Monday, December 26, 2011

Traveling Alone

No one to see me off at the airport; no one to greet me when I arrive.

I was in the same situation once before, and had nothing but excitement for my upcoming adventure -- so why not now? Why should simply no longer having parents turn such excitement into despair? Even at this point, when I know I have a job and home of my own to go back to and I can actually visualize my situation, why is my heart such a weight in my chest?

This moment should be a highlight of my young life.

I want my highlights back.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas

Our last family Christmas tree, from when we were all still together.

(My mom would be horrified to realize how crooked it was.)

Merry, Merry Christmas, and many more to come.

xxoo Tee

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

An Unhappy Life

"I want you to know that in life you need to follow the path that will give you the most satisfaction and fulfillment. [...] I would rather see you have a short exciting life that is your own than spending 50 years at doing something unsatisfying. There is no value in an unhappy life."

From an e-mail from my Daddy

Monday, November 28, 2011

Hurry Up and Wait

I'm in such a hurry to live.

I'm always told "you're only 22", "you're so young", "you have your whole life yet".

I'm so young...and already so aware of my mortality.

Maybe it's foolish to already be thinking about marriage, kids, and buying a home. Maybe it's silly to already be despairing about not knowing what career path I want to take. But maybe not. Maybe I really do only have a handful of years left and I need to get started on my life. Or maybe the best way to live a long life is as if it's short, and stuff into it everything you possibly can.

My brother died at 23 - which will be my age only a few months from now. And whatever people want to say about the context and conditions of his death, the bottom line is that he died at 23 -- and he absolutely never expected to die at 23. If he'd known his time was limited like that, would his short life have been different? I wonder if that time pressure would have pushed him to get control of his OCD; or if it would have heightened his already unimaginable anxiety? Maybe his life would have been worse if he'd known. But maybe he would have accomplished things in his life that only a looming deadline can ensure.

I neither want to nor will die at 23. But does that mean I should live my life like I have all the time in the world? Or am I right in wanting my goals to be reached in as little time as possible?

Friday, November 4, 2011

It's Not The Rejection

"I got 49 rejections and only one call-back."
"I've applied to 300 jobs and gotten 100+ rejections, the rest didn't respond."
"You'll get used to it."
"We all go through it."

Except that we don't. Maybe my friends are going through the same application process, but their experiences are different. For them, maybe the rejections hurt. Maybe they're afraid that they'll never get a job. But they keep plugging through, because they not only have hope, but there's also a part of them that knows that things will work out.

Once upon a time I knew that everything would work out. I knew that the failures were temporary and were really the darkness before the dawn. I knew it, in my very core --- but instead of things working out, all that happened was my discovery that I knew nothing.

These days, so many things scare me on a really profound level. I start getting job rejections, and instead of it being part of the application process, it's the gods or the fates foreshadowing my impending demise. Your parents provide a template for what to expect out of your life - and what my mind likes to do is turn every tiny little disappointment in my life into the beginning of a narrative that ends in my tragic death. Tragic death is my template.

Whatever track my life is on, I'm in incredible darkness. None of us can see into the future, but maybe everyone else can see that their track continues on for at least the next little while. And as they trundle forth, they only see more and more of their track extending forward. In the blackness I'm in, I'm clutching hard to what I have, terrified that any moment my tracks will end and I'll plummet off the edge. I know that's not the case, I do. And in my hopes and dreams and my personal vision of my future, I am nowhere near the end of my tracks.

But that doesn't stop me from constantly, constantly bracing myself for the fall.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Being me

I can be on the adventure of a lifetime. I can spend a night out going to fantastic places and meeting fantastic people. I can make new friends and make a new history for myself.

But all I need is one stupid cat meowing expectantly at my door for the room's previous occupant, and I break into a fit of weeping. Because more than anything, I know what it's like to miss someone who's no longer there.

I really hate how fragile I am.

Edit: "meowing expectantly" has turned into breaking in and hiding under the bed. Christ. :(

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


One of the nicest things about moving somewhere where you have family is learning all about your history. It's so wonderful to be welcomed with open arms by people you've only met a handful of times, and to gain so much knowledge about a family line you knew the least about. It's so painful to know that there will never be new stories about my parents and my brother, but to hear old stories that I never knew about them and their families is an incredible comfort and joy to me. It helps me keep them alive, and that is a rare and precious thing.

My dad moved from Canada to England for a year when he was a boy, and so my own move is in part a sort of pilgrimage for me.

