Grief Diary: Week 6

Male's oldest and most prized t-shirt gifted to me after his memorial.

I survived the memorial thanks to Klonopin and friends.

Klonopin, the only way to not lose you shit at a memorial.
Klonopin, the only way to not lose you shit at a memorial.

This week was terrible. The closer it came to Saturday, the day of the memorial, the more anxiety and the less control over my mental faculties I had. By Friday, I was a whirling mess. And of course, this week at work happened to be the week that a big wig from corporate headquarters came in to assess the goings on. I made two faux pas with her, and two more in front of her.

I asked the big wig where she was from because she had what I took to be a Philadelphia accent. I was right. I said, “I thought I recognized it. My boyfriend’s from Philly.” With the contraction, she couldn’t determine if I meant was or is, which was probably subconsciously intentional on my part, so she asked, “Is this your current boyfriend or an ex?” “Well, he died a month ago, so… um… both, I guess?” Awkward.

Six or so months ago, my company was bought by a company that also bought the company I worked for before that. I was sold with it. In the new fold, there was my former boss who still thinks he’s my boss, even though he isn’t anymore, and my actual boss, who is former boss’ mom. Not-my-boss and mom have been conspiring since day one to get me gone. They even wrote me up. The Get Rid Of Goldfish Plan got put on hold when Male died.

Thursday, I had a lunch meeting with a vendor, the big wig, not-my-boss and not-my-boss’ mom. I mentioned how the man who sold my company didn’t pay his bills. It turns out that this vendor is friends with him. I also told him about the time I was offered a bribe from another vendor. It turns out that the guy I had lunch with is a distributor for that vendor. This industry is too damn small and I should really learn to keep my mouth shut.

Then, as big wig was readying to go, I said, “Is this your last day here?” She said “Yes, it was great meeting you,” and held out her hand in what I took as a handshake. I guess she meant it as a high five, so in addition to all the other awkward, our final moments together ended something like this:


Strangely, even after all that, I think the big wig likes me anyway, because, while I may not have been this week, I am generally competent and she saw that through all the awkward. Plus, people are generally more tolerant of weird behavior from us arty types.

Friday night, my best friend had a small family gathering at her place. I didn’t want to go, because I don’t want to go to anything these days, particularly not after the awkward week I’ve had. All I want to do is hide in case I cry; I’m not good at crying in front of people. I forced myself to go, because I still wasn’t sure if I’d make it to the memorial, and if I didn’t, that would be the only time I’d get to see everyone who matters. It was also a test for me. If I could make it through the family gathering, I could probably make it through the memorial.

By the time I got to my best friend’s house, I was in the grips of yet another panic attack. She gave me some sort of homeopathic anxiety remedy, which helped, more like than not because of the placebo effect. Just the knowledge that I’ve taken something usually helps.

When I walked in, two friends who now live very far away were already there. More people started filing in, some of whom I haven’t seen in many years. People came from all over the country for this weekend. One even flew in from London and is flying back today.

I didn’t want to drink a lot because drinking leads to emotion and emotion is something I already have enough of. I had all of four beers from 8:30 to 2:30 when I finally left. I made it through the night with many hugs, tears and stories, and felt like I could probably make it to, if not through, the memorial.

Saturday, I woke up with an extreme hangover from five beers. I don’t drink a lot these days and my resistance is, apparently, very low. One of the reasons I don’t drink much anymore is because of hangovers. I hate them and if I have any more than one glass of wine or three beers, I’m hung over.

I slept most of the day until it was time to go to the memorial, which started at 5. At around 3, I started getting panicky, so I took half a Klonopin that Male had given me for when I get twiggy. I found it strangely appropriate that the reason I was able to make it to Male’s memorial is because of Male’s Klonopin.

It was awful. I’m not going to lie. There were many more people at the memorial than there were at the family gathering the night before, some of whom I didn’t want to see at all. I just kept going around talking to people for no more than two minutes. I couldn’t talk to anyone for more than two minutes. The only exception was his mother. I talked to her for about ten minutes.

I told her that I talked to him on Thursday, the day before he died, and she said that I was probably the last person to talk to him then. She had talked to him on Wednesday and our conversations were apparently very similar. We both told him to “go see a doctor.” He didn’t. He died the next day.

I thanked her for letting me visit him in rehab years ago when I was unemployed; she paid for my ticket because I couldn’t afford it and he wanted me to come. I thanked her for letting him come see me in January since she paid for his ticket to LA. I thanked her for never giving up on him. “What else could I do? He was my son.” She thanked me for being there for him. “What else could I do? He was the love of my life.” She cried. I didn’t cry because Klonopin, but I teared up. We hugged. I moved on to talk to the next person for less than two minutes.

I didn’t cry at the memorial, but I cried many times the night before. I cried when I got home. I’m crying now.

I made it through not all, but most of the memorial. When there were no more people I could spend less than two minutes with, when people started to get drunk and emotional, I left. I lasted from 5 to about 7:30, just a half hour shy of making it through the whole thing. I didn’t attend the after event at another friend’s house, but my best friend texted me with updates. She made it until nearly midnight before she had to leave.

In an hour, there is another gathering at a park near my house. I’m going to go and we’ll see how long I last there. After that, I’m done. There will be no more socializing for me this weekend.

I’m exhausted. It’s nearly over. The weekend I’ve been absolutely dreading since I found out that there would be a memorial is done. I went to the memorial. I’m glad I did, if for no other reason than I won’t regret that I didn’t.

His mom told me about a box of his stuff she brought to the memorial. I forgot to look through it before I left. Everyone decided that I should have his Damned shirt, his oldest and most treasured piece of clothing from his first ever punk show when he was thirteen. I don’t know what to do with it, but it’s mine now, along with his ugly lamp. It’s all I have left.

At one point, this shirt was black.