Fair warning, this isn’t a funny post. Although I started this blog in the hopes that I would spend most of my time writing things to make people laugh, that isn’t possible today. This post probably isn’t going to make a lot of sense, but I needed to solidify the thoughts clanging around in my head, to release them.
Apparently, people shouldn’t be nice to me, because I’ll start crying. Because that’s a thing, now.
This is probably a sign that my mental health’s worse that I thought, but to be fair, I’ve had a bit of a rough month. I’ve been sick for at least three weeks, and now the doctor believes I’m developing a stomach ulcer because I’ve been taking so many pain meds. On top of that, we lost another friend, marking the fifth person I’ve lost in the past twelve months (in addition to one of my cats). I was only really close to one of them, but it’s still been difficult. I haven’t gone to any of their funerals, having only had the opportunity to do so for one, on a day when I was so beaten-down I was almost physically incapable of going.
We lost Ryan last year, and his death still weighs heavy. He was a member of our congregation, and the church band; a friend of my dad’s, and the brother to one of my friends, Emily. Although he and I weren’t close, his death still hit close to home for me. Aside from seeing so many people I was close to in pain, his death reminded me of another friend I had lost, one who was very close to his age. Kyle was my godparent’s son, and though there was a ten-year age gap between us, we were close. He was very close to my current age when he died. He was the first person I lost. His death was a violent one, one that struck deep into the heart of our community. It’s been fourteen years, and his death is still with me, particularly in recent days; the anniversary of his death is only a few days away. I’ve seen what happens when a parent loses their child; how that pain never truly goes away. I didn’t want to see my friend, Emily, or her family go through that.
In October, we lost my Aunt Rebecca. We were very close, so her death was, in a lot of ways, worse than Ryan’s. It just didn’t seem that way at first.
With Ryan, I had received an e-mail at dinner from my church’s pastor informing us of his death. I quietly left the dining hall, calling my mom to tell her the news. I started crying, quickly growing more hysterical until I collapsed in my room.
With Aunt Rebecca, it was a little different.
I had gone down to the Bay Area with a group of friends. We had left Friday evening, and got to my house—where we’d be staying—after midnight. I had mixed feelings about going on this trip; on one hand, I was excited to see my family and pets, but I was nervous, because not only was I not yet out to my family, which could cause some tension (I was out to the friends who were staying with us), I was leaving behind another friend who was in a tough spot. I had given him some bad advice earlier that day, and, thinking better of it, decided to research what I had told him.
I discovered that if he had followed through with what I honestly thought would be okay, he could easily die.
I sent him several frantic texts, which he didn’t reply to for nearly an hour, during which time I became convinced I’d killed him. I started dissociating (which I explained in a previous post, here). Finally, he did reply, and told me that he was okay, that he didn’t follow through. I can’t begin to describe the relief I felt, but this didn’t ease the dissociation.
I ended up dissociating for the remainder of the two-and-a-half day trip.
Maybe it’s wishful thinking, but I believe the dissociation explains my reaction to the news of Aunt Rebecca’s death.
My dad sat me down early Saturday morning, and told me she had passed sometime in the night. I just sat there, staring at the books on the shelf across from me, thinking that I should be crying. I knew I should be crying; crying’s a normal reaction, something normal people do. But I just couldn’t muster up enough emotion to cry. I realized I should be very, very afraid, because although dissociation was normal enough for me, it had never gone this long or become this intense, and not being able to feel was a horrible forewarning of what might come next.
My mom pulled me aside later that day, after dad had left for work, and told me the same news. She refused to believe me when I said I knew, because I just wasn’t upset enough. She explained again that Aunt Rebecca had died, and when I told her Dad had already told me, she just stared at me incredulously. “Why aren’t you upset?” she asked, and the look on her face, like there was something wrong with me, like maybe I wasn’t even human, almost scared me more than not feeling.
“I’m just trying to process everything,” I explained, and prayed it wasn’t a lie, that soon enough the feeling would return and I would cry over the loss of such an important person in my life.
It took me two more days.
I was thinking about my Aunt on my way to my first class on Monday, and stopped halfway there, crying in the middle of the sidewalk. I still remember calling my mom up as I walked back to my dorm, the first words out of my mouth simply being that I missed my Aunt.
I’ve lost five people this year. There are days when I’m fine, and can easily function. Then there are days like today, when the messy losses of this year weigh so heavy that a stranger’s kindness brings me to tears. All I can hope is that tomorrow will be better.
I have no idea what I'm doing.