8 months and 4 days ago you took your life. I am astounded at the way that time keeps moving forward. I’ve come to think of the passage of time as one of life’s greatest gifts as well as its deepest cruelties.
During the week after you died, Dad and I stood out on the back deck of their townhouse. We were in the throes of planning your funeral, tending to the countless details that needed tending to. I’d been sitting out there paging through an old photo album when he’d come out. Ever since I became an adult, dad and I have had an easiness about our conversations, a flow that always made you jealous.
You and dad were foils to one another, oftentimes bringing out the worst in each other, despite (perhaps because of) the fierce love that you held for one another. You so desperately sought approval from him. I sometimes wanted to whisper my secret to you: you’ve got to stop caring so goddamned much what he thinks–just live your life and he’ll be proud.
Anyway, Dad and I stood out there leaning on the rail, looking out at the wooded stream that runs behind their place. Uncle Jim was out there somewhere taking a walk. He’d come to the house earlier to help collect some items from your room so that we could put them on display at your service. He’d absolutely reeked of marijuana and when I’d smelled it, I’d thought Jesus Christ, like we really need this added to everything. It was a quick, sharp thought. Later, I would step back and see that my uncle was reeling from the news of your death and that he was trying to care for himself, even if it was a fucked up way to do it. I think that he had felt a kinship with you for years. Maybe the news of your suicide scared him to the core. Maybe he’d considered suicide at some point.
“I wish I could go backwards,” Dad said.
I think he meant that he wanted more time with you, but I couldn’t help but think that would be futile unless he could take the feelings of that very moment back in time with him. Your loss had instantaneously washed away every ounce of anger and resentment that I’d ever felt toward you. I suspected that it had done the same for him. If I were able to go back in time and carry with me the knowledge of your loss, I’d go because I would be able to act differently toward you. But to go back without that? To live once again with a heart full of anger and cruel thoughts toward you? No. I’d rather have the now than have that again. I was not kind to you when you were alive. I tried the best I could, but I failed on that front.
January 28: 8 months 5 days
It seems like I hear more and more about people killing themselves. It’s as if I’ve learned a new vocabulary word and suddenly I notice it everywhere, but how did I not see it before? With you making so many attempts on your life that I literally lost count?
I just spent a half an hour or so reading one of your old journals. I have mixed feelings about reading them. Partially, it feels like an invasion of your privacy, but then I think that you always wanted them to be read when you were gone. In one of your suicide notes you wrote–Edit my journals, publish my poetry–but you did not die that time, and the only emotion I can remember feeling about that note was overwhelming anger at the fact that you didn’t even say that you loved us. Us, your family. Back then I thought you were an asshole for leaving a suicide note like that. Now, my anger is almost laughable.
In the support group that I go to for survivors of suicide, I’ve learned that more often than not, there is no note at alI and that when there is, they are usually very short, so I guess you are normal in that regard. You left your final note on a small square of paper. Fifteen words.
Anyway, the journals. Some of the entries make me blush and some just astound me. They are full of fear and panic and relentless negative thoughts. When I read them I have no idea how you survived to be 42. I feel certain that I would’ve ended my life sooner if I felt the way that you so often felt.
In one of the entries, you pondered different methods of suicide. You ruled out hanging or drinking Drano. You said that you could try overdosing again but you feared that it wouldn’t work, even though you’d researched about how many pills you would need, etc. You said that you didn’t know if you could press hard enough to slit your wrists. A gun? Maybe you could do that, but where to find one? You thought carbon monoxide would be a good way to go. You said you just wanted to fall asleep and never wake up, but that you hadn’t been able to “procure” a set of mom’s car keys when you had a long enough stretch of alone time.
I found it odd that you used the word procure. It seemed so out-of-place in that list of suicide considerations. So formal. I’m glad you wrote all of this stuff down, even though it is really difficult to read. I know it was nearly impossible to live.
January 29: 8 months 6 days
There was one part of the journal that made me happy. You wrote about the summer that you worked at Saint Joseph’s University as an assistant. The building where you worked backed up to The Barnes Foundation and since you were too shy to eat with your coworkers you found a small opening in the iron fence that surrounded the property and led into its famous garden. Here’s what you wrote:
So every day, I’d disappear at lunch, squeeze through the black iron fence to a virtual paradise. And the rose garden was mystifying. I think if you looked at it from above, it was in the shape of a star but I can’t be sure. It just seemed that way–wandering a dirt path to a point, accompanied on either side with rows and rows, shoulder to shoulder offering me a scent I cannot resist, the scent of a rose.
This was a thing you remembered doing years later and you thought back on it with a kind of nostalgia. You felt at peace there, surrounded by beauty.
I think that I will hold onto this memory of you. The you before so many things went sideways. I can see you squeezing through the fence, sitting on a warm stone bench in the sun, smelling the roses, bees buzzing about. I imaging that you felt like this was enough, if only for a moment, you sitting in your secret spot. You, with your kind heart and big dreams and deeply sensitive soul–a soul not built for this harsh world, but for worlds like that garden. I like to think that’s where you are now. Sitting in the sun, your demons finally at bay, breathing in the floral air.
January 30: 8 months 7 days
I talked to Uncle Bill yesterday. Uncle Bill, who lost his own son to an overdose. He said, “Boy, your mom is really having a hard time dealing with Alexis’s passing.” During one of their conversations she told him that she’d never go to Florida again. “I told her, ‘Clare this could’ve happened while you were at the store.”
He’s right and he’s wrong. I think you needed a chunk of time alone to do what you did. To really get ready, and a chunk of time for the pills to metabolize in your body and for your body to do what the pills told it to. You needed time. Your death was (I hope) peaceful, but it was not quick. But I suppose you could’ve done it while mom and dad were at work or at the beach. One thing I’ve learned from my Survivors of Suicide support group is that when people want to die, they find a way.
Mom blames herself, I think. Part of her believes that she could’ve kept you alive, but I could just as easily blame myself. What if I had called you that weekend? Reached out and told you that I loved you? Would you have changed your mind? But I didn’t call, and I didn’t tell you I loved you because I was tired of you. Tired of talking to you and worrying about you and listening to your paranoid delusions and your confusion over how wi-fi worked and whether people could hack it. I was tired of hearing how mom and dad bought a safe for your meds in a futile attempt to convince you that there was no way that “people” could be getting into your pill boxes, switching things around, hiding pills, swapping pills. Tired of watching the toll that your illness took on mom and dad.
