"The blues is losing someone you love and not having enough money to immerse yourself in drink."
The only logical place to start this blog is with the story of what's happened to me over the last year and a half or so. I was asked not to use names so I'll be using the first letter of people's names. Just a warning...it's not a fluffy happy story.
So back in 2006 I met a guy, K, who I liked from the first moment I met him. K had this talent for being totally offensive and completely hilarious all at once. No one could be more vicious and entertaining than him. At the same time he was one of the most loyal friend's I've ever had. He worked for me for a few years and after I closed my business we stayed in touch, constantly hanging out or going to concerts. By the time he moved in with my family and I, we were like brothers. This was a subject that came up almost constantly between us and sometimes with others. K was the younger brother I'd never had, and I was the older brother he never had. We genuinely loved each other and he became a very big part of my family. My kids worshiped him and he loved them like they were his own.
On the subject of my kids, I'll say that K was notorious for sharing funny stories about my kids with everyone
. I would run into some member of his family or some other friend of his that I'd never met before and they would almost always say, "OH you're the guy with the kid who..." and I would laugh and say they were right. K eventually moved out of my house to live with his girlfriend. They had a kid together, a little girl, and all was good for him for a while. But things started to fall apart and soon he and his girlfriend broke up. K asked if he could move in with us again and we agreed. He was rarely ever at home, constantly off doing other things. I had assumed that after having slept in a bedroom in a home he had owned, sleeping in my basement and hanging out in a place that wasn't his had lost its luster.
On July 26th of that year I was celebrating some good news with another friend R. We were sitting on my porch drinking good rum and smoking cigars. K came out of the house and started walking. I asked where he was off to and he simply told me he was walking to a friend's house a block or two away. To make a long story short, I spoke with him one last time on the phone that night after the cops showed up looking for him. He swore to me on the phone that he was okay, and that he would call when he was ready to come home.
It's estimated that shortly after he got off the phone with me, he hung himself from that bridge with a belt and a metal hook.
This was easily the most painful experience of my life. When K died it really felt like a part of me died with him. I've never been the same and have struggled with guilt and a variety of other issues since his death. It'll be two years this summer since he did it. I'm doing a lot better now, but it's been a long hard road to get here. I never would have made it through that time without a mutual friend of K and I's who we'll call P. P was right in the middle of his fight against a rare form of Luekemia. Lest talk a bit about P.....Part II
I met P under similar circumstances when I still owned my business. P was the first employee I ever hired and we got pretty close pretty fast. Not as close as K and I were but P was a very independent soul. P had an infectious personality. It was impossible not to like him, not to adore him. Without being the least bit famous, P was a rock star. A lot of people didn't like him when they first met him but they always ended up loving him. Like K, P was very close to my family. We had thrown birthday parties for him, he loved my kids and my kids loved him. P even thought it was funny to opening flirt and solicit my wife for sex. It was all in good fun and we all laughed about it.
He too was crushed by K's death, as I mentioned before. P felt a lot of anger about the whole thing and we talked a lot about that. I tried to get him to calm down and not to let his anger eat him up.
It's also worth mentioning that P wasn't afraid of getting high. P was no stranger to smoking a little pot now and then and had dabbled in other things. He wasn't a fan of anything too hard or nasty but more than anything P loved to drink. He had a massive amount of Irish ancestry and if I could share his full name you'd laugh and agree. Needless to say, he wasn't afraid of taking his pain killers...however he did hesitate to take his antibiotics.
In November of that year, he got a massive infection in his brain and gave us all a serious scare. He came dangerously close to dying and we were all relieved when he walked out of the hospital. I remember calling him and lecturing him about taking not just the drugs he thought were fun, but also taking the drugs that'd keep him alive.
Unfortunately P didn't listen to me. A few weeks later he got another infection and it claimed his life. It was impossible for my brain to process only five months after losing K. I wasn't nearly as emotional when P died as I was when K died. I certainly had my moments but I remember just feeling numb.
Part III - Interlude
A year would go by after losing P and K and I spent a lot of that time just trying to figure out what the hell to do with myself. A new friend moved in with us, staying in the same room in the basement that K used to. I got to see P's brother who told me that I was responsible for P becoming the man that he was. His brother told me that I was singlehandedly responsible for P really growing up in the years I knew him. I was flattered to be told what a huge impact I had in P's life, and that it was so positive. P's brother is a straight shooter. He's the kind of guy who is honest even when honesty is likely to get him an ass whoopin' or a slap in the face. To hear him say such incredible things made getting through that time a little easier.
During this time though there was a bit of a bump in the road.
I have a friend that I met online roleplaying. Ten years ago, we were part of a rather large group roleplay on yahoo groups that was based on the first X-Men movie. I have to smile as I type this lol...those were good times. Anyway, I played an original character and she was playing Boom Boom. R is what we will call her, and she sent me an email out of the blue saying she liked the way I wrote and was curious if after Boom Boom escaped the clutches of the Juggernaut, would I be interested in writing with her.
This would start a writing relationship that would last over a decade. It was rare that I ever played in a group game without her at that point. We played in other comic based games, some sci fi, but about five or six years ago she read the Anita Blake books. This changed our roleplay habits for the next six years. While we did dabble in other things, the Anita-verse was a constant. I have a handful of characters that I've been playing for years not thanks to her and I love them like they're real people thanks in no small part to R.
