All The Way From …”The Bright End of Nowhere”

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Hey, Mr. Chips,

As I sit there, In the midst of my umpteenth Matthew Good concert my mind begins to run as fast as my legs, and hands were jamming to the songs. Flooded with thoughts. Trying my hardest to keep my shit together in the middle of a rock show at a damn casino. …I couldn’t.

I began to think about Jen, and what Matt Good meant to her, his songs, his lyrics, his messages, and his fight. What it means, and has meant for me. My mom, brother, and soon enough… Jen’s daughter, Abbey.

I then think back to when I used to write somewhere between occasionally and frequently on my blog. About my grieving, my loss, and just my everyday fight to find another tomorrow.

THEN… I think about that night when I just about closed my eyes and let go on that highway years ago. Someone saved me. I went home that night, and finally found the bravery, and the strength to write about this very journey. Thinking that one day, maybe this would bring me joy, and hopefully in the process provide others with at least the smallest ounce of courage.

THEN… I just stopped… I stopped thinking at the show, and I realized I’ve just stopped writing all together almost. Why. It’s done so much for me. Tears began to well down my eyes even more, so I shut my eyes and swayed my head to “Advertising on Police Cars” and I swear for a moment, only Jen and I were at that show. She held my hand, and said… “Blair, Write..” I swear, I could hear her say those two words, and then boom, heavy guitar, and light show on the stage. Rock show was back on.

As the show progressed, I was, in a weird way forced to continue thinking a million thoughts, to allow myself to keep it together.   But, I then thought to myself… Really, why have I not been writing this year? It used to bring me so much joy, and so much strength, and others.

But, THEN, I dug at myself a bit more, and perhaps found the reason. Selfishly… I don’t feel that I have to in order to survive anymore. When I first began writing, I didn’t know if anyone was ever going to read anything, but I ultimately had to write to save myself. There were no other options.

I thought, maybe one day I will find solace, and content.

I have finally found just that. I can’t pinpoint the exact date, or time, or what it was that finally allowed me for the first time in possibly forever, to feel… Good, I felt content, and I felt good about myself. I began to not fear tomorrow. I can, and will say I do believe there was three particular events that occurred this year that I think really helped me get to “contentment”

 

  1. Professional Life. If you’ve been following my blog for any amount of time, you know I hold myself to an absolutely unbelievably unrealistic standard, and am rarely, if ever satisfied with myself. I struggle with failure, and struggle with needing more. For the first time ever, I am perfectly happy, and succeeding in my professional life, and those feelings have slowly eroded, and gone away. It was 11:11 a couple months ago, and I couldn’t even think of wish. Then, I kind of chuckled, thought… Everything is ok right now. I have what I need.

 

  1. You may laugh, and it seems silly… perhaps it is a bit. But, I’ve always loved cats. Grew up with them. My whole family is full of cat people. Amanda, not so much. I’ve begged her, and begged our entire relationship to one day get a cat. Finally, I just gave up. Was convinced I would never have one. Then one day, she drove me out to the boonies and surprised me with a litter of Maine Coon kittens, allowing me to choose my very own cat dude. I couldn’t believe it. In that very moment, I don’t know if I have ever felt that much joy, and excitement. I could not contain myself. To this day, Kukui continues to provide endless amounts of entertainment, and joy to our family. Amanda included, who is absolutely in love with kitten. As much joy as this massive fuzzrat has brought me, I can say he’s done the same for our dog; Kona as well.

 

  1. July 25, 2015, and every day after. I got to finally call the girl of my dreams; my wife. I knew the day I asked Amanda out I wanted her to be my wife. Lofty goals for a grade 9 student, but I knew. We’ve been through hell, and back together a few times, so to finally marry Amanda, was simply a dream come true. Every day since, I put my ring on in the morning and I just feel like a different person.   I am beyond confident in myself; I am suddenly comfortable with myself, and for the first time ever… I feel proud of myself, and feel accomplished. Something that I have forever longed for.

 

These three events I believe have allowed me to find happiness and joy in my life every day. Sure, I still have shitty days… I think everyone does. But, now, just knowing you’re ok, can go such a long way when you’re having those shitty days. I never used to have that to help me get through times when I was down. I didn’t have many options on how to get myself out of ruts. I was trying to learn some different things. So I would write, and it almost always was able to pull me temporarily out of where I was. Then, I’d receive so many notes, messages, and constant feedback from friends, family and people I don’t even know about how much I was helping them, and I was able to feel for a moment, a small sense of pride. Though, it never lasted. But, it was all part of the process I think of getting to where I am today.

When I would write to save myself, as you know it was a tremendous process for me. It was emotionally, and mentally exhausting. So I would often times have to work myself up for it. I would race home knowing I needed to get to my computer, and write. Be it at 6pm after work, or at 10:30pm after something else. I ‘d stay up as late as I needed to till I could finally take a deep breath, go on with half a smile, and go to sleep not fearing tomorrow might be the same dreadful day. I would look forward to connecting with people who had read my post. But, there aren’t days where I race home to write, or go to bed longing to see the comments on social media in the morning. Or, since I felt better, selfishly, again… I was good with just that, and no more. There aren’t nights I come home anymore, and feel like I am two feet tall, and to get back to height, I need to light up the incense and type.  Now, I am able to come home to my wife, and my two boys and I feel like everything is going to be fine, no matter how shitty the day may have gone. I just feel stronger, and they always light me up with smiles, and laughter.

Another reason… This may seem weird; especially for those who know me really well, but if I am not within my circle of comfort, and friends… I am very quiet, and humble. I’ve been referred to as a sponge in these circumstances, quiet and absorbing.   I don’t usually like to take much credit for things, I don’t like much to talk about my successes, if any, and I don’t care to make myself feel superior to others, or boast about perhaps having more, or something someone doesn’t. Like… happiness. I know how hard that can be when you’re struggling, and people kick you when you’re down, even if they don’t mean to. I’ve been there. I do not want to humiliate anyone, and I don’t want to toot my own horn, and brag that I have finally found some piece of joy.

So as much bravery, and strength as it took for me to start this blog a few years ago, after almost letting go.   I’ve seemingly come 180, and now am learning to find the bravery, and the strength to write about my life now that I am holding on, and things are okay. It’s a different take on things, but it’s amazing how when I felt so desperate, lost, and out of control. I created GoneAwayBoys to talk about how I felt just that, but now that I feel in control, and happy… I don’t want to talk about it all. I want to just go about my business. Quietly.

It’s a different bravery I feel I have to find now, but for whatever reason it almost seems harder now. I was out of options when this blog started. I had nothing left. I almost let go. Now, I just… feel like I have so much.

As long, painful and strenuous as this journey from complete depression to happiness has been, being able to finally say that I am okay has not been easy. As I’ve mentioned I believe there were three big events this year that allowed me to write this, but more than that it’s been all of the little things along the way. I have worked so hard on getting myself better, and have been so cognizant of it. I can honestly say though, as much as this blog has saved my life… without the comments, the messages, and the feedback that I have received from friends, and strangers I certainly would not be able to write to you today. Everyone that has even done so much as liked a post I wrote, you’ve made a difference in my life. You really have. You have helped get me here today.

Even a year ago… I could never imagine saying some of the things I have said in this entry, and I certainly never believed this one as much as I do now, and that I will leave with you.

… It does get better.

 

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What Makes You Happy?

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What Makes You Happy

 

I haven’t written in a long time, part of me felt like it was maybe because I’ve been doing better. I haven’t been feeling as depressed. My life had seemingly come together, even if just the slightest. I always told myself that when hockey ended, I was going to become an author, a literary wizard; I was going to write every day now that I had a bit more time. Well, hockey’s been over for about six weeks, and I am just starting to write at 10:56PM Easter Sunday.

Sure, I’ve been busy with things in the meantime, but if anyone knows me, busy, is not an excuse. If you want something bad enough, you’ll find the means to do it. Busy doesn’t exist in my world. It’s not because I don’t ever do anything, in fact, that’s probably quite the opposite. I probably have more going on than most folk. Actually, I could almost guarantee that. I just don’t feel the need to let everyone know how I preoccupied I am. I’ve learned that lesson the hard way. It makes me sick when people say they are too busy.

Why? I remember years ago, my sister tried to chat with me through Facebook, through simple Internet chat… and, I recall looking at the messages, the message read something along the lines of hey, call me when you got some time, want to know how college is going. I looked at it, thought, meh; I’ll call her later… I am busy. I never called her. And, I don’t know if I ever talked to her again. She committed suicide a couple of months after, and I’ve never been too busy since.   So when people tell me, they are too busy. It doesn’t sit well. At all.