But because I'm following in his footsteps, and I'm learning so many things about his side of the family that he himself might not have known... I'm having this intense longing to talk to him. I want to tell him about everything and everyone and hear more of his memories of his family here. I'm filling in gaps in my own knowledge, but with every gap I fill I become painfully aware of the ones that will never be filled - those of his perspective.

I can feel the pride and happiness in his voice about my being here. But I want so much to hear it, too. I miss him so much.

And I'm aching for a version of this stage of my life that includes them. I want my mom to have been horrified at the thought of my moving abroad, and I want my dad to have told her that his family would take good care of me and that I was used to living in a big city and that I'd be able to take care of myself. I want my mom to keep calling me, trying hard to sound excited for me but unable to hide how much she misses and worries for me. I want my dad to excitedly share memories of all of the places to go in London, seemingly unaware of the idea that places change a lot in over 50 years.

And I really, really want to go home for Christmas to five people, rather than two.

That version of my life seems so much more beautiful.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Oct 15

Happy Birthday Mama.

I miss you every single day.

Sunday, October 9, 2011


I'm leaving Canada tomorrow. I've been crying myself to sleep every night.

The last time I moved away from home, everybody died. I'm feeling this looming dread as the day approaches - like some primal part of me knows this is a final goodbye. I'm afraid that someone is going to die while I'm gone...or that I'll die while I'm gone.

Everyone is telling me not to leave; that they're going to miss me; that it'd be best for me to stay...things my family told me when I left for Toronto. And one of the very last things my dad said to me on the last day I saw him alive was that I was the only one he felt he could talk to. And I just happened to be the only one who left home.

Of my dearest friends: one's mom was just diagnosed with breast cancer, one is about to get engaged, one is alone and scared in a new city... And I'm leaving all of them behind to fend for themselves.

Even after everything, I don't regret leaving home. And I'm sure I won't regret moving to London. But I'm so terrified that something else is going to happen in my absence. And then - what if I can't afford to fly home?

Saturday, September 24, 2011

A Birthday Letter

I wrote this to my mom on what ended up being her last birthday. It also shows how much of an impact losing her had on me.

Dear Mommy,

First of all: please don't ever think that I would forget your birthday! I wasn't sure how to approach it with coming home for Thanksgiving, especially because I felt guilty about having had a gift for you last year and nothing for you this year. I considered making a card, but I didn't want it to be something plain and superficial, and I really didn't have the time to put into it the time and effort needed to make it worthy.

My plan had been to e-mail you, like I'm doing now, with a different kind of gift: an explanation of how much I admire you.

I've admired you since I was a little girl - for your love, your creativity, your friendship, your intelligence - but most of all for your undying optimism, and your courage and bravery. Every day you amaze me with the way in which you manage to face the world despite how hard it tries to beat you down - and the way in which you manage to remain strong and stable to support those around you.

I know how hard it is to try and keep living and keep wanting to live when I'm enveloped in depression and the unending stress of life. I have learned to find the strength to be there for myself, but through it all I've had the comfort of knowing that, when all else fails, I have you to be there for me. When I would otherwise feel as though I might as well just give up and end everything, even if I haven't spoken to you in ages, the knowledge that you're there and that you'll always be there for me is all the hope I need to keep pushing through, to keep working at bettering myself, and to keep developing my own personal strength. I know a lot of the time (or even most of the time) you feel as if I'm just cutting you out of my emotional process, but the truth is, even when you know nothing of it, you're the very foundation of my ability to stay strong.

I've told you many times how much I admire you, but I know I can never really express the extent to which I truly do. The picture of your life that you've painted for me is so full of difficulties and hardships that you should have come out the other end bitter and pessimistic - but the opposite is true. It seems as though when you gush out encouragement towards me and my brothers, you shouldn't be able to come up with anything other than fake optimism - but I can feel your true hope and lust for what life and love have to offer. I'm a pessimist in words, but an optimist at heart - and to hear someone else express that integral part of life - that love - is sometimes all I need to remember what I'm doing. I admire you for your ability to overcome all the world has thrown at you (and God, the world has thrown at you so much, especially in this past little while) and still have faith - not even in an external, omnipotent force - but in YOURSELF. I pray that one day I can have such faith in myself. I'm working on it, but right now I survive by having faith in YOU.

You were my idol growing up, and you're still my idol today. It would be fake to say that I want to be just like you, but the core part of you is the model that I want to integrate and build myself on. It's been a really rocky road thus far, but you - and daddy - have proven to be of such great character that I can't help but feel I have what it takes to survive life and all its difficulties.