It was really hard to take when this past summer she was diagnosed with Ovarian cancer. I swore to her that I'd be there every step of the way, as best I could since we live on opposite coasts, and I would help her get through it. Well, she started treatments and things were looking good. I got a great job shortly after that, and it's turned into a pretty fantastic potential career as well. Hell there was even talk of her moving out here to come work with me once her treatments were over.
My mother in law had been diagnosed with breast cancer some time ago. She had battled her way through it and had come out on top. Despite being a tad white trashy about it, we tried to be supportive as she looked forward to the reconstruction of her breasts. My mother in law was no saint and made a mountain of mistakes over the years. She was, quite frankly, a horrible mother to my wife and generally a failure at every venture she ever attempted. That said, she tried very hard for a very long time to be a good Grandmother to our kids. She didn't always hit the nail on the head but I have to say she at least tried.
While I wasn't terribly close to my Mother in law, it was a shock when she wound up in the hospital again. In about a week, she went from perfectly normal (or as normal as she got) to dead. I was in the room when she passed, and it was an experience that I still struggle to find words for. The worst part of this whole experience was having to come home and tell the kids that one of their Grandmothers had died.
If I live to be 120 I'll never be able to get the image out of my head of my daughter's reaction. Panic quickly turned to horror on her pretty little face at which point she simply began to sob. I would have given anything for her, at 9, to not have to experience that. The only pain that even compares to what I felt when I crushed my kids with that news is the pain I felt when I found out about K.
This happened at the tail end of February of this year. We've only just finished going through my mother in law's stuff and getting rid of stuff and sorting out what's to be kept. I thought things were pretty bad but survivable. It was at this time that I looked into how I had been feeling and a psychologist diagnosed me with PTSD. She said that things with K had damaged me in a way, and after losing P right after that, I was feeling used up.
Then I got the call from my Dad saying that my Grandmother wasn't going to last much longer. I felt absolutely nothing. I wondered my way through the whole process without much going through my head other than frustration at how little a felt. I hadn't felt anything with my mother in law's death, more just upset about having to hurt the kids, but this time I felt bad about not feeling bad. It was an incredibly awkward time made worse by family drama.
The in fighting has yet to stop and will likely end with one of my aunts going to jail for fraud. I really don't know what more to say about it. There was something that felt complete though...when my grandfather died just after high school I was his Pall-bearer so it seemed some what logical that when his wife passed I did the same for her. Part VI - Right Now
My friend R's health has had it's good and bad times through the last year or so. Her doctor was working hard to try and keep her healthy and fighting. However the last two months or so have pretty much been spent entirely in the hospital for her. A couple of weeks ago, right after my Grandmother died, she called me and said, "I don't think I can be your friend any more. Everyone around you keeps dying!" We both had a good laugh about that.
After that call she sorta fell off the map. I had problems getting her on the phone and I started to get more and more concerned. Finally I spoke with her either Wednesday or Thursday night...It's hard for me to remember which night because I've basically gotten as completely smashed as possible every night since. R told me that her doctor had told her that there was nothing more they could do for her.
We had a long cry on the phone together. We talked about a lot of things...About meeting in that X-Men game ages ago...some of the lame games we've done since lol as well as some of the better games. Talked about our mutual love for the characters we've been playing for years now in the Anita Blake setting. In fact, I told R that after she passed I just wasn't sure if I could keep writing these characters. She was the one who got me started, she's the one who kept it going all this time. Our characters are so completely intertwined in the past, present, and in the future considering all the plans we still have. I just couldn't imagine playing them without her.
In one of the more selfless acts I've ever seen from her, she insisted that I continue. "That's not fair to the others." she lectured me. R told me that she'd likely be going home soon, and when she got home, she wanted to write with me. I told her anything, absolutely anything she wanted to work on, I was up for. I laughed then, and laugh now retelling it, but she insisted that I pick. I look forward to writing with her again. I will make the absolute most of it.
So here we are.
I spoke with R's mother yesterday who told me there's still some hope. Another doctor is coming in and thinks there's still some treatment options that could help her. Unfortunately I haven't talked to R in days because the drugs have her sleeping most of the day. But I wanted to get some of this written down some where. To share some thoughts and seek some catharsis with whoever the brave souls are that actually read everything I've typed here.
First and foremost I want to tell anyone who's made it this far to hold your friends precious, including the ones you make here. R has been such a big part of my life. She knows my kids all by name. My kids have made stuff for her. She's talked to my wife on several occasions. She even sent us geld this past Hanukkah lol She was talking about coming here to live and work with me. This is the the level of friendship that can be obtained from these places.
I've had some dark days these last few nights. In fact, last night was the first night I went to bed early and sober. Friday night I drank and smoked until I blacked out. I've sought the help of my friends, family, professionals and even a friend who's a Rabbi. It's hard to get through this stuff but I'm told that we're never given more than we can handle. I refuse to let this period of my life become my undoing. It will define me not by how I was crushed, but by how I survived it.
I plan on sharing more in time. Thanks for reading.