So, to say that I haven’t been writing, because I have been doing well, or because I have been doing poorly… I don’t even know the answer. Sometimes life has a tendency to just happen, and just leave me trapped in the motions that I just can’t comprehend the appropriate emotions, and feelings.

I know that writing provides me with the single most joyous experiences of my life. So, you would think it’s easier to do so. But… for some reason, it’s been getting more difficult, and for the first time, I feel like my writing is actually good. In the past, all I did was write about how I felt. That’s it. There was no scientific method to it; there was no English specialty behind it. Simply, just how I felt. I have such a difficult time re-reading my pieces, for a variety of reasons… mainly because I feel such a huge disconnect with the person who wrote that very piece, but also because… I think it’s shit. I looked earlier, and I have posted 47 entries to GAB. This being 48. I can honestly say that 1 was of quality, Your Move Chief. So, as much gratification as writing brings me… I don’t know if it’s from the actual writing, or the feedback. As pathetic as this may be, I seek so much approval, and accreditation, from… whomever, predominantly from my mom, and from my fiancé…. It’s pathetic, if I don’t hear anything within a day or so, I am texting those two asking what they thought… It drives me crazy that I do this. But… I do. And, I can probably recap every single compliment, or piece of positive feedback I have received from my blog. There is truly nothing, and I mean NOTHING more gratifying than when I hear about people who have read my blog, and find comfort from reading. Whether, I know them or not. I spend so much time wanting to write, then I spend such little time actually writing, and I conclude with spending even more time looking for approval on my writing. From, my family… my fiancé… my best friends… my friends… strangers… When, I receive this, it’s pure happiness. Joy. Elation. You know that feeling where you just can’t wipe that smile off your face. This is the only time I’ll feel it. So you’d think I’d write more, with this being the case. But, truth is… I think I have become a bit scared. My unrelenting life standards have once again trapped me with failure. Where, I need simple accolades. However, that’s slowed down significantly. I don’t know if it’s because my writing has gotten stale, or the content has. Or maybe, I am just without the random viewers from Europe. Or, perhaps, the people who have already graciously patted my back don’t feel like they need to tell me good job every single fucking time. Though they shouldn’t. However, I feel like, unless I get that… I am failing. I want to know what every single person thinks of my writing, even if they think it’s complete crap. I just want to know… because; I think it is too, I can’t even find myself appreciative, and satisfied with my own work.

So, in getting to the point of this entry… the great folks at Mind Your Mind proposed the question, what makes you happy? I thought about it for a long, long time. There are so many things that I enjoy, so many. But, to label them as something that makes me completely happy would likely be false. I think at any point, doing makes me happy. Regardless, of what it is that I am doing. I think sometimes you can find temporary joy in that, and I do. But, I tried to really think of something that makes me truly happy. True joy. I almost couldn’t think of anything, till I thought about writing, then I thought about all of the positive feedback I have received over the two years, and the people I have been able to help, if even just to help them temporarily. This has brought me pure joy, and continues to do so. It’s the only thing that allows me to feel self-pride, and self worth. Regardless, of the success I have at work, or in coaching sports, or my daily life even. I always seem to be stuck wanting more, and eventually get a place where good just isn’t good enough. But, with writing, that’s different. Even, if I receive two notes about my latest post, to me it was a success, and it provides that feeling. That feeling where I can’t stop but smiling, even if it’s a random stranger at an arena that says, “hey, you’re the guy that writes that mental health blog” … Yes, I guess so. These are the things that keep me ticking, and continue to remind me just what it is to feel joy, and to feel good.

You just hope that somehow you can find a way to enjoy, accept and appreciate your own bravery and work. Sometimes there is just far too much pressure on writing purely for the audience, and hoping to help them find joy, and hope. I need to find my own first.

Rest easy, and rest happily Max. I hope you can still find some time to read my blog, and I hope that you’ve found true joy.   I know you and Jen are hanging out as we speak. Listening to music, watching over us, and laughing at us.

Lifetraps – Unrelenting Standards & Failure – Mind Your Mind

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I have really enjoyed writing for Mind Your Mind in the few short weeks I have.  Each week they’ll send out an array of engaging topics, and I go from there.

Last week, I chose to write about the unrelenting standards, and failure lifetraps!  Take a read here, and check some of the other pieces on Mind Your Mind!  It’s a great program, and great site!

 

http://mindyourmind.ca/expression/blog/lifetraps-unrelenting-standards-failure

 

 

Fighting to Survive the Gaps in Mental Health Services

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Last week, I teamed up with a mental health awareness program out of London, Ontario to provide some writing material.  Each week I will be contributing to Mind Your Mind on different topics regarding mental health.  My first article with Mind Your Mind was regarding the gaps that are found in mental health services, and the challenges that come with them.  Below is the article, please read, please enjoy, and if you’ve had a similar experience… Let me know!

Keep following along with Mind Your Mind, as they have some excellent writers on board, and have plenty of other unique things going on!

My first article with Mind Your Mind – Click Below!!!

Fighting to Survive the Gaps in Mental Health Services – Blair Courchene

Hope you enjoy, as always, thank you so much for reading.

Lighter Side of GAB / Hilarious Avenues to GoneAwayBoys.

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I’ve always been intrigued by the stats section wordpress makes available to it’s bloggers. I can find information on how many views my blog, or posts receive, where readers are from, clicks, and my favorite stat of well…. Search Engine Terms.

Here I come across some of the weirdest, creepiest, scariest, funniest searches that people type in where they ultimately land on my page, and I use those adjectives as strongly as I possibly can. I’ve always thought to share some of these searches, the funny ones of course, which would be a dramatic change of pace from most of my entries, but I have never gotten around to it. Well, before google encrypts all users google search so that this entire section becomes null.

I don’t know what search engine these people are using, but I think there is real comic gold to be had in other peoples search history. Mine, probably not so much. Thankfully Mozilla has the Incognito Window bandit that I utilize often, but some of these things people are searching…. Well, I can’t even fathom.

Get ready for this one! – I will share with you my top 28, some are downright hilarious, odd, and some are extremely disturbing! And these are just the ones I am comfortable writing knowing some of the audience reading this blog.

Here we go!

1.  I got lots of beer in vegreville lets fuck

  • How the hell does this take someone to my blog that’s about my life against mental illness.
  • When this person searched this, what were they looking for??…
  • I really hope this wasn’t one of my buddies

2. How to fuck movie health education

  • Again, how does this lead someone to my site, and what the heck was this person hoping they’d find.
  • This person’s parents reaaaallly dropped the ball.

3. acaramelpuss.com

  • Ok… I have to be honest, after seeing this one and thinking WTF. I went directly to my friend bandit in incognito window, and typed this into the url address. Don’t judge. It could have very well been one of those secret menu drinks at Starbucks. …. no? 
  • You just typed it in too…  

4. Nen Shi Ran

  • Who?

5. Good reasons to listen to garth brooks

  • Seriously? This is probably the same person as #2.

 

 


 

*** This next one is a little disturbing, but it’s a real wtf head scratcher.


6. my neigbour shot 3of my golden retrievers @ night killing my female, while I was down my driveway calling them, in alberta

  • What kind of neighbor do you have lou? Maybe call the police instead of searching your story on google…

7. Naheed Fucking

  • This is disgusting. Who in the eff is googling a porn of our mayor? I assume that’s what this is, anyways. Redford. Pig.

8. did lane frost have an impact on the pbr

  • Lane Frost is a hero. Of course he did.

9. brother fuck 4.5.7year old girl fuck.com

  • I am disturbed that this even somehow led someone to my blog, and I hope they’ve dramatically changed their lives since. This is disgusting on so many levels.  

10. nenshi annoying

  • Apparently the person looking for him fucking couldn’t find that mayoral porn,  and just got fed up. Ugh Nenshi!

11. not sure who this girl bell is and why everyone wants to talk to her #bellletstalk

  • … Ugh, Seriously? 

12. that moment when your sister makes hot chocolate

  • That’s a moment?

13. talk to sluts for free in Calgary

  • HOW DOES SOMEONE LAND ON MY PAGE AFTER SEARCHING THIS SHIT!!!@!@!!!
  • Anyway…  Head to the back alley buddy.  Good luck! 

14. delcam powershape hell grading

  • What?

15. my sisters hot pajama

  • Again. What? That hot chocolate moment?? 

16. if you get cut from the echl should you give up

  • No, but if you’re googling this.. you should get off the internet.