I know a lot of the time you feel as though you screwed up somewhere in the process of raising us, and it's understandable. The three of us are pretty screwed up, in many ways. But that was the world's doing. Not yours. Your doing was giving us the resilience and the passion to keep fighting for our place in the world despite it all. S****'s patience and contentment? That comes from you. D*****'s love for the world and ensuing hope throughout his hell? That comes from you. My lust for life and people and my determination to be as strong as I can be? That definitely, definitely comes from you.

When all you have is the burden of your own difficulties and that of your family, I'm sure it can feel as though you haven't really accomplished much. I often fear that you might not feel accomplished. But I've heard your stories, and I have a picture of who you used to be, and it amazes me how far you've come. You have become the ultimate woman: you are incredibly strong, beautifully weak. You are confident, outspoken, opinionated. You fight for what you believe in, and you sacrifice what others may think of you for staying true to who you are. These are things that everyone strives for, and that very, very few accomplish even by the ends of their lives. You've already secured that. You have made the ultimate accomplishment of humanity - and I strive towards the very same. I'm working hard to find my own path and go in my own direction, but when I lose sight of what my path is, I simply step back into your footsteps, remember the ultimate goal, and step off onto my own path when I've remembered what it is.

No matter where we are, what either of us are doing, how old we are, or how long it's been since I've spoken to you...I keep your footsteps nearby when I need them. You are so much more than a mother to me. Please never forget that.

Today, when you celebrate your birthday, please don't simply celebrate the fact that you get attention and a slice of cake. Celebrate who you are, how far you've come, and how much I - and all of us - love you. And if you ever lose sight of how amazing and beautiful and accomplished you are, just give me a call. I guarantee you I will never run out of words to praise you.

I love you with all my heart, Mommy. Happy Birthday.


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Family Portrait

song lyrics

Mama please stop cryin'
I can't stand the sound
Your pain is painful
And it's tearin' me down

I hear glasses breakin'
As I sit up in my bed
I told Dad you didn't mean
Those nasty things you said

You fight about money
'Bout me and my brother
And this I come home to
This is my shelter

It ain't easy, growin' up in World War III
Never knowin' what love could be
You'll see, I don't want love to destroy me
Like it has done my family

Can we work it out?
Can we be a family?
I promise I'll be better
Mommy, I'll do anything

Can we work it out?
Can we be a family?
I promise I'll be better
Daddy, please don't leave

Daddy please stop yelling
I can't stand the sound
Make Mama stop cryin'
'Cause I need you around

My mama, she loves you
No matter what she says it's true
I know that she hurts you
But remember I love you too

I ran away today
Ran from the noise, ran away
Don't wanna go back to that place
But don't have no choice, no way

It ain't easy growin' up in World War III
Never knowin' what love could be
Well I've seen, I don't want love to destroy me
Like it did my family

Can we work it out?
Can we be a family?
I promise I'll be better
Mommy, I'll do anything

Can we work it out?
Can we be a family?
I promise I'll be better
Daddy, please don't leave

In our family portrait
We look pretty happy
Let's play pretend
Let's act like it comes naturally


In our family portrait
We look pretty happy
We look pretty normal
Let's go back to that


I'll be so much better
I'll do everything right
I'll be your little girl forever
I'll go to sleep at night


Saturday, September 10, 2011

Good News

It has been almost three years -- and still, my good news is not landing a coveted job, or meeting someone new, or or making a leap of progress in my life.

My good news is that my hearing - you know, the one at which I will be interrogated about the authenticity of my tragedy - will be closed to the public.

At the very least - thank God for that.

But I really hate what has happened to my life.

Friday, August 5, 2011

The Moment I Realized

from the transcript

Detective: There's no, there's no signs of forced entry. Okay. At the house.

Tee: Okay.

Detective: And right now we're not looking for anybody.

Tee: Oh my God!

Detective: Okay. And I want you to hear that from me, from us.

Tee: Oh my God! Where were they stabbed?

Detective: Ah, chest.

Tee: With what?

Detective: A knife. From the kitchen.

Tee: A kitchen knife, like...?

Detective: Uhm no I don't, well something similar to a steak knife I believe.

Tee: Okay.

Detective: We, we believe that we have it. Uhm, like I said we haven't been able to go in.

Tee: Right.

Detective: So we're going off of ah what the firefighters saw when they first went in. 'Cause they went and obviously they, they attempted life saving measures right away.

Tee: Right.

Detective: On, on everyone. So like I said we won't know specifics until we get in there ourselves and fingerprints, DNA ah all that has to be worked out.

