Have you ever noticed that the things that you DON’T say are the things that are usually the most important? The hardest stuff to swallow?

For someone like me, who, according to my own father “talks paint off walls” NOT saying something means a lot. A whole lot.

On Friday I spoke with Steph’s mom, who had recently gotten the results of the autopsy, and I could barely bring myself to tell The Daver, let alone admit it to myself or The Internet.

Natural Causes.

She died of natural causes.

At age 26.

She died of NATURAL CAUSES.

Relating, of course, to chronic alcoholism.

————-

Grief isn’t a linear process, nor would I expect it to be. No, all of a sudden, it’s like a rain cloud comes quickly across the previously merrily shining sun, and then you’re sobbing as you pick your son up from school and have to explain that you’re crying because you miss your friend.

It sneaks up on you like a well-oiled fart and leaves you suffocating and panting for breath and wondering why the hell you’re not over this already.

The short answer is, of course, that you’ll never be “over” this. Not ever.

You’ll walk away from it a different person than you were before the phone rang on that Sunday morning, never to be the same.

Lunches will still have to be made, asses wiped, dog fed, Easter Eggs dyed festive colors, but nothing is the same anymore. It’s all a bit different, kind of like a carnival, where every now and again something (typically a mullet, sorry Meg) pops up and scares the hell out of you.

Eventually, you tell yourself, the hurt will fade with time and effort, but it will never go away, content to throb in the back of your psyche like a sinister toothache or minor burn.

But for now, it hurts like a bitch. It hurts like a fucking bitch.

————

I’m not egocentric to believe in my heart of hearts (burned and blackened as it may be) that I could have done anything in my power to save Steph.

But I keep going over and over the last time I saw her and wonder if I noticed anything to tell me that this would be THE last time I ever saw her.

I was out and about in my neighborhood, about 20 weeks pregnant with Alex, trying to focus on the song on my iPod and NOT kill my neighbors grass with vomit again, while telling my pelvis that it didn’t need to expand quite yet, when she pulled up in a car with her mom and her two kids.

At the moment, I was so focused on not puking on THIS block (it was my own mantra “if you can make it to the next block and not puke again, you can rest for a minute” and I liked it), I barely noticed the van pull up and someone pop out. When I realized that that Someone was talking to me, I immediately assumed that one of my neighbors had tracked down That Puking Girl to yell at for killing her flowers, but no, it was Steph.

We chatted for a moment, making plans to catch coffee, I complimented her children on being particularly gorgeous, and we parted ways.

I never saw her again.

Maybe I’m not egocentric enough to ever believe I myself could have changed the outcome for her, but I wish I’d said something better. More meaningful. I wish I’d told her that I loved her tremendously, that she was more than “just some friend from back in the day,” and that I thought of her quite often, really, I did. I attribute a lot of who I am from how she shaped me as a person.

Yes, she was well more than a friend.

And now I sit here, 10:30 on a Sunday night wracking my brains for any clue as to what I might have said, but, based on the fact that I don’t talk about my feelings unless I’m suffering a head wound or madly hopped up on pain killers, I’m sure it wasn’t much in the way of anything.

But oh, how I wish I’d said more. Anything. Just more than I’m certain I did.

I suppose that I’ll get my chance when I join her in the afterlife, and maybe then I can apologize to her for not telling her how much I missed and loved her like I should have. Because both are the truth.

I miss her more and more every day.

I’m sure I always will.

Comments = full of the awesome. Like gravy. I can haz an RSS RSS feed .

18 Responses to …By Hurting You

  • TheMrs says:

    I’m very sorry for your loss. :(

    I wish I could give you some comfort with words, but I don’t know any more than you do.

    I’m pretty much the same when it comes to sharing things like emotions, feelings, etc….

    So all I can really say, is that there are lots of people who sit and wonder, “What could I have said..” or “I should have said X, X, and X…”

    Don’t beat yourself up over it. Deep down she knew. And I only know that much by thinking of it this way:

    Do I know that my friends and family love me? Do I know that they would be upset if I disappeared prematurely from their lives forever?

    I’m sure you’d answer ‘yes’ as well.

    Peace.

  • Emily R says:

    There is of course nothing you could have done differently, and you know this. But if you didn’t feel this way, you wouldn’t be grieving properly. It is so completely normal.

  • Karen says:

    Hugs.

  • Kyddryn says:

    If, even once, you told your friend you loved her, she knew it always.

    I believe we honor the dead by living. That’s helped me through a lot of deaths.

    I am sorry for your hurting, and I hope it becomes more bearable soon.

