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Not Your Ordinary Type Of Loss

It’s Mother’s Day and I’ve spend most of the day in tears. I ‘d been looking forward to it; even had some cool plans for spending the day with my daughters. Those plans went sideways shortly after breakfast.

I left my husband this week, a planned separation which took several months to execute thanks to our housing situation. As far as our daughters are concerned though, we’re still a team working together to make sure they’re happy and healthy. This week we’ve been ultra-focused on our daughters and the new adjustments.

With all our attention on our children, we didn’t pay much attention to the other members of our household.

Our pets.

When I got home from work on Thursday, I realized one of the dogs hadn’t eaten her breakfast. Not unusual, sometimes she leaves her food until late, so I wasn’t concerned. Friday night, she still hadn’t eaten. This time, I brought the black dog into the light in the kitchen, and took a good look at her. She was gaunt, ribs and spine sticking out alarmingly.

She clearly hadn’t eaten in days.

I called my ex and we agreed to flavor up her food with broth to get her to eat. We assumed it was stress from the separation. I sat, hand feeding the dog until she finally ate her food. Same deal on Saturday and again this morning. The gauntness was less pronounced, but I noticed other symptoms: a little bloating, weakness in one leg.

This morning, my ex came to get the girls for church. As he was petting her neck, he found it. A golf-ball sized lump hiding under her fur. Another closer to the other shoulder.

He took the girls to church while I took the dog to the vet. The emergency vet gave me her early findings.  My 9-year old lab has Lymphatic Carcinoma. Cancer. X-rays indicate that it may have already spread to her organs, and possibly bones as well.

Some of you will read this and know the pain and horror I felt. Others, not so much.

It may just be the dog, but it’s my dog, one we raised (along with her litter-mate) as a rescue puppy.  A pet who loves me unconditionally, knows when I’m sad and has comforted me upon many occasions. Knowing that I couldn’t put her through chemo brought me to tears.

If it really is cancer, the right, most humane decision is to put her down before she begins to suffer too much.

This cancer diagnosis capped the end of an incredibly horrible week.

A week which included leaving my husband and walking away from my daughters for the first time with the new custody sharing schedule. I kept telling myself it would be just a few days, just like a business trip. It wasn’t though. Being separated from them felt like my heart had been ripped out of my chest.

A week where the bank finally approved our short sale, but gave us a short 30-day deadline to close escrow. A week that saw a solid, approved plan to move into a rental home go awry as the owners of the rental we’re moving into reneged on the deal at the last minute.

A week that ended with learning my daughters and I would be homeless come the 31st.

Ironically, the owners of the rental reneged because we had one too many dogs. A massive wave of guilt washed over me as I wondered if maybe this would allow the deal to go through.

I think the dog knows what’s coming. She’s been rather chipper since we got home from the vet. It’s prompting my 6-year old to try to convince me that the hard lump on her throat is smaller than before so that maybe she doesn’t have to die tomorrow. I’m in one of those horrible waiting periods where I want to convince myself that it’s just a bad infection, one which we can treat with antibiotics and TLC.

Maybe our regular vet will disagree and give us a different diagnosis.  But, we have to be prepared for the worst.

Oh, my pretty puppy.

I am going to miss you.

A Letter I Can’t Send: A Letter to My Natural-Born Brother

Dear Bro,

The last time we talked, you had so much blame. So much disdain for my decisions and actions. You had guessed my motives from the biased stories told to you from people who were angry with me at the time.

At no point did anyone say to me, “Katie, these things we’ve tolerated from you are no longer acceptable to us. It needs to stop or you need to leave.”

I respected the boundaries Casey gave me without any realization that my behavior was triggering Hali. Why would I think that Billy’s appearance would trigger her into a panic?

After several weeks of living peacefully – with both Lee & Hali’s permission to live in their backyard, coming inside only to shower and heat up microwave meals… suddenly, I received notice that I’d violated their boundaries.

I’d been coming by to shower in the dark of night, and I always announced myself when I arrived during the day. Rationally, I explained the reason for each person that I’d invited in. You thought that I didn’t deserve the opportunity to fix it so that I could ease Hali’s mind. I did not even garner enough of his respect to let me know by text, call, or taking a moment to walk into the backyard to tell me to my face that my presence was creating panic in his mom. He acted without taking into account my feelings, situation, or ability to show respect WHEN ASKED TO.

