Posts tagged with "death"

dead man walking

My first year of uni­ver­si­ty was spent on the 15th floor of a res­i­dence on cam­pus, the same sum­mer Pearl Jam’s cov­er of Last Kiss became a radio sta­ple for over 35 con­sec­u­tive weeks. Unsurprisingly, it start­ed play­ing in the ele­va­tor when I was once mak­ing my way to the cafe­te­ria with a floor­mate, who winced upon hear­ing Vedder’s grave­ly voice and did her best to talk over it, explain­ing her dis­like of sad music.

I was tak­en aback. Depressing lyrics and minor chords were an enor­mous com­fort to me1. As the sole child of a dys­func­tion­al home, the only thing I could turn to when my par­ents start­ed rais­ing their voic­es at each oth­er was a set of head­phones and Discman, and I’d been hunt­ing for sad songs like a rav­en­ous stray ever since I was old enough to appre­ci­ate music.

The same became true of upset­ting movies with dif­fi­cult scenes. Moments of vio­lence, tragedy, and grief would leave me glued to the screen. I was fas­ci­nat­ed with the way peo­ple processed their pain (or did­n’t). War films were par­tic­u­lar­ly apt for this, as relent­less years of depres­sion caused me to relate to any sol­dier with a thou­sand yard stare. That glazed, expres­sion­less face spoke of a per­son who had long giv­en up on mak­ing sense of the count­less hor­rors and end­less suf­fer­ing they had gone through.

1000 yard stare

The lights are on, but nobody’s home.

Continue read­ing “dead man walk­ing”…

  1. I’ve come to under­stand how naive it is to think every­one enjoys that kind of mood. []

Princess Dolly, 2003–2018

Dolores was more than a pet. She was capa­ble of pro­found love (or burn­ing hatred), and that loy­al­ty made her feel more like a lit­tle per­son than a com­pan­ion. With the abil­i­ty to rec­og­nize peo­ple through win­dows, I’d often find her sit­ting on the sill at the front of the house, wait­ing to greet me with a cho­rus of raspy meows when I came home from work; a rit­u­al only spe­cial guests may be privy to, if they’ve pre­sent­ed the princess with enough presents.

I adopt­ed her in uni­ver­si­ty, and she was a con­stant pres­ence through many res­i­dences, house­mates, girl­friends — we even shared our space with oth­er cats for years at a time. When find­ing me after a few moments apart, she’d come lean against me with an arched back, invit­ing me to scoop her up, and I’d make a point of spend­ing a bit of time to cradling her like a baby, even if I was just pass­ing through. Sometimes we’d lie in the blan­kets and stare into each oth­er’s eyes; there was as much com­fort to be found in her purring as my warmth and atten­tion.

I could tell our bond was spe­cial from the start, and being fear­ful that I’d nev­er share any­thing like it with anoth­er cat again, always made sure to cher­ish every sec­ond.

Continue read­ing “Princess Dolly, 2003–2018”…

keeping the rage tender

Fall has fall­en, and I was ready. I was wait­ing. I was trapped for months on end, when my body would­n’t coop­er­ate or anx­i­ety got the bet­ter of me. Even hear­ing Townes Van Zandt sing to me about snow in Raton was enough to make me miss win­ter again. I’d live vic­ar­i­ous­ly in any form of visu­al media I could find, just to remem­ber what it was like to feel the tin­gle of sun on my skin.

Now I can go out, but on my own terms and for the sake of it, not just ther­a­py or a doc­tor’s appoint­ment. It’s giv­en Heather and I a chance to date — to dress up for each oth­er, to trade secret glances about peo­ple who might be the oth­er’s type, to hold hands and show each oth­er off — instead of all the cop­ing we were left doing after falling into the rela­tion­ship so sud­den­ly.

portrait of Heather and Jeff

Rachel Weisz has noth­ing on dem brows.

Ever since she began her career, I found it dif­fi­cult to deal with how lit­tle we saw each oth­er. It felt like we were bare­ly con­nect­ing or hav­ing mean­ing­ful expe­ri­ences when we had such lim­it­ed time. Now that she has a bet­ter shift and a car­pool, we have an extra hour and a half togeth­er on week­days. Combined with Jesse com­mit­ting to hang­outs twice a month to play games or jam, it’s made a huge dif­fer­ence in the way I approach my goals and plan my time.

They’re small steps, but after so much regres­sion, I tend to be hap­py with any move­ment in the right direc­tion. Still, I won­der if I’ll ever find a bal­ance that won’t leave me fran­tic, one that’s con­ducive to get­ting my intro­vert needs met while let­ting me feel secure in my rela­tion­ships.

Continue read­ing “keep­ing the rage ten­der”…

Goodbye, little buddy

The vet’s office called this morn­ing to tell me Leonard did­n’t make it through the night.

I’ve been bawl­ing ran­dom­ly since. Uncontrollably1. I haven’t cried like this since I was a kid. I sup­pose it’s the shock. I always expect­ed Dolly to be the one to go first, and not for many years at that. I know I’ll be alright, I just need time. It was such a big deci­sion to adopt anoth­er cat, and I jumped on it cause I want­ed one so bad­ly, and I made all the prepa­ra­tions, and nursed him back to health so many times, and now he’s gone so sud­den­ly.

____’s been talk­ing some sense into me. I blamed myself for not going to the vet soon­er; maybe there’s some­thing he could have done, maybe being on an IV ear­li­er would giv­en him the strength to recov­er. But I did what I thought was best at the time, and there are count­less maybes in life, and there’s no way of know­ing why he died because the tests weren’t fin­ished. It could have been some­thing con­gen­i­tal, which seems like­ly con­sid­er­ing he was sick most of the time.

Continue read­ing “Goodbye, lit­tle bud­dy”…

  1. I’m so glad I work from home. []