Sunday, January 5, 2014

There is no such thing as getting used to death

I experienced another death recently. She was a friend from school. A poet. Someone younger than me, but someone I looked up to. I've been struggling with both the need to write about it and the fear of thinking about it at all.

It is interesting how different deaths have different ways of affecting me. Of course losing a husband is devastating. It is expected that a wife who loses a husband be shattered. But what is a friend expected to do? How am I supposed to feel?

She was not someone that I lived with. She was someone that I was getting to know and wanted to know so much more. She was someone I was to work closely with in the years to come. She was someone I assumed would be in my future. It was a friendship I was excited to see blossom. I was excited to see where she was going. She was going places. She was supposed to do things.The emotions that come with such a death are so unfamiliar to me. She didn't consider me a best friend, no. But I felt attached to her for some reason. I was rooting for her. She came to me for advice. She trusted me. She just needed someone to listen. I just wish I would've listened a little closer.

And yes, I know it's not my fault. There was nothing I could do. But I also know that it's just the way things go when someone dies: all the what if's drown away common sense. Those damn what if's.

My friend was murdered. And it was in a way that hits close to home. Too close to home.

I remember when Cleve died, one of the first things my mother said to me was, "It could have been both of you."

I was so mad at her.

When someone dies you want to remember them as perfect beings. You only want to remember the good, and there was so much good -- so much more than bad -- but the reality of Cleve and my situation was that it became violent. There was a reason I had to choose to separate myself from him in the end. There was a reason he was in therapy for his PTSD. I can blame myself all day long for the decisions I was forced to make because he ended up dying and, in the end, I would redo everything, god I would, but I can't tell the future and I did the best I could and now I know that, damn it, my mom was right. She was fucking right. He could have killed me and then himself. And I've never quite been able to admit that, to verbalize the horrendous and unfair reality, but long ago when he was arrested for domestic violence for chasing me through our neighborhood with a gun -- for looking at me dead in the eyes with a cigar in his mouth as if it were his last he would ever smoke, gun cocked in one hand -- I knew what he was capable of. I knew, for the first time, that his amputated leg was not the most severe wound he earned at war. He could have killed me and he could have killed himself. If my neighbor had not heard me screaming, there is a chance neither of us would be here. And then what?

The reality of this came full circle when I received the call that my beautiful friend was shot by her husband. They were young. Only 20. She married him on a whim after her brother died, her third brother to die in three years. She was grieving and needed love. She wanted family. Her brothers were all she had. But soon she realized her husband was not what she expected, as she continued to excel, he remained stagnant, sad, emotionally abusive, and she left him. She met someone else. Someone who loved her the way she needed. Months later, her soon-to-be-ex husband shot and killed her and the man she was seeing at four-o-clock in the morning, on their wedding anniversary then turned the gun on himself.

The situation is different, as all situations are, but it was a sharp reminder of what people are capable of. People are capable of killing each other. Killing people they love.

I don't get it. I just don't.

She was someone who overcame so much adversity with a grace and beauty that I wish I had had at her age. She had such a bright future. I cannot help but wonder what the point of it was. Why would someone go through so much -- and trust me I haven't explained half of what she has gone through, I'm talking homelessness, mother on drugs, multiple deaths, it's just insane -- then go to college and excel the way that she did, only to be killed?? What the hell is the point? I'm so mad at him. I'm so pissed off.

And I'm disappointed, too. I wanted to get to know her more. I wanted to see where she was going. I wanted to see what she was capable of! It's not fair.

Now that I've ranted, I will say that going through Cleve's death taught me that I do believe our loved ones are still out there somewhere. My rants are truly selfish. I want them with me and I want them to remain in the place that my tiny mind understands -- this life. Cleve and my friend are happier where they are, I'm sure. They both suffered so much. They don't have to anymore. Yes, cheesy, don't care. That's all I want. I just want them and everyone else who passes from this life to be okay. And I do think they are.

But it still sucks. And it hurts.


12 words of wisdom:

karen said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates


Katie said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Wow, I'm so sorry, for all of it. What a horrible thing.

Wife of a Wounded Soldier said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

That's so sad. I'm so sorry.

