Grief Diary: 15 Months

I don’t feel like talking today, which is part of the reason I’m doing it. Forcing oneself to do things that are good for you is good for you, no?

In case there are newbs in the audience today, the love of my life for fifteen years died on March 13, 2015. I didn’t find out about it until the 15th. Beware the Ides of March, folks.

He died alone in another time zone and the police found him some 36 hours after he died. To think of him lying dead on his bed for 36 hours makes me a little queasy. Actually, the whole death of the love of my life thing makes me a queasy. By all accounts, he died from a seizure in the middle of the night. If you have to go, dying in your sleep is a good way to do it.

Tomorrow, it will be one year and three months since he died. It’s still so strange to me how we measure grief in days, weeks, months as if there’s an ultimate goal to be reached. There is no goal but to survive it.

It still doesn’t seem real. The other day, I ran across a Facebook messenger conversation we had about the Thanksgiving before he died. He usually spent Thanksgiving with his mom in Washington state and Christmas with his dad in Philadelphia except for the last few years when he had a falling out with his hypocritical asshole father. New Year’s Eve was all about his real family, his friends, so he always made sure that he was home for New Year’s Eve.

The last year he was alive, he didn’t come home for the new year. He had law school stuff to do–he was taking a mini-course for extra credit or something–so didn’t come home until mid-January, which was the last time I saw him. He stayed with me for two weeks.

Anyway, the Facebook conversation I stumbled across was from before his last Thanksgiving. He was going to spend a few days with his mom and then head over to see a friend of ours in Seattle. He was trying to somehow figure out a way to get both me and my dog up to Washington for Thanksgiving.

It always came down to money. He was a poor law student and I never have enough money to do anything. We were talking about the various ways we could get there including trains, planes and automobiles. There was even talk of hooking a harness and sled up to the dog. We both knew it wasn’t going to happen before he even asked, but the banter was great. I miss the banter. In the end, he said, “Ha ha, u r poor, loser!” Immediately after, he added a frowny face.

In the end, I never made it up to Washington. I never made it to visit him in law school. I never had a car I trusted to drive that far or time off enough to do it. I never had enough money to fly both me and the dog to visit. I had secretly planned on taking a bigass road trip last summer. I was going to take two weeks off, rent a car and drive the dog to see him. Then we would go on a road trip together, but he died before I could make that happen.

I never saw where he was living in law school. I never met any of his friends there. In the two years he was away at law school, I only saw him was when he came to visit me. I have some guilt about that. I should have gone to see him. As Male would have said, “It’s only money; I can make more.”

We humans always think there will be more time. “Maybe next year…” Well, sometimes, there isn’t a next year. If you want to see someone, go see them now, because you never know when it won’t be an option.

And now, there’s talk of taking a road trip to visit where he was living. In September, on or near Male’s birthday, one of his best friends, and mine, wants to visit where he was living when he died. We still need to spread his ashes.

This friend is carrying more guilt than any of us, since having been through all the dark times, he had to step back when the times got good again. He was right there through the mess Male had made of his life when he ended up in rehab twice, but once Male got clean for good, his friend just couldn’t hack it anymore. I nearly gave up on Male when the going got really bad, but he had to give up when it got good again. It had something to do with waiting for the other shoe to drop.

I understand. It’s easier to deal with a crisis as it’s happening than it is to wait for one that may or may not come. Though it hurt Male that his friend couldn’t be there, he understood why and he also knew it wasn’t permanent. They had been friends since they were teenagers and Male had faith that they’d be friends again, but he died before that could happen.

I told his friend how Male felt at the memorial. I know his stance, since we talked about it the last time I saw him. I didn’t sugar coat it. I told his friend that his absence did, in fact, hurt Male greatly, but I also told him about Male’s faith in him. He had nothing to feel guilty about; he was there through the rough times when others had long ago given up on the idea that Male would ever get his shit together, which he did. We both cried.

Logically, Male’s friend knows this, still, it will probably be years before he can let go of that guilt even a bit. The pilgrimage to visit where Male was living is just one tiny step towards that for him. He asked me to go with him. I’m considering it, but I’m not sure that it would do any good for me to finally visit him there now that he’s long gone.