    Shade and Sweetwater,
    K

  • KT says:

    i wish i could say something that will make it better for you. i know i can’t. so i’ll just say that i’m thinking of you, even though i dont’ know you in real life. I hate knowing that people are suffering with loss. it won’t get better, but hopefully it will get easier.

  • Pauline says:

    Big hugs to you. I am sure she knows how much you care.

  • kbreints says:

    Again, I am so sorry for this loss. I am shooting love arrows in your direction today.

  • b says:

    I know this feeling, this sadness, the regret… but this is yours today. I am sorry that you lost your friend. I believe she knew that you loved her. I hope you find some peace today. As you know, some days are harder than others to deal.

  • Manny says:

    I’m sorry you lost a friend. I won’t offer any armchair psychology other than to say that the pain does lessen, and always remember her, because forgetting her would be worse than any pain you might feel now.

  • pamajama says:

    This was really beautiful. I’m so glad you didn’t say anything about getting over it or healing. ACK!

    My last conversation with my grandmother was about rubbery Jello. Thirty freaking years ago!

    Have you ever read any books about people who’ve had near death experiences? I really get a great deal of comfort from some of that stuff.

  • whitney says:

    no words. just tenderness and appreciation for your real, honest, raw dialogue that inspires all of us to look for that in our own lives. Thank you.

  • LAS says:

    Oh Becky, this post makes me cry. Trust me, take it from me, a recovering alcoholic, there is nothing you could have done or said. I feel your pain because like I’ve said before, I have watched this disease kill many people and I was powerless to stop it. I am so right there with you – feeling what you describe. Everything I’ve been through, particularly surviving cancer, has really made me realize the importance of saying the things you want to say to people. Life is short – you have only this moment and you never know whether you will get another chance to get this right. That’s why I stay sober today. You hope that as time goes by the pain will lessen into something softer, but nothing will ever be the same – I get that. I’ve recently been trying to come to terms with the fact that there are things like that in my life, that I am not going to get over. You figure out how to live through it and as dumb as it sounds, hopefully it makes you stronger. You are a very strong person and I admire that in you.

  • Angela says:

    Oh, Becky. Just thinking of you and the place you are in. Wish you didn’t have to grieve at all. Wish there were answers. Life and death are so much bigger than us, and that sucks. It really, really sucks. And it all moves by too fast.

  • kalakly says:

    I’m so sorry. I’ve been there too. I guess I’m still there. It’s not like they come back even after gosh, 20 years or so. I lost a couple very close friends, suddenly like you lost Steph. Car accidents, drinking and driving, suicide. The whole shebang. All I can tell you is go ahead and let it out. Feel the loss, miss her like crazy and grieve for her, her kids and her family. While nothing will bring her back, obviously, one day it will happen that you remember her and it will be with joy and laughter, the kind you once knew with her, not with the tears and sadness that came with losing her.
    I hope those days come soon, I know how hard the ones before them are, hang in there.

  • baseballmom says:

    Aw girl, I know. I keep going back over the last time I saw my dad, before he died of alcoholism last summer. I went over there to borrow his Tahoe because we were going camping. I was totally annoyed because he was supposed to come to T’s baseball tournament, switch cars there with me, and he didn’t show. I had to go between games, and was totally inconvenienced. I was in a huge hurry, too, and couldn’t wait to get out of there. When I brought his car back, I hardly even visited with him, just switched keys, said thanks, see you soon, and left. Little did I know, he’d be dead, after suffering all alone in his house, 8 days later. The other day, I was reading the newspaper, some stupid story that reminded me of him, and I just started silently bawling behind the newspaper. It’s SO HARD, and seems like it hits at the most unpredictable times. I wish you peace, and I hope it gets a little easier as time goes by. You’ll always miss her, but she knew you loved her!

  • Victoria says:

    I’m so very sorry. For your loss, for the loss of her. For the pain and sadness.

    ((Hugs))

  • I’m so sorry for your loss. I wish I coudl write something comforting but I don’t think there are the words…HUGS.

  • becky says:

    God, Becky… I’m so sorry.

    I didn’t know Steph – I only read about her on your and KC’s blogs… but it seems like she was the type of person who wouldn’t have wanted that kind of conversation to be the last one that she had with you. She seemed like the type of person who was free-spirited, who liked to do things on a whim.

    The people I know who are like that would want something natural, something “every day”… and that’s just what you and Steph had on the sidewalk that day.

    I know it probably doesn’t help much to say “she knows how you feel”… but I believe she does.

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