A lot of Viewers Like You know about this already, but for them wot don't, and for the record, here is an explanation (greatly edited for television).
A very close former friend of mine died Monday.
It wasn't exactly unexpected, and I didn't think it would be a shock, because this person had been for all intents and purposes dead to me for many years. As awful as it sounds, the way he was going, actual physical death would be almost a blessing.
I had also seriously wished him dead a few times. Occasionally out loud. So shoot me. My mother says, "Oh, people say stuff, they don't mean it." Unfortunately, I did mean it. Because sometimes it's easier to handle someone dying than handle them staying alive and not being the same person they were when you were close to them. It sounds selfish and it probably is selfish, but sometimes people have to die in order for you to get them back in any way, shape or form.
Anyway, I thought I'd just go uh, ehhhh, well *shrug*.
That's not what happened. Instead it was a big shock to my system, which has already been taxed and/or strengthened (I'm not sure which, probably both) by various other big upsets over time.
I'm about half here now. Part of me isn't here. Part of me is dead and will always be. It's probably the same part that died when we lost each other a lot of years ago. Due to the circumstances of life, I was not able or allowed to "grieve" over it at the time. It's like something died and I had to keep carrying it around like a beloved dead pet in my pocket, until now when I finally get it out and bury it.
I never did the grieving.
I'm doing it now. I will be doing it largely by myself because for various reasons I can't get into on a public journal, I can't participate in the usual grieving rituals such as memorial services in this case. That may be a good thing. I'm not sure if I want to have one more sad memory, and I'm also not convinced that Western public grieving rituals, such as funeral homes, are the most helpful mechanisms for me.
Geez, that sounded cold.
How about I explain that that was a euphemism for, "When I see my dead relative/friend in the coffin and everybody crying and 47 people there acting sad who I normally can't stand but we're all supposed to get over it and be sad together, I want to throw up and throw things and run out of there screaming hysterically until I pass out from exhaustion on the funeral home lawn, or better yet, die myself."
Such behavior would no doubt be highly entertaining, and might provide a needed pressure release for other mourners if they didn't go getting all offended on me (man, some people are SO oversensitive about death *tsk tsk*). Sort of like when old Mr. Ivanko from up the street, who hadn't driven in years, decided to come to my dad's wake, got confused and somehow propelled his car over the sidewalk and up ten stone steps and straight into the doors of St. Clement's Church. Livened up the evening I must say. But I am not Courtney Love and pitching fits in public just ain't my usual thang.
At any rate, I used to yell at this particular friend all the time for insisting that he was not having a funeral and was going to donate his body to science. That was in part his justification for having cashed in all his life insurance the minute he hit 21 and spending it on a gigantic boom box/tape recorder. I didn't want him to die (then) and if he did, I would have wanted a proper grave I could visit and not have to think about his body being cut up somewhere. Although we did agree that it might be cool to have your skeleton preserved and used as a model, especially if you ended up someplace like my all-girls Catholic high school, where the health department had a skeleton named "George" that all the cute Catholic chix in their skirts talked to and treated like a mascot. Some enterprising students even dressed George up in a nun's veil and put him in a wheelchair for a comic cameo in a school assembly play, which cracked everybody up except the admins because George apparently cost tons of money.
I have a feeling my friend won't be ending up like George but it's a nice memory, us talking about that.
Hmmm, I kinda got off track here.
I thought about dying myself, of course. When someone has just died and you're in shock, you're detached enough to think logically about checking out, and besides I've always thought about it a lot. The reason our society has so many social and religious prohibitions and discouragements about suicide is that many times it seems not only like the right choice, but also like the only intelligent choice. I know there are people in this world who don't want to die and can't fathom the thought of killing themselves at all. I think that is a great inborn instinct to have but it is not a gift I was blessed with, at least not in adulthood.
I remember getting weirded out by a high school friend, a bright person but an Ally-Sheedy-Breakfast-Club psycho-cutter type (which was fairly unusual back then, although it seems to be the norm or the trend among younger people since). She said she wanted to die all the time, that she saw no reason for living, and that I couldn't understand it because I liked life, which at the time I did. I mean, I didn't like what was going on in my life but I liked being alive at that time, and for quite a while after that. I lost that somewhere along the way and only seem to get that joy of living back for limited periods in between anthrax attacks and car crashhes. It doesn't mean I spend all day wishing I was dead (not anymore anyway) but it does mean I see a logical basis for thinking that way. And yes, I try to be thankful for what I do get and for the fact that my life is actually pretty good, and mostly I try to just go about my business and not be all boringly Sylvia Plathy about it.
I can't die because it would upset my mom and probably other people. Also, I would like to get the house cleaner first. I don't believe in leaving a mess behind me if I can help it.
I am sorry for rambling on about offing myself the other night to a couple people, but thankfully they both understood that I was way out of my head. Stuff like that is one reason why I don't talk to people when I am upset. To quote a friend, people get depressed enough as it is.
Talking about dying seems so frickin' pompous that I can't stand myself sometimes when I do that anyway. Big talk. My friend used to wish himself dead, but when the chips were down (as they were several times), I don't think he wanted to die. He'd get upset about it.
I don't want to think about those times right now much less write about 'em, though.
This is way long so I better stop.
I don't normally explain myself so much on here but I figured I owed it to my friend, because unless you're someone who knows me very, very well or knew Us, I don't normally talk about him. This time, I felt like I ought to. You can consider this my version of a eulogy for the memorial service that I didn't attend that ended about a half hour ago.