17. how to make bcmml 

  • I don’t think making a midget aaa team is something you can really do on WikiHow.

18. don’t judge me yolo underage

  • too late kid

19. mental health issues of children growing up in 4000 square foot homes

  • I can just see the snobby mom googling this one. Her kid struggles from depression BECAUSE their home is 4000 SQ ft. Not 3580 SQ ft. AND, his treatment, therapy, and everything else will be completely different that those of us who grew up in a 2600 SQ Ft home. Mental health is now being measured by the square footage of where you grew up. You Jackass.

20. pajama hot sister

  • Ok.  This guy is weird already.  ‘Muricans.  

21. Edson slo pitch sex

  • Haha. Ah. Another beaut. Don’t even know where to go with this one.  The possibilities are endless. 

22. xxx much faking com

  • this persons first time on a computer looking for titties I’d say.

23. fuckingfeelsgood

  • What does? … Wait … What? … Ohhhhhh

24. as long as your nasty as a mother fucker

  • And then what? Who googles this, what are they hoping the results are!!!

25. fucked guy vegreville

  • Ahhh, again… the possibilites!! 

26. myfight fuckeng

  • what?

27. nasty moms we would like to fuck

  • I probably shouldn’t have shared this one, but again wtf. Learn how to filter categories on your porn sites buddy.

28. blowjob on Christmas day Calgary

  • Either atta boy! Or…. Shame on you if you’re looking for a specific business.

 

There you have it! The top 28 hilarious, most WTF search terms people have used that somehow eventually landed them on my site. Some search engines won’t reveal search engine terms, so they come up unknown on wordpress, and there are 296 unknown terms… So I can just imagine all of the further beauty in that list of nearly 300.

Now let’s get serious… Though I’ve listed the top 28 funny search terms, there are some that are just pretty odd, and some very disturbing, as I’ve shared a few. There are some that make you just want to throw up, some that make you want to cry in disbelief, some that just complete shock me, and others I just have no words for, and am ashamed I live in the same planet as the person who typed that thought in.   Then,  the majority are just lots of people just searching me, my sisters name, my parents name, my brothers name… These ones kinda freak me out, but I can only assume the goal of these searches is to land where they do, unlike the goals of our top 28 here. Hopefully when they landed, they stayed awhile.

Lets hope google never privatizes all search information, cause I seriously enjoy this part of wordpress stats, and if you are the one looking for mayoral porn, or whatever weird thing… I still appreciate you visiting goneawayboys! 

I’m off to Caaallli! 

Cheers.  

B

Remember When We Were Young…

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It’s been awhile.  A long while, but a good one.  I can’t recall last time I wrote here.  But, whenever it was last, things have gotten a lot better for me.  In the summer, I began going weekly to a therapist to just talk, this has never worked for me in the past trying this experience, but for whatever reason, this time it’s been great.  It’s been more than just me talking and the stranger across the room writing down notes about how nuts I am according to the books they’ve studied in school.  She listens.  Doesn’t judge.  Isn’t arrogant like the rest of them.  And, we work on things, we do different activities to help with what is dehabilitating to me, and it’s working.  I think that in addition to some other contributing things,  my life seem’s to be getting back on track.  My last session with my doctor, she asked me since you’ve been coming here in the summer, if there was one word you could use to describe your life now, that you would have never said then… What would it be.  It didn’t take me long to come up with the answer.  Easier.  Everything just seems easier, even when things are bad, dealing is just easier.  Easy & Yellow.  I don’t know yellow.  Just a color that comes to mind, things are brighter.  In the past… When I would think about my life, the only colors I’d ever see were dark grey, black and navy.  Now, Its vibrant colors.    And, to further prove that things have been getting better…  It’s now May 4th, and I have just now been hit by the fact that it’s May 4th.

For anyone who has followed this blog, or knows me well enough… Spring is the most difficult time of the year.  I am very short tempered, very standoff-ish, alone, very, very, very sad, disorientated sometimes and likely extremely difficult to deal with.  Usually these things will come and go for me from April till May 7th, and even a few days after.  May 7th.  The day my sister took her life, and my life, all of our lives forever changed.

This year has been different, I sauntered through April without any problems.  I knew this week was coming, but it didn’t take me long to shake it off, and look at it as a day we celebrate Jen’s life, and our memories together. It even sometimes brought a smile to my face.  There were times I almost felt guilty that I wasn’t being crushed by the approaching day.  Had I gotten over it? Had I moved on?  I hope not… What does this mean?  Often times, it was confusing… but, it wasn’t hurting, So I kept on.  …Till this weekend, I started thinking about it more, and more. What am I going to do? Go home? Spend time with family? friends? Or, stay in Calgary, spend it with Amanda? Friends? What the hell do I do…. Or, do I just begin to treat it like any other day. Wake up. Go to work. Come home. Eat. Watch Playoffs. Go to Hockey. Come Home. Go to Bed & Repeat.  Because, at some point in my life.  I will need to treat May 7th like just another day, because unfortunately, though I feel like it should, and I feel like it sometimes does.  The world does not stop on May 7th, for me or my family. It continues going. People go to work. Business is done as it is any other day.  Maybe I should just join back in, and not make a big deal out of Wednesday.  Maybe then I will get through the day, I’ll be busy, and I’ll forget.  I’ve began thinking about so many different scenarios, and possibilities about Wednesday. I’ve beyond worked myself up about it, once again… Though at least, on the bright side I suppose it’s only five days in advance I’ve done this, instead of 6-8 weeks like the previous years.  Well, as you can imagine… I came to no conclusion. I’d think long and hard about what to do, and then I’d begin to get standoff-ish, cold, irritated and difficult to be around so I’d try and shake myself.  And, again I was able to snap myself out of it and get back to reality.  Wondering if it was really going to be this easy this year.  I really hadn’t lost it, or completely fallen apart yet.  Was I going to survive this time? Or, am I getting blindsided somewhere soon.

Then today…I don’t know why today.  I woke up, I felt good, I even had a great sleep, and slept in. I was even going to leave to leave the house and go get groceries, which, was a feat considering the last week or so, only time I leave the house is for work, or hockey.  Anyway.  The morning continued on as any other…  I had brunch, sat down watched some VICE, talked to mom and then a buddy about planning a little boys weekend this summer in Sylvan Lake…   Ironically, the exact same thing I was doing the afternoon I found out Jen had passed away, with the same person.  Though, at the time I, of course thought nothing of it. I was excited. Great Sunday ahead. Finished off my episode of VICE, set the PVR for the Hawks/Minny game and set out to Save on Foods! What a day.

For whatever reason.. As I parked, and was leaving my truck, I thought hey, let’s take my iPod and headphones while I cruise the aisles.  Great idea.  I actually enjoy the monthly trip to the grocery store, I am a fantastic grocery shopper. I buy all the fantastic shit Amanda won’t buy.  The kebobs, the shrimp, the lobster tails, the salmon, the beef jerky, the cool labelled  BBQ sauce, funky pizzas… Cool stuff.  So, early on I was having a blast… Take out my earphones to grab a couple spolumbos and kebobs from the deli fella… And, boom.  Now I know exactly why I brought my headphones in.  One of my worst fears was on the speaker. There are a few songs I absolutely can not and will not listen to unless on my own terms.  I will do anything I can to remove myself from wherever these selects beats are going.  Wild Horses. Adia. Angel & the one playing…  I Hope You Can Dance – LeeAnn Womack.   Ah, fuck. First though that came to mind…  Why in the hell would they play this song at a grocery store… I would bet my life, there is not a single person who enjoys listening to that song, or is happy listening to that song. No. It’s fucking devastating.  Thank God, I had my headphones. I threw them back on, grabbed my kebobs and got the hell out of there as if the deli man was the one trying to break me with that song.  No way.  You won’t do this deli man! And, I literally sprinted away from the deli counter and down a different aisle.  Fortunately no one was really around to see this.  So I parked the cart.  Took a few deep breaths, turned up my music and tried to carry on.  I could feel my stomach start to twist, my throat swell up, and my hands start to tremble. I stopped again and had a little chat with myself…

“No… You’re fine kid. Not here.  You can’t here! We only have 3 things on this grocery list, and have only gone down 1 aisle, and you’ve ran down one so we’ll need to cruise again to grab bacon bits… Settle down… Deep breaths… 1….2…..3…. We’re alright. We’ve made it this far. Don’t break.  1….2….3….  Ok, I’m good”  I think.  Pfew.

