Heavy.

unnamedYour urn was as heavy as your chest felt when I placed my hand on your corpse lying in the casket. It was such a clear feeling I couldn’t forget. Tears were unstoppable. It was the first time I’d been with your entirety since. My heart twisted, and churned. It was like you were there, but in this bronze and gold, metal urn. I held you in my arms, cradled you, as if I were holding a newborn. Emotions of anger, sadness, and missing you swept over me.

The idea of keeping your urn in a home never appealed to me. Even when I’d had just a little of your ashes that I spread at Deception pass, it seemed so strange to keep those at home. But when I held your urn, it was different. I had felt a peacefulness in having you there. Somehow, it was the most bittersweet feeling; conflicting.

I made attempts to go through some of your things in the garage, just to feel surrounded by you. It was defeating, to say the least, but I found many childhood photos. I didn’t realize it, but I think you were my best friend growing up. Every photo, you were always by my side. Even when the photo was clearly meant to be me and someone else, you were there sneaking into the frame. When I was teenager, we fought constantly. I disliked you so much for all the trouble you’d get into. And then as adults, we’d barely begun. We grew up and I didn’t get enough life with you…

It’s only now, that I’m aware of how misunderstood you were. One of your dear friends once told me these exact words “He was misunderstood, but I understood him. And I will help you understand him too.” That weighs heavy on me. And maybe that’s why I so distinctively remember the heaviness.

I still bargain every now and again. Ten years of my life, for one more of yours. Any of my five senses for just another day with you, hell, take all my senses. A limb, for five minutes. Whatever variation is enough to give me a minute of your time. One hug. One time to say “I love you, thank you for being the best brother and unknowingly my best friend.”

While I’ve healed in some ways, and have found positivity where I can. I’ve lost myself in others. I’m fighting to find balance. Some look up and ask their deity for “strength.” While I still question my beliefs, I look up and ask you for strength, because I believe in YOU. That I have had no doubts in.

With strength,
c.

Disguise.

Maybe one of the most obliviously easy things we do.
Often times our first reaction. I have to actively work on trying to properly express how I’m feeling, but even then, it’s just for a moment.

It’s easy to disguise yourself behind social media. If we aren’t let in physically and mentally, we know what we see socially. The five posts about drinking with your gals, or the three Snaps with hashtags of happiness. But little does anyone actually know the thoughts and feelings a person experiences before or after those posts.

Maybe she’s at work, plugging away with smiles and professionalism while deep down her heart aches for her ill father. His cousin suddenly is diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer and had emergency surgery only less than 24 hours ago. It could be that someone she’s madly in love with doesn’t give a damn that he just broke her heart. Maybe he’s at his grandfather’s bedside, trying to make the best of the last moments that he can with someone who shaped him to be the man that he is. It could be that she lost her brother five months ago, and disbelief lingers every day. The girl who’s openly fighting an eating disorder that so many don’t understand. The anxiety they might face and resorting to medication to calm themselves. The countless nights she’s lying awake crying, wanting nothing more than a little comfort, a little sleep.

Sadly discovering how to keep feelings compartmentalized is not something to be particularly proud of. Don’t you think a lady wants to confess to her entire social circle about the person she fell for? The strange relationship that made her feel her worst and yet the shoulder and the comfort she turned to in her most fearful days. Sometimes we know we’re making mistakes, so we hide the addiction of it.

The things that one doesn’t know, because seeing them “check in” on Facebook, and post smiling photos of drinking, shopping, and normalcy is enough to the public. It’s enough to believe we’re all just fine. But it takes every ounce of energy, every single fiber of strength to keep that up without falling apart.

We disguise ourselves to avoid pity, sympathy, or lectures. Maybe even resist by nature. We disguise ourselves for many reasons, but our very own. Every person deserves the benefit of the doubt. We deserve to want to be heard and understood. There are stories to be told, but we’re unaware of the right audience.

Still, the easiest thing to do, even unknowingly, but to instinctively protect oneself is to dance around in a disguise of happy tones, activity, and the face of social media. Somehow what we may find fake, that’s another person’s reality.

yours undisguised,
c.

Two years later.

10860112_379229798903984_1579363324_nOne year ago, I posted a blog about my first year being out of a long term relationship of almost 10 years. I’d explained the top three things I’d learned in 2015, and I thought I’d take this moment to do the same, except the top three things I’ve learned in addition this year.