But you were tired of all the same things. You, above all, were more tired than I could ever be.
January 31: 8 months 8 days
When I called mom last night, she was crying. I think she cries a lot when she’s in the car driving.
“I was just thinking about some of the things I said to her,” she told me. “I wish I could take them back.”
“I know mom.”
“Sometimes I was just mean.”
“Well, she wasn’t all roses and peaches either. She was hard to deal with.”
“But she wasn’t mean.”
“She could be mean, mom, just like everybody else. She had a big heart and a kind soul, but she could be mean.”
I keep thinking about what death does to memory. It distorts it. The dead person becomes canonized. Mom saying that you weren’t mean, bothers me. If I cannot remember who you were, how will I ever forgive myself for failing to love you?
Shortly after you died, I was having a conversation with Dad and he was feeling bad about how he sometimes treated you.
“Dad,” I said, “It’s really easy to love a dead person.” What I meant was that death instantaneously transforms infuriating characteristics into laughable little quirks.
When you were alive, there was this little metal heart that you pinned to the wall of their house right near the front door. Dad got mad that you were putting holes in the wall and he took it down. Maybe he was also mad that you didn’t bother to ask either of them whether they would mind if you hung up a decoration. He probably yelled at you. Of course, the next week the metal heart was pinned up again.
The heart was still on the wall the night they found your body and dad told that story and we all laughed. That was Alexis for you, I thought when I laughed. Poof, your stubbornness, your lack of consideration for mom and dad’s house had become a funny little story.
I keep trying to hold onto all of you and all of me. To allow myself to say out loud that you could be a real asshole, and that so could I, and that we both failed each other in different ways.
What eats me up is that you were mentally ill and I was not and I couldn’t separate you from your illness. Your illness was so large and you were just a scared girl stuck behind this hideous creature. I barely ever caught a glimpse of that girl–the girl I like to think of as the real you. I forgot all about you after years of staring at the snarling beast that blocked out your sun.
February 1: 8 months 9 days
Someone in my support group sent an email yesterday about going to lobby on behalf of suicide prevention. I’m not going because I feel so fucking overwhelmed with life lately, especially with the new administration and all the shitty executive orders that are being signed. I feel so much distress over the splintering of our country, over the way that there seems to be no meeting in the middle anymore, of the fact that my marriage could be undone. I’m trying to be more active politically while at the same time trying to prepare to be a mom/get the nursery ready/walk the dogs/shop for groceries/make dinner/clean/check in on mom and dad/find a daycare for a human being who hasn’t even been born and process my grief.
After I got the email I started thinking about suicide prevention and I got kind of angry about the idea of it. What a waste of time, I thought. Your suicide feels inevitable. There were ways to delay it, but not dodge it. Sometimes, when I think of the way you suffered, it makes sense. Our society is coming to the point where it’s seriously contemplating the right to die. I believe that death should be the decision of the individual, not of society. It seems blind for society to “value life” so much that a person’s well thought out wishes wouldn’t be followed simply because their wish was to depart this life.
When someone is diagnosed with a chronic illness, medical professionals try to treat them humanely, to manage their pain, even at the expense of their overall function. High doses of morphine are common. I see little difference when I think of you. You were dying a slow death for so long. Were you ever going to get better? Should we have whispered in your ear that it was okay to go or was the right thing to push you to keep living your goddamned miserable life? When I think of you dying alone, of the fact that you had to keep your plan a secret in order for it to work…I wonder if it wouldn’t have been kinder, more humane to sit with you and hold your hand and stroke you hair as you left this earth.
In my support group there are a lot of parents who have lost their children. Fifteen year olds who’ve hung themselves. Twenty year olds who shot themselves. And the parents were shocked beyond measure. Maybe for them, suicide prevention makes sense, but not for you.
February 2: 8 months 10 days
The other night was the first time that I forgot that you are dead. I was talking to mom and she was working the will call window at a basketball game. She told me dad was going to the game after work and, for a split second, I wondered what you were doing. It sort of blindsided me because I thought that since this sort of thing hadn’t happened to me prior to this, that it wasn’t going to happen. I’ve heard stories from people who have lost a loved one, of the way that they’ve gone to pick up the phone to call their loved one and tell them a funny story about something, but this hasn’t happened to me. Probably because I never called you to tell you a funny story or to share anything from my life.
Our phone conversations were formulaic: I would inquire about your health and you would tell me stories about the things you were going through and I would do my best to sound sympathetic, even when I felt angered by the things you told me. On the occasions where you were well enough to ask how I was doing, I would tell you some canned story about a funny thing the dogs did or something generic. I never let you see inside of my life or my heart. My body, during those calls, was tense, ever ready to spring to my own defense if attacked, ready to retreat if necessary.
When you first died, I had to remind myself every morning that you were gone, but it wasn’t because I’d forgotten, it was more of a reminder that this was real. All I kept thinking about back then was the way that we as humans are not equipped to process forever. Forever has to settle into you before you can understand. Time has to pass, seasons need to change, holidays need to go by before we can understand that this reality is here to stay, that this is what’s going to be from now on.
At the end of August, I turned 39. The first birthday without you here on this earth. I got a few cards in the mail in the days before and as usual, I waited to open them. One of them had no return address and I didn’t recognize the handwriting. This one piqued my curiosity.
On my birthday, I opened the cards. One from mom, one from Aunt Terry and then the mystery card. It was from you. I felt light-headed at the sight of your name. Stunned and swirling. Had you sent this before you died and somehow delayed its arrival? Were you back?
All of these thoughts flew through my brain, but of course, the truth was that Mom had sent it on your behalf. Mom had even gone to the trouble of disguising her handwriting. I know it was an act of deep love on her part, but it hit me in this really tender spot that I hadn’t even known that I had–a stab through a chink in my armor. Somewhere inside of me, a tiny part, was still expecting your return.
February 3: 8 m0nths 11 days
February 4: 8 months 12 days
February 5: 8 months 13 days
February 6: 8 months 14 days
February 7: 8 months 15 days
February 8: 8 months 16 days
February 9: 8 months 17 days
February 10: 8 months 18 days
February 11: 8 months 19 days
February 12: 8 months 20 days
February 13th: 8 months 21 days
February 14: 8 months 22 days
February 15th: 8 months 23 days
February 16th: 8 months 24 days
February 17th: 8 months 25 days
February 18: 8 months 26 days
February 19: 8 months 27 days
February 20: 8 months 28 days
February 21: 8 months 29 days
February 22: 8 months 30 days
February 23: 9 months
Nine months gone. Nine months, the amount of time it takes a life to form inside a human body. The life inside of my wife, growing each day, opening my eyes to the love a parent has for a child. Boundless. An understanding unfurls inside of me that if the love is boundless, so too is the grief at the loss of a child.
