Friday, August 20, 2004

Sad eyes follow me..

The day of Steves funeral was full of a lot of emotions for me. While some of the people who were standing around me were seeing a grown up Steve. The fun loving guy they loved to party with... I was still seeing the little boy I grew up with. I was still remembering the night he walked me home in the snow, with his arm around me, letting me cry like a baby. While they were remembering the man he was, I was pondering the man he had not gotten to be yet. While they were standing around calling themselves his friend, I was remembering the night in the car when they wouldnt let me out to protect him. I was hurt, but I couldnt feel. I was angry, but I couldnt get mad.

My house was very close to the funeral home and a few of my friends came to my house to gather before heading down the hill to the funeral. I remember my mother coming in from work and asking what all those people were doing in the house. I remember telling her "today is Steves funeral, we are just waiting until it starts." And I remember hearing the words I will likely remember the rest of my life. "People die everyday", she said. I couldnt even cry at that. I just remember feeling so cold with anger that I left immediately. I dont know why she said something so heartless. I guess at her age, people she knew did die everyday. Not for me, I wasnt even 20 yet. But it hurt deeply. No hug, no comfort. I guess thats another one of those things that looking back on I cant bring myself to wish different. Because of the lack of comfort in my life, at that time, before that time, and since then... I just dont require it. When something horrible happens to me, even now, I can step back, take a deep breath, and move on. Sometimes slowly and painfully, but always on my own.

I've been called "coldhearted" because I dont 'appear' to "feel" as much as some people do. Thats why I dont. Breaking down and being a sobbing little girl, or a sobbing grown woman was never an option for me. Ive never had anyone in my life that I could run to and just cry on their shoulder until it was all out. I dont 'need'. I rarely 'want', and I never 'have to have'. Its not that I dont feel. Its that expressing it never got me anywhere. Crying never got me a warm shoulder to lean on, and I grew up just not needing it.Then funeral inside Oakeys is a bit of a blur. I remember seeing Steve laying there and thinking that once and for all, it was over. Done. He was gone and again I was alone. I know in my soul that Steve heard my heart that day, and later proved to me that I wasnt alone as I thought I was. After the ceremony at the funeral home we rode to the gravesite. I will never ever forget that the second we turned into the graveyard, the song, Tuesdays Gone, by Lynard Skynard began playing on the radio. I remember Susan turning to look at me and saying "Oh god Joy Im sooo sorry" and reaching to turn the channel. I told her no and to leave it. Never will I hear that song without seeing that exact moment. Pulling up to the parking spot, and just sitting there listening to it and not moving, not getting out of the car, trying not to think about what we were about to do. After all, little boys dont belong in the ground. They belong with their parents and friends. Still the little boy in my mind. I couldnt get rid of that thought. That crazy smile, those pictures of my slumber party when I was turning 12 where him and his brother were the only boys invited to it.

As the ceremony was wrapping up I remember looking up to see Steves mom standing there looking at me. As she stopped comforting my other friends and spotted me, it seemed motion around me stopped completely. Others began looking at me too. I think it was that time that a few people realized how deeply hurt I was, that others stopped their selfish mourning long enough to look at me with my own sadness and pain reflected in their eyes. I remember her rushing over to me and saying 'I love you Joy, he loved you too, dont you ever forget it'. I couldnt. Ever. I knew he loved me. And I knew I loved him. But there I stood thinking that this mother, who lost her baby, her first born, was comforting me. I have no idea how I would react were one of my sons to pass away. The thought is unbearable and I have no idea where she got the strength to comfort me. But at that moment I felt extremely selfish. I tried to straighten myself up and be strong for her. A wasted effort but I tried. Suddenly all those hugs I missed were on me. All of the times I spent alone were gone, if just for a moment. I even seen Chris standing over next to the graveside, and felt comfort that he had listened to me when I asked, begged, him to come to the funeral. He hugged me too. Sounds silly I guess but this is a guy who I spent 10 years of my life beating up and fighting with. And his arms were around me comforting me. He lost Steve too. But I knew that he knew, that my loss was having a horrible impact on me. And that Steve and I were always 'two peas in a pod', aside from the friendships we shared as a group of kids growing up in 24019. I remember hating Claudia at that moment. She was the 'girlfriend' and was soaking up all the pity and comfort that came along with it. But I knew how he had really felt about her. I wanted to scream it at her, but of course I didnt. Her brother had died in that accident too, but it seemed to me she was enjoying the attention she got from Steves death more.

For some reason my group of friends had suffered a lot of death. Robbie had died not long before Steve did. And it was sad to see, and to think, that a group of 20 - 25 year olds were becoming used to attending funerals. It was like clockwork for us by then. After every funeral was a party to celebrate the life we shared with the deceased person. And as I sit here thinking back to 12 years ago, I cant for the life of me remember where the hell we partied after that funeral. I guess thats a good sign of how hard we partied, or just another sign of things I make myself forget. There is no silent mourning in this group following a funeral. And I hope when I pass that they do the same for me. But there was still the emptiness. Always that. Always there.

I suspect there isnt one kid who grew up around that area that doesnt know how to behave at a funeral. I suspect there isnt one adult wandering around now that grew up with me that doesnt reflect on their own mortality when they consider all the friends we lost. And I know that all of them hurt a little bit for the loss of innocence they suffered so early in life, so soon. When we were still supposed to be learning about life, death was following us around on a regular basis.I remember thinking even then... Robbie. Robbie was a great guy. He rode his bicycle to work about 5 miles one way, every day. Steve, busted his ass at that pizza delivery job just to be able to keep his car. They had aims, and they had dreams. And they were gone. And left behind was the ones who had no hopes or dreams, only those who bumbled around on a daily basis just trying to figure out where they belonged. Only the good die young? I really believe that. I think a lot of my fears come from that time. They were both such happy people. Robbie wasnt "happy" on the outside but he was satisfied. He knew who he was and what he had to do. Steve was just a carefree spirit, who rubbed that off on everyone who was near him. And they were gone. So whats going to happen to me if I find happiness? Whats going to happen to me if I finally become satisfied with my life? How long would I get to enjoy it? Those are incredibly senseless fears, but fears to be sure.