He says I disrespected him and his parent’s house. Did I? Partially, yes.

I acknowledge that I did not understand that my actions within my surroundings (and the authority to bring guests (even short-term ones) in) were triggering others, but I was NOT incapable of rational understanding. My behavior was deemed unacceptable by Casey who never told me.

I am deeply hurt that everyone around me was so offended, angry, and unable to deal with my choices, yet too afraid for my sanity (or lack thereof) to confront me from a place of care, love, concern, and protection.

I am hurt by your actions and inactions as well, Sir.

You talked to people who knew me without explaining my version of those events and should have told them that my motives shouldn’t be impugned, as I wasn’t being malicious.

And when you diagnosed my “irrationality” to Casey, you didn’t tell him that we had had a conversation a while later (after my rational ability to understand had been restored by the State) when I explained my ACTUAL intentions and acknowledged that I could see now that people did not trust my ability to make sense at all.

I was hurt that you made no effort to tell Casey that I had given reasons/excuses as my actions were based on a skewed and warped sense of reality at the time.


I cannot accept that you understand me “better than anyone” because NOT A SINGLE SOURCE OF INFORMATION YOU SOUGHT HAD ANY CONTACT WITH ME AND AT NO TIME DID ANY OF THESE *IRREFUTABLE* SOURCES actually understand my motivations.

They cast me into a pile that they deemed “unacceptable to have any contact with” and I was left even more alone.

You resent that I – from your perspective – manipulated Mom & Dad into giving me money that I should have been ashamed to ask for?

You actually have the nerve to tell me that you love me and care about me SO much that you MUST protect yourself from any contact with me. Those two statements are BOTH true I understand that, and I’ve respected that – you’ll notice that I haven’t asked for anything from you since.

You are NOT a professional psychologist trained to diagnose whether or not I was, at the time, able to understand reality. You said that your experience shook you so badly and made you believe that I cannot appreciate any viewpoint but my own. This is not true.

What I find ironic is that you actually believe that you have SUCH a powerful brain that you – taking Casey’s word for what happened – are the SOLE AUTHORITY of your Sister. That is SICK AND OFFENSIVE.

You have no understanding of any person’s story but your own. This summer, I tried to understand the motivations of people around me and compare motives with actions.

Was I naive and taken advantage of?

Yes, however, I learn from my mistakes.

Unlike the people I was hanging out with, I had no problem acknowledging my mistake, explaining the reason for it, and promising that would not do so again. I truly believed that ALL people have dignity and value in this world and I believed that everyone’s decisions MAKE SENSE TO THEM at that moment.

I’m able to see others’ actions, disagree with them, but acknowledge that their perspective makes sense to them, even if I find their logic or assumptions wrong. Validating their actions were reasonable to them and then offering a minor change of perspective or asking a question to clarify their motivations and feelings at the time. Unfortunately, people began to think I was manipulating them. They distrusted who I was; they began to treat me as a a threat to their understanding of the universe.

I was very much hurt that my *only* natural sibling was incapable of contacting me for the 18+ months that I found myself homeless.

You offered no indication of care – or acknowledgement of gratitude – that you’d lived with me for 2 years without any income, you understood and appreciated my explanation for wanting you to stay – that I couldn’t live with my only brother homeless – while it was in my power to prevent it. I’ve strived to make you feel as though you were family and I’d always do all I could to ensure that you were safe and loved. You threw my generosity into my face. When I expressed ANY expectation that you contribute to the well-being of the household, in the form of dishes, other cleaning, money (when you had it), or an indication that you had any interest in adding to the comfort and happiness of the people around you, all I got was silence.

How did your sense of “honor” survive when presented with the *exact same* circumstances, but reversed? When I became homeless, you found yourself incapable of allowing me anywhere near you for longer than a few minutes at a time; you insisted upon resenting me for my inability to take responsibility for my life.

Throughout, you happily took Matt’s side. Your sister’s understanding of reality was so far removed from any you could comprehend based upon your limited experience and NO training or treatment experience. You disregard any external wisdom I have learned from talking to others about their experience.

You are so terrified of mental illness that you hide in your monastery of ceramic and Sony PlayStation and justify that being without any responsibilities to anyone – not even those (you say) you love and value – somehow makes you a superior judge of the human condition and supremely qualified to pass judgement upon those who fail to meet your standards.