I hover over Lindsay sometimes because I worry about the baby inside of her. The other day, she had to do a field walk for work, and a streak of fear ran through me that she would lose her footing and fall. Reigning in fear is a struggle, like reeling in a giant fish that is full of life and of fight.
What is there to say on this day? Nine months you are gone. You will never be back. Never. It will be ten months and then a year and then, if life is generous with me, I will grow older than you ever got to be. Nine months.
The other night at my support group, a woman who lost her son said this: “When you lose a parent, you lose your past; when you lose a sibling, you lose your present; when you lose a child, you lose your future.” This woman had lost her brother to suicide as well, years before. Her statement feels inarguably true, but also something about it perhaps feels wrongheaded, as if it creates a hierarchy of grief. How can something be completely true and completely false at the same time? I loved you. I couldn’t stand to be around you.
Grief and joy can sit side by side: your death sits next to the possibility of me becoming a mother, and they don’t cancel one another out. They are each their own entity and no matter how large the joy swells inside of me, it cannot crowd out the grief. Nine months you are gone and you are not coming back. Time’s cruel march also brings relief.
February 24: 9 months 1 day
Yesterday mom went to see a psychic. Can you believe it? A psychic. Mom, who wraps her rosary beads around her wrist during mass and worries each bead between her fingertips as she says her Hail Mary’s, Our Father’s and Glory Be’s.
I’m skeptical of all of that stuff, but not to the point that I completely dismiss it, but damn do I want to believe the things that this woman told mom. She said that you were with someone who died of congestive heart failure, a person who spoke very loudly. She said that when you died, Nan came and took your hand to show you where to go. She said that you didn’t mean to die, but that you were messing with drugs and you just wanted to get higher and higher and so you kept taking more and more and then your heart gave out. She said you were above your body and you tried to go back into it, but when you touched your body it was cold and you thought, “Oh, now I’ve really done it.” You were upset because you didn’t want mom or dad to find your body. She said you waited with your body until they found you and you heard them scream and you felt so sorry. You didn’t want to hurt anyone.
She said that you had an addictive personality and that you stopped developing emotionally around the age of 19. You were stuck there. She said that you were a person who demanded that things be centered around you.
She said that you and I had a troubled relationship, but that things were okay now between us and that you were so proud of me.
She said that you are with us all of the time and that you like to sit in the car with mom and listen to the music. She said you love to sing, but that you aren’t great at it. She said that dad is grieving your loss and the when he is in the car by himself, he talks to you. Neither mom or I know whether this is true.
Mom wanted to know whether she’d said that she loved you the last time she spoke to you. “Yes, it was automatic,” the psychic told her. Mom asked if Michael was there with you and the psychic said, “Yes, he’s there. He says, ‘Yo’.” She said that you are at peace, that you are so, so at peace.
Is all of this true? Does it matter? How could she know some of the things she said? I like thinking of you in a room with Nan, Pop, Aunt Peg and Michael. I like thinking of you in the car next to mom listening to the music and most of all, I like thinking of you at peace.
February 25: 9 months 2 days
The psychic also asked mom if it was somebody’s birthday. Mom said that it was Aunt Bern’s birthday, your godmother and the psychic said, “No, someone else…a Margaret or a Maggie?” And mom said yes, it was Aunt Peg’s birthday, and the psychic told her that Aunt Peg was there with you, along with Nan and Pop and Michael and someone who was sitting in the corner knitting very quickly.
Did you mean to die? The psychic said that you didn’t. She said that you left that note because you felt a twinge of something and you wanted us all to know how much you loved us, but not because you were planning to kill yourself. I am wrestling with this.
Yesterday my coworker, Mychael, and I left work early to go for a hike. We’ve had a warm spell for a week now and the past two days reached into the 70s. Days like this make me think of you–the day before you died was a beautiful Spring day, full of so much promise. You sat on the back deck of mom and dad’s and snapped a selfie that you sent to Dylan. Anyway, as we walked I told him about mom’s visit to the psychic and we began talking about death and the afterlife. He shared an experience that he had with death.
One day in Louisiana, Mychael and two of his friends went to a park to hang out. They saw something splashing around in the water and one of his friends waded out into the water and used his sweatshirt as a makeshift net, casting it out while holding onto the sleeves. When he pulled it up, there was a baby nutria, a Louisiana pest that looks like a cross between a rat and a beaver.
It was struggling to breathe and none of them knew what to do for it. Really, there was nothing to be done, so they stood over it and witnessed as it stopped breathing. Mychael said he’d never thought of death as a quiet, small thing, but watching the nutria pass from being alive to not being alive, that was how the experience felt.
I like thinking of death this way, as a passing that occurs from one moment to the next; as the end of a struggle; as small and not frightening. But I still find myself pondering where you go. One moment alive, conscious, and the next, what? There and then not there. Alive and then dead. A passing. A movement from one thing to the next. A person and then a body. I can’t wrap my brain around that last one.
February 26: 9 months 3 days
Anybody who has lost someone they loved knows about the way that life changes after the loss. Sure, grief is different for everybody, but the thing that is universal is the shift in the way we measure time. One year gone, two, three. We grow older, while you always be the age you were at your death. We begin to see everything as ephemeral. We cannot look at anything we love without being split in two by joy and grief. Joy in the present and grief over the loss we’ve experienced and the future losses that we know will come. Life divides into before and after.
I look at mom and dad and wonder how I will be changed by their loss. I look at my wife and know that “we” will not be forever. I will die or she will die. One day there will only be longing for what was. Longing and memories.
And having a child, I already feel the urgent need to protect. When Lindsay and I walk across the street, I find myself wanting to hold her elbow, wanting to put my body between her and the cars. Last night, after we had dinner in Towson, we were walking back to the car and there was a large group of drunk looking college kids outside of a bar and I moved to put my body between her and the kids.
I can only imagine how fierce this urge will grow when our child is born and in understanding this, I begin to know the depths of mom and dad’s grief over losing you, the way that they will never be able to forgive themselves for not being able to save you, even if you were beyond saving, because once upon a time, they held you in their arms and they whispered promises to love and protect you. They had a world full of hope for what you would become. They would’ve given anything for you, including their lives. I think they did give their lives to you in the metaphorical sense. They watched you suffer and they could do nothing to ease your pain. They watched you devolve into madness, chased by threatening voices. They were in uncharted territory. The enemy was your own brain.