"Sad eyes follow me
But I still believe there’s something left for me
So please come stay with me
‘Cause I still believe there’s something left for you and me"

7 comments:

JustJess said...

"...Breaking down and being a sobbing little girl, or a sobbing grown woman was never an option for me.

...Ive never had anyone in my life that I could run to and just cry on their shoulder until it was all out.

...Its that expressing it never got me anywhere.
Crying never got me a warm shoulder to lean on, and I grew up just not needing it."


~ are you hearing yourself, Joy? I can't imagine you not having anyone to cry to...it's just not right...and it's just not fair...for you to grow up not needing that safe place to fall....you have to realize, now, in your adult life, that you do need that....that expressing yourself will inevitably and indubitably get you somewhere....

~ look at all your words here...you are pouring yourself out and you must realize that every word and every thought...these are seeds that you are planting...and the more you write aka express, the stronger and more beautiful your seedlings become...

...for what it's worth, you can cry on my shoulder any day....

footnote: im not some total wack job internet stalker...lol...i just really dig connecting with people...and i think you need to feel connected, and validated and understood...or perhaps im just projecting, in which case please ask me to bugger off!

;-)

Joy said...

You are perfectly right. I can admit that I really need that shoulder. And to be honest I know Ive faced it more then once by telling myself that I was pretty tired of being the strong one. I guess its all bound in together and why I so desperately am trying to "sort it out". I want to be able to be that little girl if I need to be but I guess Ive always had to be the strong one, as I have pointed out a few times here, and that stopping that is some sign of weakness or destined to cause me more pain.

Lol Whack job, you must have some kind of connection with me because I find myself saying that to people from time to time to reassure them Im not the same. I dont assume that.

I keep thanking you I know but you have been an enormous help. Im not the ignorant type. I avoid a bit Ill admit but Ive always faced up to things when a voice of reason has pointed them out. Thanks for being so when not a lot else makes sense in all this mess to me.

JustJess said...

;-) and thank you for letting me..well, for letting me be me, here...

so is this what this is then, for you, a way of sorting it all out...it's a story, there is a timeline...and so sometimes, when im reading about all of this, i dont know if the emotion is being drudged up from your yesterdays or if retelling the story is birhting new emotions in you...either way, your writing is beautiful and easeful, even when the events are harsh and grief stricken....and i truly hope you dont mind the insertion of my thoughts here and there, if i should spill them elsewhere, like in email or another blog, do tell ok...as for my little slice of internet heaven, feel free to spill your thoughts there any ole time...my friend kate and i use that place to vent safely and to just be totally silly...but she has been absent for a while..busy gal i guess...anywhos, your always welcome over there...

shine on, you crazy diamond...

till next time ;-)

Joy said...

Yes it is a timeline really. A lot of these things played out in a haze for me. There was a few horrible years where this seemed common place activity around me, the death and sadness. I wanted to put an order to it in time, and in my head. It is certainly reliving some of the emotions but again I guess in my head its past time for it. Not that I didnt grieve then, as its apparent that I did, but I dont think it was healthy grieving, it was more anger and confusion then. So I set out here to lay it all out and once and for all go at it as I should have to begin with. With realization and the overwhelming sense of love I gained from those guys, instead of the desolation I felt for so long without them. I cant say Im entirely sure 'what' inspired me to begin it in the blog, but I think everything happens for a reason, so maybe this is why.. You never know I guess. And I guess thats where I got stuck a little bit too, maybe Ill never know what reason they were taken from me, but without some light in the darkness things just felt hopelessly lost. 'Bout time I found it and sorted it all out so I can go beyond the point Ive warily let myself get to without losing site of their memories. Wow, does that make sense at all? Lol I dont expect it to I guess, but it makes wonderful sense to me.

Terrifically weird you chose that phrase 'shine on, you crazy diamond...' It was a song on one of the very few old Single 45's I used to have as a child, one that Steve and I used to listen to all the time along with Lucy in the Sky... we used to joke that my sister only gave us records that had diamonds in the title.

Sometimes, a *shiver* can make you smile :)

JustJess said...

"Sometimes, a *shiver* can make you smile :)"

How completely true!

There are a few select Floyd songs that hold great sentimental value to me. That song is one of them.

...I'm at work, waiting for some coffee to brew...hope your day is going smooth. Oh btw...your a mom, I've gathered. How many kiddos do you have? I have just one, my beloved Sage. She'll be 4 this December. Being a mom is so weird and wonderful...don't ya think?

Joy said...

Well its getting hard for me to find the comments in here a bit I think lol. It seems I save my blog in odd useless spots I guess. Unusual for me as I am normally very pc friendly hehe.

Jess do you use any IM's currently? I certainly want to continue conversing with you and getting some of the positive thoughts I seem to be lacking these days...

If you would like please email me at dragoncave@msn.com . I check it often and might be able to help out in those dreadfully boring moments that seem to happen to me at work from time to time too.

JustJess said...

you read my mind...i use msn messenger as well as yahoo on occasions..i'll try adding you to msn...otherwise, i will write to you via your email addy ;-)