I had a dream last night about an old friend. I know why it happened and it bothers me. It bothers me that after so many years of no contact I hear her voice in my head when I start to think about writing about what has happened in the last two weeks. And I know why it happened–because with every death/suicide over the years she would tell me I am making it all about myself. Even when it was one of my bridesmaids and I was trying to explain how depressed and guilty I felt because I blew her off a couple weeks before she took her life. Even when it was my Dad’s sudden death impacting my ability to be a proper MOH for a wedding in PA when I lived in GA. Bringing it up every few years just to rub it in that my dress wasn’t altered properly when I could barely afford my portion of all the other wedding costs.
I have changed so much over the last few years. I actively run an internal list of things I am still working on, and it’s a list that ebbs and flows with my life. When I could finally shake off the icky guilt that lingered after I woke I made a decision. I am never going to let anyone quantify my grief, sadness and how I cope or let them make me feel guilty for having big sad feelings that are hard to just get over. No more free-rent livin’ in MY mind. This change feels good already.
So what had’happen’was…I started thinking about how I wanted to write about the two friends that passed away nine days apart. I want people to know how awesome they were, and how much of an impact they had–how much admiration I had for them. Then I heard HER in my head: “You always have to make it about YOU.” and immediately thought “Fuck off, lady, that’s not what it’s about. and it NEVER WAS.”. I thought it would be good to sleep on it, and it was because I could now finally shed that last layer of giving a fuck. I don’t think anyone should feel guilty about talking about their feelings—and that goes for happy occasions, sad ones, and especially when crazy shit comes outta nowhere to blindside you.
And without further ado….welllll….maybe a little backstory first.
My Gestie(gay bestie) introduced me to a beautiful queer campground in North GA a handful of years ago. I’ve written about it before, where all my favorite gays are. Those dudes taught me more about the kind of person I want to be and the kind of life I want to have than any other friend-group I’ve had. Eventually I bought a camper and was up there as often as possible. My favorite thing about camp was the overwhelming sense of love. Most of the guys were completely amazing….a few were annoyed that a girl was there. In hindsight I understand those feelings, but I was never ever trying to ‘invade men’s spaces”. I recently had a major a-ha moment when I realized how incredibly selfish it was for me to assume they would be cool with having a chick around. To any of the guys who felt that way, I sincerely apologize, please know it was never my intent.
I met all sorts of people over the years. It’s a special skill. Not really, I’m just a nice friendly person and in a world full of assholes the nice ones stick out. But sometimes my inner introvert comes out and I just people-watch–esp when someone is intimidating. I was terribly intimidated by Phoebe*(nickname) cuz he was just SO cool. His campsites were always delightfully decorated and he and his husband were just so kind and funny and way above my friend-league.(Because yes, I’m a girl, so there will always be ppl out of all leagues be them friends or otherwise–or so I thought at the time). I liked to be on the pool deck where I could hear conversations and his were always just delightful. The first time he addressed me by name I nearly swooned that he knew who I was! We became FB friends, and I so enjoyed watching all the traveling they did and holy hell, the meals he’d cook! He was someone I really looked up to, and was hoping in the future we’d become better friends. I mean, he was only 46. No one expected him to go to bed one night and not wake up. My heart is shattered for his husband, David, and for all the (camp) family that is suffering. I wasn’t Jason’s bestie, but I thought he was a beautiful kind GOOD human and this world is a little less awesome without him here.
Phoebe on the left, Spitty on the right.
You know, I thought I could write about both of them in one sitting, but I’mma need a hot second before I tackle the next loss, so I’ll stop for today.
I’ll never stop saying this:
HUG YOUR PEOPLE AND TELL THEM YOU LOVE THEM EVEN IF YOU YOU DON’T LIKE THEM VERY MUCH.
YOU NEVER KNOW WHEN IT’S THE LAST GOODBYE.