February 27: 9 months 4 days
Uncle Paul is dying. Mom called yesterday and said that he’d been in the hospital for a few days and they diagnosed him with end stage liver cancer. He has one month. One fucking month.
My first thoughts were of Aunt Bern and Kier, the people he will leave behind. Kier who had her baby only four months ago–Uncle Paul and Aunt Bern’s first grandchild. It seems so cruel, but life doles out great joys and great despair seemingly at random. Kierstan will watch her father die slowly each day and then she will have to go home to take care of her son.
Last night I had a dream. In it, dad was telling mom that she needed to learn to do some of the things that he normally does. “I worry about you being able to take care of yourself,” he told her. Though he didn’t say it, we all understood that he was talking about her ability take care of things after he died.
I feel like I am standing on the edge of a cliff and there’s a wave coming toward me. I am at the age where it is common for parents’ health to decline. Where children, perhaps, are a bit more likely to get news that their mother or father has one month to live. We call it the “natural order” when we talk about it in the abstract, but nothing about watching your mother or father die feels natural. Uncle Paul, and then who will be next? The wave is going to break over top of me and I don’t know how I will keep my footing, how I will be able to keep from going over the edge.
February 28: 9 months 5 days
Mom says that the psychic helped her a little bit, that it made her heart a little lighter when she heard her say that you are at peace, but it didn’t take away the longing she has to see you again.
The psychic also told mom that you and I had a hard relationship, but that everything is okay between us now. She said that you are so proud of me. I wept when I heard these words. I’d been too afraid to even ask mom whether I’d come up. I was afraid of how you’d react if I came up. Would you be angry? Would you want me to know that I failed you? Would you curse me? Of course not, you were always kinder towards me than I was towards you.
Mom said it made her feel good to give me news that helped me. She said that I don’t really talk about how I’m doing, which surprised me, but then I when I thought about it, I realized that she’s right. I’m so aware of how different our grief is, and mine feels insignificant.
March 1: 9 months 6 days
I don’t know how to grieve your loss. I don’t know how to talk about it with people. Every so often, I am able to open up and talk about things/you/my feelings with others but you are on my mind constantly and it feels impossible or futile to even talk about it. I am grieving you every minute of every day, all at the same time that I am living my life–doing my chores, cleaning the house, going to the grocery store. Grief splits a person in two. There is public face put forward into the world and then the actual emotional face that lives inside. It’s hard not to feel disconnected from people when you are living this split. How do you explain that you are grieving all of the time? That even the happiest of moments in your day and life are tinged with gray?
March 2: 9 months 7 days
When I began these letters I only intended to write them for one month, but I want to continue until I feel like I’m done and I don’t feel that way yet.
On the weekend that you killed yourself, mom and dad were in Florida visiting Aunt Patty. I knew you were by yourself that weekend, knew that you’d been struggling, that you’d been hearing voices, that you were probably afraid to be in that house by yourself. I knew all of that and I didn’t even text you to see if you were okay. I texted you on Monday to remind you that it was mom and dad’s anniversary, but you were already dead. I imagine my text reaching your phone, pinging its alert next to your body.
I blamed you for the voices that you heard. I thought that they were a product of you abusing your Adderal and Concerta. I suspected that you’d take a whole bunch, which would keep you up for days and then the voices would come. I couldn’t see that even if that was 100 percent true, you still deserved compassion.
Would it have mattered if I’d called you that weekend? Would it have changed your mind? And if it did, would that just mean that you would continue to suffer?
March 3: 9 months 8 days
The psychic also told mom that you didn’t mean to die. She said that you were drinking and taking a bunch of meds and that you just wanted to get higher and higher. You knew that if you stopped you would feel crappy, so you just kept taking more and then your heart gave out. She said that your spirit was above your body and that you tried to go back to your body but when you touched it, it was cold and you thought, “Oh no, I’ve really done it this time.”
You waited with your body until mom and dad got home and found it. You heard them scream and you felt so sorry that they had to find you like that. I guess that was when Nan came and took you by the hand to show you where to go.
Mom asked her about the note that you’d written and she said that you’d just felt a little down and that you wanted to make sure that everyone knew that you loved them.
The thing is, I don’t know how to believe some of what the psychic said but not all of it. You killed yourself, didn’t you? You meant to leave this world, right? You were ready to go, weren’t you?
I had the laziest day today. I sat in the recliner with my laptop and wrote for a while, then I got sleepy and took a nap. There’s so much that needs to get done and I spent the day snoozing in the sunshine. I’ve never been good at doing that. For a long time I couldn’t sit still because I was afraid that I’d turn into you. I was afraid of your illnesses, as if they were things that I could catch, which makes no sense at all, but then on the other hand, I think I always felt like those things were floating around in my blood and the tiniest thing could trigger them. My fears were a big part of why I had a hard time being around you. I’m so sorry for that.
Two years ago today my best friend’s mom died of cancer. Diagnosed in November and dead by March. In the time since my friend’s mom died, my friend has had a baby and moved into a new home. All of these beautiful, positive life changes. She is both the happiest and saddest I’ve ever seen her. When we are around each other, we still make each other laugh and she looks at her little girl with a sense of wonder just like every other mom, but I can see the flickering sadness in her eyes. The pain of moving on and continuing to be alive without her mom there to see it all. She doesn’t laugh with the same abandon that she once did.
I see this in mom and dad too. When I ask them how they are, it is understood that I mean: how are you aside from dealing with your pain over the loss of your daughter. Were you really there when they found you? Did you hear them screaming? Their screams haunt me and I never even heard them.
I know that this is stupid but I’ve been thinking about how in Harry Potter, only Luna and Harry can see the thestrals because they have both experienced the loss of a loved one. I think that this detail put in by Rowling is a bit of genius. Something shifts inside of you when you experience the loss of someone you love and it really gives you a new way of seeing the world. You see all sorts of things. Things you never knew about, but were right in front of you.
I’ve been debating whether or not I should keep writing these letters to you. It makes me a little sad to think about stopping and to be honest, there’s a small part of me that wonders if you’d be disappointed. This is probably ridiculous, but I believe that, wherever you are, you know about these letters and you’re happy that I’m writing them every day. I think that they let you know that I haven’t forgotten about you and I imagine that you like this. Nobody wants to be forgotten.