I took out my phone to make it look like I was waiting on someone, or looking for something so I was less of a spectacle for those passing by.  And, All I got out of looking at my phone.  May 4th.  3 more days. Fuck.  My hands started to tremble a lit more.  My stomach knotted a little tighter.  Breathing was a little more difficult.  I was losing it.  I could feel myself starting to tip over the edge. It had hit me.  It’s 3 days away.  Thoughts of Jen started racing through my head.  Memories of her, and then What was Jen feeling like May 4th, 2008.   Was she grocery shopping?  Was life normal?  What was she doing?  How was she feeling? Were there any signs of what was coming? Did she know what was coming? Can I go back and stop this? Can I stop her? No. It’s too late. I am 6 years too late.  Why did this happen. Why is THIS happening. Why am I here. In the middle of Save on Fucking Foods and I am losing it.  I am losing it. Yep. We’re losing it.  I’m  a mess.  What the hell do I do now.  Do I leave? Do I quit? No. We have no groceries, and I’ll have to just come back anyways.  Soldier on Kid. Come on.   So I tried.  Each aisle was harder than the last.  I couldn’t focus. I couldn’t read what the hell was on the list and then remember what it was by the time I stopped looking at it. I even caught myself going down the same aisles multiple times.  Just circling them.  Taking laps aimlessly.  A complete zombie with a grocery cart.  I looked down and avoided eye contact with anyone.  I thought maybe they’ll see my weakness, see that I am losing it right now, laugh at me, think I am a nut.  It was humiliating.   I couldn’t believe this was happening.  Here. Right now.  Really? I just needed to get home.  I did the best I could getting all I needed, and getting the hell out of there.  Usually, I’ll peruse slowly all the aisles and like I said, grab the coolest things.  Not today.  Just get me out there.  Going through the cashier, my hands continued to tremble, my lip quivering, I felt cold, weak, shaky, I was quiet, impatient and avoidant.  I was falling apart at the seams.  The poor cashier.  She was doing a great job, but had I not felt so weak and powerless, I would have just scanned the damn things myself, ripped them out of her hands threw it all in my cart, yelled thank you and darted out of the store as fast I could.  But, I felt far too weak.  So I stood there. Staring into lost space.  Three times she had to ask me Save on Foods points, or gift card?  What? Huh? Me? Oh… Points please.  I could tell the family behind me was getting frustrated with me.  Or, maybe they were just creeped out that when I was staring into space they were in line of my dead gaze.  Finally, I was on my way out.  I was trying my best to run to my truck but I could hardly get myself to move.  My legs felt horribly weak.  I honestly thought I was going to fall over.  I had to lean on my cart as I pushed it to my truck.  And, of course.  I parked at the very back of the parking lot.  Remember… An hour ago, I was feeling great! …  I unloaded everything into truck as fast I could.  I raced to the cart stable, and threw my cart back.  Good Riddance to you, I’m safe! .. Get into my truck, annnnndddd….Nope.  All throughout the last hour I thought I was really falling apart.  The second my head hit the back of my seat.  I had fallen apart.  That was it.  I lost it.  Uncontrollably.  As bad as I can remember.  I didn’t even notice if there were people beside me.  I thought the world had stopped, and it was just me.  It had to have been just me.  Everything kind of went blank, and dark.  Few moments later… Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a family parked two spots down from me, who probably saw this entire debacle of mine.  And thought, what the hell… why are they parked there!  I began to get frustrated, why are you judging me you don’t know what’s going on, Human!   Then I thought same with that family at the till that was clearly getting frustrated with my dead gaze, and my inability to pay attention.  You don’t know what’s going on.  Why are you even here! Isn’t the world stopping.  Leave me alone, judging humans!

On a separate note, I often wish that you could just stick a sign on your back with small details of your story so others could understand why you are maybe struggling, or a little off today.  I think this would be great only if people couldn’t speak, were unable to judge, and WE ALL had these signs.   On normal days, I find the same thing with myself.  I get frustrated with people, all the time…. but, I often forget to think, maybe there is a reason there are out in space today.  Everyone has their problems, and their own story.  It may not be very different than mine.  I don’t know.  That’s why we should all have these signs! …Had I been another person in the grocery store today and came upon myself the way I was… I would have ran my cart head on into myself.  Wake the fuck up, or go home.  If you can’t handle reality today.  Don’t be in it. But, today I was really that person.  I needed the sign.  Don’t kick me. Please.  I am already down.

I could not get home fast enough.  Thankfully I only live a short way away from the grocery store, because surely I was not in any condition to be driving at the moment.  I was driving just as I were walking, and cruising the grocery store.  Just lost.  Empty. Blank.  I can remember driving out of the parking lot, but I don’t remember the rest of the drive.  Even thinking back now and it was only a couple hours ago. I remember leaving the Save on Foods parking lot… I remember parking my truck at home.  The in-between.  No idea.  Poof.  I had landed at home.

Never ever have I been so relieved to get home, have a drink of water and just breathe.  I felt like I had just gone through a marathon.  Maybe I had…  A mental one albeit.


Now that i’ve somewhat pieced together all that had fallen apart awhile ago, I still continue to be held together by a thread, and I imagine I will for the next week.  Standoff-ish.  Avoidant. Cold. Irratible. Impatient. Empty. Blank. Zombie.   It’s the most difficult week of the year for me, and for my entire family, for obvious reasons.  I really thought this year was going to be different, and it was going to be easier.  but, I suppose it’s not going to be.  I am more confident in my ability to get through the days alive, I wasn’t so much in past years.  I know I will get through this year.  But, beginning this morning, apparently… this is and will be the longest week, these will be the longest, hardest and darkest days.  Even as I sit here and write this on a Sunday afternoon… My hands are shaky, My attentiveness is limited, My body feels weak, I feel sick, my stomach feels knotted, and empty.  I feel like something has been lost, like something is missing. Something is missing.


We lost Jen on May 7th, 2008.  That’s a long time ago.  But, for me it seems like it was only last week.  It seems like only this winter I had visited them in Victoria we hung out, walking along the pier in Sidney, arguing about Hockey Vs. Basketball, playing playmobil, trading CDs.  Talking about our lives when we grew up, and what they would be like.  Never did we say they would be like this.  Never did we say that I’d be sitting here one sunday afternoon writing, and weeping about the very moment we are sharing.  I never ever thought about that.  Never.  She talked about having a family, and what she was going to name her kids, and I thought they were the worst names ever.  I talked about hockey.  Everything about it.  We talked about going to Hornby Island.  When we played playmobil when we were young, we had a huge island piece that we often pretended was Hornby Island.  We talked about all kinds of things.  Hell, we even fought, and we argued about all kinds of things too.  But, we never stayed mad at each other for so long.  I looked up to her like I’ve never looked up to anyone in my life.  She was my hero.  I wanted to be just like her.  I didn’t know at the time she was fighting her own monsters the way she was.  But, looking back now, I applaud her for the strength she had going on, and she did a darn good job of soldiering on.  She did such an amazing job of never letting the way she felt inside, effect the way she treated others.  At least around me, and my brother.  I never knew she was that hurt. I was young, and naive but I always thought she was happy, she had fun, she was popular, had lots of friends.  I can remember her having parties in Victoria, and I so badly wanted to be apart of them. I so badly wanted to be friends with her friends.  Looking back now… I was that really annoying little brother that wouldn’t go away, and wouldn’t leave his big sister alone.  But, she was always so patient, kind, and nurturing.  She’d introduce me to her friends, all these girlfriends of hers that I fell in love with instantly.  I can remember everything.  I can remember thinking I can’t wait to be Jen’s age and have friends like her, and have fun like she has.  I just didn’t know she was hurting so bad inside.  I wish I had, maybe I could have helped. Maybe I could have done something.  Maybe I did help. I don’t know. But, maybe there was more I could do so that we could still share those same memories, and instead of me writing about them, telling them to all the strangers on the internet who will read this… I could call her, hey! remember that time Jen… Haha, yea. I’m sorry I was such a turd.

But… Now we are where we are, and these are only just memories, memories that I have, and the only ones that I have.  We can’t create anymore.  There are only these.  That’s the hardest part sometimes.  These images in my mind, are all that I have left.  I wish I could just hear her voice. I forget what she sounded like.  I forget her laugh.  Sometimes I have dreams with her in them, and I can remember.  Dreams where she is happy. She is laughing, smiling, and at peace.  I think this is her telling me she is okay now, she isn’t fighting anymore, and that we’re ok to let go and be happy ourselves.  We have too.


