A couple of weeks ago, The Daver was on the phone with his mother and he made mention of the loss of my friend Steph, and he mistakenly referred to her as an “old friend.” I normally leave him the fuck alone when he talks to his mom, but this was too big an insult to our friendship to let be, and I promptly informed him that she was well more than that to me.

Maybe we weren’t super close towards the end of her life, truth be told, she’d become fairly unreachable to me. Growing up with a mother who had suffered through the same things that Steph did, my knee jerk reaction once I realized that there was, in fact, no quick fix to this problem was to steer the hell clear for awhile. Physically, at least.

Mentally, however, I thought of her quite often. I beat myself up over and over again FOR YEARS because I knew that I couldn’t handle her anymore, and in a desperate attempt to shield myself from the shit storm, I sort of cut her out of my life. Physically, at least.

Maybe it was self-preservation on my own part, maybe I was in the thick of dealing with my own shit, or maybe it was just because I couldn’t handle being part of that downward spiral yet again.

(I don’t feel entirely comfortable discussing all of the issues associated with being raised by a mentally ill alcoholic mother, because hey, this is The Internet, and anyone can find me. My name IS Becky (and not Rich) and I haven’t made any real effort to cover up who I am (sadly, I am not a transsexual midget living in Vancouver), and as such, I only write about people who I know read this blog.

So, just make the assumption that there were lots of trips to and from the mental hospital, lots of medication tweaking, some ECT, and several drunken ER trips involved. I’m making no steps towards going private, because I don’t care THAT much, so if for some reason, you want to talk with me about this, click on that fancy “Email Me” button that The Daver put up there for me. If not, just know that none of that is integral to this or any story.)

It’s hard to stand by and watch someone you care about very, very much make poor decision after poor decision, and as I make it a rule not to interfere in my friends’ business, I had nothing TO say about it. I mean, honestly, I highly doubt that it would have made a difference.

See, she and I started out in the same place, but ended up so far from each other that there wasn’t much TO say anymore. We both had children out of wedlock (OOOOH! OOOOOH!) with men who weren’t the best choice of partners, and while I realized it and got out of that relationship, she didn’t get out until after the second child was born.

I had the good fortune to meet The Daver and together we built a fairly solid life together. I mean, I COULDN’T call her, because her phone was always turned off. Mine is only off when the Internet is down (thank you Vonage). They had no car. I have two. I finished school and graduated with a degree. She dropped every class she enrolled in. The list is endless.

Her choices were poor, she threw away a lot of good opportunities and as a result, I knew that we didn’t have much TOO talk about. At least, this is how I logicated not reaching out to her.

And whether it’s because I know that I no longer CAN or just because I never thought that it would come to her dying at age 26 from NATURAL FUCKING CAUSES, I feel guilt and remorse and shame. It’s not my fault, not really, and I was behind her supporting her to do all of the positive steps in the right direction that she refused to take. You can lead a horse to water, afterall…

Does feeling guilty help? I don’t know. Maybe it’s part of fucking Kubler-Ross’s ‘Stages of Grief,’ or maybe it’s just “complicated” grief. I don’t know. I just don’t fucking know.

All that I do know is that physically removing someone from your life doesn’t mean that they’re gone. Not by a long shot. I miss her just as much as I did before she died. Maybe even more.



18 Responses to I Would Tell You How Much That I Missed You Since You’ve Been Away

  • Amy says:

    My heart reaches out to you…I’m so sorry, so incredibly sorry that you have to deal with this grief. It is hard and sucks, there are no other words for it. We aren’t supposed to lose our children and you weren’t supposed to lose your friend! She was too young to be taken from this earth. The only peace I have is that a friend of yours is with my son. Picture that one pretty lady, she’s taking care of our babies! I know it’s no fucking consolation for you, you’d rather have her here. I understand that, I do, I guess I’m trying to make it easier on me that yet, another young life was taken.

    Thinking of you and wishing you peace! Love, me

  • I am so sorry Becky.

    You miss your friend terribly, and that just sucks.

    So, so sorry . . .. 🙁

  • I’m so sorry for your loss Becky, so very sorry.

  • KC says:

    We need to get our creative powers working on that book to her kids. Stat.

  • Kyddryn says:

    I’m sorry.

    Being raised by a drunk is no fun, and it will warp a body.

    There’s nothing you can do to stop a drunk, and sometimes the only way for you to survive their need it let them know “I love you and I’ll be over here when you’re ready for that love…sober.”

    I told my mother that when I was sixteen. No more drunken “I love you so much” and then the next day claiming she was drunk and couldn’t be held responsible for what she said. Nope. She was only allowed to have deep, meaningful conversations with me when she was sober. From that night on, I walked out of the room if she tried. It’s not that I didn’t love my mum…I did, fervently, as only a child could…but I couldn’t deal with what was deeply damaging crap at the time. If she hadn’t eventually sobered up it would have killed her, and I imagine I would have felt like crap, but we do what we must to preserve our own lives.

    Grief is grief. Life goes on, one bloody day at a time, and one day you wake up and find that the empty place has softened a bit. It isn’t gone but it’s more…bearable.

    I wish I could help with it, but these? They’re just words from a stranger. I wish you all the love and support you need to help you through your sorrow.

