Hi Babe,

So many days these past couple of weeks I’ve had things I wanted to tell you, things I wanted to share here- I’ve forgotten half of them now, but let’s see how far I get.

Sometimes I find other people’s grief journeys triggering. Does that make me a bad person? I shouldn’t be surprised considering the stigma around mental health is all too real, but so many people are afraid of feeling their feelings. I don’t blame them- feelings, especially the feelings associated with losing someone you love to suicide- are hard. We have to feel them though, we have to get them out. I wish I had driven that point home with you. And the stigma against medication- my god, babe. It’s triggering when people feel like they need to make excuses for needing to be on an anti-depressant…you don’t need to minimize it- your reason is super valid. Even if someone isn’t dealing with this kind of loss, or any kind of loss, you can be on anti-depressants. It doesn’t make you less of a person. It makes you brave. It makes you a fighter. Dare I say it, it makes you strong. But how can I be on my high horse about it? I felt the same way until I needed meds, myself. It’s just something so many of us are raised believing, especially the older generations. In the past, I’ve heard people say they are worried meds will change their personality, but my experience has been the opposite- once I found the right meds, I finally felt like myself, and for a while there, I even really liked myself.

Oh, and it’s okay to cry. It’s okay to fucking cry.

As more shock wears off and I start to consider other people’s feelings more and not wanting to make them uncomfortable and it stops me from saying “my partner jumped off a bridge”…I start to feel more and more like I’m just acting. I’m acting like the person people expect me to be, because they knew me before you left, and it feels normal for them, but for me that person feels like a caricature of myself as I exist in the world now. I wonder if thats how you felt when you showed up for me the way you did.

I keep getting harassed walking around the city. And i have this anger inside of me now that’s just like this opportunist waiting for these moments where I can impulsively yell back at someone yelling at me or calling me names. It’s been difficult to control. Today it was a guy riding his bike down the sidewalk yelling at me for not getting out of his way, calling me names. He zoomed past me and I yelled after him “are you kidding me, get off the sidewalk, asshole!” and I kept walking until I heard him behind me. He had doubled back and was in front of me again calling me a lot more names and I got scared and was just looking for something to put between myself and him so i stepped over the guardrail separating the sidewalk from Connecticut Avenue and started walking up Connecticut like an idiot. Replacing one dangerous situation with another, luckily the car coming down the lane I was in slowed down when they saw me.
The guy left and a woman who saw the whole thing from afar got close enough to ask if I was ok. She was so nice babe, she just stood there with me with her dog beside her, and it was such a relief to feel that little offer of safety this wave washed over me and I broke down a little. She gave me a hug and we went our separate ways once everything was all clear. That’s the third time Ive been comforted by another young woman after getting harassed, and it’s starting to feel like we are all in some secret, harassment-averse version of Dumbledore’s Army, except instead of being dispersed throughout Hogwarts, we’re all over DC, always keeping an eye out for one of our own who’s in trouble.
I’m just sick of standing down, babe. I’m sick of allowing things to crash this “party” I call my life, things I didn’t ask for or invite in. When these angry men make me their target, I just cant help but fire back. I’m sick of it. I shouldn’t have to just ignore it for my own safety. I’m the victim in these situations, and these people are bullies. And the whole time in my head I’m thinking, “you dont know what happened- how dare you try to harass me after what ive been through.” I know theyre likely unstable, I know it’s a problem, I know I have to stop- they could have a gun for all I know- I just need to put a plan in place so I don’t yell out the first thing that pops into my head. And I always forget about my mace. Always. I’m going to start wearing it on my wrist, again.

I can still find some compassion for them, though, because like so many men, yourself among them, they just dont know how to appropriately deal with their emotions. And thats not all their fault- thats society’s expectations of what it should look like to “be a man.” That’s our compete lack of adequate mental health awareness outreach and services. In those situations though, I really dont care how they got there. I just care that they’re coming at me.

I just finished with a support group and it was hard. The Thai order has been placed.

I’ve found myself imagining you a lot more lately. Like trying as hard as I can to believe you are right in front of me, in the kitchen, or next to me on the metro. It just feels like my brain is desperate to put you back where you belong- alive.

I’ve made decent headway with cleaning the apartment- the common areas haven’t been this clean in months. It always comes down to the final frontier- the bedroom. I still have to catch myself calling it our bedroom. It was never our bedroom, because you never lived in Kristen’s apartment. And the only reason I do is because you left, but it still feels like it should be “ours”. I’m going to be better about things in 2023. I’m going to meet myself where I’m at. I’m going to keep things tidy, because it’s good for my mental health. I’m going to get back to exercising, because it’s good for my mental health. I’m going to focus on the things I can control because focusing on the things I can’t control is getting me nowhere fast. I’m going to try to remember to continue to give myself grace, because even though you have been gone for 8 fucking months, it still feels like yesterday. Out of all of the times my memory’s failed me since losing you, I remember every single detail of the night you died. If I close my eyes I am instantly immersed in it, every moment, thought, movement, and feeling. The panic. So much panic. The disbelief. The anguish. The desperation.

I still can’t believe you did this.

I went to a comedy show last night with our neighbors who live in our old apartment. You never got a chance to meet them, but you would have really liked them. It’s gotten to the point now where I am expecting to be triggered in whatever situation I walk into. It seems like every time I turn around, someone is joking about or casually mentioning suicide. In stand-up, on TV, in a fucking work training. Society has completely fetishized suicide. its fucked up- both the fetishizing of suicide and actual suicide.

We met with another city council member about the bridge barrier, this week, babe- he is all for it and things look promising. There’s still a lot to do to make it happen but we are getting there. When we met with the Chief of staff of DDOT, he had literally driven by the first responders to a suicide attempt off your bridge two days prior. And there was another attempt just the day before! It’s insane! So needless to say, that guy is convinced.

Sometimes when I am feeling really sorry for myself I turn the lens off of you and back on me and think ” really? it wasn’t enough to lose my dad as a kid, I have to lose you too?” and how many more will I lose? what if this isn’t the last devastating life event to completely blindside me? some people never deal with anything like this, their whole lives, you know. some people deal with more. It’s like they said in that Anderson Cooper podcast- it’s not “Why me?” so much as “Why not me?” I don’t get a free pass from the randomness of life. It’s just that it can be so unfair. So unfair, babe.

We really miss you.