First of all, the last three things from last year are still truer than ever. Love yourself, f*cking live, and accept the things you cannot control. The lessons I learn each year are to continue learning from and building from. They’re reminders. I can say I didn’t follow those as much as I’d hoped this year. I didn’t love myself enough, I didn’t live as fulfilled as I should have, and I sure as hell didn’t want to accept the things out of my control.

When my 10 year relationship ended, I have to admit I believed it was the worst thing. At the time, it was. It was the hardest thing I’d ever have to accept, admit, and follow through with. Like a lot of long-term relationships, I had my entire future planned out ahead of me with this person, and I’d never seen it any other way. It was scary as hell to leave the most comfortable and familiar thing in my life. It was scary to let go of something I LOVEDFear and stepping out of comfort zones gets the best of us. Little did I know, this year, I’d face the absolute worst thing in my entire world. I’d face the most heart wrenching experience I’d ever have to go through.

I’d never known pain, fear, discomfort, sadness, heartache, loneliness until my brother passed away… actually passed away. It still stings saying that because it’s hard to believe on some days. I’ve grown bitter toward those whose “hardest thing” they’ve ever had to go through is less than a death, and it’s because I’m irrational most of the time, so forgive me. Grief is real, and anger is real. I can acknowledge others around me going through what they think is a tough time, but in my eyes, nothing can even compare to death, as prepared as you think you might be, this is the worst thing.

Somehow, the worst time in my life has cleared my head to see parts of myself I used to be, and parts of myself that I want to be again. It’s reminded me of how beautiful life really can be despite the death that is a part of it. Every single one of us struggles. But instead of sulking in “the worst thing in our lives”, can you take a minute to seriously look at what’s around you and what you have?

I promised you my top three lessons of 2016:

  1. Practice patience. You know we spend so much time getting frustrated about the things you can’t change. Like the massive line at the Walgreens, and you’re on the verge of missing your bus, so you’re angry at the cashiers. Do you need to be? Miss your bus, there will be another one. That person you work with who you think sent you a rude email… probably not. Stuck in traffic, and screaming at other cars or honking your horn, oh totally because that’s getting you to your destination faster. Be patient with strangers and every person you encounter. You don’t know their life, and they don’t know yours. You’d be surprised, patience can go a long way.
  2. Be kind, and truly, whole-heartedly kind. I’ve wondered sometimes if being too nice is worth it. You know how good guys claim that the good guys never win? Well I think that’s false. Being kind to others isn’t meant to get anything in return, it’s about doing something good because it makes you feel good. What do you want to remember in 20 years, that you were a f*cking d*ckhead to the guy on the bus, over what? Or that you stood up to let someone elderly sit down, or that you shared baked goods with a stranger, or bought a homeless person a hot sandwhich on a cold day? Do random acts of goodness.
  3. Find the positives. Life man… it sucks total a*s sometimes. People can be ripped away from you suddenly and you’re left trying to figure out how to put the pieces together, but seriously. I can bet you’ve got a lot going for you. There’s a positive in every single day, you can find it. Whether it’s the latte you had, the orchids someone bought for you, the best friend in your life, a job, family. Those are all the positives you have to appreciate. Have your bad days, that’s okay. But I challenge you, find a positive in every single day of your life. Especially on the bad days, find the positives. They’ll make you smile, and it’ll make your heart happy.

Obviously, never stop loving and telling others you love them. Your brother might annoy you for no reason at all, but don’t forget to hug him and tell him you love him until the next time that you see him… you’ll wish you had.

Learning to love,
cece.

Apologies.

img_7496Original: December 5th, 2016.
The last four months of our lives have been unfair. We’ve experienced what dramatically feels like the absolute, most horrendous and unrealistic feeling in the entire universe. It may as well be equivalent to death. Families and friends have had their worlds attacked suddenly. Like we went to war with ourselves and inevitably lost. Individuals we loved so dearly were ripped from our hearts and our arms. They were stolen

No one in their sanity would have willingly given them up. And yet the lives given and lived were so quickly lost to a simple unknown. Not knowing how much is too much. Not knowing what our body is actually consuming or intaking. Not knowing our right mind from the wrong one, and allowing temptation and addiction to overpower us. Not knowing the next hour our heart would flatline silently, and our brains departed from destination. Not knowing tomorrow, in reality would not arrive. Not knowing all of what would be our ‘lasts.’ The memorable unknown true impact they’d leave on us. 