I accept that my actions have landed me in this situation, and I am aware that your response to stress and drama is escapism and distress-avoidance. You run the fuck away from a situation you cannot fit into the neat little compartments that you believe all humans should conform to. Any deviation from those neat little boxes you quickly label, categorize, then promptly disregard terrifies you. You become a shadow of who you want to be, and my insanity terrifies your sense of the destiny you believe you control.

You are disappointed in me; that I did not meet your expectations for what you “expected” from me. It’s as if you felt no guilt about fucking off all of the family because Mom & Dad could fall back on me – a child they could be proud of.

Somehow you believe that I’d had some kind of idyllic life for a small moment. This meant that you were absolved of any guilt for your own lack of ambition and sloth, because you avoided confrontation and uncomfortable emotions your entire life, and sunk into early drug use to escape your feelings.

You don’t understand my life and my choices. You’ve never asked me (without accusations) about my life.

The only real message I got last month is that you do love me and were aware of my existence and the lifestyle I had fallen into. You had so much anger and disappointment in me, but honestly, you weren’t acting like caring family member reaching out to see if he could help, without approving of my choices I’d made, but that my behavior was so frightening that you avoided me. You wanted an acknowledgement that I hadn’t made good choices and an apology for the pain you’d been through because of it.

You take my choices very personally, Mike, though I’ve never held you responsible for my fuckups. I have respected your desire for distance and no contact. I had no desire to make you uncomfortable. I’ve only experienced your encouragement and care after I’ve made a mistake and you believed it wasn’t your place to say so, though your mindset is truly remarkable. It’s too bad you’re a coward for not speaking up.

You’re a smart person, Brother, but you don’t show respect to me.

Respect is believing what I tell you – or at least giving me the benefit of the doubt that I am not lying. Your experience of living through my mania is valuable to me, especially. However, you expect me to understand events EXACTLY the way you do.

I don’t.

I had my reasons and I went through enough hell – without any indication that you cared. You took over ten years to find a full-time job and never asked for anything that would inconvenience anyone else. That is your code. But you have NEVER even ASKED me how I define right and wrong –  because your understanding of the world is rigid, all or nothing, black and white, and while you understand that other people have different needs and desires, you have no respect for my choices because I don’t adhere to your rigid belief system.

You have no interest in understanding me or my story, Mike. You’ve never asked me for my motivation behind a choice you didn’t like, you only told me I was wrong after I’d done it. Life isn’t easy and I don’t have all of the answers.

You say I destroyed you. If this is true, I sincerely apologize that my crazy was so traumatic that you feel I have irreparably damaged you.

What I don’t understand is how you continue to internalize and make my choices ALL ABOUT YOURSELF.

Do you understand that my choices were made without you?

You are not my victim, Brother. And I am not yours. People do change over time – we heal and grow or we stagnate and stop learning because we are comfortable and complacent. I don’t know at what point you stopped believing that you were capable of change, growth, or positive change for yourself.

i don’t know when you decided that YOUR experience was the only one with meaning or value. I don’t know when you decided that you were too far removed to add any perspective or for your insight and opinion BEFORE I made decisions. We are evolutionary ultra-social creatures designed to live in community with one another. But researchers are wrong, in your opinion, because the fittest survive what?

Hell. And come out stronger.

The strongest people I have come across over my plethora of identities and lifestyles, the strongest are those who’ve been through the kind of hell that I put myself through. But they made a choice not to be victimized by their life story. They found the lessons and found ways to contribute – I have struggled with this.

Leslie asked me on the phone in January, which was “what does Brody (my boyfriend) give you, Katie?”

I paused briefly and answered: he gives me an interest in the future and a vision for what kind of life I want. He gives me a reason for the struggle and value for the journey that brought us together. He’s the smartest man I have ever known and the only man whose perspective I use; his viewpoint is a barometer of my ability to interpret reality.

He gives me safety and respects my viewpoint. He’s the only man who’s EVER told that me I was wrong and why. He cares about me and loves me – not in spite of my crazy, but BECAUSE of it. He has no reservations or “despites” in his love for me. I love, accept, and understand him in of fundamental way that NO ONE has ever done.

But you don’t care about that.

You believe that you’re “destroyed,” but that was not my doing, Little Brother.

The only control we have is in our response to the things we perceive. You’ve never had an interest in anyone else’s perspective. You don’t care what anyone thinks. You don’t get value from painful reflection.


You are dead.