Tee: I want to, I want to ask you a question and I know you really can't answer because you can't speculate or anything but...

Detective: Yeah.

Tee: ...can I ask just as another person?

Detective: Mmhmm.

Tee: Do you think my dad did this?

Friday, July 29, 2011

Different wavelength

I'm leaving the country soon, and the other weekend I met with the women from my support group to say goodbye. It's so strange now. We have so much light, but there was a point where we had nothing but darkness, and they are among the few people who can understand the darkness still in me. Even though I'll be able to stay in touch with them through e-mail, losing them scares me. I have so many dark memories that most people just can't relate to:

Detectives pulling me into the dean's office. The picture that went online of my dad on a gurney before I even knew they were dead. Photographers hiding in the bushes. Strangers slandering my family. Signing the cremation order for three of my family members. My first visit to the house to see my life drowned in soot. Sleeping on a deflating cot by the kitchen. My mother's blood stain in her bedroom. The outline of my brother's body in his own blood. My dad's bloody hand-print on the lid of a box of my baby clothes. The autopsy photo of the coroner pulling apart my brother's buttocks to see if my dad had raped him. All of the autopsy photos: naked bodies, open eyes, ribcages cut out, brains removed. There's nothing like seeing your mommy naked, eyes and mouth wide, cut open on a sterile table surrounded by strangers.

The flood of e-mails from people I barely knew. The lack of e-mails from people I cared about. The incessant news stories.

The loss of my survival instinct. I was a zombie for a long time. I felt nothing. No happiness, no sadness, no pain, no turmoil - just numbness. I remember how mechanical my movements were, my smiles. It was awkward to smile, like I had just learned how.

A friend of mine went through a bad break-up this year, and she chooses me as a confidant. I recognize in her many of the stages of grief that I went through, but the nature of her trauma makes me feel extremely isolated. I try to tell myself that I should be able to relate to her stages of grief - and in a way, I do. But I feel like an alien around her. She told me that part of what makes her feel so alone is that he's still around, but she can't be close to him. Logically I understand, and I try to empathize. But it's very hard to connect with someone whose trauma is your secret wish. To know that my mom, dad and brother were somewhere still alive, and that I just couldn't be close to them, would bring me so much intense relief.

I find myself becoming closer and closer to a friend of mine whose father died of cancer when she was a teenager. I've always loved her, but it seems like now we operate on the same wavelength. With nearly everyone else - I truly feel like a different species.

Last night I was talking about my move to the UK, and about how I want to invest in an open-ended return ticket so I can come home on a moment's notice, even if I've run out of funds. Everyone I was with started to joke: "haha yeah, you'll be calling your parents: mom, dad, please buy me a ticket home!".

No, actually. I won't. I have to do this on my own.

Why can't there be more people who understand the darkness and emptiness that I feel? And why do those of us who do have to feel so attacked and stigmatized by everyone else, so that we feel we shouldn't talk about our traumas?

I'm terrified that, once overseas, I won't be able to find someone that I can confide in about every terrifying little detail of what I feel, without judgement or fear. I'm terrified that I'm going to once again feel completely alone.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Proud Parents

A friend of mine graduated this week, and I joined her after the ceremony to take pictures and congratulate her. She and her very proud parents were all smiles - it was a really beautiful sight. I was so proud of her myself; I really got caught up in the moment, and reveled in all of the joy.

Being there, I started to wonder why I hadn't invited all of my friends to join me on the grass for pictures as per my university's tradition. It seemed so joyous. Standing there with her, I somehow didn't understand how my own convocation could be tainted with any emotion other than joy or pride.

Then when things wrapped up, I walked home. Alone. To an empty apartment. And thank God I had sunglasses, because I cried the whole damn way.

As soon as I walked away, the images of my grad had shifted from friends like dear M***** congratulating me on the grass to images of my parents hugging me and smiling at me like hers were on that day. Images that are no more than fiction for me. Empty hopes.

It's not fair. Mommy, Daddy: you wanted me to graduate, just like you? You both had your parents with you. I don't.

And I don't know how I can be proud of myself without you there to show me.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Looming Convocation

I am trying so hard to be proud of myself, and to celebrate my accomplishments.

But I keep failing to understand what exactly I should celebrate when in these last four years I've lost so much more than I've gained.

