Can anyone hear how sad I am?
Distant stars squander their chances to sparkle for me.
The apocalypse is on the edges of my front door, notorious for invading
My happy space.
Sometimes my scathing voice feels on mute, or carried by a restless wind.
Either way, I have learned
Some stardust always shines and dies alone.
Years ago I used to frequent a tattoo parlor called Sol Tribe on S. Broadway that sat next to the Sweet Action Ice Cream . On a number of occasions I had some brief verbal exchanges with Alicia Cardenas , who I came to recognize as a pillar of strength and insight of a teacher in her community. She opened her first tattoo space at 19, later spending 15 years running the space I once knew on S. Broadway.
Last night, December 27, 2021 her and four others were gunned down in a shooting spree by some asshole from another tattoo shop. All day I’ve been seeing memorials and fundraisers for Alicia Cardenas, Jimmy and Alyssa Maldinado and other victims in the community. Other tattoo shops closing today in a moment of silence.
A burlesque dancer me and my husband used to go see years reported on social media that at Camp Christmas they got an order for a shelter in place.
All the shootings occurred in spaces I’d been known to lurk, and a few people who had shared kind words with me long ago were snuffed out when they had so much more they were ready to do here.
If I’m being honest with myself, you were the one. You were it. You always were. I think on some level, you knew it too.
I think I was scared seeing your dad die when we were young. I was scared loving you because I knew you’d see the same unfair fate one day. Despite all this love and perfect imperfection, you were just like him. I knew, and I was a coward.
Seeing your dad die from ALS didn’t phase you, somehow. Like you understood so early that life wasn’t worth living if you didn’t LIVE. You were always smiling. Always just happy to be wherever you were. Always ready with a joke or a disarming catchphrase. I don’t think I was on your level, ever. You wielded love openly. I was afraid.
I’ll never forget stealing you from that girl you dated before me. How egotistical I was! But somehow, you knew you were meant for me. I never deserved you, and I always remember thinking how lucky I was to receive your love. Your heart was special. Greater than most. I knew that with my whole being.
I always hear people talk about how the good die young. I always thought that was overgeneralization until now. Your past is littered with philanthropy, with love, and with so many people who knew of your heart. It was so special. It feels so wrong now that it was gone too soon. So very, very wrong.
I still don’t know what happened, just that you’re gone too soon. Way too soon. Too soon for me to say what I’ve wanted to say this whole time:
I love you.
Something I’ll never hear anyone call me. And it’s heart breaking.
And it’s worse that I never want to hear from my own, ever again.
Mom I asked you to leave me alone so that I can grieve losing my father instead of reacting to your alternate reasons for why it wasn’t safe for me to grieve with you. I’ve never fully grieve losing him I’ve been so distracted with all of the useless drama on how to grieve by my sister by my brothers wife by you. I said my goodbyes to my dad while he was still lucid and it meant something to me and him. While he could still form sentences even if he didn’t always get the details correct. I told him I try not to fall apart and that losing him would really break me. I remembered everything the hospice nurse told me. I made sure that his head and his airway was always clear knowing he got to a point where he couldn’t swallow when he got his meds. Am I idiot sister just believes that she can show up and take over and if she doesn’t want to have to deal with me she is going to go to our mother like we are kids and suddenly I have to deal with her aligning herself with you and you to gang up on me. Him opening his eye was his terminal agitation. What my sister had to get you and you guys had a roll them over after he was just moved and just had his meds and at that stage of his decomposition it was exhausting for him and then you had him at a 45° angle. The hospice nurse always said that he would sound gurgly after his meds just let him get through it because that is liquid. So I invite you to take a sip of some thing and then just lay out a 45° angle and not swallow and see how hard it is. I couldn’t take care of my dad you guys were so busy telling me I had to gree where I was supposed to stand where I was supposed to say. Then I was supposed to say in the corner and not say anything . Then I was in the corner and I was not supposed to say anything and I never signed up for that particularly as I was my father second to make decisions and his medical directive not my Simon says sister. But I had to leave and come back and defend myself not once not twice and my sister tried to shame me at my bad stuff but wondering what’s wrong with me like I won’t get any closer to him on his bed as though I wasn’t the closest to him and I saw him open his eye in the first place before she decided to run and grab you and act like she was the one that saw it. Situational awareness matters but after that no one was listening to me. And my father can’t Open his eye now. My sister was just trying to