Because you don’t value any other person’s existence, and because you have declared yourself the sole arbiter of Morality and Honor without any interest in what others might think, you are, indeed a God to yourself.

And I have my own understanding of how the Universe operates. You have no use for my concept of God and your memory of me is not what you heard or were told about.

Sorry to disappoint you.

I’ve learned and grown and changed and I have more understanding than you EVER will of the way people DESERVE to be treated. I find value for their experiences and perspectives. You aren’t interested in my experiences and I think you’re terrified that the role you’ve put me into isn’t accurate, that you cling the me that you valued but never treated with any dignity.

Goodbye, Brother

I will always hope and pray that you find some growth, happiness and/or reason for your existence beyond your pain and escape from it. I will always hope that any report I get of you will be positive. You don’t believe in Luck either, so I hope you find what has eluded you.

–Your “Big” Sister

My C-PTSD Overview, In 807 Tough And Messy Words

From my first memory, I have felt like I have been made of some sort of flypaper for trauma.

I am basically housebound and have a major fear of meeting, connecting, and attaching with other people in any way other than online. People hurt.

According to the last pro I saw, I have C-PTSD with conversion disorder. My trauma timeline (a literal timeline of traumatic incidents, memories, etc that we built in therapy) began at age 2. I have a history of long-term, consistent psychological/emotional abuses from multiple family members, gaslighting, covert pseudo-incestual victimization, and a mixed bag of years of homelessness/poverty as well as clusters of single-event traumas (natural disaster, single-incident sexual assaults from an early age on, spousal/partner abuse, bullying in school, hell – you name it). The longest consistent abusive relationship I had lasted from birth until I was 31.

I also spent long periods of my youth in and out of hospitals with various physical illnesses. (I don’t think that’s a coincidence, either.) Doctors and hospitals are some of my biggest triggers.

I have lots of triggers.

I began converting when I was 22, only I didn’t know that’s what it was at the time. Since then, I’ve had some symptoms come and go and others that have never left, like constant neuralgia. I was told it was like my body went all “TILT” and some of my systems got fried. I spent some time wheelchair-bound, unable to walk.

So besides the severe PTSD symptoms, I also have neuralgia, myasthenia gravis, and tremors.

My biggest triggers, besides the medical world at-large, are pretty basic and direct. Others are really complex:

  • any governmental/bureaucratic institution (like court, the Medicaid office, the police, the DMV),
  • phone calls or visitors when not scheduled ahead of time
  • sudden, loud noises
  • being touched without my permission
  • alpha-type individuals with large, forceful personalities
  • being late in any way
  • having to “explain myself” without reason
  • being judged
  • severe storms that could produce tornadoes
  • certain smells, words and phrases
  • anything unexpected

That last one is almost the hardest one of all to deal with. Sometimes I feel almost a kind of autism or something. Like my today has to be just like my yesterday – or at least as planned, and if not – if something throws a monkey wrench into my plan for today, I totally lose my shit. It can be something as simple as a bill that was higher than it should be or oversleeping. Not that sleep is something I get a lot of, but sometimes the insomnia flips itself inside out and all I do is sleep. Though at least with insomnia, I don’t oversleep, so I prefer it.

I heard this line once, from a favorite show of mine, “People with this thing (PTSD), they don’t believe in a just Universe.” Man, ain’t that the truth.

As I’m sure it is with everyone, my story is unique. There isn’t a single situation I have ever experienced that isn’t somehow affected by this damn illness. I don’t know how to let any of it go, either.

I also do not know how to relax. Other than right after orgasm. Which on the one hand, makes orgasm extra nice (when I can get one – yes, of course I have trouble there, too) but on the other hand, as soon as my body goes back to normal, I’m back to tension and worry. My muscles hurt all the time because I’m constantly tensed up.

I get bothered by things that have anything to do with control. Control being mine, that is. Of course, I can’t handle when I have no control, either.

I am on disability, and housebound as I said before, so I spend a lot of time with distraction. I have a couple of hobbies that bring me as much peace as possible, but sometimes even they don’t help.

I have bad days and better days. Once in a while, I have a good day. I never just kick back and enjoy a good day, though, ’cause I seem to be suspicious of it. It’s like I’m thinking, “What is going to come along and ruin this?” …because something usually does. It’s that no-relaxing thing.