But I wonder whether these letters are just me lingering in my grief. Counting the days that you are gone, maybe that’s a bad idea. I heard somewhere that people who linger are less healthy than those who just sort of push on and kind of don’t think much about it. That’s how dad seems to handle things. The other day I was asking him how he is doing and lecturing him a bit on the importance of finding outlets for his feelings, whatever those outlets may be. He told me that he hasn’t been thinking much about his grief, that he is just trying to live his life.
I always thought that mom was the one who was closed off to her own emotions, except of course, her anger which is the way she expresses everything: sadness, fear, frustration, heartbreak. Since you died, I’ve seen flares of her anger–occasions where she has shaken her fist at your grave and asked you why you did this–but mostly it has dissipated. You’d be amazed.
Dad though, he’s hard to read. He keeps everything inside. He works and drinks his wine and falls asleep in the recliner where he snores loudly enough to wake himself up. I wonder whether he feels things that he doesn’t feel okay talking about? He wrote a chapter for the book I’m making about your life and in it he said that he wished he could trade places with you, that if you could still be alive, he would give his life. I worry that his grief is eating him up inside.
All of the stuff that the psychic told mom has me wondering about what the afterlife is like. I don’t really know what I believe. I think it’s just too vast of a thing to try to form a set of beliefs around, but if the psychic is right, then you’re still around, you ride in the car with mom listening to music, but you’re somewhere else too. Somewhere with Nan and Pop and Aunt Peg. I bet it feels good for you to not have a body anymore. Your body was this thing that you had to drag around and it seemed, at least for the last twenty years, to be a thing that was too heavy, a thing you could never get a handle on. I wish that things had been different for you.
March 11: 9 months 16 days
I’ve written several chapters from your perspective. I wonder how you’d feel about that. It seems important to try to see the world from your eyes. It doesn’t feel fair to tell the whole story from my point of view, but then I suppose even your imagined perspective is still really my perspective, when it comes right down to it.
I wrote this one scene that took place back when we lived together in Canton–a night that stuck out in my mind for some reason. We went to the Austin Grill for a drink. You felt like you needed to prove to me that you could have just one and I went along with it. We listened to a guy playing music. You had a glass of wine, I had a beer. Then we left. But when we got home you kept drinking unbeknowst to me.
I wondered what that night looked/felt like from your perspective. I imagined how you must have felt back then–like the walls were closing in. I wrote about it. I hope that you would be okay with what I’ve written.
One thing I feel very strongly about is being open about your suicide. Last night at my group a couple talked about losing their son-in-law and what his death has done to their daughter. They worry about her, worry that his death has opened up a wound inside of her that will not heal. The son-in-law also left behind a daughter, this couple’s grandchild. She’s just eight years old and they said that she doesn’t know how her father died. This is how her mother has chosen to deal with it. The grandparents expressed concern over having this large, looming secret. “The whole neighborhood knows what he did, so it’s going to come out at some point,” the grandmother said, “but it’s not my place to tell her.”
She’s right, I suppose. It’s not her place to tell her, but I can’t understand choosing to hide the truth rather than just talking about it. What can an eight year old handle? What can they process? People used to keep adoption a secret and then the kid would find out and it’d be this huge thing, but if they’d just had it explained to them in age appropriate ways they would have had a lifetime to process it, rather than all at once.
I try not to judge things that are said in that room. I know that people are doing their very best and trying to survive a thing that feels impossible, but I struggle with this one. I find myself wanting to scream at these people to tell her the truth.
But then just yesterday, when our accountant was over to pick up all of our tax documents, there was a slip of paper from the 401K that you made me the beneficiary for. Twelve hundred dollars that I got because you are dead. She asked where this had come from and the whole thing–the fact that you chose me, the fact that I had gotten money that you could have used–had made me so sad that when I got the check that I just wanted to forget about it. I put off cashing it. I let it get buried in the mail pile. I tried to give it to mom and dad, but they refused. So anyway, when I got this slip of paper for my taxes, I didn’t even process what it was. I’d just sort of blocked it out. Then when the accountant was questioning me, I realized all at once and I knew I had to tell her, but I found myself skirting the whole thing. “My sister died this year,” I said. “She made me the beneficiary of her 401K.” When it came right down to it, I didn’t say that you’d killed yourself.
March 23: 10 months
I am trying to unravel the mystery that is you, reading your journal from 1989-1990 when you were 15/16 years old. This was when you began cutting your wrist. You were depressed and you also wanted to punish the people who were not kind to you. You wrote about how you wanted to make them regret the way they treated you. Even then, life seemed to overwhelm you. Cutting was something you liked to do.
It’s funny reading your journals and not really seeing my name even mentioned. I wonder if my journals from that age are the same or if you had a more prominent role in my life chronicled because you were my older sister and therefore probably less annoying and more impactful. If I didn’t know I existed, I would think that you were an only child.
Can I see your illness even at that young age? Your illness reaching around inside of you, looking for something to latch onto and grow into the thing that would one day, decades later, drive you to end your life? I can see its outlines, the shape of it coming into focus. I cut myself too for a time, but it was different for me. I was lonely and desperate for friends and I’d seen you do it, so I did it too but it didn’t light me up like it did for you. It didn’t bring this relief with it, at least not that I remember.
You were such a mystery. Self-conscious and yet confident. Boy crazy. Smart, but unsatisfied with your intelligence or just unable to see it? You were not enough, I guess, not enough for yourself, not enough to win the approval of others the way you wanted to.
It has been hitting me all of the time lately that now that you are gone, you have no agency in telling your story. We’ve been left behind to put pieces of you together to try to come to this understanding and you are not here to correct the record when we get it wrong. To say, no, no that’s not what I was feeling, it was this. Our guesses become our facts in the absence of your voice. It feels like I need to apologize for this, but hopefully you don’t care anymore. Hopefully, from wherever you are, stuff like this is small potatoes and you just laugh at all the stuff we are getting wrong.
I have a son. A baby boy named Cooper. I barely have time for grief over losing you. At night I am so exhausted that I climb into bed and fall immediately to sleep, hungry for any rest I can get between feedings. You have crept into my dreams more. In one, I threw your canister of ashes and some of it spilled out. In another, you were really sick and acting strangely.
