Thursday, November 29, 2007

Coping With Loss

Everyone deals with losing loved ones, family members, and friends in a different way. I remind myself of this constantly around deaths and holidays...and break-ups really.

By the time my X no longer wanted us to be an 'us,' he was such a different person than the guy I married that I started thinking of my X as having died, and the new X as his twin brother who hated me and was an asshole and I should be wary. If I fell into my story well enough, I could almost see the physical differences of those twins. (I taught in Castroville, CA. Not only is it the "Artichoke Capital of the World," it is over-run with twins! One year I had 5 sets among the 60 kids I taught. I had to be able to distinguish via the most minor of details, 8% of my students, or fail them as an adult--7th graders, remember? Who knew such an experience would come in handy one day?)

When someone older dies, it's kinda easier, and kinda not. I am ashamed to admit it, but heck, why not, I've given out so many other secrets to the internets, I am still angry at my 92-year-old grandfather dying on me when I was 18. Isn't that awful? I have let go of so many things in my life, and yet, that's one of the reasons the holidays are rather bitter-sweet for me, as that's when he passed on. It's not like he was 25 and full of a future that never happened! But why couldn't he be there for my future?!?

My dad is one of the youngest of his family. He just turned 62. My big family-tree sized view of my family shines a light on the fact that the majority of the aunts and uncles are older. Living to see their 70s, 80s and 90s is not an odd thing. But in my selfish world, that makes losing them harder as they have been a part of my life for so long. Even if it's just to be part of the line of gossip of what awful thing "la hija de Pello" is doing now!

Recently, the oldest of my dad's sister's left us. It makes me wonder if I am a masochist, living way the hell out here away from people who I could cry with and reminisce. Yeah, I'm a crier. And it's the "ugly cry" I'm talking about. But I wasn't around any of my family or friends who would understand, and scaring them was not my goal. It was much easier to set it aside and move on. Distance from the event is great for avoidance, until it comes up behind you and bites you in the ass.

That's kinda how I feel this morning. Last night I got word that a friend I'd been losing touch with was found dead in his house. As I told the friend whose awful luck it was to spread the news, this is not something that happens to boring people like us. No one knows any details and I feel like I've been dropped into the middle of a soap opera. Which helps, because then I can laugh (maniacally of course) about the absurdity instead of falling into even more despair. What helps a little is the fact that Andy & Co. (not sure if the crew is ready for me to shout out to them on the www) all knew him too. Unfortunately the "bad" side effect is that it is much easier for that ugly cry to bare it's um, horrific head. Which, as the first line way up at the top of this post states, might not mesh well with how everyone else will be dealing. I mean, hi, I'm spouting it out to the world here! I'm obviously not a quiet mourner!

I feel very harry-potter/jk-rolling/think of england here...I know I can get through all this because I've done it (far too often now) before. In the shower I made my laundry list and I started bawling (little cry). I've already coped/semi-coped/faked myself out about coping over the death of 10 people I knew/loved/was related to/considered myself a close friend of. (I have a separate list for the other kinds of losses...) I began typing the list out here and found it too morbid even for me. I keep thinking that all of that experience under my belt should make it easier, right? Right?

Please.

5 comments:

Beth said...

I'm sorry for the loss of your aunt and your friend. I think each loss is hard, no matter how much experience one has. Maybe you shouldn't try to hold in the crying. Can you have your "ugly cry" in private? Maybe you'll feel a bit better and more able to cope after that.

Bezzie said...

Shit, it's never easy. Ugly cry away. You gotta do what you gotta do and if you're too self conscious about the ugly cry how are you going to start coping with the loss?
But hell, what do I know?

tana said...

I am very sorry. I agree with bezzie.

uberstrickenfrau said...

Yep, death is no gentleman. And if you'll pardon a stranger commenting
on your loss, I think the hardest thing about losing someone is that life goes on, like they were never there, That always seemed the cruelest part to me....

more cowbell said...

I'm so sorry about your friend. Damn, that is hard. Grief is a bitch.