It’s like if you’re on letter M, and letters A through L have been horrible? You can’t exactly just get cozy on M… and even thinking about what fun letter T would be would be all kinds of dangerous.

I guess that about covers it. Separating out the ingredients of the soup of this illness is really tough sometimes.

I don’t know if in future I’ll post specific events or not. Thanks for letting me put this all down like this, though.

While I am terrified of people, I am usually pretty lonely.

It’s like so much of it all has some vicious cycle to it, doesn’t it?


Never Knowing

every time i try to start a post for this new community, i erase it and start over. i literally do not know where to begin.

i am an addict. i am a cutter. i am clinically depressed. i have ptsd. i have anxiety disorders. i am the child of an alcoholic. i was physically and emotionally abused. i couldn’t stop my friend from being raped. i went to my first funeral at the age of 5. my parents are divorced. i have had 16 suicide attempts. i have a younger brother and he is my best friend. i have an awesome husband, and he is my other best friend. i have sold drugs. i have had sex for payment. i was on welfare. i have had sex in a church parking lot. i have done cocaine off the back of a public toilet. i have cheated, lied, stolen, broken, taken, left a path of destruction around me.

but i am here. i don’t know what to make of that most days. am i a survivor? a survivor of what? of life?

life should be lived, not survived. you survive a disease. you survive in battle. you survive an accident. you don’t ‘survive’ life.

i guess this is as good of a place as any to start: i’m fucking crazy. batshit crazy. yes, you read that right. i own my craziness. but i don’t know what to do about it. i take my pills, i blog (which is my new free therapy), i exercise, i try to be a productive adult. and i fool most people. the pills help, they do. but it’s like lying under the surface, there’s always this blackness waiting to grab me and pull me under again.

i’m always treading water: surviving.

i don’t know why i’m crazy. i know that outside factors have not always helped. my dad was a highly functioning, non-abusive alcoholic. we left when i was 6. i got a new step mom when i was 7. and my mom found a new boyfriend when i was 9. we moved in with him when i was 10.

that first summer, he was home sometimes during the day. mom was at work, brother was at daycamp or some shit. i don’t remember why it happened, but i do remember the first time he hit me. it was kind of like a spanking. i was a bit old for that at ten, and had something to say about it. he told me that my mother had said he could discipline us, and she knew that he was hitting me.

so i didn’t say anything.

when i was 11, he flung a heavy piece of thick plexiglass at me while i was sitting on the stairs. i jumped down, and the plexiglass broke the banister. he would call me names – tell me i was fat, i was a whore, i was stupid, i was ugly. he would hit me. my mother finally noticed something was wrong, that i was acting out. she did the right thing and called a child psychologist.

i went to the psychologist three times. back then, i didn’t know what she told my mom or why i stopped going. now i know: she told my mom that i was a pathological liar. i was not being hit or abused by my stepfather – i was making it all up for attention. my mother was told to continue disciplining me, but not to give me that attention that i supposed was acting out for. i had no idea.

then he started getting me high. he first offered me pot when i was 12. he supplied me until i was 18. i was high for six years. and it didn’t help.

he was a functioning alcoholic. he almost never seemed drunk, and i didn’t even always register it. we’d smoke a joint in the basement, then each grab a beer while he cooked dinner. we’d be friends for that time. but it never lasted. i stopped respecting him because of the way he treated me. so i started mouthing off to him. he threw a pot of cooked rice at me at the dinner table one night. my mom saw it, but what she saw was me goading him into doing it. in reality, i just didn’t care anymore. i ran away about once a week. he would follow me outside to the gate, tell me he loved me like i was his own daughter, please come back inside.

i would.

one time, i walked out to clear my head after a confrontation. i must have been 14 or 15. when i came back in, he said, ‘i thought you were running away’. i told him i just went for a walk, but i’d leave if he wanted me to. he got mouthy with me, i got mouthy with him, and he threw a butcher knife at me. in front of my mother. i left then, and stayed at a friend’s that night. i called home five times, hanging up every time he answered. finally, my mom picked up and i told her where i was.

his defense to my mom was that if he wanted to hit me with the knife, he wouldn’t have missed.

one time, i told him i’d call the cops on him. he got in my face, and told me he’d already been in jail, it didn’t scare him. they’d never believe me anyway – i was crazy. i told him if he ever touched my mother or my brother, i would kill him or die trying.

he never did lay a hand on them. only me.