For every person who doesn’t understand. For all the trigger words and language you all use. For the bastards who sell and distribute. For the jokes and the giant social gatherings that cause me undoubted anxiety before it even begins. For the damn sleep medicine I’ve learned to rely on. For being told what I need or what I should do. For attempting to let my guard down and ask for what I need. For being told how to act or treat others. For being a f*cking sponge! For ‘mothering’ and putting all my problems aside for everyone else. For doing what I think I need. For the “pretend” happiness and appearance of doing well. For all of the common “I’m sorry for your loss.” and the “Everyone grieves in their own way and in their own time.” And for the “They live on in your heart and memories.” For every frustrating, wise and cliche word muttered from your mouths. Thank you, truly, for now and in the future.

Because it is all of these little things that have made me realize I don’t have to be sorry for my behavior. I don’t have to be sorry for my decisions made irrationally, because irrational has boarded up, locked, and welded the door shut from rational ever making an appearance.

Sadly,
cece.

Thankful.

img_7471It was the first Thanksgiving I’d ever spent on my own. The alone part isn’t what was phasing or a surprise. I’ve spent Holidays by myself before and I’m generally okay with doing things by myself and being alone. It was more that he wasn’t around this year… that was the tough part. Honestly, as the week before Thanksgiving approached, I felt myself in a downward. I was rather dreading the holiday coming up. The days before were even more difficult. I’ve been mentally drained. In a way I felt like I was doing alright, and getting a handle on things before I left the city for a week. And when I came back, somehow I had to relive it, or redo everything all over again. I couldn’t run away from my problems or facing the reality of my life. It’s like I had barely begun my grieving. There’s no good time for a person to grieve, but with the holiday’s around the corner, I can say it doesn’t make it easier.

The last time mom was visiting Seattle, Sunnie was so set on taking a trip to Deception pass. Sunnie knew beauty, and he felt happy and at peace in beautiful places, the beach/the water was one of them. I admit, I wish I had just agreed to go, now I wish I would have went with him to Deception. So on Thanksgiving, I took a tiny bit of his ashes I had and drove up there. It was pouring rain, and there were 4 accidents on my way. I kept wondering “Is this a sign that I shouldn’t be going up there?” With a gut feeling saying maybe it wasn’t a good idea. We talked in the car. I said “If this is your way of telling me not to go… well I’m going.” Because this was a coincidence in my eyes. There’s all this buzz about signs, spirits, and energy and I have to be real, I want to believe in that, but I don’t think, or know if I do. I chatted with you in the car, asking if you were around. Asking if you believed in it too. Telling you how I wanted to be thankful, but I was struggling to find thanks, because you weren’t here with me.

But I am thankful for having had you in my life and as my brother. I am thankful for my incredible friends, who I call family. The ones I consider my sisters, and brothers. The lovely ladies who approached me at your viewing and I instantly latched onto, you gave me new sisters. For my parents, who gave me everything. I am thankful for this unpredictably  beautiful, awful, crazy, fun, loving, wonderful, indescribable life I have. I have so much to be thankful for, but I am not only thankful for these people and things on this day. I am thankful every single day. It doesn’t take a federal holiday to remind me of that. 

Thanksgiving was a tough day for me this year. I was mildly more irresponsible than I normally am, and had a few “oh f*ck” moments where I panicked a bit inside, but I had a shot of gin with you on the shore. I wrote a very quick and short note, stuck it in the sand and we just talked for a bit. Told you how mad I am at you, but how much I love you and hope that you knew it. Told you how I wasn’t sure how to do this, how to live without you, how to grieve, how to move on, or even what to do with my life. My future, my anything, my everything. I’m confused, and I’m lost. You’ve left me alone, you left me to test relationships, and you’re pushing me in the worst way, and yes, I can acknowledge that there’s probably some lesson somewhere down the line… I just don’t believe in myself enough. It’s like, I’m waiting for the aching and the broken heart to somehow give something back, I’m thinking and begging and hoping that I can bargain. Because that’s a stage of grief, yeah? I’m bargaining. I’d GIVE anything.

The replays in my head, they keep me up. That’s the worst… memory everything. I’ve never wished to take back anything in my life, or change anything because I am who I am for all of those experiences, but that one. That ONE thing. You. The loss of you, that is the absolute one thing I’d change in my life. I’d trade, I’d give, I’d keep you a thousand times, no matter how that would change my life. I’d change it in a heartbeat, I’d give, and I’d give, and I’d keep giving, for anything more with you.

You can’t possibly understand how devastated I still am. How shocked my soul is, how absolutely torn apart I am, in every single way… I feel more alone right now, in this moment, than I have ever felt before… and who’s there?