I had a year and a half of the "undergraduate experience," and the rest of the time was spent in mourning. I resent that so much. I resent this institution for being the place I found out they died. I resent my peers for achieving the same degree as me under far more favourable circumstances. I resent my registar for sending me congratulatory e-mails. I resent the fact that I'm graduating with a GPA .01 away from high distinction - in other words, if life hadn't decided to kick me in the proverbial balls, I would probably have a 4.0 with a ton of extracurriculars to put on my resume.

I think what hurts the most is that, when I get up on that stage, only two people in that room will know what I struggled through to get there. Only two.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


I got a final grade of 90 on my undergraduate thesis. I was so anxious before seeing the grade, and then there it was, and I started crying. I'm not happy. I'm not proud. The mark means nothing to me. I don't care. For once all of my stress, hard work and dedication paid off, and now I get two pen-strokes on a piece of paper. Whoop-de-fuckin-do. I got a 90. Et alors? All of the stress probably cut off a full year from my life expectancy - yeah, that was definitely worth it.

I'm so angry.

I'm so angry that the education that I made so many sacrifices for no longer means anything to me.

I realized a long time ago that (if anything) a college education would have been better suited to me than this, but my parents wanted us to have university degrees and I wanted to fulfill that wish. Now I'm in way too much debt with nothing to show for it. (On that note, there's an organization that compensates people whose lives have suffered from violent crimes. But, apparently, my own experience couldn't have significantly affected me and there's no way I could have experienced shock, so I don't qualify. Fuck you.)

I could have been gaining experiences in these past four years. I could have been building my resume (which currently is an empty piece of crap). I could have been taking time to properly mourn my family. Hell, I could have been at home with them in their last years.

The things I gained and learned from university were not academic, and I feel as though there are cheaper and more fulfilling ways to gain the same education.


Keep your damn 90. Or let me trade it for a hug from my mom.

It's not like a decent transcript is a ticket to good karma.

I'm so angry.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Kocham cię

Kocham moją mamę, bardzo.

(I miss you.)

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Nobody's Little Girl

You take good care of him, mama, you hear me? I love you. I love you both. [pause] I'm nobody's little girl anymore.

from Golden Girls; Blanche at her father's grave

Friday, March 18, 2011

Adult Orphans

It might be the natural order of things that parents die before their children, but the sheer inevitability is no cushion to the pain, soul-searching and sheer feeling of rudderlessness that so often follows.

from The peculiar grief of the adult orphan

" When there is no one left who sees you as a child and you have no home to go to when things get rough, it changes how you feel. I am now the one in charge, I can no longer run home to someone. This is my home now. "

from My Husband is an Adult Orphan

Monday, March 14, 2011

Your Joy


From all my memories of you; from all of the old pictures of you with me and my brothers; from all of the letters and e-mails and notes you've ever's obvious that my brothers and I brought you all of the joy in your life - enough joy to live forever.

You would do anything for us, and you always did. You were born to be a dad.

So tell me, Daddy: when did we stop being enough for you? When did we stop bringing enough joy to your life that it was no longer worth living?

After 24 years of being our hero, why did you decide to stop being a dad?

You tell me that.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Feb 26

Happy Birthday Daddy xxoo
Rest in peace.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Pitch Black

“It would be pitch black, in the middle of the woods, and I could never see anything in front of the headlights. But I always felt so safe, because my dad was driving. He was like some sort of superhero. He could just see way out into the darkness. And now he’s just gone and it’s pitch black. I can’t see where I’m going. I can’t see anything.”

from How I Met Your Mother

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day was always special for me, because I had a man in my life who loved me dearly and always showed it. Every Feb. 14th I would wake up to find a poem on the pillow next to me, or chocolates placed on my desk, and always a red rose at my place at the breakfast table. One wonderful year there was a heart-shaped diamond necklace waiting for me. We had received a brochure in the mail and a few days earlier my mom and I had been going through it and talking about how ugly all of the jewelry was - except for that sole necklace which I had mentioned was really pretty. They're the only diamonds I have ever owned.

This e-mail is from our first Valentine's apart (when I had gone away to residence), and our last Valentine's before he took his life.

February 14, 2008

Happy Valentines Day Tee!

I could never fully express how much I love you and how wonderful it is to see you growing into the beautiful young woman that you have become.

When I first saw and held you that wonderful day now almost 19 years ago, a big chunk of my heart became yours for always.

Mommy said it from that first moment that you were very special and would be a force to reckon with. Seeing you with your friends, on your travels, the pictures from the recent dance it is obvious that you are the light in the room and your very presence is a gift to those around you.

On this day of love's expression and for all days, no father could love you more.


Sunday, February 13, 2011

Traumatic Past/Empty Future

I'm set to graduate in June. I'm terrified.

