i am not alone.

November 10, 2016

a year or so ago we had an anti-bullying assembly at school and there were buttons. i keep two posted in my apartment where i can see them–one in the bathroom and one here on the bookshelf, next to the computer–that both say, “you are not alone.”

sometimes i feel very, very alone.

sometimes i think those buttons are mother-fucking liars.

kurt vonnegut has this quote from timequake:

“Many people need desperately to receive this message: ‘I feel and think much as you do, care about many of the things you care about, although most people do not care about them. You are not alone.'”

i know that there are lots of people who feel as despairing of hope and as abused and shocked and incredulous about this election as i do–i know this.  the buttons tell me, kurt vonnegut tells me, facebook tells me.

i am not alone.

and maybe, together, we can do something to salvage the ideals of our country.  maybe, together, we can protect the people and ideas so savagely attacked by trump in his campaign and heal some of the wounds and rifts that he might not have caused, but that he certainly made worse.

i am trying to hope.  i am trying to keep it together.  i am trying to understand that all those hateful, frightened trump supporters probably also just wanted to know that they are not alone, but i cannot stomach that anyone with a shred of humanity could ignore his hatefulness.  i don’t know if i can be the bigger person and forgive them–i don’t even know if i have it in me to try, but hating them isn’t going to help me and it isn’t going to hurt or teach them anything.

we are in this world together and the things we do matter, the things we say matter, the way we think matters.  we need to try to find a way to get through this together.



June 28, 2016

car stress, which is really money stress, is not something we need right now.  not something anyone ever needs, of course, but i have enough existential angst going on as it is–the idea that i’ve just paid $1400 to repair my mom’s car–basically more than it is worth–and we’ll still have to buy her a different car on top of that because this’ll just keep her limping along until we can figure something else out.


i haven’t even paid off my car (that i hate) yet, but now i’m going to try to absorb another car payment?  and my rent goes up next month, of course.  it’s just exhausting, all on top of a grief sandwich of worrying about my aunt and uncle.

i picked a bad week to stop sniffing glue.

stupid mortality.

May 31, 2016

i’m having a hard time alternating with numbness.  i get to the edge and back away again, and when i back away, it’s like i can’t feel anything and i wonder if i really care about anyone in this world.  when i’m at the edge, all i can think is how much i care and how alone i feel.

my aunt has come down with serious, fast-moving cancer.  this is sad enough, but my uncle has had a couple strokes and has been heading into dementia, so that’s a wrinkle, there, and because of my aunt, now my mom can’t ignore her brother’s decline and i can’t stop thinking that when my mom dies, i am going to be so fucking alone in the world.

yes, i have friends.  yes, i have other family.  yes, i have a cat.  yes, my mother is often a pain in my ass…but she’s there for me, at least as much as she can be, and i don’t have anyone else in my life that i can really count on to be there for me.  they might want to be there for me, but i don’t know if they can be–they’ve got their own lives, and i am on the outside.  i am a wonderful garnish to their lives, a spritely carrot rose, a good mind, a good person, a good friend, but separate.  when i’m not in front of them, they have a life that is complete.  when i am in front of them, i might make that life better, and they love me, but i don’t know that they would seek me out if i wasn’t right there.   i think i would be forgotten and it just makes me feel very sad.

not yet.

November 10, 2014

today i spent some time with a friend and then went out to dinner and drank a pitcher of margaritas with another.  i thought it might be time to clean out my email inbox because it’s been a year now and i should be able to file some things away, but i guess i wasn’t thinking about how much it would hurt to read those emails again.  how do you decide what is important to keep when someone is gone?

i read the email she sent me at 9, responding to my stupid email about finishing a book and wondering if she wanted to come have a “julie cooper date” with me for halloween, or if she wanted to just stay home or do something different;  then i read the suicide note and the practical details notes about the things she wanted me to take care of for her after she was gone.

i’m not ready.

i made it through the anniversary and i thought it wasn’t any worse than the regular grief i have every day, but i was wrong.  this is worse.  or just as bad, at least.  i don’t think anything could be worse.  it’s just grief and loneliness and missing her so fucking much.

