They say grief is a cycle but sometimes it sounds like it will end, it doesn’t .I cut my hair every other year for a young man who died when I was ten. I drink a bit of alcohol for a classmate who didn’t live to see legal drinking age. I keep track of the birthdays of teenager who never knew his biological dad and is probably alive today only because his father made the split second decision that his own life was less important than the life of his unborn child and fiancee . I will fight for my independence from my family, I will own my dreams and realize them for the brother who gave me armor and a sword to fight my own battles but never got to see his dreams before his time was done. I stand with ready Clan at my side and strength of those that have gone before me at my back. To all the naysayers and pessimists I laugh in your face. Watch. I will shine brighter than you ever thought possible.
While reading through the posts on another blogging community I am part of I came across this one and I realize that I have had to deal with this phenomenon recently myself. Within the past year I have lost two very dear friends, both of whom were and still are on my friends list on Facebook. I can tell you from first-hand experience that the automated messages that Facebook sometimes generates suggesting that you help the deceased find friends are jarring. I can best describe the feeling as something similar to the feeling get walking down a set of stairs and skipping one on accident, it almost feels like you have to catch yourself to keep from falling. Every time this happens I find myself having to blink away tears. In spite of this I can’t bring myself to remove them from my list of people. Why? It is not because I refuse to accept the fact that they’re dead, I know this. I have shed copious amounts of tears over both of their absences. Having been through the grieving process several times in my life I am aware that at some point the memory of the deceased persons face becomes blurred as though it has been smudged with an eraser and it becomes difficult to remember details. These two people have mads such a difference in my life that I can’t stand eve the thought of forgetting their faces. Their profile pictures are reassuring somehow and for me at least outweighs the discomfort caused by the abrupt reminders of reality that Facebook occasionally sends.
Sometimes you really can’t say enough. I can say that without your help it is very likely I wouldn’t have graduated high school with a regular diploma. I can say that you taught me to self advocate, how to work within the disabled student system without letting it steam roll me and get away with things it shouldn’t, well before I actually had to in college, that was invaluable. You taught me to weave and even fixed a loom so that it was “handicap accessible.” That loom saved my sanity when I was in the hospital for a month. You made time for me and took me out just because. You cooked for me. We ate a sackful of hamburgers and talked until 2 A.M. I can write all of this and more and still not begin to say what you meant to my life. When the screaming and crying stopped all I was left with was an awful headache, a suddenly empty stomach,and shock. Now that the shock is wearing thin., I am left with….space. A void. I’m not going to ask why you left now, you always did things on your own timetable and heck with what others expected. Some people say that when you die you get to see yourself from the view of the people whose lives you influenced whether it was positive or negative you feel the emotional impact. I hope so because you’ve done me at least a lifetime worth of good. By the way you don’t have to worry so much, I’m ok . I have a good man who doesn’t give a damn about my chair or anything else related to my disability The universe didn’t just break the mold when they made you Nathan, they used a different wheel. You are always loved.
Today a light went out. A dear family friend passed on this morning. Kurby Owens is survived by his wife Sondra and his two daughters Danielle and Delaney. He will be remembered as a steadfast and loyal friend and a loving father. You will be missed greatly. You gave me the gift of a body that works even if it is pixelated and only exists within a computer generated world. You gave me the ability to dance and I will never be able to thank you for. I love you and I will miss you for the rest of my life.
In answer to a post prompt earlier this week yes, I believe in the occasional use of the death penalty.How I came to hold this belief has been fodder for several posts already and therefore I will save you a recap of the details. It is sufficient to say that I have held this belief for a very long time. I also believe that if you feel justified enough to sentence someone to die you should have enough conviction to watch it as it happens. Perhaps if you don’t that person should not have died. That is paraphrasing a sentence from the Song of Fire and Ice books written by George RR Martin. Even though the books are set in a medieval fantasy culture I think it is one of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever heard.
My great grandpa Prophet died when I was 13 so my grandmother (his eldest child) and my great aunt (his youngest child) drove with all of us kids to Arkansas for the funeral. When we got there about seven hours later I was the only one of the kids awake and the first thing I remember after getting into the house was one of my adult cousins asking me if the kids were actually going to be at the funeral, to which my answer was of course yes. I should mention that the great-grandmother I knew growing up was actually my great grandfather’s second wife, she had on adult daughter from a previous marriage when she met my grandfather. Apparently Gail was terribly jealous of his blood related kin. I was told this on the drive there but was not prepared for the extent of the truth. For one Gail proceeded to chastise my grandmother for bringing us to the funeral even though the youngest of us was eight so it wasn’t like we would unknowingly disrupt the proceedings. Gail spent the few days before the funeral tidying up invisible dirt in any room any of us were in as though we were dirty and soiling her mother’s house. This stuff began to get on everyone’s nerves. As if that were not enough she added insult to injury on the day of the funeral when we were getting dressed for the services she took one look at my aunt’s beautiful turquoise dress that she had brought to wear and made a snide remark about its appropriateness presumably because of the color. My aunt doesn’t wear dresses and her father’s only request of her was that she wear a dress to his funeral, He was never a fan of the color black at funerals so the color choice was completely up to her. Gail’s comment had my aunt about spit nails and unfortunately for Gail my cousin Bobby walked in the room just in time to hear it. That was the beginning of the end. That evening, after the funeral after most of the house was asleep I woke up to see a person who might have been my cousin outside of the bedroom which I and the rest of the girls (my sister and my cousin Autumn) unfortunately shared with Gail. Also outside were shadowy figures which might’ve been my mother’s brothers and my great uncle Charlie. I was closest to the window but because of my disability wasn’t able to open it and so my cousin Autumn might have done it instead of me. The person who looked vaguely like my cousin appeared to climb in the window and opened Gail’s suitcase which held all of her wigs and was unwisely in plain sight. What happened after that? Well, let’s just say that sometimes a suitcase might inexplicably become a man-made lake overnight. There was much shrieking the next morning and watching grandma and aunt Mary try for disproving faces was very funny. I am somewhat ashamed to admit that as far as the “official record” goes the blame lies with my great-grandmothers very house broke miniature poodle, to whom I for one apologized profusely to until we left for home.