I feel like I can better understand mom and dad’s grief now that I have my own child. I think of him growing up, all the things he could be. It is unimaginable to think of him ill or disabled, especially by his own mind. As I sit writing this, he is in a sling across my chest, his breathing rhythmic and soft, his eyes crescent moons. Will I ever be able to see him as anything other than perfect and lovely? The way mom and dad saw you. Images of you as a baby call to me, indiscernible visual echoes, unmistakably you. They wanted you to have everything, to be everything.
They failed you the way that we all fail one another, with our ignorance and our blind spots. When I look at Cooper and I whisper apologies in his ear for the thousands of mistakes I will make. Mistakes borne of fatigue and frustration and selfishness and most of all, the unhealthy patterns of processing my emotions. I pray that these mistakes will not harm him too much. So yes, they failed in ways, but not ever in their love for you. That was unwavering.
I wonder how you would have been with Cooper. I would have been nervous for him to meet you, nervous for you to hold him; nervous that your mind or body would have given out when he was in your arms. I wonder if you would have wanted to hold him anyway. You weren’t really big on babies. Anyway, just wanted to say that I still think of you. My grief is compressed, coming at me in forceful bursts–less frequent but eruptive, powerful.
Cooper is sleeping next to me. He’ll wake any moment. It is still mysterious to both Lindsay and myself how he could have possibly come from her. How is it that we have the ability to carry a fully formed human inside of us? In the bible, God takes a rib from Adam to create Eve. I have lots of problems with this story, but I like the part where one human is created by part of another one.
Coop likes it when I sing to him. It seems to settle him, even when he is in the midst of crying full tilt. We listen to the Beatles and Ed Sheeran and Coldplay. I dance around with him in my arms, fatigue setting in. I feel like you are with me when we listen to different songs, or at the very least, I think of you. I want the best of everything for Cooper. I would do anything for him. It has felt, in moments, like I was born to be a mother. Feeling this way about him makes me think of mom and dad, of how they would have done anything for you. I imagine that watching you suffer with your illnesses, that being unable to reach you and help you and fix you, must have felt like the very nerves of their body were being razored with a rusty blade.
Dylan is in Rio. He sent mom and I a text message with a picture of your watch on his wrist. He brought that with him on his trip. I keep thinking of him there all by himself and wondering how it is to travel without you.
Lindsay and Cooper and I took our first road trip over memorial day weekend to visit mom and dad in Cape May. We brought the dogs with us, which meant that we had to buy one of those turtle shell things to go on top of the Jeep. It took us hours to pack. Sully rode in the way back, Maddie rode in the row with Coop. When we got there, we opted to stay in the room with two single beds, just as we did when you were alive. The back bedroom is still yours in my mind. At night when I fed Coop, I sat on the bed in that room and I thought back on the night you cut your wrist and came to wake me up to show me. I remembered how angry you got when I woke mom and dad to tell them what was happening. I could see you standing in the corner of the room when I came in with mom at my side, I could hear you calling me a bitch.
That night wounded me so deeply. It cauterized my heart. After that, I don’t think I ever could feel anything for you. I blamed you for everything that you went through. I felt that you were the thing in this world that I most needed to protect myself from.
I remember how you used to say that we’d all be better off without you and I would always tell you that wasn’t true, but the thought has been creeping into my mind now, a year plus out, that this statement was at least partly true for me. It is easier not to have to worry about you, not to have to worry when and how you will die, to have that looming question behind me. It is easier not to have to watch you suffer and not to have to hold onto my anger and not to have to try to find ways to assign blame to you for your illnesses. It is easier not to have to feel that I should be doing more to reestablish our connection, to be your sister, to not have to be concerned that I will have to care for you after mom and dad are gone. It is harder in other ways, but that is to be expected. It’s all the ways that it is easier that I struggle with. I am sorry to say that there are ways that it is easier. I am sorry that you were right, at least partly.
November 1: 17 months 8 days
It seems that Uncle Jim is vying to join you. The other day I got a call from mom, who was on her way over to Uncle Jim’s apartment. Nobody had been able to get in touch with him and little Jimmy was over at his place banging on the door. Mom has the only set of extra keys. I thought for sure that he was dead and so did mom, though neither of us said those words.
Mom was hysterical and then calm. I stayed on the phone with her and tried to keep her more toward the calm side by asking her where she was and reminding her to breathe and telling her about Cooper’s four month doctor visit, which he’d had earlier in the morning. All I could think about was her finding Uncle Jim’s dead body and what that would do to her after finding you. When she finally pulled into the apartment complex, I asked, “Mom, are you going to be okay if you go in there?” She brushed me off and told me she would be. She’d call me later.
Little Jimmy had to break the chain thing on the door and Uncle Jim was in bed, alive but totally out of it. Foam on his mouth, saying things that made no sense.
There were all kinds of drugs in his system, but in our subsequent conversations mom has mentioned this exactly zero times. What she has mentioned is that his white blood cell count was high and that the doctors thought he might have had a seizure. Dad is the one who told me that actual facts about Uncle Jim. It is stoking a kind of quiet fury in me to have this denial in our conversations, it is a breath blown on an old ember from when you were alive and mom refused to acknowledge so many things. I don’t understand it. Is it shame? Is it that she can’t face it because then she would have to act on it? I don’t know, I only know that I am tired of pretending that things right in front of our faces are actually something else.
November 19, 2017
Tomorrow is Mom’s birthday. I got her a birthday card from you, as this seems to be a way that we have come to remember you, to feel like you are here. It has pigs on the front that are wearing birthday hats. I think that it would have made you laugh.
Uncle Jim is out of the hospital. One morning mom said that he was in a new hospital and I said, “What do you mean?” And she said, he was moved to a rehab. She said it in this way like, we had been talking openly the whole time about how drugs were the main problem. I was dumbfounded, but I managed to get my footing and carry on with the conversation as if this were totally normal. I decided in that moment that I wasn’t going to confront her, but that later, I was going to ask her about it.
Mom and Dad came to visit that next weekend and when Cooper went down for a nap, I asked her about why she communicated that way–telling me all the things that had nothing to do with drugs and none of the things that had to do with drugs. At first she denied it, but I pressed her gently. She was so uncomfortable. I felt kind of bad for her, but not bad enough to stop. I really wanted to understand. All I could get out of the conversation was that as long as she doesn’t acknowledge it, there is a chance that it could be something else. I explained to her that when she communicated in this way it was very confusing to me, that I was left scratching my head and thinking that I’m crazy for suspecting drugs, which are the most obvious answer.
