Personal Growth

Updates to the Playlist of Life

It’s been a little bit since my last post. I’ve been hung up on writing because I haven’t been sure about what I wanted to say. I started this blog because my friend died and I needed someplace to express my feelings. I realized writing helped my mental health, and I wanted to talk about other things aside from Chris. But the more I wrote about other things, the further away I got from the heart of this blog.

I’m living with my best friend still, and we finally turned the dining room into my bedroom. It’s amazing what a space of your own will do for you. Up to now, I have been sleeping on the couch and the time just came to make my room. My wall is a curtain, I have a sleeper sofa, and my closet is technically the pantry, but it’s cute and just what I need. Most importantly, it’s mine.

“Put Your Records On” by Corrine Bailey Rae

I’m still on the job hunt. School doesn’t begin until January, so I am hunting for work to save up to buy a car ASAP. Money is stressful because, well, I don’t have any. Also I’m not getting many (read: any) bites in the job department. I’ve hustled for years, and I know I can make it work on a day-to-day level, but it’s still stressful. I’m taking refuge in knowing that everything I’m doing is for a future where I’m not always stressed about money. One step at a time. Still, today, it is stressful as hell.

“Money” by Cardi B

My emotional life is still a bit tumultuous. I’ve got my best friend Hunter and Ryan in my life, and sometimes I feel like were it not for them and the little bit of fortitude I’ve got left, I’d crumble into a million pieces. They’re both so supportive and loving, and I hope I am doing a good job at returning the favor. My relationship with my mom is complex, and so we’re not speaking right now. I don’t have the strength or energy to handle it. The only family support I really have is my aunt and grandma, and a bit from my brother.

“Search for the Hero” by M People

Today is six months to the day since Chris died. This entire process has been harder than I could have ever imagined. I never did imagine it really. I never wanted this to be part of my reality. Sometimes I get terrified when I think about the fact that Chris is dead. Not only that but one day, many years from now, he will be just a memory. It’s been possible somehow over the last six months to keep him alive in some way. I touch his clothes. Listen to videos of him speaking. Listen to the playlists and CDs he’d made me. I read his letters and cards.

But one day, I will be old, and in my old age, I will talk about this man that I once knew. My first love, this beautiful, charming, handsome, clever man who died so young. This story will give young people the same feeling of sadness and melancholy that I get when I see photos of the elderly in their youth. He will always be 31, trapped in time. I will hear a song that makes me think of our first kiss or his dancing. It will always be tragic and something that happened that shouldn’t have.

Chris didn’t tell me that he was dying.

The last time I spoke to him was 3 weeks before he passed. I had sent him a photo of my best friend’s wedding. I said that we should plan to video chat soon and catch up, and he agreed, and then nothing. Three weeks passed and I continued to message him with no response. I started to worry. It wasn’t unusual for him to disappear for a week or two during his treatment, but for him to not even read my messages seemed strange. Then one random day, a day like any other, I got a message from his girlfriend telling me that he had died that morning.

“Chaos” by Mutemath

That he didn’t tell me he was dying has really messed with me. I can’t begin to imagine what goes through someone’s head when they’re told they have X amount of time to live. However, if you had asked me any time leading up to that if Chris would have told me he was dying, I would have said yes without flinching. So to find out from his girlfriend after he had already died, and a few weeks after he was told that he only had a short time to live, I honestly didn’t know what to think. Why didn’t he tell me? Why didn’t she tell me? Maybe he didn’t want me to know.

Maybe the harder truth is that he didn’t need me anymore. That thought still tears me up. I don’t know, and honestly, I can never know. He’s not here to either confirm nor deny any of my theories, but the idea that I wasn’t important enough to know has really had a powerful effect on me. I can tell you that that singular thought has really KO’d my self-esteem. Chris was the one stable man in my life, and to think that he didn’t want me there when he died, or that I didn’t even make the list of people important enough to inform has really fucked with me.

Chris didn’t have a malicious bone in his body. The idea that he would do withhold this kind of information out of some kind of flippant attitude flies in the face of everything I know about him. But it still doesn’t make any sense, and probably never will. I am left to my own devices to make any sense of it, and frankly, make up my own story about how and why that happened.

Even that story, the one where he didn’t tell me because he didn’t want me to worry and freak out, still doesn’t make much sense to me, but it’s the one I’m going with. Neither of us believed in an afterlife, but I find myself wanting to reach out into my spirituality these last few months more than I ever have. I’ve leaned harder into my tarot and the craft much more than ever, and somehow, I don’t know how, I do feel like it’s helping me to keep my head above water. Still, on a day like today, I miss him so much. I don’t want any of this. I hate that this is the world I live in now, one that he’s not an active participant in anymore.

“The Road” by Emmylou Harris

I’ve tried to refrain from speaking in too much detail about the people in my life, because I always felt it was kind of exploitative and icky. So without oversharing, I really am so eternally grateful for all of the support I’ve had. My best friend, despite her own tumultuous life, has been so amazingly understanding and kind while I pick up the pieces of my life. Ryan has been the most loving, compassionate, understanding man that the universe could have brought into my life, and the sadness that I feel about the losses I have had is offset a bit by the presence of these people.

The three of us are going out tonight to have a beer in Chris’s honor. The fact that they are ready and willing to be there for me when they know they’re in for just an evening of me crying is a testament to their love. I love them both without measure.

“Thank You” by Bonnie Raitt

For now, the process continues. Little by little I am rebuilding my entire life, internally and externally. I’ll tell you that that’s no easy process. I’ve said before though that if my rock bottom doesn’t involve being homeless or on meth, I’ll take it. If this is the bottom, then the only place left to go is up.

“Everywhere” by Bran Van 3000

1 reply on “Updates to the Playlist of Life”

Man, it breaks my heart that he didn’t tell you, buuuut, my first thought when I read that was that it was actually too painful for him to tell you. Perhaps he felt that he just wasn’t capable of handling the heartbreak of having that conversation with you. Regardless of why he went about it the way he did, you’re still left here with hurt feelings that I think are justified. Fuck, I have so many questions I want to ask him, I can only imagine how many you have. I’m so sorry you are having to feel these things. But keep writing!!! It helps your heart and mind so so so much! I honestly look up to you Sam for your openness with processing pain, trauma and heartbreak.

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