I've expressed my fears to everyone I come across, hoping for some sort of advice that will really hit home. What I get is "nobody knows what they want to do at your age, you're very young, you have plenty of time, don't worry, everything will fall into place."

It's really wonderful how many people have offered words of support to me, but they fall short. Maybe that's enough for most of my peers, but it's not for me. Not when I rely on hope just to wake up in the morning. Not when I need something to look forward to just to be able to breathe.

When my family died, my future was erased - it was a strange experience. From the moment you are able, you build these fantasies, visions, and possibilities for the future, so that as much as you have images of the past you have images of the future. Every image I had included my mom and dad and brother to some degree, so when they died, every image I had ever created was no longer a possibility. Since then, I've had little strength to rebuild my vision of the future. I have managed to envision my life up to graduation, and from there all I see is emptiness.

I can't come up with possibilities to fill that emptiness. While it doesn't mean I have no future, it does feel as though I'm walking toward the edge of a cliff. There could be wonderful things beyond that edge, but I can't envision anything other than the drop.

It's not important for my future career for me to have an idea of what I want to do, but it is important for my well-being. Blind hope and optimism is a powerful tool, but it doesn't last forever without some concrete motivation.

I'm not terrified to graduate because I don't have a career path planned in detail. I'm terrified because once that diploma is in my hand, I may have run out of things to goad me on.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

q. i

Dear everyone:

What are your tips for overcoming a persistent depressive state?


When my family died I was glad for the timing, because the days that followed became consistently warmer and sunnier. I considered it a blessing that my season of absolute loss was followed by the season of rebirth. I've since, on occasion, wondered if I would have survived the same circumstances had they been followed by the death and cold of winter. My spirit had rejuvenated with spring - I wonder if it would have withered with the fall.

The seasonal cycles worked to my benefit two years ago. They work against me now. My winters are such:

Early December: a trauma I experienced with a dear friend. Late December: I go home for the winter holiday and see my parents and brother for what would be the last time. Early January: My father drives me back to my residence, and gives me a long and loving farewell - what I later realize was him saying goodbye. Mid January: I speak with my mother on the phone for the last time. Homicide detectives come to my residence to deliver the news. They return two days later to question me. We hold the funeral. February: My father and I shared a birthday. For the first time, I commemorate a birthday alone.

This hellish sequence of events spanned the coldest, harshest months of the year. When I was in complete darkness, and the light of spring peeked over the horizon, it was a beacon of hope to me. But now, the approach of the 'anniversaries' is congruent with the approach of short, winter days and biting, cold air. People are driven indoors to keep warm, and society enters a hibernation that is in sharp contrast with the liveliness of summer.

For me: the season pushes me into my own cage of grief. My friends and acquaintances prefer not to stray from the hearth, and the weather disheartens me from seeking them out myself. People rush homeward to warm themselves by the heat of their families' love, reminding me of how the hot blaze of my large family became the warm embers of my small one.

When Christmas passes, and the winter gets harsher, the anniversary of their death strikes - shortly followed by exams. The idea that spring is nearer each day is lost to me. Instead, the inherent sorrow of the season magnifies my own sorrow.

My seasonal cycle is pathetic fallacy.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

A poem from Nov 4, 2010

My mind goes to dark places sometimes

My mind goes to dark places sometimes
Grief, and self-doubt, and insecurity, and
All those sad little places
But sometimes my mind goes to someplace deeper

Everything around me disappears into blackness
And all there is is me
In this little bubble
Where there is nothing but
Despairing numbness

There’s no survival instinct
If I were on the ground
And someone were kicking me
I wouldn’t curl into a fetal position
I would just lie there

Not really aware of the implications
Or the consequences
Of being kicked
One minute I’m weeping so hard
It really feels like my head will explode

From the pressure
Capillaries bursting everywhere
And the next minute I’m so silent
I’m nearly unconscious before I realize
I’ve stopped breathing

The next minute
I’m in a panic attack so horrifying
I feel high from the oxygen
Though my throat has entirely closed up
Just me and pillows and nothing

I’m afraid to let people see me
And if they hear me, the tears start again
I’m in this dark, dark place for the first time in a year
And I had to ask two friends of mine
If you can die from crying.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

In the Public Eye

It has been over two years since they died, and people are still talking. I really did think that after the first few months of news articles and media reports, and then after that big national story after the police report was finished it would all be over. But people are still talking.