If you were lucky enough to know my sister, this week is likely equally shitty for you too… and, I know I say this every year, and it’s easy to say this and a lot harder to do… But, try and let go of the sadness this week.  Think about her.  Talk to her.  But do so with a smile,  and a laugh. Not a bunch of tears.  Grab yourself a Stella, or a case of them.  For each one you have… Tell a story you remember about Jen, or something about her you remember.   Even if you are by yourself, or with a group of friends, even a group of friends who didn’t know Jen.  Tell them a story about her.  Hell, even send me a story about her, or a memory you have.

Send me an email b.lystang@hotmail.com, or text me  any memories you have of her.  403 808 3321.

It will help me get through the week.  And, it will be something we can all keep and put together for Abbey.

Even if you didn’t know Jen, wherever you are, whatever you do on Wednesday.  Have a drink, and please, toast to my sister.   Thank you.

 


 

 

I miss you so much Jen.  I love you.

 

 

Please… Have a Very, Very Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays – From… The Rest of Us.

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Today…  My heart feels a little heavier, my stomach feels a little more knotted, and today I’ll battle and push just a little harder. 

Today, used to be the day I waited 364 other days for, I’d lose sleep week’s in advance anxiously awaiting today.  I’d stay up late and shake the presents trying to guess what I got for Christmas; I’d stay up late just to try and hang with the adults, trying to be cool, as if they were the barometer of “cool” Today, I’d try do all I could to exhaust myself so tomorrow would come faster. Part of it, I am sure, and I hope is simply growing up, and the fact that I am not 11, or 12 anymore.  But, the other part of it…  Well, life has his own rhyme and reason, I just haven’t quite figure out what it is, just yet.

Today is Wednesday, December 25, 2013.  That is all.  I no longer anxiously await waking up today, I no longer rip down the stairs, I no longer subtly make as much noise as I can so my mom, and Jen get their asses out of bed so we can all be together, and open gifts.  NoToday, I woke up at 8:23 am, rolled over, threw on jeans, a hoody and took out the dogs, then I made a coffee, heavily laced with Baileys as if it were going to knock me back out.  It didn’t, so I proceeded to watch TSN.  No need to subtly make as much noise as I can to wake the household anymore.  It didn’t matter.  Today, I woke up and it was Wednesday, December 25, 2013.  That was all.  I did nothing different than I did on Wednesday December 18th, or 11th, and I certainly won’t do much different on Tuesday, December 31stToday, is just Wednesday.

Still, Today, fortunately I was able to spend all of today with the one’s I love, the one’s I go to sleep with at night, and the one’s I am lucky to wake up beside every morning.  Amanda, Kona and our seasonal dog; Krimson. I wake up next to this trio every day, and I consider being one of the luckiest, today was no different just because of what today is supposed to be.    I was still fortunate enough to have so many great friends and family who sent their best to me today, and wished me a Merry Christmas, knowingly, or unknowingly of today’s difficulty, the salutations were much appreciated.  I was still fortunate enough to partake in the tradition of Christmas Day gifts, as Amanda and I exchanged gifts, hugs, and kisses, and it was special.

But today, our family remains split, and divided, we continue running, and hurting.  In Edmonton, In Calgary, In Victoria, In Vegreville, In Mayerthorpe you will find us.  We try our absolute damnedest to avoid today, to get around it, to ignore that today is Christmas Day.  We try so hard to run from it, we convince ourselves it’s just Wednesday, December 25, 2013, or at the very least we do a damn good job of pretending.  You eventually become so numb to it all, that faking it is no longer really faking it.  It becomes real.  We try so hard to run from it, that we separate ourselves, and we draw further from each other, further from each other, and further from ourselves.

There was no real effort on anyone’s behalf to get everyone together, and celebrate in a unified place today.  I tried to justify 300 KMs as an excuse to why I couldn’t be with everyone. Before we moved to Mahogany it would take me a day and a half just to accumulate 300 KMs.  But, today I couldn’t do it just to be with family.  Deep down, I think I know I want to just try and replace this sorrow, and misery with a bit of normalcy, as much as we can, or at least as much as we ever will.  The only way to probably do that is to be in one place, with everyone and relish Christmas Day, to just fucking do it.  Even if we are forever without one, we are always going to be, but are we going to run forever? … Probably.

I do not mean to drag you down today if you are reading this in-between whatever it is you do on days like today, I do not mean to search for sympathy, and it certainly is not my intention to in any way steal Christmas spirits from you if you are reading.  Merely,  I am once again writing what I am completely incapable of speaking, and sharing verbally, to those who matter most.  Though we likely are all feeling the exact same In Edmonton, In Calgary, In Victoria, In Vegreville and in Mayerthorpe, but we leave the elephant to dance in the room.

Though, if there is anything I can do… though, this may be cheesy, is I will tell you this, and hell do I ever mean it…. Just enjoy today.  Celebrate, and be merry today, for what today is, and for what today is meant to be; Christmas Day.  Do not take today, and the moments that come with it for granted, not for a single second.  Enjoy it all. Soak it all in.

Stop for a second, look around and appreciate what’s around you, even if it is the in-laws, and cousins of their cousins.  Wish everyone a very Merry Christmas, even if you just did, and even if it’s the forty-second time you’ve said “Merry Christmas” today. Mean it more than the last.  Look around again, and tell them you love them, say thank you, and be sincere.

Hold your friends and family a little tighter when you hug them, laugh a little louder today, smile for a little bit longer today, even if it is black socks you just unwrapped out of that gigantic box that you thought for sure was a PS4.  Don’t miss the point.  The point is celebration, the point is togetherness, and the point is family.  For one day, today will just be another day of the week for you, though I hope not for many, many decades, the fact is life can be unruly, cruel, and even more life is unknowing, it can change, it can change instantly, and drastically when you least expect it, and when you’re least prepared.  So let today be very merry, and please, for sake of us who cannot share the same merriness and cheer anymore.   For those of us who are just amidst their 51st Wednesday of the year, Please, and damnit do I mean it when I say this…  Please, Enjoy the living hell out of today. Don’t let it just be Wednesday, December 25, 2013.

Let it be Christmas…  Even if all you got was reindeer pyjamas and black socks.  One day those might be all you have left from today.

God Bless you, Thank you so much for reading. 

Merry Christmas, and please have one hell of a holiday. 

Blair

Crazy to want this, even for a while.

 

Sometimes… All I Want is that Kraft Dinner.

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DEPRESSED people live in the PAST

ANXIOUS people live in the FUTURE

PEACEFUL people live in the PRESENT

– LAO TZU

Good evening.

Sure hope life has been treating you well in the last handful of weeks.  Last time we spoke via goneawayboy, I dug into Ayn Rand’s – “John Galt Speech” piece.  I’ve never really re-read the blog entry subjectively, but I know that piece was probably one my favorite ones that I have put together.  I think I just channeled the time and energy it takes to write differently for that piece.  It was like writing an essay for school, having to prepare by researching and drawing your own thoughts, and ideas from the pieces you’ve read.  Except this time, I wasn’t getting docked 10% because I messed up the fucking APA Bibliography.

But, with all that being said, pretty fucking hard for me to comment on which posts of mine I like, and which I don’t like…  I don’t think I have re-read one of them in their entirety with the exception of immediately after to hunt for double spelled words, missing words, the odd comma, or period.   Though, till today, I’ve never really asked myself why I don’t re-read them…  It’s never really struck me as a big deal, or a concern, if it even is.  But, I talked about it this morning at my therapy session.  Why don’t I read any of my blog entries days, months, and years after I write them?  I think, in a nutshell… because, I am scared.  I know I have read bits and pieces of certain ones, though never to finish.  I just feel such a distant disconnect that I just can’t believe that I wrote that.  And, not in the sense that, “wow, they’re so good.”  But, in the sense that… I was really feeling like that? Is that how I feel, or was feeling?  Fuck, that’s scary.  When your in these deep, intense emotional phases, where I generally write, they’re just that, so deep, and so intense.  It’s difficult to read things afterwards when I’m not in that state of mind.  It’s hard to go back to that state, it’s hard to imagine it, hard to see it, and as a result can be hard to read the product of those deep, and intense emotional phases.  When I have tried to read bits and pieces of my work, it’s been when I am typically feeling good, or… fine, if you will.  Usually something will drive me back to a specific entry, perhaps a comment that I need to approve, and after reading the comment I go back and see where I was when I wrote something that struck with this person…  But, I can never finish reading them. Ever.   Or, perhaps, it’s someone sending me an email, text, bbm, facebook, tweet or instagram, (Did I miss any) mentioning something I said in a certain piece.  I then retreat back to the entry to read bits of it so I can appropriately reply, I guess?  But… I never finish reading it.  I just reply…  thanks.  I just can’t read them.  Part of me, as I write this… I want too.  And, often times I think about writing a memoir, or putting all of these pieces together to build something else.  I think about it every day.  But, how the hell am I going to do that when I can’t even read the fucking things.  I think that’s why I have completely stalled the shit out of that idea.