sometimes i feel like i’ve made too much of this–like i could–and i’m pinning all my other social dysfunction on grief.  i don’t want to eat out on the story of sadness, but i’ve often felt that going out and not speaking of it or going out at all is just too much.  i know i’ve spent this year in some suspended animation and i know no one looks at me and says, “oh, her best friend killed herself.  that’s why she’s so sad.”  it’s been long enough that most people probably don’t think about it unless they’re reminded, and that’s fine.  i shouldn’t be there, but it’s okay that they are.

today catherine reminded me that i’m not alone in this.  said that when they were with me last week on the anniversary, it was on purpose.  they didn’t want me to have to be alone, but they weren’t going to mention it unless i wanted to bring it up.

maybe i should have brought it up.  i don’t know.

i mention it cavalierly while it cuts me open inside;  i say “what can you do?”  and “so it goes” and try to work the gallows humor that sustains me in public.  i spend a lot of time wishing that someone could save me from this sadness and loneliness and grief, but what could they do?  what can i ever ask of anyone and feel that i am entitled to expect?

but that’s more about me than about her, so i feel that much worse for my selfish grief and i wonder how long it will take, how much i have to drink, how long i have to pretend, how far i have to go before i can feel less broken.

that’s what i say to myself, over and over, though i know the power of self-talk and how bad this is.  my mantra, when i think of maureen, is “i am broken, i am broken, i am broken.”  i try to act like i mean it when i tack on the end–

“but i can be mended.”


October 30, 2014

i’m glad the giants won–hard to be too sad when the city is whooping and thrilled–and maureen did love our giants.

weird day of walking around, wondering about who else was thinking of the date today, wondering if they are being tactful or just oblivious.

not that it matters.

it’s really just another day, after all.  thinking too much about the passage of time just makes it even more surreal–too fast, too slow, caring too much, too little, grief that builds and that just ebbs away.  it’s just another day.

i dusted all her special things and straightened up her photo that was slipping down–when i shoved it in the frame, i just couldn’t be that precise, but i made it a little nicer now.  i pulled some things forward and moved others back.  i thought about moving her across the room with my other dead friends, but i think she is going to stay where she is for a while yet.

maureen would like to be over by jeffrey, though.  he’d hate her for being so young and cute, but i bet they could have some fun.

but not yet.

high and fine and free

October 26, 2014

the pixies–i can’t forget

i loved the pixies from their beginning and leonard cohen almost from my beginning and certainly this song since it first came out, but…damn.  this morning in the shower, it hit me in a much more personal way.

in a couple days it’ll be the one year anniversary of maureen’s death, and i’ve done a lot of mental and emotional rearranging in that time to get myself through all that stuff that we have to get through when a friend dies, along with a side of special suicide grief.  i can think back on certain things and try not to think back too often on others.  that mental filing job isn’t totally complete, of course, but main index is filling out.

i still miss her so much, every day.  every fucking day.  and i still get so angry with some people and so frustrated with myself and i wish i could give that up–i wouldn’t mind the missing her so much if i could get through the other thing.


_the world’s end_

August 6, 2014

today i had to drive over to oakland and up into an area so pleasant that i didn’t know it existed in order to put my rent check in my landlords’ mailbox and then turn around and drive home again.  basically i spent four bucks in bridge fare and a gallon of gas or so, not to mention a good chunk of my equanimity just to assure that i can carry on my hand-to-mouth existence in san francisco for at least another month.

because this process was apparently not angsty enough for me, i also ambushed myself with a song that i like a lot, but that made me cry on the freeway.  “call me crazy,” by storm large…it reminds me of maureen so much and of myself and of the two of us and how only one of us is alive.  this crazy doesn’t always help me see death as funny, let me tell you, but i am glad i’m alive.

been feeling fairly crap about things, myself, my situation, stuff that doesn’t generally bear thinking about, but that i can’t get out of my mind lately.  petty rejections and failures that shouldn’t register, but can’t be shaken off, confusion and longing for the ease of things in the past.  not cool and pretty much the antithesis of how i want to be living my life.

