I felt you when you were the life inside of me, and I can feel your death inside of me like I am in pieces. Like my heart is beating although being held down under iron walls. I talked to you before you were born and I talk to you now, after you have gone. Every day.
I was watching Chef’s Table featuring Jeong Kwan – it is beautiful. Her story is incredible, Here is the quote I was thinking of about the pain of loss. She said it so perfectly. This from that article by Greg Morabito about the episode:
Kwan’s mother died when she was 17. Kwan explains: “I was deeply upset when she died so early. And I realized there was no guarantee that I wouldn’t give my children the same kind of pain someday. I vowed never to pass down that pain… One day, I just disappeared without telling anyone. I didn’t take anything with me. I just decided to be a monk.”
She didn’t want to have children because to love is to live is to die is so painful. This pain is unimaginable, you are correct. It is everyone’s worst nightmare, you are correct. I don’t think I could be here right now, standing, typing, getting dressed, walking around or doing anything without the strength and compassion from the people closest to me who have also lost children. Or they have lost parents, or a spouse. Or a sibling. They can reach out of the ether and touch my brain and my heart like no one can. It makes me know that in the past I was a bad death person. Did I do enough? I know I had friends on facebook and in the real world who had loved ones pass away, but was I a jerk?
This is a sucky learning curve.
Some people just love me or they loved Savannah and they just want to be good. They are good. I appreciate every single word and gesture you have no idea. The biggest rock is my friend Rachel who went to Utah with me. To see the body. To bring her back with me. To spread my daughter’s ashes with me. I will love her forever and ever and ever even though I’ve known her forever already. I know people think of me every day. I know this. My heart is so full. I am learning about love by receiving the most love right now. The contrast of grief and love is dizzying. I moved out from living with my boyfriend because (READ THIS BLOG FROM THE LAST YEAR) I wanted my own space. It is a confident man who can say yes to that and carry on and then carry me.
I will be the best casserole making, gift giving, house cleaning, art making, friend who knows just where to go in your heart and in your life when this happens to anyone around me from now on.
My son is also a sibling of loss that I am speaking of. He has carried on, found his curve, he probably doesn’t think so, I know he is lost. He is brave I think. He is scared I think. I can’t reach into his heart and hold it like I want to. None of us know what to do. It hasn’t been very long (a little over 7 weeks) he’s doing so awesome but doesn’t feel it. How can we?
I have been talking to Savannah’s dad and reaching out to him and we cry on the phone together. We were there when she came into the world and we were there to bring her ashes home. Twenty years apart and it’s a bond that is never broken. Your parents are your parents are your parents. ‘Please don’t fight.’ My son said to me. He was the one who had to tell me about Savannah because I blocked almost everyone on my phone. I couldn’t talk or breathe. ‘Savannah’s gone.’ He said. NO! I said. I had to call her dad but I couldn’t find his number. Nothing in the last 20 years mattered. Nothing mattered. I couldn’t call anyone. I blocked my family. In the midst of this wreckless, time travelling nightmare of getting this news, I was faced with all of my anger. “I can’t live like this anymore.” Flashed into my brain like lightning.
I have everyone’s number now. Savannah dying changed my life path forever. She always managed to stay vulnerable and reach out and stay strong and also private. I don’t know how she did it. She didn’t mince words and she was honest and she helped me with so much because of her compassion. She did not like it when I was angry with people, she always devil’s advocated everything yet we always fought for the underdogs together. Who is going to be my guide in this now? Even she and I were fighting. We both knew I was coming out to help her move, but our last words were fighting. I thought she was using, her dad and I were fighting, he was sick of paying my school loan, didn’t want me to come to her graduation, I was fighting with all of Denver Comedy and with my son. I was sick of being ignored. It all blew up. When people die we all tell nice stories. Well I don’t. Things were bad and tragic and sad and heavy. This has been a long LONG road of addiction hell and midlife hell and female hell and family dysfunction hell.
In elementary school Savannah shoved a kid down on the ground who was picking on a special needs kid. I got a call from the school that Savannah was being a bully. Savannah told me the story. She said ‘I don’t really like that kid either, she puts tater tots in her shoes; but it wasn’t right that a bigger, mean boy was picking on her and that everyone was just STANDING AROUND WATCHING IT. EVERYONE WAS JUST STANDING THERE!” She was so upset about everyone just watching. She was so mad. She was not sorry for what she did and I was not either.
Needless to say, I lost my shit in the principal’s office. “WHERE’S THAT KID? WHERE ARE HIS PARENTS? I WANT THEIR PHONE NUMBERS! I WANT THEM HERE IN THIS ‘BULLYING’ MEETING! I will defend my kid every damn time for standing up to people like him. EVERY TIME.”