It’s a pretty weird, scary feeling to write what I do, and then several months later, visit it again only to get through a paragraph and have to stop reading because the disconnect between myself at that point, is such a drastic difference to myself at the point of writing.  I know it’s me that wrote it.  But, when you have to make a conscious effort to understand that 4 months afterwards, It’s…. fucked, It’s…. difficult.  It’s not what I want.  I know that my writing has had such a phenomenal effect on some people’s lives, and I am completely honored by that, I truly am.  I feel so happy, and flattered that I can help others by sharing my own story.  This is why it’s all the more difficult knowing I can’t even read my own posts, and revisit my own story.   Www.Goneawayboys.wordpress.com is something I should be completely proud of… But, I can’t even read it myself.  It’s… Sad.

This was just something that got brought up today during my weekly therapy session, and I thought it was intriguing. My therapist had asked me a question about the subliminal messages I sometimes write.  She had asked for a specific example, and though I’ve written 28 blog entries, maybe more.  I couldn’t provide one example.  Just said… I don’t really know, I’ve never read them.  I write it, I look for glaring grammatical errors shortly after, and I don’t even look at it for, well, forever again.  I’m scared too.  I bury it.  HOW IRONIC?

A few weeks ago I was faced with a challenge.    In August of 2012, I had put together a blog entry about my experience with psychic Patricia Monna at Our Angels for Our Wellbeing, and how positive it was.  I’ve never ever gone back to read “We Carry On… Like it’s easy, a better happier.”  Then one morning, about 10 days ago, I recieved a comment from Patricia reaching out to me, fourteen months after I had wrote that entry, saying that she had a message from Jen.  I had no idea what to think.  I approved the comment.  Put my phone down. Pretended that nothing had just happened.  Having a terrible poker face, Amanda knew something was up.  So, I showed her the comment.  Her eyes welled up, and I began to feel a tad bit of emotion as well, and a tad bit that I did not want to encounter at that very moment.  So I put my phone back down and didn’t look at the comment again.  Fast-forward a few days, I had probably gone back to read the comment over 15-20 times, and twice tried to read the blog entry in which she commented on.  The first time I hardly got past the fluff, and the second time, I went to the paragraph that I initially mentioned Patricia, and then attempted to skim the rest of it… Which, I couldn’t even do.  Same result occurred.  I shut it off, and put my phone down to just lay there like nothing happened.  I guess if I lay there like nothing happened, maybe it will go away.  No.

It took me a few days to gather the courage to contact Patricia and take her up on reaching out to me from Jen.  I think I knew that I always was going to, even right after reading her comment the first time.  I knew I’d call her eventually.   But, it took me a few days to get to that point.  I can even remember last week, when I had my phone in my hand and her number dialed, it took me… ahh, about an hour to touch call.  I tried to just do something else at the moment, and hope that I’d maybe forget.  I tried to think of what I’d say if she wanted to talk right then.  Or, if she wanted to meet today.  I wasn’t ready to meet.  I was hardly ready to click call.  A million thoughts ran through my head.  I played every scenario.  Fuck it. Call. Receptionist took a message for me.  Hang up.  PFEW.  I don’t have to deal with that emotional monster today.  I just had no idea what to expect.  Patricia called me back later that evening and we set up an appointment for the next week.  Once I got to chat with her on the phone about booking an appointment, I right away felt at ease, and felt comfortable.  There is just a kind, gentle aura to her.  One that just made me feel relaxed, and like this was going to be O.K., this was going to be a good thing.  I wanted to listen to her.

I met with her this evening, and in the week preparing to meet with her from when we had spoke on the phone last, I think I felt everything from excited, to nervous, scared, happy, sad and everything in-between.  It was a great experience, it was emotional, though I held it together much better than expected.  She had told me so many things that she was just bang-on accurate about.  It was crazy.  Things that I know I need to do, I know I need to take care of, but I don’t.  I “stall the shit” out of it.  I’ve just been stuck.

One of the most painful things I experience every day since we lost Jen, is not being able to go to her to talk, not being able to go to her for direction.  Jen was always a very intelligent, and wise person.  I always looked up to her.  If she listened to certain music, I listened to it.  If she watched a certain movie, I watched it.  Even if it were Steel Magnolias, fuck, Clueless was my favorite show!   If she read a book, I wanted to read that book.  If she had some new west coast lingo, I had some new west coast lingo.   What Jen did, I wanted to do.  I idolized her so much.  Since she’s been gone, I know she is still here, there have been many, many instances where I can feel her presence, or something happens where I know Jen helped pull that miracle for me, or something stupid will happen, and I know it’s her playing a joke on me.  Having some fun.  I love those moments.  Times where Mom and I will just look at each other , or sometimes it’s Amanda and I, and we’ll just laugh, look at each other and just say “Haha, Jen!”.  It’s that special moment where things just seem to slow down, and stop for that very moment, you realize that even though you’re encountering some silly nuance, you enjoy it, because you can just feel Jen watching, laughing, happily… though at our expense.   That’s fine.

I catch myself every day at least once a day, just saying “Please Jen, Please” “Help me, or, guide me through, or give me a sign.  I feel stuck”.  I’ve been saying the latter a lot the last 4-5 months.  I feel stuck.  Please Jen, give me a sign.  And she does, and I know them at the exact time they happen… But for whatever reason, It’s sometimes difficult to get past the fact that I feel like I am communicating with her, and it’s such a special experience… I almost forget to listen to her signs.

After speaking with Patricia today, looking back, Jen’s been leaving me so many signs helping me out, trying to push me in a certain direction.  The weird part is…  Patricia pretty well told me the exact same thing I know now that Jen has been trying to tell me for the last few months.  It was as if, Jen couldn’t stand watching me stuck like I have been, and I know she just thought, for fucksakes kid, if you won’t listen to me and figure out these signs, I’ll draw the damn things out for yaQueue; Patricia. It sounds completely fucked, and you probably think I am absolutely crazy, drunk, high, or all.  But I am neither…  (Maybe a bit the former)  But, I really believe this.  Jen’s left me so many signs trying to guide me, little hints all over the place trying to push me along, just continuing to be my big sister, just from afar.

Patricia then comes out of nowhere and tells me she has a message from Jen.  This, 14 months after I spoke to Patricia last, and at that was just one of many people she probably see’s throughout the day… Jen had got in touch with Patricia to kick me in the ass, and get me out of the mud.  She’s right.  I know she is.  I never believed in this stuff before either, ever.  I thought it was absolutely crazy.  Nuts.  But, the practices I used to try and help myself, before, well, they don’t fucking work.  So, I needed to open my mind, and I am glad I did.  Things have just become clearer in the last twenty-four hours for me.  Beginning with my therapy session this morning when we struck a few clarity moments, to ending my evening talking to my sister, through Patricia.

Call it crazy. Call it stupid.  Don’t believe it. Form your own opinions as you will.  But it’s far too coincidental for it to be some stupid fake crap. But, if anyone that’s reading this is going through a tough time, and you just feel stuck…  Book an hour with Patricia.  Just go.  It’s a different experience.  I can’t really explain it, other than how I’ve wrote about it.  But, It’s something I would strongly encourage.  Especially, if you don’t believe in “that crap” … I didn’t either, but at some point you just get tired of doing the same old, and continually being just stuck.  Time to try something different.  Am I ever glad  I did.   As I challenge you to try something different, something out of your comfort zone.  I am going to challenge myself to sit down and read what you read.

As always, Thank you for reading, even when I can’t read, it still means the absolute world to me that you can.

I hope that you enjoy, and somewhere in this…  this massive pile of words, and sentences you find what you’re looking for.

 

Cher, I don’t want to do this anymore. And my buns, they don’t feel nothin’ like steel.

– B.A.C. – 

Reindeer Pajamas, Hot Chocolates, Holidays & Hell.

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Happy almost-holidays season everyone!  I know most of you are likely already in the full swing of things by now. Trees, lights, decorations.  All the glitter, and all the rest.  I know at our place there are a few too many snowmen, snow-penguins, snow-bears, snow-mooses…  And, pretty well every other morphed Christmas animal you can possibly think of.