I don’t know where it all landed for her, but I felt better for having had the conversation. There are so many parallels with Uncle Jim and you. The rehab sent him home after his detox because his insurance wouldn’t cover inpatient, only outpatient. But there is no outpatient treatment available, so he is just supposed to go to meetings. He is living at their house for the time being. He is incapable of doing simple things for himself, navigating the world. Getting a phone set up by himself is impossible. Mom is going off on him. They are in the same space that they used to be in with you, but nobody is acknowledging it.
I don’t know how I am going to talk about you with Cooper and that has been sitting heavy with me. I grew up knowing so little about Uncle Danny. He was a mystery. All I knew really was from that picture of him that Nan and Pop had on their bureau and the music box that belonged to him. There weren’t a lot of stories that floated around about him. I never knew what he was like, only how he died and some sense of the impact that his death had.
I don’t want that to be true of you. I want to be able to speak openly with Cooper about you, all the complicated things about you. The good, the bad. I want to tell him stories about you. Funny stories, but I am having a hard time remembering them. And the ones I do remember feel tinged with sadness and foreboding, filled with hints of what was to come for you. Not all of them, but too many.
December 24, 2017
You would have been 44 today. Forty-four. When you were young, you romanticized death–loved the song Only the Good Die Young, by Billy Joel. I don’t think you ever wanted to get old.
The more time that passes with you gone, the more I feel our relationship changing. I don’t feel as much of a need to hold onto the bad memories between us as a way to protect/forgive myself for all the ways I failed to love you. And that allows something else to open up, though I’m not quite sure what that something else is yet, just that it’s different from what has been.
Most of the time I do forgive myself, but I have moments where I just really recall how hard hearted I was with you and it is terrible to think of. I read the last journal that you kept and it tore me apart to read it. Your mind was so unraveled. It made me question things that I thought I knew and it allowed me to see the depths of your pain. You were living in hell on earth and the hell was your brain. You saw things that weren’t there, you heard things–there were a whole cast of voices who told you things. They had names, each of the voices. It seemed that when you drank, the voices quieted. And so in some way, you were trying to drown them out, and who could blame you for that? I think of myself then, refusing to be around you if you were going to drink. So set in that boundary, and with good reason, sure, but not ever considering that you were drinking to maintain some level of sanity. That you just wanted some quiet. It never occurred to me to ask why you drank the way you did.
I won’t be at your grave today. Mom and Dad and Dylan and Colleen are meeting there, but I’m in Baltimore. I’m going to wear your leather jacket today in your honor. I never could pull it off the way that you could. I still look/feel like an awkward teenager with it draped over my shoulders but it seems like a nice way to carry you around with me.
I just opened up your ashes to look at them. They are light grey with chunks of bones in them. Death is just so hard. Your death.
Often, I find myself checking on Cooper, to make sure that he is breathing. Yesterday Maddie barked right next to him while he was sleeping and he didn’t wake up and I had to make sure that his chest was still rising and falling. I know that all parents go through this to some extent. The moment their child is born, so too, is the flicker of fear of losing that child. The urge to protect so fierce. I think, though, that my fear is just a little different. The other day one of the songs that plays on one of Cooper’s toys played in another context and I recognized it as a thing that would blindside/destroy me if I ever lost him and then heard it. That feels beyond what most people would think about. I’m not sure why I’m like this, how much of it has to do with losing you.
I was able to share some funny stories about you at my support group meeting–the way that you would steal lawn ornaments and put them on our yard, the sheep that you convinced us you had living in your dorm room, the way that you read to me as a kid. I lit a candle in your honor and I cried as I listened to all the other people light candles for their loved ones.
Happy Birthday Alexis. Part of me wishes you were here, for mom and dad’s sake. Part of me is glad that you are not suffering, not living in the hell of your mind. I’m sorry for my shitty way of loving you, sorry that there were times when I couldn’t stand you and didn’t want to talk to you, sorry that I couldn’t understand what you were going through, sorry that I wasn’t a better sister to you. Happy Birthday Alexis.
I don’t forget that you are dead the way that I used to in the beginning. It’s just a thing I know now. Time is the teacher of things that our minds cannot fully process. Days, months passed and one day I just stopped forgetting. My sister is dead as a thing I know, the way I know my name, my date of birth. I don’t need to remind myself because it’s built into me. Is this progress? It feels wrong. Is grief a measure of love? Or if not a measure, at the very least, strongly correlated, so that when it starts to subside, guilt rises up. I did not love you enough. Not in life and not in death. It’s not a simple thing, to heal.
This past Monday, Cooper turned nine months old. He is sitting up, clapping, smiling, laughing. Nine months. He brings me more joy than I ever knew possible. I have so many hopes for who he will be. Not specifically, but generally: a good person, a kind person, a person who is able to articulate his feelings and communicate them, especially to the people he loves, a thoughtful person who thinks things through and considers all the sides of a story. I know that mom and dad felt every single thing toward you that I feel towards him. How does any parent survive the loss of their child?
Spring is here and I feel your loss more heavily. I am somehow reminded in this different way that you’re not going to be experiencing any of the beauty of the earth’s renewal. I think a lot about how stressed I would have been to have Cooper around you. I truly wonder how you would’ve taken to him or how interested you would have been in him. Would you have been jealous of the way that mom and dad love him and dote over him? Would you have had any interest in holding him? In being someone in his life? Would I have given you the chance if you had? You wanted to be in my life and look what happened there.
Its been nearly two years that you’ve been gone. Do I miss you? I don’t feel that I have that right. Do I miss you? Yes. In the strangest way. This missing is something that has opened up in me of late.
Right after you died, I don’t know what I felt…relieved, sad, scared, sick, regretful and somehow, despite knowing it would happen, shocked. I felt a lot of things, but I didn’t miss you. We hadn’t really been in one another’s lives in years and when you did come around, it was always stressful and hard and I was always so angry. Maybe two years is how long it has taken to wash away all of that calcified buildup. Maybe now I can be human again and just miss you.
Today I heard this writer on the radio who was talking about a story that he heard as a boy that impacted him quite deeply. It was about a sheep who’s owner kept it locked up because there was a wolf that lurked in the pasture. One day the sheep got out and spent the day out in the sunshine, in the grass, soaking in all the beauty. Then as the day wore on he saw the shadow of the wolf and he knew that he was going to die, but instead of running he turned and ran toward the wolf and said, “As long as I live, I’ll endure.” I thought immediately of you. That is how you lived. I miss you.