bark at everybody at where to stand and then she said what’s wrong with you I can I get in here is the moving at the foot of his bed wasn’t close enough as though she wasn’t putting on some perfunctory display. She’s a cunt I meant every word of it. I haven’t felt this helpless since I was nine. But the final straw was that my last digital memorial of my dad really my last gift to my dad of every photo I can fine after he threw out so many albums I had to scour everywhere for photos of him. I paid money to convert slides of him growing up then I spent hours cleaning up/spots on slides. And then I went through all of his music and I remember specific songs of us growing up but it’s specific meaning in a specific memory. You know I had spent the better part of nine months putting it together and when you thought that you didn’t wanna do anything and you were going back-and-forth with it it was exhausting for me to watch you go back-and-forth because I had to sit with those pictures I had to sit with all that music and it was emotionally exhausting. But I got it done I sent slaw songs and slides to start a specific time and then I even took all these last-minute additional requests in the last couple of days of His life when people that couldn’t be bothered to give me input now all of a sudden had something to say and yet I made all those adjustments. I put it on a loop that would run every two hours as sync the slides I previewed it for you you watched it and you said it was a gift of love that I put a lot of time in. But there was no excuse that you could hear For my leaving the room after the second time I had to defend myself because I wasn’t grieving exactly the way my sister wanted me to or whatever stupid show she was putting on there. Leave it to my sister to make grieving a competition with winners and losers. I got out of there I went home he passed while I was driving home and I didn’t feel safe to turn around and come home. And my sister is still trying to tell me that she agrees with my decision as though she gets a vote on the shit at all. I did so much ahead of time to prepare for this. All she had to do was to call the funeral home and pick out a prayer card everything else was done. And I didn’t feel safe driving back home the next day. My sister calls me again and tries to guilt trip me again to come home at that point I block her number. Call my mom to tell her I think the day after that I’m ready to come back and finish and my mom asked me to wait because she didn’t know where her sisters were going to stay. So I did in the morning of his funeral my best friend took me there to take care of me protect me from my family who made it impossible for me to be there and take care of my dad. And then right before we’re ready to leave no one is speaking to me at my brother or not my sister and my mom is showing me all the flowers she picked and I said everything is perfect. And my idiot sister-in-law is trying to tell my mom to wear pointy heels. But my mom has gained some weight being a caretaker to my dad. And she’s too heavy to wear pointy heels. So I tell my mom to wear the meal clogs that she feels comfortable and she’ll be on her feet all day and they still look fashionable with her dress. I bought my mom some new make up because she has generally doesn’t wear it and I showed her how to apply it now that she’s older to make her circles look less dark and she like the tips that I gave her. She wanted to look presentable. And as we’re getting ready to leave my best friend goes to pull our car around front and my mom tells me that I will be hearing different music with the slides I put together on my digital tribute. Earlier I had issues with production where the start and stop of music would drop down and drop back on as a pause it would lower volume and not but I fixed it. And my mom said. No you’ll see the same photos it’ll just be different music and I said what for my mother knows the whole point of this project was about music. In fact the only thing I want of my dad literally the only thing is one of his guitar is it’s one of the earliest memories that I have of him playing black bird from the Beatles on his guitar. I remember singing it to him and his final days. So why am I listening to different music. She said it’s because her daughter-in-law‘s father a man who spent an entire 20 hours with my father is in a musical orchestra and he’s a composer and he put some music together and they were going to put something together and I am mediately and grief stricken all over again. And I ask her why she said well this way he can participate too. Hell why why are we having alternate versions of my last gift to my dad? I knew I wasn’t going to be able to eulogize him but that was my gift to my dad why is somebody else putting AnAlternative version? They wouldn’t have photos had I not put them all together over the last nine months spent all that money cleaning up spots on photos. And why the fuck does he need to participate if he wants to participate and he is a father of a daughter-in-law they participate like every other extended family member they bring a fucking casserole. They don’t take over my digital memorial. And my mom says well we will play yours too. What does she mean too? If this was ever a joint production? Why are we having multiple versions of this? I know my mom she