While, I do enjoy Christmas.  Holidays are just never the same as they once were for me.  Especially Christmas. It’s typically an emotionally enduring time of the year.  As it is Christmas. It’s a special time of the year. But, ever since I’ve lost my sister, It’s never quite been the same. It’s hard. Actually, most holidays are just different now.  My birthday & Christmas are often the toughest.  And, that usually results in me being referred to as “the grinch” by my girlfriend.  But, it’s not that I hate the holidays, I most certainly do not.  But, maybe as some others can understand after your life changes drastically as a result of losing someone close… And, as I have mentioned before.  Nothing is ever again the same, and nothing is again as it easy as it once was.  Ever.  

Christmas used to be my favorite time of the year. I longed for it every day as soon it turned December 26th – I couldn’t wait for the next Christmas Day.  I think up until I was 15 or so.  My average of sleep on christmas eve was likely 3 hours. I could never sleep Christmas Eve.  Just way too excited.  Albeit, I was a kid.  A lot of it was, I just couldn’t wait to open up gifts, and get spoiled by my parents, grandparents and rest of my family.  Then, as I grew up, it became less about the gifts (while I still thoroughly enjoyed them, and still do now!) But, it became more about spending time with those close too me, that I may otherwise not be able to see as often as I would like.  As my sister lived in Victoria, we only were able to get together a few times a year.  Which… still haunts me today.

Anyway.  Christmas was always a special time because I got to spend it with Jen, my parents, my brother, and my grandparents.  I can remember just waking up in the morning, and being so excited to just hang out, throw gifts around and watch everyone else just enjoy being together.  This is exactly what Christmas is about. Family, laughing, and being in the company of those whom matter the most.  And, as you grow up, you realize this.  And I think that’s part of why Christmas now is a little bit more difficult. We are missing one.   I think too,  I had just really gotten myself to the point of truly realizing what Christmas is about, and then suddenly we were without Jen.  While, every day is difficult after a tragedy.  Some days are worse than others.  But, holidays.  They’re just never the same. Again.  As much as you try and fake it, make some kind of shitty attempt to place normalcy into your days, and into your Christmas festivities… It doesn’t matter.  It all just amounts to trying too hard in hoping to be able to fake it, get through, and continue on in our own world of denial.  Ultimately… Just making the days and the season all the more difficult.  Then, in turn, you just kind of float through the days.   Doing your best to completely avoid the traditions that make Christmas.  All the while, just feeling completely empty and emotionless. Raw.

Now, I should never complain, because my holidays seasons the last few years have been quite extravagant, and I have been extremely fortunate and lucky to have spent the last 2 in Hawaii.  And, while as great as Hawaii is, and I do get to go with some people that do mean the world too me.  The last couple Christmas that I have been in Hawaii, I have not been with my family.  Which is sometimes difficult because I know that holidays for them are never quite the same, either. So you want to be together to try and help them cope…But, I think, why I have enjoyed going to Hawaii so much the last few years, is not just because it’s Hawaii.  But, because it’s almost like… It’s… It’s not real.  It’s not Christmas.  Even though it may be December 25th… It’s +28, people are in shorts, the beach, the ocean, everything that goes with Hawaii.  It’s not what I have been accustomed too.  It’s not tradition. And, tradition is easier to avoid. And, the other part that has made the past few I think… manageable, maybe, is I haven’t been with my family.  I’ve been with people that Christmas to them is as normal as it should be. As much as I try, and I think my family does as well to instill normalcy into our lives, like I said, we sometimes just try too hard and make it worse.  So, the last few, while I have thought about Jen a tonne.  It’s never really been talked about, or apart of the “Christmas Celebration” except in my own head, I guess.  Because, I have been by myself, and with my girlfriends family.  But, Christmas has been manageable, ultimately, because, I have ran away from what has made it so difficult in the past.

But, I know that I can’t go on like this forever, because, it is the holidays, and at some point I need to enjoy them as much as I once did, or, at the very least, make some sort of attempt to do so. While I also need to stop running away from the problem.   And, I think this year I am going to have an opportunity to do so.  While, in stages.  I think what is different this year, and is going to allow me to possibly cope with this season is, I have come to terms with my own mental illness, and I think I have maybe, finally accepted that Jen is gone.  And, she is never coming back…..As hard as that is to admit.  It’s reality. And, I think, I have finally realized that.  Despite how hard I sometimes try to bring her back.

She isn’t. 

Also, on Christmas day, this year;  I will be at home, in Calgary.  While, away from my family still, and likely just myself at home.  I will see again what Christmas is, and I think being right-square in the middle of the lights, the snow, just that aura of Christmas, that you don’t find in Maui.   I think that is going to be Step 1 of coping, and attempting normalcy these holidays.  Step 2. I leave to Hawaii ( as per usual ) on Jan. 1. However, different this year is my mom, my grandma, grandpa, brother and my niece Abbey (Jen’s daughter) will all be there.   Our family will finally be back together for Christmas.  Missing Jen but, I know that she will be there.   I get to spend the holidays with my family again…  And, in an environment to me, that just isn’t “holiday real”  – Just as I like, and for now, need. But, we are all going to be there together.  Going through it.  Together.

December through January isn’t the same for anyone in my family anymore.  And, instead of running away from the process, we will finally be able to go at it in unison once again.  Which, I am thoroughly excited for.  It’s still going to be different, and always will be.  And, maybe I am still partially running away from this by going to Maui. But, I am entirely fine with that.  So, in stages I hope to be able to enjoy a Christmas holiday season as close to normal as I possibly ever can.  Just without the tree, pajama pants, hot chocolates and christmas themed wrapped gifts.  I am not ready for that yet.

I know it will never be the same as it was.  No matter how hard I try.  I am just excited to be able to do it together, with my mom, my grandparents, Brody & Abbey.  Our way of coping with Christmas… Is too run away from it, but I am happy that we have decided to finally do this together.

Some people I am sure probably don’t, and won’t understand why we continue to run away during the holidays.  Some argue it’s the best time to be in Alberta.  Sure.  But, like I said… It’s different for us.  Remember in my last blog, or a few blogs back I mentioned the feeling I had driving to my sister’s funeral in Victoria.  I’d just expected the entire world to stop.  And, when I drove to the church, and saw people getting their mail, walking their dogs, having coffee and laughing.  It fucking pissed me off.  I just couldn’t believe people were getting on with their lives.   My world has just halted, instantly.  And, I expected everyone elses did too.  How could they continue?  But, really, of course people are going to get on with their lives.  It didn’t happen to them, but still, I couldn’t believe it.  That’s exactly how Christmas is for me now.  We used to always gather at the decorated Christmas tree in the living room, while in our pajamas, enjoying a coffee, hot chocolate,  or an orange juice…Whatever it was.  We’d sit there in our pajamas and throw gifts to each other, celebrate and embrace. We did Christmas. We did it right.  All of us.  Now… I just can’t do it. I can’t do tradition.  During Christmas I always get that same feeling I had en route to Jen’s funeral.  I, for some reason, just can’t imagine people doing what we used too, doing what you’re supposed to do.  I can’t fathom it.  And, I don’t want to see it.  Just like I didn’t want too see that man walking his dog that morning.  It’s doesn’t seem real.  It’s hard.  So, I leave so I can avoid it. Christmas is different.

That said, I am certainly not the grinch, as some of you might conclude after reading this.  I still enjoy the holidays. And, I wish nothing but the best too everyone else during them.  Actually, I wish more than that.  I hope that you thoroughly enjoy that time around the tree tossing gifts to one another. Having that mocha or hot chocolate with your brother and/or sister in your pajama pants decorated with reindeer and Santa’s. Please enjoy this moment.  This is what it is about.  Enjoy it the most. It may, now seem trivial, and “just part of it”. But, trust me.  It isn’t.  It’s more than that.  Because, you never know if you will be able to have this special opportunity again.  So, please.  Enjoy Christmas. Be grateful, and understand what it truly is about.  Family.  Not the cash that you get. Not the toys.  It’s your family.  And it’s that one really special time of the year.  So, while, I run away to the tropics to avoid tradition.  I urge all of you to run to the tree, with your brothers and sisters, Even if you see them every single day, and scrap for the majority of those days. Please, for me, soak it all in. Enjoy Christmas. Because, this is what I miss the most, and I will never get back. Enjoy one for me. 

– Happy Holidays too all of my readers!

