Man oh man, babe.
I’ve got some bad news…another person jumped off your bridge. Last week. It was a Tuesday. He did it during the day, too. I can’t really say any more about it because I don’t want to be the reason someone else thinks it’s a good idea to jump off a bridge. Let’s talk about what happened after Tuesday.
On Wednesday, DDOT made a statement underlining the urgency of a protective measure on the Taft.
On Thursday, DDOT announced that they had reallocated money to immediately fund the barrier. Boom. Just like that, babe. All it took was one more life. I guess one just wasn’t enough.
I could say you started a trend, but I don’t want that to be true. And I’m not sure if that’s a quality quip, even for my dark humor.
At our meeting on Friday, DDOT made sure to point out that they always had the funding for the barrier, it was just about reprogramming it (because my tweets talked about still needing to get funding). Maybe there’s a big difference between the two terms in their mind, but in my mind the sentiment was the same- whether DDOT had the money or would need to acquire more money, the barrier did not have the money. Isn’t that worse in a way? For ddot to admit they always could have done something because they had the funds, and then they only think about the bridge after you die because of public outcry and then reallocate the money only after another person dies? Idk, it all sounds the same to me.
I’ve felt pretty numb since that Tuesday. I kept wanting to cry or almost having a panic attack, but I never could reach the threshold. The only thing I could feel really was anger. I thought it was shock, and that it would subside and then I could feel my feelings…but that hasn’t happened yet. I had to push them down that week so I could do my job, and I thought they would spring back up again last week. But they didnt. And now instead of numb, I feel empty. Its almost like that second suicide would have been too much and my brain like hit its limit of feelings and noped out of them altogether. Maybe I should think of it like a vacation. I was really tired of feeling so much, after all. And I’m doing better at my job because of it. Well, as soon as I accepted that none of the leadership in my office gives a fuck about me or what happened to you, I started doing better. But the emptiness helps me not take it personally, too.
I do still feel overwhelmed, though. Like I’m drowning, babe. Like work is a struggle, Hugo has been sick for so long and it’s making it difficult to manage the exercise he needs without making him more sick, and also you’re dead. Even the barrier is bittersweet (because your dead and now that other guy is dead, too). I just feel so alone all the time, despite the fact that I have people who love me and are there for me. Like everything is so completely out of my control. But life’s not fair, and all this shit happens and we just have to make the most of the bright spots. We don’t get to throw in the towel, but I think you forgot that. I try to remember that if I didn’t have the support group I do, i would feel even MORE isolated and alone. So there’s that, at least.
Your birthday is coming up. You would have been 30 babe…I always loved when you had your birthday because that meant we were one one digit away from each other in age for the next 5 months, instead of two, and for whatever reason (probably something deeply engrained within me as a woman growing up in our society), I really wasnt keen on on the fact that I was older than you. But I usually forgot anyway, so that shows you how much it actually mattered.
Hugo is laying with his head on my stomach, he’s a sleepy puppy. We went for a nice long walk after work today. He’s had some respiratory virus for like over 2 months, babe. IDK what to do. And i have so much guilt around leaving him when I go to work. I see him on the nanny cam and he is just laying there, staring into space, not even sleeping. Licking his paws. Ugh. It’s a terrible feeling, and then it compounds with the fact that I never asked to raise our dog alone. I never expected to. And I don’t have a choice in the matter, because his dad is dead. Like so many other things. Everything has felt so shitty for so long that I’ve stopped telling people how I really am. It’s always the same (shitty) and Im getting sick of hearing myself tell people that.
I’ve had some insightful interactions at the last two happy hours about this grief, babe. The first one, I sat with some people I knew from the fellowship and one woman I didn’t. The barrier had just gotten money so it came up, and after talking about it a bit, the woman asked if it was a professional or personal effort for me (since were all in advocacy and policy and whatnot) and I said personal. And I left it at that. I no longer want to go through telling every new person that you killed yourself, let alone that you’re dead. But that sucks too cuz I do still feel more comfortable around people who know what happened. Soooo no new friends, i guess.
The second thing was last Friday when I was talking to Mabel, where I was telling her i prefer it when people dont ignore the fact that youre dead and I have PTSD and everything fucking sucks, and that they shouldnt be afraid of upsetting me because im already upset. She explained that her thinking was if I seemed to be in good spirits, she saw it as just giving me a little more time to stay in a placebwhere I was a little less upset before I remembered again that you left, just for a few more minutes even. And i finally saw where she was coming from. and then I apologized to her because i still dont know what the fuck im doing, or how to handle this grief, or what is going to make me feel better at any given moment. I can see how frustrating that could be for some people.
I’ve also been thinking about when K and A ghosted, and how they were upset because they didnt feel appreciated, and felt like nothing would ever be enough…but that’s exactly right. Nothing will ever be enough. You died. You died yourself. There is a you-shaped hole in my heart that can’t be filled piecemeal, unfortunately. And people expecting anything of me, especially specific shows of appreciation, especially in the beginning, was just asking for way too much. And I dont think either of them get that, or see the irony in their feeling they would never be enough, when they were really saying I wasn’t enough.That the gratitude I was able to give wasn’t enough. The only thing that would feel like enough would be you walking through the front door, but we both know that’s not going to happen. I know youre not coming back, but still, every so often, I again realize that this never ends. Like all this pain and helplessness and unresolved feelings and lack of feelings- it’s not something I get to leave behind, someday. It’s a part of me that I will always carry with me. A fucking useless extremity that is just a reminder of losing an extension of myself that I actually loved, and only serves to slow me down. I am getting better at carrying it, though. I know grief isnt linear, but these last two weeks feel like a new phase; closer to how i hoped i would feel if I ever followed through with my plan of hitting myself in the head with a frying pan or something and forgetting that any of this happened.
The problem with that plan is that then I would forget not just what you did, but you, and I can’t forget you. If I was given that choice, to be rid of all of this pain but it meant you would be gone from my mind, altogether, I don’t know if I wouldn’t just sit in this crap forever.
Youre also starting to feel farther away than before. Like instead of it feeling like you walked out the door yesterday, it feels like you left last week…when i hear your voice in my head it feels a little less familiar. It’s like a slower version of a complimentary feeling to the one I had when you first died, where I was so terrified of time passing, I just wanted it to freeze in those days where I had just seen you- alive. Now, I’ve accepted that the time will pass, but it feels just as bad, because it feels like at some point I wont be able to pretend youre here anymore. I wont be able to see you in my minds eye or feel your touch when i picture holding your hand or running my fingers through your hair. I won’t be able to escape this reality like I used to. I won’t be able to predict what you would have said in any given situation, any given conversation Im in… That terrifies me. It’s not a quick cut, like when you left, like whiplash. Instead, it’s this dull knife that’s slowly twisting deeper into me. It just hurts so much, babe.
Our building is letting me run a blood drive for your birthday next month. I’m hoping our neighbors arent afraid of needles.
Oh, one last thing, babe- guess what i saw, last week…I SAW THAT FOX! That same fucking fox! Well…it may not have been the same one, but I saw it, and theres a chance it was the same one. This time it wasn’t some crazy standoff experience like the first two times- I saw it from a car. But the chances of me seeing it in the dark while my friend was driving and we only passed it for a few seconds. ..not high. Not high, but i saw it! So, I guess now I can believe in something. Now I just have to figure out what.
I really hope at the end of all this, they let me put your name on a plaque on the Taft. That’s all I want. I want everyone to know you lived, you existed, you were loved, and you made a lasting mark on the world.
I love you, Peter.