Sad Things

12/02/2011

I saw this earlier.

Do not think of suicide as the ultimate Fuck you

Do not think of suicide as the ultimate Fuck you
or that your moral plane is so much higher.
Nothing in the world has a thing to do with you—

little ever does, when everything is through,
your majesty, your royal highness, bastard, sire.
Do not think of suicide as the ultimate Fuck you,

or even a selfish act; she did what she had to do.
The storm-blown hawk knows when to release the wire.
Nothing in the world has a thing to do with you.

Her life was night and nothing more for all she knew,
angels of the minor keys sang among her choir.
Do not think of suicide as the ultimate Fuck you.

There’s nothing you could have done and nothing to undo.
Fill your life with everything you love, what you desire.
Nothing in the world has a thing to do with you.

She had regrets and grief, was more than passing blue,
but no one blames the hand for withdrawing from the fire.
Do not think of suicide as the ultimate Fuck you,
nothing in the world has a thing to do with you.

—————————————————————————————————–

A person I only-sort-of-knew killed himself a few days ago. Like I say, I only sort of knew him and I don’t want to make it like I’m personally devastated by it – I’m certain those who were close with him are feeling devastated and I don’t want to appropriate that or disrespect that grief. I dunno, it’s a sad thing, and when sad things happen we react but it bugs me when people do that thing where they act like they lost their best friend when the person was actually someone they only-sort-of-knew. Is that cold?

But here’s something I don’t talk about much, which recent events have brought to mind. Just over two years ago my stepfather killed himself. We hadn’t spoken in years. After my mother died –  I want to say that ‘he didn’t handle it well’ when my mother died, but the point is, and has always been, that he handled it the best he could. I handled it the best I could. I had hoped we would have handled it together, but I think that I reminded him of my mother too much. We have the same laugh, cough, mannerisms etc, and a couple of times he told me things like he’d heard me clear my throat in another room and for a moment he’d think I was her. I know what that is like, that instantaneous feeling of closeness, followed just as quickly by renewed devastation as you realize the person isn’t close, they are still as far away as can be. I think that was the biggest part of it for him. He was the sort of person who would make sure to avoid that sort of pain, and to avoid it he had to avoid me. I pressed, I didn’t want to let go. He had all the memories. The memories and more. But I had to let go, and when I say I didn’t want to, I mean I didn’t want to – but it had gotten to the point where he’d told me flat-out not to come around anymore and I knew that if I kept pushing, things were going to get very ugly. I remember thinking to myself that if I didn’t back off he was either going to call the cops on me or shoot me. He’d been drinking a lot, did I mention that? Yeah, there was that.

So I didn’t talk to him anymore after that. To say that this was a difficult time in my life is an understatement. First my boyfriend slept with my best friend on the day my mom died, and neither of them were coming around, and then the break with my stepdad came 2 months later. Mostly I remember feeling desperate to distract myself from the reality of life. And mostly I succeeded.  That’s pretty much when sex work saved me. It probably sounds weird but I would always tell people the truth – like when a client would ask “so how’d you get into this biz” – I would just tell them “Eh, my mom died and my job sucks and I’d rather sit home grief-stricken than be in that stupid office” and they would get it. They would tell me about when their parent/s died, and I’d start quite a few sessions that way; me and the client laying open our grief to each other. I’d been to grief counseling, and to a couple grief-group things before but the talks I had with clients were infinitely better, more connected, more comforting on an emotional level. Plus there was sex and money, too, and I know a lot of you think that makes it weird or wrong, but you can only take my word when I tell you it actually made it so, so right.

And then a few years went by and I got a call from my brother. He never calls, and he was calling to tell me that my stepdad had shot himself. I don’t really know how to describe my reaction. He wasn’t in my life, and his death would make no physical day-to-day difference to my life, so it was sort of like I was grieving for the loss of hope more than I was grieving for the loss of him. The hope had been that we would speak again. I had this silly picture in my head, and I’d carried it all those years, the image of when we would reconnect, and we would forgive, and we would understand, and we would remember. Mostly we would remember. But when he died all that hope was gone and it hit me hard to realize how closely I’d been holding that hope for so long. That hope that someday he would call. There is more I could tell you, about the heartache of ‘could I have done more? should I have done more’ – that heartache crops up for me now and then but, well, that’s why I like that poem.

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