I’ll Have a Caramel Machiatto – A Personal Compromise

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Going to try something a little different tonight.  Usually when I write, There is something really pushes me to sit down and put something together, usually, I know its going to be one of those creative-therapeutic word-nights by the afternoon, and I generally put something together later in the evening.  Meanwhile, amidst this process, I light some candles, and turn on whatever Matt Good CD is of choice for the night, and I sit there, sometimes I pop a light beer, and I see what I can come up with.  There really is no science too it; if you’re wondering.  However, tonight, there was really nothing poking me to get up and write something, and I decided to put in something different than a MG CD.  My mom was kind enough to give me my sister’s CD book, which is one of my greatest treasures.  I know its something that meant a lot to her. Music has always been a really big thing with our family, especially the 3 of us.  But, I thought, hell, lets just grab a random blank CD out of here and listen to one of her burnt CDs.  It was really cool when I put it in, and the first song played.  Not really expecting much, it really just resonated with me. I could feel Jen; this was her music, a CD that SHE put together… It was almost like it was her on the burnt CD.  It was… one of those weird, yet good moments that I have with her.  There are times where I just know she is with me.  Whether, I am in trouble somewhere, or can’t figure something out, and all of the sudden, things just click… And, it’s so weird, but you just know.  You can feel it.

A few times in the past, In just going through my day, I will hear someone say something nearby, and I swear its her voice.  There are times where it’s actually quite eerie. These things, I never ever forget… It’s probably happened 4 or 5 times in the 4 years where I know I have heard her voice, and I remember every single time like it was yesterday, cause I know it was her just saying, What’s up kid.

When these eerie moments happen, like when I put on this burnt CD… It’s weird; It’s a bittersweet thing.  Its immediately devastating… but, then I always find my mind and my body just kind of stop, and I soak it in…  and it leaves you with on those can’t-stop-grins.  Though, these oddities are rare, I do certainly relish every one of them.  Same thing when I dream about her… I don’t often, but I can remember every single dream. Every one.  And, in every one of them, I can see Jen. Perfectly. She looks the same as I remember – beautiful. And, she is always smiling – always. I know this is her telling me she’s okay now. She’s good. And we don’t have to be sad anymore.  Though, we try. It’s hard. And I think that this is why she doesn’t do this to me often, cause she knows how difficult it is sometimes.

But, every night I do dream about her.  I have the best day. I wake up with the biggest smile, cause I know that in the only way possible, I just hung out with my big sister again. Which, is something I miss more than you can imagine.  Seriously.  Like I said, it’s really one of those weird things, I can’t explain it.  I am a million times happy, and sad at the same time.  There will be nights too, where I can’t sleep so I just talk to her, and ask her to come into my dreams, so I can see her again… Sometimes it happens, sometimes not.  But, I will lay there and think about her as much as I can and hope that she comes.  I miss her.  A lot.

I know that this was supposed to get easier with time, and sometimes I think that it has, but there will be nights where something reminds me of Jen, a song, a picture… whatever, and I just miss her more than I would maybe, any other night. Or sometimes, maybe even nothing ever happened but there are just  nights where you can hear her, see her, feel her…  And, you just really miss her.  Tough nights.  Sometimes when I am going through one of those evenings… I wonder, when I am 35 years old, is this still going to happen, or is it going to occur less… How does this work?

Sometimes I wish there was a real owners guide to overcoming a loss like this.  I guess there a million books, but they all the same, and I can read as many of them as I want, and while I will agree with most, or some of the excerpts… It never truly heals anything. I don’t even know if it is supposed too.  I just know, I really miss her…a lot.  And, that empty feeling in my gut that I have from missing her so much, maybe that will never go away and I will always feel that.  I don’t know.  I just hope the dreams, and the moments I can feel her, never go away, because at least now… I feel like I still have something. Sometimes.

 ———

I do wish that my writings would be more frequent, as opposed to writing once every couple of weeks.  I would like to make this a much more consistent effort.  I am finally getting back in touch with, what is probably the most effective means of therapy for myself.  I used to write a tonne when I was younger, but I kind of lost it over the years.  I don’t know, I guess it wasn’t cool to “write”… Is it now?

I just am really happy that I have gotten back in touch with writing; I think it has probably saved me many a night.  When you struggle with mental illness, you need to find a few things that you can resort too when you are having a shit day.  A day where you just feel like, you’re really just losing the fucking battle, and nothing is going right.  You have to try your best to just have what I call – defense weapons.  (I like to use fighting metaphors…Sooooooo) to get you through the days where you really, literally only want to get through the day, sometimes when you fight a mental illness, going to sleep and waking up to a new day is sometimes a victory.  It really is.  Because, there are times where it is that damn bad.  And, you can’t leave your house, that is, if you can even get out of bed.  For me, I have a couple of things that I resort too…  Obviously this blog has really become that for me, along with pretty well anything hockey.  Those are my escapes.  But, even then, sometimes your days are so shitty, that you can’t even make it to these escapes… These are the days where you just hope to hell to see another sun rise, and make it. You’ll have these days too, I do. I think once you accept that you suffer from a mental illness – that being the initial, biggest success  – but from then on in, its about limiting those days where a victory is just making it through.  Maybe you’ll never truly eliminate those days, cause who knows. Sometimes I feel like it’s an endless fight, but, when you can limit those days as much as possible… you’re hanging in there.  Trust me. And, at times… hanging in there… that’s ok.

goneawayboys has served me well in a variety of ways.   First and foremost, it has been completely therapeutic for me, and is something that truly makes me feel quite good.  Every time I click submit and I watch people view my posts, and comment, follow, like or whatever other term social media has coined as “approval”.  It is an awesome, awesome feeling. And dammit, do I thank everyone of you that do that.  You seriously have no idea how much that means too me, It gives me one of those can’t-stop-grins.

As much as I like to write this blog to hopefully help others, and I hope that I am.  It is ultimately too, like I said; get me through those days where I am losing the fucking battle.  Big time.  I think this blog has too become somewhat of a personal compromise.

Any one that is fortunate, and blessed enough to know me on a personal level 😉 knows that I am a pretty quiet fellow, I don’t say much, especially in regards to my feelings, my personal life and past.  I don’t even like the word feelings. I don’t talk about much of anything – ever. But, I think that this has ultimately led to me absolutely falling apart, or at least it was a significant contribution.  For 10 years, I have been fighting depression, and I haven’t said boo about it.  I’d take my pills that the doctor prescribed me.  And, that’s it. I’d take them, I didn’t know why I would be taking them, and I don’t even think they worked.  It was a robotic process.  Meanwhile, I would take these pills and carry on my day like nothing, like an absolute robot again. I’d never talk about anything.  Even if I was feeling completely fucked up. I wouldn’t say a word to anyone.  We weren’t supposed too, I thought.  Isn’t that the thing about mental illness? Hush Hush – pussy.  So, I never did. I continued to throw everything back into a mental clusterfuck… and deep down, I think I knew that this was a bad idea, and eventually would probably boil over and explode, and in turn something bad was likely going to happen.  I didn’t know what. But, it hadn’t happened then, so as far I was concerned… It wasn’t going too.  Or, at the least, I would cross that bridge when I arrived.  As if I was expecting that I’d have time, and I’d see a collapse coming.  Well, maybe I did see it coming… But, I know what I told myself…. I’ll be fine. Fuck off.  We’re ok.

Well, it was damn close, and I wasn’t okay. That was one of the hardest things, having to admit… I was not OK anymore. At all.

I am not sure if I should be impressed that my way of dealing with things lasted 10 years, or if I should consider myself damn lucky that I had someone kick me in the teeth and allow me to get my shit together when I hit rock bottom after 10 years, before it was too late… ultimately, allowing me to even tell you about this.  Thanks Jen. Everyone was right.  The more shit you keep in, and refuse to talk about… You’re going to fall apart.  And, I did just that.  And, no.  You’re wrong.  You don’t see it coming, and trust me… You won’t.

Although, I will admit I still am a little hesitant to openly discuss my fight with depression, for now, even though I am an advocate for speaking out about it… It’s hard. It’s not something that happens over night, but I do think I am certainly getting better at talking about it personally.  But, this blog, is a place where I can write these things down, then show everyone, and tell everyone.  Although its not the setting of a coffee-shop conversation.  To me, it’s a personal compromise and a stepping-stone to achieving my ultimate goal of being able to freely have a coffee shop conversation about my depression, and your’s too.

One day we’ll get there, and when we do… I’ll have a Caramel Macchiato.

I can’t write love songs when I’m on these things
I’m affable, responsible, but hard to be around
It’s correctible and they’re right you know
It’s as easy as it sounds
It’s all as easy as it sounds

– A Single Explosion –

Matthew Good

– Blair