Dear Kath, (11)

Dear Kath,

I haven’t written one of these here in a while, but going back over the ones I wrote before, I was reminded how much it helps. Including to keep your memory alive. Which is reason alone to do this. I don’t want to lose the last I have left of you. I lost so many of the little things you left me to remember you by. Well, had stolen. Because people can be cruel sometimes. And those lost things feel so huge, because they were tangible reminders of you, of how much you cared about me, about how it felt to be connected meaningfully to someone, to be really loved. Loved well. You really understood how to do that, what it means. I think too many people don’t. Because the things I miss weren’t expensive. And it isn’t about getting gifts. They were little things that reflected what you showed in all  your actions – that you really cared. They were a way to feel closer together when we lived so far apart. They were your way of bringing happiness to people, to put little pleasant surprises into their days. Stuff doesn’t mean anything. But the way you gave did. You were one of those rare people who really knew how to be there for someone, and to let someone be there for you. You understood we could both need both, and give both, at the same time. Which didn’t stop either of us trying to protect the other. Fucking hell, Kath, this sucks so much ass so very hard. I want more time for you. With you. But I am still grateful for the time we did have, for having had you in my life from the beginning. I just need you to keep holding my hand from even farther away, okay? Don’t let go. Because I am never going to stop needing you, and I need you now. And thank you for helping me, still, because once again, this was what I needed to do. I needed to spend some time with you in one of the only ways I have left. It opens up something in me that needs it. I think it is probably my heart.

I love you always,


p.s. Sometimes the grief of it all really bowls me over, Kath. I lost so much. So many people. And some of them are here but beyond my reach. And I don’t know which is more painful, sometimes. At least of the griefs that are for my losses. I don’t know if anything can touch the grief of what you lost, that you were robbed of life that you loved so much. But if you were here, I know we would be okay. We would talk. Even if we fell out. We always found our way back to each other, because we never really left – even at the most distant times in our lives, there was never a question of showing up for each other when some big bad happened. But without you, even people who were still in my life with no falling out did what lesser people, or people who pretend their lesser-than-love feelings are love, do when things aren’t easy – they disappeared, mostly. And most of them, well, who gives a fuck, really, people who take without giving, who have no principles and just operate from whatever is easiest for themselves in any situation, are cheaper than a dime a dozen, there is not much to miss. I am fine with fewer people who take endlessly without giving.

But there are a couple of people who, hugely fucked-up and cruel choices notwithstanding, I love above anyone left alive, who I miss in spite of the worst, and those losses haunt me. Maybe more than anything because there really is fuck-all I can do but wait, and hope. Hope that at the very least, with or without me, they are and will be alright. Hope they might do some hard work toward healing inside. Hope that maybe it will matter in the long run that I left the door open. That I won’t lose more people I love for good with things left as they are. That we will all live long enough for something as rare and beautiful as reconciliation to happen. The real kind, not the pretending the same shit is not happening, and keeping it shallow, faking it til it falls apart kind. The kind where real change has already happened inside, so that real change is possible beyond ourselves, with each other.

This is a fucking long post script, but I guess the writing earlier tore the lid off of some things. I think I am increasingly too tired to hold back the feelings, and too overwhelmed still to have room to deal with them along with everything else. I just keep holding on to the faint hope all of this will end up somewhere good, and that I will get to experience something other than more loss. That I will see the return of people I love and miss for a change.

I don’t think there is anyone without some good in them, some potential. I think everyone wounded still has the child who loves and wants to be loved inside, hiding behind all the fucked up things that happened, and that they learned, and things that the same child made up to deal with things too far beyond their capacity to stand any chance against. It is just that so few are able to overcome that child’s perpetual mortal terror to reach out and face the pain and the fear and the disappointments and struggle of the healing process, to learn to have boundaries instead of walls, to accept that not everyone who fucks up, or does something they don’t like, or that reminds them of whoever hurt them before, is someone who means them the same constant harm. To accept that even if they grew up to do harm, they are not bad, or evil – their actions might not be good, and the results might be harmful (and I think there is no just harming another, the harming another harms the one doing the harm, too), but that doesn’t mean there is anything wrong inside them beyond wounds inflicted and improperly – or not yet – healed.

That they can be forgiven. That they can forgive themselves. They can forgive others. That forgiveness doesn’t have to mean disrespecting boundaries – you can forgive and still love yourself enough not to keep being around someone who hurts you, or just someone you don’t want to be around. And no matter how much someone wants to or tries to help them, personally or therapeutically, they are still going to have to eventually do the work to take down the walls imprisoning them, and learn how instead to have more flexible boundaries that allow them to let in the people they choose, who are safe – and to keep out those who do them harm, even if they love those people, at least as long as they keep choosing harmful behaviors.

I wish I could help them, Kath, but that is not just not up to me, it is beyond me alone. I hope they find help, within and without.

I think maybe now I can put this aside for a while. I just needed, again, to give voice to my grief and my hope. It helps, sometimes, just to feel it, to say it, and to accept what is while acknowledging what might be, what I hope for. Thanks again, sister, this really did give me a little peace in the moment. I know you would understand. It is hard to love some people, but we have both had lives with a lot of that kind of love. And it can bring so much pain and destruction. But we love who we love. We just both didn’t get taught to direct enough of it our own way.

The goal is the balance, not to stop loving. I think we both have known plenty of people who have tried to, and pretended to – but they still feel what they didn’t show, and it never protected them from grief when the people they loved without treating them lovingly were lost. It just left them to live in the then-irrevocable truth that they had hurt the ones they loved, and would never get a chance to show the love they feel, and hiding it didn’t protect them from the pain they feared, after all. I want better than that, Kath, for all the people you and I love who still haven’t allowed themselves to go over the wall.

I hope the ones who have lost already will learn from it and love better with those they have left, and I hope those who haven’t faced that kind of permanent loss yet will learn from the pain of those who did, and make those changes before they have to live with regret. I have lost people I love, people who died with important things left unsaid, and that changed me. I have said the important things to the people I love since then. I would still be deeply pained to lose anyone I love, especially people I have already lost in a less total way. But I would not be adding to my regrets. And I know how badly the ones I have already feel. I don’t want that for anyone. Even for a total fucking stranger reading this because they are wiling away an insomniac night playing wordpress roulette.

Don’t say the important things because you expect to get the responses you want; and important things to say aren’t those intended to cause pain. They are the vulnerable things too many people keep inside. Even if you never get a response at all, the pain of rejection is, I promise you, nothing to the pain of someone you love gone forever who didn’t know how much you loved and appreciated them, that you were sorry for hurting them, that they made a difference in your life. I have experienced both. I choose possible, even probable, rejection every time. No contest.

Fucking hell, I miss you.