likes to punish me she likes to reject me she’s done it throughout her whole life if I don’t do what she wants I don’t follow her into a weird cult religion that my sister and brother married into multi generational practitioners families but both either left their marriage or is trying to get out of their marriage right now. My father never joined and he’s not here to tell my mom to stop when she takes it too far. Mom just doesn’t think her she doesn’t care.I am 40 something years old and when you want the whole family to come over my sister and her children have taken over all the bedrooms my mom actually thinks me 40 something-year-old is supposed to sleep on a fold out sofa that her dogs wee on. Versus her teenagers that are supposed to bunk up. And then she’s shocked that I leave early that weekend. I’ve tried to talk to you for a year after losing my dad I did manage to make it to the memorial but I blew off the repast I’ll be goddamned if I’m going to hear other music to my last gift so my dad. My best friend gets it my therapist gets it. But my mom is very adept at coming up with alternate reasons to continue villainizing me for no other reason then I don’t do exactly what she wants just like my sister does the same. And then my mom started coming up with alternate reasons for why I left couldn’t be in the room and my dad suffocated to death. But it was too hard for me and she just assume that all of her children wanted to be in there. Grief counselor gave for that reason and it blows my mind is that she Hass to hear it from someone else she can’t just hear it from me what my reasons are that she and my sister made it impossible for me to be there. And that my mother fully expected that just because my dad was dying that I was supposed to take it from them that I was supposed to take them villainizing me at his deathbed like that I lost my dad and it didn’t matter to them that I was hurting too I had to doI had to do exactly what they wanted to do never mind that it was from a place of ignorance and we were listening to the least informed person in the room my sister because she was in a mood and didn’t want to have to defer to me I was the one by his side when I saw him open his eyes but she decided she was gonna tell my mom that she saw him open it and starts panicking that she heard his breathing sound gurgling and changing it had change it sounded gurgly because he just had his meds and she wasn’t there when his meds were given to him but she doesn’t wanna deal with me so she just tells my mom that so she can take over and I am gob smacked. I left because of what you mom said and what she my sister did. It wasn’t safe for me to grieve with you. And that’s hard for you to hear so you keep trying to come up with other reasons. You say that you don’t want to deal with this until after we get through the memorial but the point is is that I’m still in pain still trying to grieve losing my dad and you guys are still putting me aside and marginalizing me so that you can deal with your grief and then I am dealing with me and my grief is some thing that secondary you’re not recognizing that I’m grieving to and that the way that you were treating me is making this worse and you don’t even recognize that you’re doing it you don’t even recognize what you did until I finally just asked you if your mother ever said to you that she felt sorry for you? After after your dad died? You were at your father‘s deathbed any of your sisters get in front of you and try to take over? No they didn’t. Did your mother tell you what you could and couldn’t say at your dad‘s deathbed? No. Did your mother try to alter your eulogy for your dad in anyway? No. And you can’t possibly know how I’m feeling because that happened to me and I lost my dad on top of it am I own mother marginalized me maligned against me punished me and then pretended that she wasn’t punishing me by offering an alternative version of music. And my dad wasn’t here to tell you that you took it too far. I tried talking to you for a year afterwards. But I just get angrier and angrier and I end up trying to strategize with my friends how I’m gonna deal with you when I have to call you. And I don’t deserve to feel this way I’m tired of being Charlie Brown and you holding the football and saying hike. Because it’s not just losing my dad that you’re like you’re like this you’ve done this to me my whole life. You find someway to reject to me all the time. I want one of my dad‘s guitars it’s the only thing is the only thing I ask for and you said you had to think about it. Your sadistic. My therapist doesn’t blink with much but when I told her you said that her mouth dropped. And she just wanted to know who is it keeping around me in the way of a support system because she knows that you were way too toxic. To take care of myself I said that I don’t think I can forgive this and I’ve tried but the truth is that she doesn’t deserve forgiveness. I tell you that I need a break from talking to you. So that I can grieve losing my dad and not keep replaying this useless drama with my family. Italia then I’ll call you when I’m ready and I was gonna block your phone number so that I could have some peace of mind. Six months later I see that you tried to call me. And I can tell you that I am immediately unhappy and I start crying for three days again reliving the whole