The school preferred calling her dad instead of me from there on out if anything arose regarding Savannah. I would show up anyway. We showed up together for a lot of stuff. with both kids. A lot of people didn’t even know we were divorced. Savannah doesn’t even remember that story. I asked her about it like in the last year, and she didn’t remember it. It was just a thing she did I guessed, and probably had a lot of stories like that I didn’t know about.
So we aren’t fighting anymore, her dad and I. I told him at the funeral home, that our son said that to me, ‘Please don’t fight’ and he said ‘Well, we’re not fighting now.’ And although at the time, I was crying and wanted more emotion from him, he’s right. We aren’t fighting now. We talk several times during the week. We cry. We have each gone to grief groups and counseling. All we have is now. He’s absolutely right. I am not fighting with anyone anymore. Not even Denver comedy. : ) I can’t believe all the people who asked about if I was still mad at them. Words are powerful people. Boundaries are powerful too, but being a woman who thought she was ignored, I am not. I am using my strength for good now instead of evil. To fight evil. I like words. I miss being on stage. I have things to say.
I am having a harder time relocating myself. How am I in this world? How do I step? Where do I go? Thankfully, a kind, caring, benefactor reached out and took care of the rent for a few months while I cry in bed, in the kitchen, while I eat, drive, shop, walk, sit by the river, do yoga, cry and cry and cry into my pillow. They said they couldn’t imagine having to find a job at this time if it were them so they wanted to help out. I had interviews set up. I was sending out resumes the week she died. It’s what I do. I barrel through. This has knocked the wind out of me however and I don’t know where I’d be right now if I didn’t have this opportunity. Or the friends I have right now. Thank you.
I also don’t want to screw it up.
I’m tired of managing my grief. I don’t want to MANAGE anything. I am angry I have to work so hard to just CARE. Then moments come where I know I have to set it aside. And I go to my little side hustle jobs I conjured up and I work, and cry. I clean up my apartment. I am grateful to be here. I love where I live. I make guacamole. I try not to be in my head with worry. That is the worst place to be. I’d rather sit and look at old photographs and cry than use THAT part of my brain.
I signed the lease on this apartment, that I waited MONTHS FOR, and Savannah died the next day. I moved up here anyway. I was ramping up a new life. The contrast of the worst thing in the world and the best thing in the world living in the same exact moments with one another is devastatingly confusing at best.
My lesson at this time is to LET GO. Savannah is forcing me to LET GO. I never had control of her. None of us really have control of ANYTHING.
‘DO IT’ she said. It doesn’t seem fair or right for me to strive for happiness right now. Its CRAZY. Of course that is all I am preaching. Just notice one another please. It matters. But I am standing on this pillar of strength somehow and people are listening and I am listening to her and to others around me and I’m doing it. It does not make sense. I am stuck in trying to make sense of it.
I am estranged from my family. I am loving them from here. I will not speak bad about them, they miss Savannah too and their hearts are broken too. Everyone is broken. I was broken before this and that is not the person I want to put back together. I felt abandoned so I abandoned. Then the ultimate abandonment took place. The universe is a BITCH, man. But damn if I don’t like a good fight.
I am working with Shatterproof.org and was called and asked to be on a planning committee for their 5K that I am fundraising for anyway! I am working with the Colorado Consortium for Prescription Drug Abuse and Prevention. Whatever I think I can do to help anyone in this position, I will do. I am talking to Savannah’s rehab and seeing if they are changing any protocols of transitional living within in their program. I’m kinda UPSET to say the least. I’m kinda not kidding about not shutting up.
So I make lists. So I will do things. Things that are good. Things that are fun. Things that help others. Things that help me. Things. All things are on that list. This website is helping me a lot: What’s Your Grief They don’t sugar coat shit either. I like that. I am doing something right now from that website and its called PERMA. They just started it June 1st as a ‘challenge’ (My favorite word.) If anyone is struggling, it is a great help on not having to be HAPPY – but just taking care of yourself. It was a way for me to organize my murder wall of post it notes.
Thank you Eleanor Haley and Litsa Williams. You are saving me right now. I only hope I can do the same someday.
So I thought I would reach out to my blog again. I am writing in my journal too. And although this seems raw and harsh, my journals are where THE SHIT is. I will publish them in my memoir that I seem to be writing, that people keep asking me to write. : )
For now, I will pop in here when I want to spill some guts for the public. There’s a lot goin on over here. Reach out whenever you feel like it.
Thank you for reading. I know it was a bit scattered. Until I have an editor…this is what you get.
Keep keepin’ on warriors.