this story while true has been edited in deference to a readers time. If I were to catalog all of the horrible treatment it would certainly qualify as the longest post I’ve ever written and quite probably the longest post anybody has read.
I periodically write blog post which mention my friend Anthony who died of leukemia when I was 10. I honestly don’t think my heart ever completely mended after he died. I know that it sounds odd to most people but at that point in my life he definitely counted as my best friend. Recently another good friend of mine who knows about Anthony mentioned that if he had survived cancer he would be the same age as my friend, which is to say in his early 40s. Well that got me to thinking about how our relationship might have turned out if he lived. I know the wondering is fruitless because Anthony is still dead and nothing will change that, but in this case I find a peace in contemplating what might have been, for some strange reason it makes his death easier to live with.
I attended public school for most of my compulsory education. I also had the dubious fortune of riding what was commonly known as “the short bus.” For those of you who may be unfamiliar with this piece of slang, the short bus is a mildly derogatory name for the bus that the special needs students use, it is most often shorter than a regular bus because they’re not as many seats in it because of the need to carry a wheelchair lift and provide space for a wheelchair itself. If someone asks you if you rode the short bus this morning it is most likely because you just did something really dumb,a reference to the fact that many of the students who use the short bus are mentally disabled. My short bus story isn’t funny and I wish with all my heart that it had never happened. In the fall semester of my senior year I discovered that a friend of mine had died over the summer and not a one of my classmates had thought that I should know.I wasn’t shocked that my friend died, he had a congenital heart defect so I was kind of expecting it. The thing that shocked me the most was that he didn’t die from his heart defect like we all expected, a semi truck ran him off the road in the rain killing him and his younger brother on the way home from their dads.A teacher that we’ve both had for a previous class told me the story. I cried sporadically for the rest of the day. Like a lot of schools mine had vending machines and at the end of the day I decided to get myself a Dr Pepper. I think I would’ve actually preferred a shot of whiskey but considering I was underage at the time I took the best substitute I could find. It was against the rules to bring soda on to the school bus but that day I couldn’t care less, fortunately for me my teacher’s aide informed the bus driver and her helper what had happened and so they never said a word about it. However I was not lucky enough to have everyone keep their mouths shut. There was one boy who got on my last nerve almost every day. He had ADHD and used that as an excuse to annoy the daylights out of most everybody, think Dennis the Menace in middle school and on Ritalin. He knew about the no soda rule and kept threatening to tell in this very annoying singsong voice. I was doing my very best to ignore a, because considering my state of mind I wasn’t sure if I started hitting him I would quit. Also on the bus were a couple of boys who had severe anger management issues and could be very scary if they wanted to be. Next thing I know both of them had turned around and told the little past quite calmly and evenly to shut up and leave me alone they then turned to me and apologized for his behavior and also that my friend died. I guess you can imagine that “Dennis” almost swallowed his tongue and left me alone for the rest of the trip. I think I even laughed, but in spite of that I would still trade the whole experience to have Paul around.
What do you want your tombstone to say?
I don’t know exactly what I want on my tombstone. I’m afraid that if I actually started considering it out loud several people might start to worry.Besides that the epitaph that appears on your grave marker is the last thing you will ever say to the world,and in some cases the only statement future generations will ever hear you make. I’m not even 30 yet so contemplating my final sentence is hopefully, very premature.I would like to think my last words would be inspiring but the truth is whenever I finely decide on will probably be obscure and murky to any one who isn’t either a good friend or biologically related to me. I’m okay with that because after all when everything is said and done that last sentence is supposed to be the last remaining comfort of those who stand in that cemetery in the days after you have left this mortal coil, it really doesn’t matter if strangers understand it or not. Or does it? Feel free to leave input in the comments section.
I never thought to use the words “pet” and “duck” in the same breath until you became a part of our lives. If anyone had told me two years ago that a duck could make a good house pet I would’ve laughed. You were s “house duck” because your legs, twisted with avian gout made it impossible for you to forage for food like an average duck would. So we named you Fergie after Sarah Ferguson the Duchess of York. I have always admired her and I thought you needed a strong name to live up to in spite of your difficulties. Guess what? It worked you eventually were strong enough to fly out of moms grip several times. You were our super duck and I will miss you.