My best friend, Shawna, is amazing. She is an amazing person, friend, parent, and at the same time, she is the craziest person I have ever known.
Which is why she is my best friend…
A little background for you…
If you have been following my life story, then you know my boyfriend Jason shot and killed himself on top of me January 22, 2020. Shawna is my boyfriend’s ex-wife. They have a daughter, Paizley, together. Because of this, we were civil with each other, but shortly after we met, Shawna and I became friends.
The first time we spent any real time together, we shot intravenous drugs. Since then, we have gone through life and its many battles together as good friends growing stronger and stronger through each passing experience; including the loss of Jason and more importantly, the loss of Paizley’s dad.
We have become so close in fact, that I consider this woman family. Sadly, her dad passed away recently and we had his funeral today; only a couple days after her birthday; so, I want to tell you a little more about my friend Shawna…
Shawna used to think of herself first. She was never a bad person, she was just a little selfish.
Then I watched as this new person emerged. She started putting others’ feelings ahead of her own, especially her family. She faced her feelings and actions head on and took responsibility, which is an incredibly brave act.
Most people don’t do this.
Then she went even deeper.
She kept living her life this way.
She kept living her life not only for herself, but also for her children.
Then Shawna hit the jackpot.
She met a wonderful man who is a good dad and financially stable, owns his own house and with a stable job. After dating for some time, they fell in love and moved in together in his house, making this a true Cinderella meets “Pretty Woman” story.
She is now so happy, and is one by one, regaining custody of her children, and living her life with love, and gratitude.
I couldn’t be more proud of my beautiful, and vivacious friend. I love her so much, and I am proud to call her my best friend.
Jason never defined us, or our friendship. We thought he did at one time, but he didn’t.
We define ourselves.
We will raise Paizley as a strong, independent woman and luckily, because of us, her dad will always be a hero to her.
Happy Birthday, my baby love, with many more to come.
I have been dealing with so much trauma, and I am having a hard time processing it.
It’s so strange how one can be surrounded by loving, supportive people, and still feel completely alone in the world.
About 2 weeks after Jason died, I had a meltdown that was pretty severe. I was hyperventilating, panicking. I said, “I just want to talk to someone who has been through this. Because I don’t know how to do this.” My mama softly said, “Your grandma.”
My grandma has been gone for 17 years, but the moment my mom reminded me of my grandmother’s history, I began to calm down. My grandfather died by suicide when my mama was 8 years old. Years after his death, my grandmother had a boyfriend who also died by suicude. She went through it twice, and she made it through.
I feel a connection to her that I didn’t have before. Like we’re in a club that no one wants to join, but here we are.
I still don’t understand how this could happen twice, as I’m sure my grandma didn’t understand either. My grandma and I are different in the way that she never discussed anything with us about her husband, or her boyfriend. She never remarried, and did not date. She gave that up.
It helps me to talk about it. It helps me to process what has happened, and trying to understand the effects the trauma has on me. I get overwhelmed easily, I can’t handle loud noises, I have vivid nightmares. Honestly, there are too many symptoms to name them all. I’m clean from drugs, and looking at situations while clean, is a whole new experience. I have to face the situation now.
The truth is, I know I hold the key to my happiness. It is all up to me what happens. We stray from our path sometimes, and bad things and tragedies happen as a result. I have to start caring about Sarah more than I care about others.
I feel selfish typing that last line. However, if I don’t practice self- care, I’m not capable of being good for anyone. My grandma picked herself up, and made an arrangement with Mama to live together and help raise me and my sister. I had 19 years of being raised by those 2 vivacious women. My Grandma put everything she had into her family. It kept her focus on something else, rather than the tragedies of her past.
I looked up at the night sky and talked to my grandma, and I feel she is telling me to put my focus on my family. They will help me get through this.
I’m not really alone…
There are a couple things I will do differently than my grandma. First, I am going to face these traumatic experiences head on. Also, I won’t turn my back on the possibility of finding love again. I love being in love. I truly hope it happens again one day. Until then, I need to focus on my family, and practicing self-care.