Novelista Barista said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

:( xoxoox

Christy said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Karie, I haven't been here in ages, and this is the post I read. Two weeks ago this past Sunday, my dear friend and Army wife was murdered by her husband. We were in Germany together. We were good friends, taught a bible study together, it was her last one in Bamberg, because she moved a week after we finished our class. She loved her husband, but from what we can all gather from the time he returned from his last deployment and the two years following he became abusive. Around Christmas time, he beat her after she came home later than he thought she should from a family get together, yes FAMILY get together. He beat her with his fists on her face, she ran outside screaming for help in the middle of the night and a neighbor called for help. Police removed him and the police filed a restraining order for her. They were supposed to go to court THIS WEEK. Instead he waited until she left for work on a Sunday night, followed her, pushed her vehicle off the road and into a ditch, got out of his truck and began shooting and killed her, called the police told them what he'd done, then climbed into the passenger side of her vehicle and shot himself. He took away their children's mother, 2 kids out of the home, 3 still in the home. He took away a beautiful, joyful, loving woman who wanted nothing more than to serve Jesus, be a good mom, and she was a great wife.
Everyone is thinking he had PTSD, but we'll possibly never know. It still doesn't seem real. I am broken hearted and just so sad. Sad that the last moments of her life were possibly full of fear, sad for her kids that they are now ultimately "orphans" who will now be raised not by their momma, but their aunt. They will live the rest of their lives knowing their dad, the man they should have been able to count on to protect them, is the one who destroyed their lives and broke their hearts.

Praying for your friends family and you.

Karie said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates


Oh Christy. I'm so sorry. So much love to you and your friend's children. <3

Annette Martin Young said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Oh Honey, I am sending you a silent hug. A good long silent hug so you can cry on my shoulder until you run out of tears, today. Forgive him if you can. That may take years to do, but once you do, he won't be renting space in your head because of your dear friend. I agree whole heartedly, it SUCKS. There are no words for what it really is. I have been very close to my own death for similar reasons. When I say I understand how you feel, I really DO understand. The loss, the questions, the fucking what if's seem to set up residency in your head. Yes, he destroyed so much. As a soldier, he destroyed even more and THAT was what he could not live with. I have been married twice, both Vietnam Veterans. There is no horror like the life they lived and still live. Call it whatever, PTSD, Shell Shock, there were words for it for every war there has been. People simply do not seem to recover from killing for a living. And so they come home (never really arriving) and kill those they love the most. Some with words, others, like your friends husband, with a gun.

I offer you my hand and my shoulder. Hold on tight and know you are not alone. I too am praying for you and those children and family. You should write a book about this. You are an excellent writer and your story will help countless others.
God Bless you, always.

Annette Martin Young said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

A silent heartfelt hug to you. Here's my hand, hold on tight. Keep looking up and sharing this story. You'll help more people than you ever dreamed of.

Nancy MacMillan said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Words cannot express how sorry I am for your loss, other than to say I understand. I have been there and know that lost feeling. After so much turmoil, then nothing except a broken heart. It's like slamming up against a brick wall going 80 mph. My husband, the love of my live, took his own live after suffering with PTSD for 18 years. After 3 yrs of grieving, I was nudged to write my memoir and share my story with others. Diary of a Vet's Wife, Loving and Living with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder was published in Dec 2012. It was healing, though at the time it was hard to put it all on paper. But my heart has healed, I found the way. I also have a blog, Blog of a Vet's Wife, which has reached 73 countries as my mission, Public Awareness of PTSD. And I sent a copy to Michelle Obama and received a letter of commendation signed by her. I don't approve of much that is going on in Washington, but I was happy for the acknowledgement.

Please think about writing your own story. You have a story to tell that can help others. Or take a look at mine and see if it might be good for you as well. Amazon shares many chapters free, if you look up the Kindle version.

May God bless you with His love, peace and hope.

Lochness Lass said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Wow....a very honest blog post. I was watching a program on HBO the other night which is a show about the suicide crisis call centre through vetern's affairs (not sure if I have the wording correct as I am Canadian). I was shocked to hear on the program that the call centre gets over 20,000 crisis calls a month....a month. I was in disbelief....and as you know many people aren't calling for help? My brother-in-law fought in Iraq for the American forces and I was sad at the lack of support when they return home. I am sure Canada is not much better. My thoughts go out to you on your journey in understanding and coming to terms with what has happened (if thee is such a thing). I had a niece who was murdered by her husband and left behind three children. The aftermath of such a tragic death was overwhelming. I hope time heals some of your pain. Beckie

Jamie said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Thinking of you.

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