one night at dinner, he shoved our wrought iron table into my ribs multiple times, bruising two of them. we just kept eating. he told me he wanted to get some mushrooms (not the cooking kind). i could get them, but my source wanted my stepdad to roll blunts for him. he agreed, and my source gave me cigars to be rolled. my step dad showed them to my mom, said he’d found them in my room (he had – in my underwear drawer. he routinely went through my things) and that i needed to be punished. he made me eat the cigar. and when i wasn’t eating it fast enough, he lit it and exhaled the smoke into a plastic bag. he then made me hold the bag over my nose and mouth for what seemed like three or four minutes.

i spent the night vomiting in my room. i never got him the ‘shrooms.

i tried to put the iced tea back in the fridge one night. he got within arms length of me. by this time, i was 16 and had a panic attack when he got that close to me. i started yelling at him to get away from me. he trapped me behind the fridge door and shouted at me. i started screaming obscenities at him. he hocked a loogie in my eye. when i ran screaming to the bathroom to take out my contacts, he followed me and threw me across the bathroom. i bruised my lower and mid back on the side of the tub when i fell in.

he threw me out when i stole $1000 from him. i thought it was his, but it was actually the rent money for our house. he took everything i owned – all my artwork, paintings, sculptures, and threw them out. he got rid of my bed. he dumped all my clothes into plastic garbage bags, and emptied an ash tray into each bag. i ended up with two laundry baskets full of clothing, my senior year english notebook, two sketchbooks, and some cd’s. i lived in my car for a few weeks, sleeping over friend’s houses when i could – but most were away at college. my boyfriend’s mom took pity on me, and let me move in. until his grandma found out a few weeks later why i was thrown out of my home – then she threw me out too.

i was 17 and going to be put in a girl’s home. when they called my mom to tell her, HE insisted that i could not go to a place like that and let me come home. my room had my old dresser and desk, a lamp, and my bookcase in it. my boyfriend took a mattress off a cot his family had so i didn’t have to sleep on the hard floor in my own home. i lived like this from october 1997 until august 1998.

i’m focusing on my step dad here, so there are lots of things missing – me doing drugs, me stealing, me raising a bit of hell. but i’ve never laid this all out before. i’ve never actually gone through it all like this.

i was kicked out again in 1998. i lived out of my car for weeks this time. i slept on the road near my boyfriend’s house. i’d call friends to sleep over and shower at their house. i wasn’t allowed in his home at all – not even to pee. his grandmother wouldn’t allow it. we’d drive to a local taco bell so i could use the bathroom. every night, his mom would send him out with two dinner plates, and we’d eat dinner in my car. i finally went on welfare for housing in september 1998 and was in the system until june 1999. i was hospitalized for a suicide attempt. the only person who came to visit me in the hospital was my boyfriend. i didn’t see my stepdad much during this time.

in 1999, i moved within a few miles of my mom’s new home. i was invited over occasionally for dinner or something like that. i’d pick up my brother to hang out with me and my boyfriend. little by little, i was allowed in the house more. i would come over to do laundry. my step father would make passes at me, comments about us being alone together. i made sure that wouldn’t happen.

i was telling my mom one day that it had been so long since i cut, i was feeling better. we were having a dialogue, and that hadn’t happened in so long. my step dad put a knife on the table in front of me, and walked away. he’d come up behind me when i was in the family room alone, using the computer, and put his hands on my shoulders and whisper nasty things in my ear. we’d go to a family dinner for thanksgiving at my aunt’s house, and he’d hand me $100. it was a confusing relationship.

after the last time i was kicked out of my house, he never struck me again. but he was as emotionally and verbally abusive as he could be. my mother never really saw it again when i was an adult, but he was inappropriate with me up until he was diagnosed with bone cancer in june of 2003. he died december 28, 2003. i was at the house helping my mom that day. things did not look good, our hospice nurse was concerned. i usually did not go into their bedroom, ever. i hadn’t since i was 10. i went up to say good bye to him before i left. when i poked my head in the door, he waved me to the bed. i walked in, and he reached his hand out to me. i held it for a moment, and he said, ‘good bye’.

i said ‘good bye’. i drove home. he died about five hours later. my boyfriend – the same one all this time – drove me over there at 2am. (i ended up marrying him.) for my mom and my brother, it was a release – he’d been so sick. it was sad, but it was good. it was over.

i was the one who broke down.

i will never know why he chose me.