My brother's university has retold his story as part of the "violence on campus" review. They didn't notice or seem to care that he hadn't been able to attend university for ages because of his debilitating OCD.

Battered women's shelters retell my mother's story as an example of what happens when you marry an abusive husband. Oh yeah, he was abusive. He never stopped crushing her with love or punching her with poems or slapping her with gifts. I remember that time in the garage that he picked up that knife to really show her what he thought of her...he was carving a lion out of a block of wood for her birthday. That's the kind of man you do not want to marry.

And oh, my daddy. The demon, the deranged man, the mass murderer. He must have been a violent drunk, y'know. He must have hated his whole family, y'know. Really? The man who would fall asleep after half a glass of wine? The man who had no problem hugging his sons and telling them he loved them? The man who stayed up late telling us stories, and woke up early to make us pancakes? The man who wrote me poetry and bought me roses on Valentine's Day? The man who fainted when his first child was born? The man who almost cried when he first saw me on stage? Oh yes, talk about a deranged son-of-a-bitch.

It's a matter of decorum to have respect for the dead, and in the case of my family, nobody seems to have any. They have been slandered again and again and again, and I have to sit in agonized silence because I know that any steps I might take to set straight the false accusations and assumptions would only be sensationalized and throw me into further grief.

It has been two years. When will people finally stop talking? When will I finally be able to grieve in peace - like everybody else has the freedom to do?

All I want is for everyone to know about the wonderful people I have lost, and how much I love them. Will one girl's love be enough to counteract all of the fear and all of the hate?

Journal Entry from Jan 30, 2009

        I'm too young, vulnerable, and dependent a girl to live without my mommy.
        I miss you.
        I need you.
        I want to hold you.
        I want you to hold me.

        Mommy, mommy.


        You were perfect, okay?

        You really were.

        And I'm really, really feeling that now.

        I don't want to have to live the rest of my long life without you.
        I still have so much to learn from you.
        I still have so much to tell you.
        I still have so much to ask you.

        I know you're watching me, and protecting me, and listening and loving and helping...
        But I just want to hug you. I want to kiss you. I want to feel you. I want to hold your hand and rest my head against your shoulder.

        I'll never have that again.

        I wish I had treasured that last time that much more.


        I LOVE YOU

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Thoughts on my Dad

My thoughts have been intensely ambivalent since my family died, and I feel guilt for every thought I have concerning my family. I eventually couldn't stand it anymore, and sat down and typed what I felt as if no one would ever read it. This piece of writing is easily one of the most honest things that has come out of me.

November 28th, 2009

I don’t know what to think about him. So I have to write, because I’m his daughter. I’m his daughter, and this is what he gave me. This is in my blood, right from him.

I think he’s a fucking coward, for taking such a cheap and horrible way out. But I think he’s so brave for being the only one of us to have the guts to take a stand.

I know he loved us with everything in him, so that it consumed him, so that he’d commit the most horrible act, because saving one of us meant more to him than his own life. But I doubt that he could have any love for us at all for taking away every single thing that we ever loved.

I think he’s a murderer. He is a murderer.
But I think he’s some sort of saviour. Some sort of euthanizer.

I think he’s the truest of men, for having it in him to make decisions for his family, and take care of them in ways they never could themselves. But I think he might as well be a eunuch for the cowardice it takes to not be able to face something like bankruptcy.

I’m thankful to him for ending such a horrible situation. But I’m astonished he would rather give up on our family than fight through more hardships.

I know he loved Mommy. He dedicated everything in his life to her, until the very end. But I can’t help but think he got some sort of satisfaction out of killing her. And out of killing D*****. Even though I know it hurt him so much that he felt it in every square inch of his body, I know that some part of him was satiated by killing them.

He’s the man who raised me, who loved me, who protected me. He’s my Daddy, and I’m his little girl. We have the same birthday. We have the same soul. We understand each other like no one else.

And me, it was me that he hurt more than anyone, and he knew it, he knows it. That’s why the suicide note was addressed to me first, to me before the elder, to the T before the S. It was always chronological, always, it was “D*****, S**** and Tee,” and that was fine, because I was the baby, I was meant to be at the end. He addressed it to me first because he knew that all of the pain was targeted at me. He knew that. He knew that this would affect S****’s life, his life, it but was me that this would kill. Not my life, but me. And somehow addressing it to me is supposed to make me feel like he loved me?

