This is something that has been on my mind for a while. It’s also one of those things that made me keep saying to myself “keep your mouth shut, just keep it shut.” But ya know what? This is my blog, right? So here we go…
My cousin Bobby died this year. It was very sudden and unexpected as he was a young man; 43. It was one of those deaths that when you get the news you honestly can’t believe what you’re hearing. I can remember precisely the moment that I received the call from my mother. I can see everything crystal clear for some reason. I say that because a lot of people get this kind of news and when they try to recall the details of a moment like that and the time that follows, their response is, “It’s all a blur.” I, however, can clearly envision the room I was in, the crappy land line phone that I had to my ear, the lamp that was on, the rug that was under the coffee table, the coffee cup I was drinking out of, the sound of my voice forcing out the words to tell my husband what had happened, even the angle of light that was starting to creep in from the morning sun that was not yet up; everything.
Bob was my cousin. And not one of those cousins that lived 15 states away that you met once when you were 12 either. He was like a brother. Bob and his younger brother; my other beloved cousin came from New York to live with me, my two brothers and our mother when I was about 8, I think. I’m 35 now. My point being that we were all very close. I loved him. We all loved him. We all loved him a great deal and we all miss him so much that sometimes I think my heart may explode from the sadness and disbelief. I know it happened….. I just can’t believe it happened. I mean, how do you recover from something like this? Well, let me tell you, it’s quite different from person to person…..
How do you grieve? How do you process the pain? Most importantly, where do you turn to find comfort during such a time? I’ll tell you where I turn…..where I find comfort. I turn to my family, my friends my loved ones. I find comfort in a heartfelt embrace from someone who is feeling the same pain as I am, or at least understands it. I find it in a phone call, a letter, a card or an email that assures me that it will get better….the pain will ease with time. I pour my tears out listening to songs or looking at photographs that remind me of the good times that we all had. I find my smile by sharing stories of him with the people who truly loved him and they return the favor by sharing their stories with me. This is how I grieve the tragic loss of someone that I cared so deeply for. In fact, I would go so far as to say that these are things that most people feel and do in the wake of a tragedy. Most people……
For others, comfort is found in having the bank drill open the decedent’s safe deposit box days after his demise and going on endless shopping sprees. For others, grieving involves trips to the salon to get Brazilian waxes for the new boyfriend, Botox and lip glosses; pedicures and Pellegrino, blue ray players and flat screen TV’s, and of course countless bags of useless shit that ended up in the cart because they were shiny. Job? Who could work at a time like this? Besides, there is no time to work when there is all this money that needs to be spent! And trips that need to be taken! Not to mention how much time is taken up by trying to figure out how to take possesion of the decedent’s grandmother’s house. “I can’t work…..I’m the grieving widow.” I imagine that it must also be exhausting spending so much time making sure that anyone within earshot can hear “how much of an asshole Bob was”. Yes, pointing out someone else’s flaws can be downright draining. And never mind that it’s incredibly hurtful to the people who are still in extreme pain over his death. Fucking narcissism at its
“I’m happier than I’ve been in years!” – This is a sentence shared on Facebook a few short months after my cousin’s death. It is a sentence that made me sick to my stomach. The sentence was posted by the “grieving widow.” The only thing that disturbed me more than that post were all of the comments that followed: “Way to go” – “So happy for you!” – “You deserve it!” – What the fuck???? Am I taking crazy pills? Is anyone else seeing this?? He’s only been gone for 4 months!!! You know what that sentence said to me?? “I’m happier than I’ve been in years!” = “I’m so happy that he’s dead.” How else was I to have interpreted a statement like that? Especially when it was followed sometime later with a gem like, “In a relationship.” Disgusting.
In an attempt to placate this woman in the months after Bob’s death I stayed friendly and “supportive” considering the position of power Bob had left her in. (Have a will people!) As well as having a 17 year old son from a prior relationship, Bob had a beautiful 4 year old daughter with this woman. I was afraid that if I spoke my mind (something that anyone who knows me will tell you I have never had a problem doing) she would get pissed off and take that little girl out of our lives. And if that happened there would be no one from our family in her life to make sure that she knew who her father was and we needed to know that she would know him, if only from us keeping his memory with her. So I bit my tongue and smiled. Even when I had to witness things such as someone at the store seeing this woman about 3 months after Bob had died and in a most kind and compassionate manner asked how she and the kids were doing. If there was anything that they needed. Perfectly normal, right? After the person was gone she turns to me and says, “God! I wish people would quit asking me that! He’s been dead for three months!!!” I was stunned. Yeah! three months, as if it had been decades and he was old news, a distant bothersome memory. Eventually, time would reveal the fact that she would indeed be gone from our lives and sadly enough, so would the child. So, I gave up on my efforts, unzipped my lips and made my feelings about her known.
I want it to be clear that my feelings about my cousin, this situation and the people involved are exactly that; my feelings and my thoughts, based on what I have seen, heard and know to be true. Having said that, I will also say that I will never assume that I know what happens “behind closed doors”. What I do know is that these two were quite miserable together. I’m not saying that he would be alive today if they had just gotten the fuck away from each other, but it sure sucks knowing that he died so obviously unhappy. I know my cousin had problems and he wasn’t perfect. But he was part of a family. He was a father, an Uncle, a brother, a nephew, a son, a cousin and a great friend. He was loved. And I miss him. I have never tried to make anyone feel as I do about any of this. That’s not how I roll. In return, I hope that people aren’t angry or upset with me because I don’t feel the same way that they do. I love my family and this is not a matter of taking sides. As Bob used to always say, “it is what it is”. Ain’t that the fucking truth.