    Shade and Sweetwater,

  • baseballmom says:

    God, girl…I know exactly. My dad was the one who was an alcoholic, had been for 40 years or so, and we were raised with him in our house, but my mom was our real parent. Thank God. He was a stupid drunk, not a mean one, thankfully, but later on I got to the point where I just couldn’t talk to him anymore. I didn’t respect him as a teenager because of it, and as an adult, I was just disgusted that he couldn’t pick himself up and get over it for godssake, and enjoy his grandkids. I chose to pretty much remove myself from the situation, and talked to him sometimes, but not often. After he showed up to my son’s baseball game drunk and embarrassed us to no end, I told him not to show up anymore unless he was sober. Later, we did an intervention and he went to inpatient, but still couldn’t keep it up when he got back. He died in July (as you probably know) and the guilt that I feel is absolutely crushing sometimes. Substance abuse is such a bitch, and it definitely caused my dad’s death, there’s no question…but I still feel bad for not talking to him more, not hugging him enough, not letting him see our kids more (especially after finding a note from him written during treatment that said that he really wanted to have my boys over night sometime if he could get sober), but I was kinda like Kyddryn–I’ll be over here when you’re done. After we did the intervention, I told myself NO MORE, and I just had to move on, but it’s still hard. Sorry for the long comment, but seriously, I think the guilt is a normal thing, and it will get better. I hope. You were a good friend to her, and she knew it.

  • CLC says:

    I am so sorry for the loss of your friend. Grief is hard work. I guess guilt is part of it? I don’t know, but it seems like a lot of us grieving out here feel the guilt. I know I do.

  • Doc says:

    sadly, I am not a transsexual midget living in Vancouver…. Thank god you aren’t. It would have totally shattered my mental image of you

  • I have (had?) a friend waaay back in elementary school that was hit by a car the week after we decided we weren’t friends any more (because we were snitty 5th graders and that’s what little shits like us DID!). I saw the whole thing go down- her just turn and walk into the road and never see what hit her. I still grieve her and wont (cant?) let it go. Because it was my fault. Oh yes it was.

    I told you that to make the point that it’s ok grieve, for a long damn time even, but one day we’re gonna have to cut open these oozing sores and let them heal. Just a little. Scars will remain… just so we don’t ever forget.

    I hope that made at least a little sense- :-S

  • Chris says:

    Most of the time when I read your entries, I’m either laughing my tail off or I’m misty eyed. I wish I could say something that would ease your pain but I can’t because I too feel your pain.

    If I was around you physically as you tell this story, I would just be there listening and not saying anything. And since this is the internet, I will be here reading.

  • c. says:

    I can absolutely see how you could miss her more. At least, before, there was a chance that she would get better and you could reunite as friends. Now that option is not even there. I’m so sorry, Becky. Losing someone you love is just awful.

  • b says:

    I’m sorry Becky. You’re right, she was your friend..not an “old friend”..and you have every right to grieve and will do so for a very long time.

  • kbreints says:

    This post makes a lot more sense to me after I read the one posted just before. Your emotions would have been hightened with the thought of having to visit her parents… or having just visited them.

    I am sure that he did not mean anything by the comment– more of a way to describe how you knew her to his mom.

  • Kristen says:

    I would think that the separation before her death, would make this final separation so much more difficult. Been thinking of you, praying peace for your soul.

  • kalakly says:

    After losing one of my besr friends from high school, a drunk driving accident…he was the drunk sadly, I felt very much how you do now. He and I had grown apart mostly becasue of geographical distance but I still absolutely adored him and always looked foward to seeing him when I came home to visit at holidays. He was killed right before Christams and when I came to his house after the funeral, his brother gave me the photo of us at a high school dance that he still kept on his desk, one that I already had a copy of but now I had his too and every single letter or card I had ever sent him. The realiztion that the possibility of a visit and any more reminiscing was gone hit me like a mack truck. Now I alone carry our memories, both his and mine. It’s awful. He remains a bittersweet memory of a me I used to be a long, long time ago. He never ages and our picture remains on my nightstand, a couple of kids with big dreams all dressed up with our whole lives in front of us. We just didn’t know his only had a few years left.
    I hope soon your happy memories of Steph, of the better times, will cut into all of the disappointment you feel at having had to lose her twice, once with the possibilty of her coming back and the other all too final. I am sure her two little ones will love to hear about their mother form their Aunt Becky, because only you will be able to tell them all the ‘good stuff’, the stuff that made their mom a fun, exciting, filled with life, young girl, you can give them that Steph, one they probably never knew but would be glad to hear about. So you may not have been able to help her, it wasn’t your job, but you can help her babies love their mom and remember her as someone who you loved deeply and miss forever because she was someone special. That is something you can do for her. And for you too.
    I am so sorry she’s gone.

  • Ames says:

    I’m so very sorry for your loss Becky. I’m not very good at dealing with grief myself, so I’m definitely not one to give advice on it. Just know that you are in my thoughts.

  • Heather says:

    Guilt is a real bitch. It’s hard to wrap your head around it, and even harder to get past it – and that’s with the little things. I’m sorry that you are dealing with that upon all the sadness that you feel over Steph, but you know there was nothing you could have done differently when you can see the situation objectively. You’re still in my thoughts.

  • Emily R says:

    First, I have not been around much lately because I am so overwhelmed with the move. I hope you understand as I try to get my footing.

    Second — your guilt is very, very normal. We do what we have to when people are alive to keep ourselves afloat, but the fact is that the death of almost anyone we know floods us with guilt over the things we could have done differently. You did not make her choices for her, and you made the choices you had to for yourself. What good would it have done to yell at her all the time, killing off your friendship that way? Or drag yourself down with her?

    Sending love.

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