I miss your smile, and contagious laugh.

Missing you more than words,
cece.

I won’t let go.

Original: September 5th, 2016.
It didn’t make sense at first, the tangible objects we hold onto. In my head, all I could think was “do you REALLY need that?” As I spent the last few weeks attempting to cope, I found myself doing the same thing. This is when I realized that THIS is how we hold on. It’s the 4 metal collar tabs I keep on the coffee table. The two beers in the fridge that we bought so we could drink together, that I won’t let anyone else drink and that I won’t drink alone. It’s the keychains that you left behind and they sit in a pile on my bed, the guitar picks, letters, notebooks, pieces of paper, concert tickets, bracelet, earrings, watch, it’s so many little things that I actually have no use for.

I am learning, this is how we hold on. It doesn’t matter what the object is, it’s that it was yours. It’s that you touched it, kept it for some reason, and that’s the only way I can try to heal right now, is by holding on to what’s left of yours, regardless if it is important, or useless, or a f*cking paperclip.

I keep replaying the last few weeks in my head. The details. The moments. You. Sometimes, I believe in acceptance, and my heart hurts that you’re gone. And then there are moments that I absolutely cannot force my heart or brain to face reality. Every one keeps saying how you live within our hearts, and you live on in spirit, that we allow you to live on by sharing your memory… and all of that may be true, sure. I can share stories of you, I know you’re in my heart, because I’ll always think of you and wish you were here, but… you are gone.

There are very few things I kept of yours. Mostly small things I wanted to share with your friends. And other pieces are letters, mail, and writings that I have yet to go through. The truth is, I’m still searching for ways to hold onto you. Some old beer, Samsung headphones, jumper cables, skateboards.

Life is, at times unfair. I’ve known it, but I’ve never seen experienced it first hand in this way. Life is also beautiful, magnificent, loving, wonderful, warm, bright, and happy. But right now, I’m struggling to remember the “also.”

How can we love life so deeply, only to have it taken away so abruptly?

with a broken heart,
cece.

Counting days.

Original: October 27th, 2016.
I started counting the days. 

I don’t know if it’s really been helping, so much as making me feel like I don’t make progress in grieving the loss of him. The first while, I was so numb. I was drinking at weird times of the day, sleeping like a*s, binge eating, and sometimes not at all. I could more easily count the single good day I’d have.

If you know me at all, I’m a ‘timeline’ person. I like answers and I like to see where I am supposed to be at a certain point so I can know if I’m meeting that goal. As everyone kept telling me “it takes time, and it’s different for everyone.” it was pissing me off more than helping me realize I am exactly where I need to be. I needed to hear a timeline. In my head I could trick myself into believing it.

From counting the 1 good day, to counting 4 good days, and 1 bad one. To 9 good days and 4 bad ones. Back to 7 good days, and 1 bad one. This to me didn’t look like progress. It felt like 9 good days followed by 4 bad ones was canceling one another out. Some tell me it is progress and to think of the good days. And maybe 9 days was one too many, that this is how it goes, it’s a complete up and down, it is normal. Focus less on the bad days, more on the good.

I’ve been counting days. 

The other day, I felt the pull. Like a bad spirit that takes over, it’s like a parasite in my head. Things go from light to dark, it’s gloomy and I literally feel it consuming me. I am fine one minute, and the next I’m fighting myself. Truly, my brain, my thoughts. There’s a war in my head. It’s taking every bit of me to fight the fight. I’ve tried different tactics, and ways to balance it, but it ends the same. This is something I want people to understand and want them to hear. 

I had a trigger one night. Had to take care of some more things involving him, and I started to cry. I thought “Well, here’s the breaking point again, let’s go home and get hysterical.” I went home, and this one time, I didn’t. I patiently waited for comfort to text me back, and yes I cried, but I fought that f*cking pull the only way I knew how: sleep and breathing.

I have been acting like I’m drowning, and I’ve been waiting for someone to save me. I’ve been reaching and calling and it’s like I keep sinking and there’s no one there who can pull me out. The thing I saw, the thing I noticed is that I’ve been floating just fine… It’s the panic inside me that makes me believe no one will make it to me before I drown.  It’s not to say I don’t need someone there, on the sidelines talking me through it. On occasion holding my hand to reassure me that I’m okay. But I’ve come to see that, at some point, I will be able to let go. I’ll be able to pull myself out of the water, the darkness, the sinking, I’ll be able to do it on my own, but it’ll take a little extra work.

I stopped counting days.

With what strength is left,
cece.