event. I’m not ready to talk to you and you being sad that I’m not ready to talk to you was not my burden anymore. I always make you feel better when you burden me with how sorry you are. I want you to be sorry I want you to stop mistreating me but I don’t think when you’re 60 something years old that people change. I am at an age where I don’t care and I really have excepted that it just doesn’t matter what other people think I mean it really doesn’t matter it’s one thing to say that but it’s another thingIt’s one thing to feel it y know it. They called my best friend and told her how stressed out I was that you tried to call me and then if it were an emergency my aunts would be in touch with me. And then this evening he managed to get a text through to me because apparently blocking your phone number doesn’t block texts. You asked me if I am ready to say hello. I told you I would reach out to you when I was ready so yes it’s been seven months but yes I’m angry that you can’t just respect this line that I’ve laid down to keep myself safe. Simply text you back no mom I’m not ready. At least you’re not worried or whatever it is even if it’s not an answer that she wants I still like we asked and gave you an answer. I don’t know what to do mom because unlike your two other children I won’t be knocking on the grave asking anyone for a loan. Your weird religion teaches people not to focus on things of this world and just follow them and spread their gospel. But you still have to take care of your retirement you have to be a responsible person. My dad never joined your religion and he took very good care of you. My sister asking me what was wrong with me really pissed me off. I am not a codependent like she is. So when my dad is trying to sabotage his recovery by smoking she just kind of makes excuses for it where I intervene and I say no this is not allowedAnd it’s a simple as this he will be discharged from the rehab hospital he’s caught smoking it’s in the paperwork. And I am the second medical directive she does not get a vote on this. I hijacked all of the contacts on his Facebook list. Filled with colleagues and friends that he’s known over the years and family members and I write to them a feeling that I’m his oldest daughter and that we appreciate everybody visiting him in the hospital but he cannot under any circumstances have cigarettes no matter how much he bags in a matter what he says it’s nicotine attic bullshit it will get him discharged from the hospital and it will compromise his care he’s just had surgery he has sutures that are trying to heal and he needs to keep inflammation away cause any kind of inflammation is catastrophic for him right now as he’s recovering from surgery. She didn’t get that dad I did I had to deal with him trying to smuggle smokesHe’s lived up on pain meds and I’m trying to hear how his day went and he says how he had a friend from high school that he hasn’t talk to you in over 40 Years is going to come visit him. Somebody that wasn’t on my list of friends when I found out someone waiting family members are being hoodwinked by my dad to give him smokes. I told them why they couldn’t give him the smokes they were super apologetic I said no it’s OK I’m not chastising anybody I said I can tell you the story now why it’s so funny what I caught him doing the other day. And I know you were just trying to find someway to give him comfort. But he is on a cigarette patch in a smoke can really make his outcome very perilous right now and when you get that kind of news you want your vice but unfortunately his vices are not an option. And I was grateful that they were open and honest with me about it and if he does that again you guys can tell them that I read them the riot act and you can blame me. When I told my mom that a friend of his from high school I gotten touch and said he was going to visit her unfortunately I didn’t believe that he wouldn’t ask him to bring smokes too and my mom who has known my dad since high school says I know who his sister is! And so my Mom went looking for her on Facebook. And my mom found her and got in contact with her and yes she remembered my mom and she remembered my dad and yes she would relay to her brother to Not smuggle and smokes to my dad. And it was true my dad had asked him to bring him some smokes. My sister lecturing me less though I’m not close enough to the bed lecturing me that it’s a good idea for my dad to be sitting in the position he has after he’s just had his meds it’s just been turned over asking me what’s wrong with me is though there’s something wrong with me that I’m not advocating for him that we just kept moving his pillow around and maybe he’s pissed off that we keep moving him. She doesn’t get that dad I do. For it I was completely isolated when I lost my dad by my own family. And then all of a sudden my mom wants us to get together after it’s over with and when I refuse because it’s not safe she complains but we’re not a family then. And the whole time I’m thinking and this only occurred to you now that while I was grieving in that room that while I was doing my job to take care of my dad not what I put all that time into my last gift for my dad that when I let you guys do what you needed to grieve I did not stop you from grieving how you needed to grieve for him but you guys could stop ripping me apart? I