_the world’s end_ was kind of a mess, but kind of brilliant, too–a kingdom for the unreliable narrator, i guess, if you are a person who can’t just have fun and enjoy a movie.  (i’m that kind of person.) 

earlier today i read this essay about _the big chill_ written by lena dunham–i don’t really know anything about her, but this essay really resonated with me on the ever-fascinating subject of nostalgia, coming of age and friendships.  it made me think of the friendships i made in my 20s, the friends i had as a teen, the community we used to share and how it’s all exploded out into these little fragments now.  i am no more a hub in a wheel now than gary king in _the world’s end_, not that i was every “the king”, but there was a time when i was at least in the middle of my own circle and not just on the edges.

it’s all very melancholy in my head right now, but to every ebb there is a flow and i’m still alive.  my connections are more diffuse now, but they exist.  i need to figure out how to live out in the world and not up in my head or lost in my past, let alone the past of fictional characters.


July 29, 2014

i’m not very good at certain things, like conducting business–or pleasure, for that matter–on the phone.  i put off calling almost everyone for almost every reason until things get critical and i will always, always take the email/online option if at all available.  i also hate looking weak or stupid, and, while i know grief is natural, i hate to lose my shit in public, particularly when the only reason i’m losing it is in my head and it doesn’t make sense to anyone else.

so, yeah.

spent more than an hour on the phone today, trying to deal with getting a copy of maureen’s death certificate and trying to figure out some financial stuff about her 401k.  i’m the beneficiary, but i can’t get any information until i get information that i can’t get until i have information.  all this while being on hold for half an hour, then hung up on and having to call back, when calling in the first place about gave me palpitations.  all this while explaining again and again that you’re doing this all because your best friend died–you’d think people could be a little less dicky.  i mean, i don’t imagine very many people want death certificates for fun.

so, all that phone time, i drive to redwood city, find the recorder’s office and the woman, after grunting an interrogation says that i have to go to the county of death for a death certificate, not the county of residence.  no one could have told me that in all the time i spent talking about this very situation today?  then, when the woman asks where she died and i said “auburn, placer county” she said she didn’t think that was a county.  nice.


i hate doing this stuff because i imagine it being an ordeal and it sure enough is one.  i guess tomorrow morning i’ll call the possibly fictional placer county and hope someone there can help me over the phone so i can get this done and out of the way. 

summer is almost over and all the things i’ve been putting off have got to be done now or never.  that’s the only way i can make myself deal with telephones and bureaucracy, anyway.

funny and sad.

January 9, 2014

tonight i watched _we’re the millers_.  i’d seen it and really enjoyed it with maureen when it came out–it wasn’t the last movie we saw together or anything (that must have been _gravity_), just a fun time we shared, something that made us laugh and that we referred back to…forever, i guess.  for as long as we had.  anyway, it was kind of like stopping for mitchell’s ice cream the other night on the way home.  everything can’t be a funeral all the time,  everything happy shouldn’t always be sad, and the longer i don’t do things, the more they associate and get more and more epic.

_we’re the millers_ isn’t epic.  it’s just funny.  i laughed and i cried, and i’ll see it again and again.

i miss her so much.

take the long way home

December 26, 2013

this year i’ve been such a sad bastard that i didn’t feel like spending a lot of time with my family at christmas.  i didn’t want to just sit around and cry with my cousin, which is, of course, EXACTLY what i want to do, so i just ran up christmas eve day and came home again today, christmas day, via scenic jenny lind road and milton and farmington and escalon.  i cruised in front of the high school, but it looks foreign to me.  i drove by madame baymiller-with-the-cats’s house and walked around at dent for a while–no more swings.

i was so sad.  i am so sad.  i should be so sad.

it’s not even been two months and i feel like i’m just coming to my grief new every day, every time i see someone who mirrors that pain in my eyes.

betty ambushed me as soon as i walked into the 33.  i thought i could wear tight jeans and a little mascara, even, and have some fun, but i get to be all blotchy and cry first thing.  people are so kind and i want to just be gracious, but i hurt.  it hurts too much.  it’s so hard to just say “thank you for your concern” and not fucking disintegrate with every casual glance.  but people loved her and love me and we are together and it is just another day.  what’s a little mascara?

play the jukebox, drink and talk.  this is how it is.