you.

    1. Dear Anna, It means a lot to me that you shared your story with me. There is no graceful response to the amount of loss you've endured losing so many loving people in such a short time. My heart aches with you. Much of this feels like we are all lost at sea but finding each other and building a raft to stay afloat. You are helping me stay afloat. Thank you Anna. <3