May 23 2018
When you were alive, I spent a lot of time avoiding you, not talking to you, being angry with you. At dinners, I would go out of my way to not sit next to you and hear your loud chewing or your incessant, manic talking, which became worse when you drank. Like, a lot worse. The level of manic talking was directly correlated to the number of drinks you had, and that was often a very high number.
I said things to my therapist like, “I love my sister, but I don’t like her.”
But I didn’t love you. At least, I don’t feel like I acted with love toward you, which is the essence of what love is, so I guess I didn’t love you. If I want to be kind to myself I can say I didn’t love you well.
Today is two years since you left the world I want to acknowledge your absence, but I don’t know how to give myself permission to do this. I feel like such a hypocrite since I acted like such an ass when you were alive and now you are dead and you will always be dead.
What is there to say? I don’t want people to forget you, even though I think that I forgot you long before you died.
I forgot all the good things about you. I forgot how we used to get ridiculously excited when we were kids, and mom made us artichokes for dinner. Not the frozen ones, but the huge, fresh ones with all the leaves that we tore off and dipped in butter one at a time. We were the pickiest eaters alive, but we loved artichokes? That is seriously weird.
I forgot how whip smart you were. How you tore through books, how you loved Anne Rice and vampires, how I was so jealous of your writing, (which was and still is some of the most beautiful prose I have ever read), I forgot that you gave me hope that I wouldn’t always be gawky and awkward and nerdy when I was going through (a very late) puberty. I forgot how big your heart was, how after Nan died you gave me a framed photo of Nan and Pop holding hands as they waded into the ocean. I forgot that you were goofy and funny, and I forgot the day that you jumped up and down with me on the picnic table on our back porch when my boobs finally started to grow. You might have been more excited than I was.
I forgot all of these things because you changed over the years, or your illnesses changed you. When you were sick, all I could see were your illnesses. Your addiction, depression, bipolar. If I could go back and change something, it would be my ability to separate you from those things, I just couldn’t do it back when you were alive.
It’s easy to love a dead person because they aren’t a real person anymore. Real people have annoying traits and habits and can be full of hurtful words. Real people can suck up all the oxygen in the room and talk right over you. Real people make bad choices that hurt themselves and those around them. You were a real person and I did a really shitty job of loving you.
In some ways, you never had a chance in this world. You were so sensitive. You walked through life collecting wounds the way that kids collect lightning bugs in jars. Holes poked in the lids to give them air. You’d sit peering in through the glass, examining each one. It wasn’t a thing you wanted to do, it was just the way your brain worked. You never figured out how to open the jar and let them all go free.
I guess I’m writing all of this because I don’t want you to be forgotten. Not by me, or anyone else who knew you. You mattered to me. You mattered. I am trying to remember all of you.
November 15 2018
In five days, mom turns 70. Time, time, time passing. No chance of stopping it. No chance to pause your self while the rest of you grows up, so that the older you can tap the paused you on the shoulder and whisper, “Stop being such a little shit head. Stop thinking that you are so important, so busy. One day, you will look ridiculous to yourself. At least, that’s the best we can hope for. If you don’t see how ridiculous you were, there is no saving you.”
41 with a baby boy in my life who fills up my whole heart, except the part that was scarred, but even there, a softening. Even there, some feeling coming back.
I think of you, my sister. I wonder if I knew you at all.
Outside, it’s snowing. Your grave will be covered with snow. What do you know as a dead person? Can you see? Can you see me struggling or not struggling enough? Is it, like some people say, that a person’s energy never disappears? You are all around? Mom misses you the most. I understand some things differently now that I’m a mother. I understand the urge to keep a child safe and I understand how the impossibility of this can, if your child is harmed, rip your insides apart into a pile. How it could diminish you.
Can you come to me in my dreams? Would you? Would you come and tell me that you forgive me? That I should forgive myself?
December 23, 2018
Tomorrow you would have been 45. I don’t know what to do with that knowledge. Will I ever stop counting the years? Sometimes I feel so alone with my grief, but that is mostly because I don’t know how to talk to anyone about it and I don’t know how to allow myself space to grieve you.
I think that something is opening up in me as I read more and more of your journals. I’m able to understand how the world looked through your eyes and I feel a great empathy that I was not capable of when you were alive. I don’t think that you ever felt like you were enough, not once in your whole life. The men you chose to be with treated you poorly (an understatement for some of them), at least for the most part. It seemed like you were always wanting something more from them but always willing to accept their inability or unwillingness to give you what you needed and that seemed to confirm to your belief that you didn’t deserve goodness.
I can’t remember how we were before we grew apart. I remember being silly with you.
One of the journals I read was from when you were in Brookline after you slit your wrists and turned on the gas in your apartment. During your group sessions I guess everybody would share their goals and your goal was this: to not lose hope. When I read that something in me both filled and deflated at the same time. The part of me that filled, understood that you were such a fighter and I felt so proud of you, but I also felt so sad that you had to have this as a goal, as if hope was like water in your cupped palms and it was running out, spilling all over and you were afraid. I’ve never felt that way, never felt as if hope was a thing I was about to lose and I know now that you fought to hold onto it and that you are/were much braver than I could ever be.
May 21, 2019
Three years approaches. Three years since you left this earth. How can this be? And yet I’ve lived so much in those three years. I have a son. I am a mother to the most beautiful being I have ever seen and he makes me smile every day, even when he is having a complete meltdown because he wants the high chair to go to the basement NOW or because he wants to watch The Itsy Bitsy Spider again or because he is not yet coordinated enough to stick his fork through a slice of banana and get it to his mouth, but he most definitely does not want help.
I am alive and you are dead. But even when you were alive, it wasn’t much of a life. I used to get uncomfortable when I felt like you needed me to name all of the reasons you should keep on living, because the truth was that for the last handful of years of your life, I couldn’t think of many. The truth was that if my life had been your life, I think that I would’ve wanted to die too. I would tell you that Mom, Dad and I would miss you so much, but the words felt like tiny arrows shot at an immense beast.
Can you hear me? Wherever you go when you die, do you see me? Are you reading these entries? Because if you hear me/see me/read me I need to know whether you can forgive me for writing the book I’m working on. It’s all about us. There is a lot of ugliness in it. But it’s as true as I can make it and I don’t think you would like it, but I need to know if you can forgive me for it.
I hope you are happy where you are. I hope you get to watch endless movies and that you are surrounded by people who love you. Pop and Nan. Michael. I hope you get to sing a lot, like the psychic said, and that people praise your voice when your done.