simply tell my mom that I’m used to this. I’m used to her rejecting me in someway because I didn’t follow her in her religion. I can’t forgive this mom. No I’m not ready to talk to you. I will tell you that I have to wear reading glasses all the time now because my vision is gone so bad in my left eye that I can’t even watch I figure on TV with it which is crazy because I use that better than 2020 vision. And so now when I cry thinking about this cry when I see you trying to call me cry when you manage to text me anyway I know I have to clean my glasses I am that person now.I don’t know what to say to you I don’t know if I should just say I need you to divorce yourself or divorce me from your health insurance diversity from your state but my brother and sister figure it out but there’s a catch though and exchange for that they have to be the ones to take care of you when it’s time because I will not. And while I’m in that’s frame of Ryan’s mom no I don’t think you want to hear for me right now
I am sorry for your loss last friday [two days ago]. I might be way younger than you, but I know what it’s like to be a widow. I lost my fiance to bowel cancer in June 2017. It would be easier to lie to you, and tell you that you recover from your life partner’s death really quickly, but I’d just be leading you on pretending that the sorrow goes away quickly. It doesn’t. Even though your husband isn’t physically there anymore, he’s still with you in many other ways. His spirit. His soul. Just because you can’t physically see him in front of you, it doesn’t mean that he’s completely gone. He now an invisible version of himself. You can take comfort in the fact that you had a very good long-term relationship with him. Who honestly still stays in a relationship that long these days? You and my grandparents are an example of what true love really is. Seventy-three years of being together through thick and thin. That is true dedication. Sometimes you might subconsciously find yourself talking to him, or whispering to him, or singing to him. I often catch myself doing this,but I like to think my dead fiance can hear me and see me. I look up at the ceiling when I secretly talk to him. It’s survival mode. That is fine to do that. It’s not harming anyone. It’s your mind’s way of keeping him around. It’s very sweet. Who cares if it makes you look crazy? They don’t understand.
It’s been four years now since you suddenly passed, and today feels just the same as that night when I got the call from the county coroner’s office. There is a pressure in my core that perpetually swells, filling me with anxiety and emptiness.
Things could have been better growing up. They always could have, and I harbored an unwarranted resentment towards you. But I was a kid and I didn’t fully understand everything. Even as a young adult, things took their time making sense. Once I was married and gifted you your first grandchild, things changed and the threads of healing were finally being sewn.
Then you fucking left. Heart attack they say, and you were gone before the paramedics even arrived. It may be cliche, but there was so much more that I needed from you, Dad. Namely, how to handle this crippling depression I inherited from you. Because leaving like that, yeah, it fucked me up more than normal. Despite being surrounded by my own family under my charge, I have never felt so alone. This is the fourth year in a row my wife forgot about today, and the fourth year I have to pretend like I’m okay because it’s not okay to not be okay.
I’m spiraling and can’t stop it. I love you and I miss you so damn much. I needed more time and it was stolen from me. I’ve tried releasing this anger and resentment, but I just can’t. So I bury it and forget it for a while until it decides to rise to the surface. I don’t even know who or what it is directed at. Only that it is eating ferociously at my sanity. I am overwhelmed with the feeling that I need to be where you are at all costs, wherever you may be. And some day, I’ll likely make the journey. Not just because I miss you, but because wherever you are is a hell of a lot better than this nightmarish cesspool we call Earth.
God dammit Jim.
Why did you take yourself away from us? Why did you have to end your life? Why didn’t you reach out when I was leaving our apartment and say “No, I need your help.”? Did you see your mom breaking apart as she was carrying a little pine box with her youngest son’s ashes in? Did you see her last goodbye to you? Did you see my pain, my shattering the half empty wine bottle against the unfeeling asphalt because it hurt so bad and I still couldn’t scream and cry out for you? Did you see Nick when he texted me the news? Your brother when he confirmed to me that it was suicide? Your dad unable to work?
Please. I miss you. If you are out there somewhere, let me know you’re doing better.
I am so done binging. It is making me sick, so sick that I could die from obesity in the long run.
It has been 15 days now. 15 days. I have binged every single night. I haven’t been able to stop, and each time that I get close, he stares at me the wrong way or wants to pick a fight, and I want to scream FUCK YOU!!!!
I am a rebellious teenager all over again who does not want to ha e sex with their partner.
I hat him. I fuxkong hate him. I want a divorce, but I love him too much to ask him for one.