How could he possibly love me? He knew what this would do to me. I was supposed to be that much more special to him. With all we shared… we were the artists. We were the Pisces. We were the singers. We shared stories and songs and sports and introversion and somehow, on some level, we both saw life in the same way. I was the one he sent to Greece, and France, and Egypt and I was the one he sent to debating provincials and Envirothon internationals and I was the one he drove out of town for plays and concerts. I was his little girl. It wasn’t that he loved me more, but he knew we had a special bond, and he treated that with respect. I thought he was the sort of man and the sort of Daddy who would sacrifice himself for me, completely. I think, somehow, he thinks he did. And sometimes I see it that way. But sometimes – most of the time – I see it as him being too afraid to sacrifice himself for us anymore.

This whole situation…I feel so protected, and so betrayed, and so emancipated, and so abandoned.

There’s that word that that Distress Centre exec woman suggested to me: ABANDONED.

I had never even considered it, but it fit so, so perfectly. I feel so abandoned – and not just by Daddy. By all of them. I blame all of them. Somehow, they were all a part of it. By suggesting the mass suicide. By not being strong enough to fight past their problems, like I feel I had done. For falling victim to it all. For fighting. For always fighting with each other. They were the ones. Mommy and D*****, they started all of it. It was all them. We were the victims. Daddy, S**** and I. We were the victims. And Daddy stood up for us. He stood up for us in the end.

I love myself for getting through all of this. But I hate myself so deeply for all of these horrible thoughts that are always in me. They’re all horrible – because some defend him, some defend the act, and all the rest are affronts to my love for him. There’s not a single thought in my head that can justify it all. I either love him and love the act, or hate him and hate the act.

It’s always been this: choosing between my Mommy and my Daddy. Always. Auntie J***** understands that. And it’s still not over. I can’t love my Daddy because it means I think it’s okay that he murdered my mother – he stabbed her to death. I can’t love my Mommy because it means agreeing that I should take her side against him. I yell at them. I look up to the heavens and I yell at them. Often. I say “this is your fault” and I say “you’d better damn well be getting along now” and I blame them for it all. I don’t blame my Daddy, I blame all of them. And I yell because it makes me feel better. Because it makes me feel like all of the mistakes I’m making now are justified. It makes me feel like I can do whatever shit I want to and it’s all their fault. It’s their fault for screwing me up and it’s their fault for leaving me to deal with it on my own. I yell at them up in heaven or maybe it’s hell or whatever because I have so much anger in me and I don’t know what to do with it. I do things I know they wouldn’t approve of and for a second I feel guilty because I know they’re watching, but then I turn my head upwards and I say (the same words every time) “You know what? FUCK you! You LEFT me!” And then there are the times that the only way I can get through the day is by imagining that my Mommy is right next to me stroking my hair or my hand or that my Daddy is smiling at me with that silly, knowing grin that he and I always shared with moments like “Hello, DaDA” because otherwise I would just crumble.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Grieving and Muted

I started this blog because I need to be heard.

...and people do not listen to me easily. It's the stigma of what I need to talk about, and the constancy of my need to talk about it, and the person I become when I'm grieving. People are afraid of what happened, they are worn down by my leaning on them, and they do not like the angry, desperate, spiteful and withering girl I am in those moments.

I have struggled for two long years with what I can and cannot say to people and with the lack of a truly safe place to be honest about how I feel. Shortly after my family died, I tried confiding in a close friend about how much I wished I could be with them. She went behind my back and notified everyone in my residence (including my peers) that I was suicidal. She was wrong, and suddenly everyone around me was treating me like I would slit my wrists if I wasn't supervised when cutting vegetables.

I learned my lesson, so when six or so months later I tried confiding in a different friend about how I felt like giving up on university and taking a term off, I very explicitly said to him: "I am not suicidal. I am only thinking of giving up on school, not life. I want to live. I am not suicidal." Nevertheless, a few days later I received a phone call from the community safety office checking up on me.

There are moments in which I feel completely alone. I have a right to express that, however inaccurate it might be; but one would be surprised at how many people take offense to that sentiment, as though I'm purposely disregarding their affection for me.

When I become close to someone, it's important to me that they know what I've been through - I can't be comfortable and honest with them otherwise. But three times out of four, after confiding in them the details of my tragedy, I never hear from them again.

I've learned to tiptoe around people. I am not ashamed of my family, I am not ashamed of my emotions, and I am not ashamed of succumbing to moments or even days of rage and hatred and complete hopelessness. But the average person, it seems, is greatly ashamed of the things I have to say.

I often wonder: if my mom and dad and brother had all died in a car crash two years ago, how much more support and understanding would I have received? How many more people would actually have lent me an open, unassuming and nonjudgmental ear?