I have been really bad about taking time to just relax, write, and just be me lately. I’m always worried now-a- days.
The entire world is worried right now with this crazy pandemic. My sister and I respectfully insisted our mother quit her job. She has stage 4 COPD, and was a cashier at Walmart. So really, there was no way in hell we were letting her go back.
I’m glad it wasn’t too difficult to convince her to quit because man, it would have gotten ugly. She couldn’t get by me anyway, I’m twice her size. Plus she can’t breathe.
Easiest fight ever…
Other than surviving this pandemic, my focus has continued to be on my grief and how to manage the incredibly invasive thoughts and memories flooding my brain on a constant basis.
I made a video about me, Jason, and his suicide. It was difficult to make, but oddly therapeutic. I posted it on Facebook, and at first I was really nervous about that. I was surprised that I was met with such compassion and understanding. I would like to share it with you all now.
My goal is to bring more awareness of the effects of mental illness and suicide to save lives. Please share this.
**Tip: Turn up the volume. The songs should have played at his funeral, it’s what he wanted.
I came back to me and Jason’s apartment yesterday about noon. I had good intentions of packing since I have the moving truck on Monday, but I didn’t do much of anything. Yesterday marked exactly one month since the fatal accident that took my honey’s life, and every time I looked around I just saw the two of us here.
I thought about him unpacking the place so I wouldn’t feel so overwhelmed and come out of my room. Now the fact that some boxes overwhelmed me is a fucking joke. Everywhere I look there is a thought, or a memory of me and Jason. The painting he bought me of Mother Earth, the ugly ceramic wall hanging of a renaissance couple he got for me at a yard sale, and the empty CD cases I griped at him about. Every corner and every surface has a memory attached to it.
My favorite night was a couple months ago. We were hanging out together listening to music and talking when he told me he had a confession. Oh shit, I thought. I figured he had done something that I was going to be super upset about. He told me he was full of shit. I laughed and told him of course I knew that. He said, no, you don’t understand the extent of my storytelling. He went on to tell me story after story, and what was complete fabrication, what was somewhat true, and then, what was totally true.
That was when I figured out that Jason had a different persona for everyone in his life. After a couple hours of confessing to me, he looked down and said, so you’re probably going to leave me… I said, hell no. At least you told me! He smiled a rare full out smile, and said he would never leave me. That was in November.
I heard Jason tell his fabricated life stories to so many people, even after he had confessed the real deal to me. I just let him have it. I figured there was a reason he felt like he had to do that. Then, I figured it out.
Most of his stories circled around a common theme. Family, and a sense of belonging. Jason never quite felt like he belonged in his family. He was adopted by great parents, but he longed to find out where he came from. He fashioned a life for himself that explained why he was so different from the people that raised him. The reality is that he felt like a black sheep and not knowing his origin exacerbated his loneliness. He dove headfirst into a life of addiction as a teenager and discovered he could numb his feelings and control his thoughts through substance abuse.
It’s all so very sad.
I chose to love Jason unconditionally and without precedent. I saw his struggle and watched his heart break when no one else was around. The disappointment he felt he caused everyone who loved him, was at times unbearable to him, and he would inevitably feel like a failure. So, Jason chose to focus on what he could control. His story he told everyone, maintaining his separate personas, and hiding who he was from the majority of people who knew him.
The people who really took the time and energy to see Jason, ended up seeing through the fascade and became aware of his warm, gooey center. He would say and do the sweetest things and when I pointed out how sweet he was, he always said , shhhh! Don’t tell anyone!
I’m proud of who Jason was when he was his authentic self. Those who never got to know the real Jason, truly missed out. He was very intelligent, although he hid it pretty well sometimes. We would talk for hours about the many different mysteries of the universe and how humans are beginning to exist on a higher frequency. At least, our energy is. We discussed subjects he refused to talk about with most people because we learned from each other. We discussed religion, same-sex marriage, abortion, and politics. Most people have heard him refer to those subjects as “The 5 things he will NOT talk about”. His views would probably surprise a lot of people.
I miss him… So incredibly much. This is all so painful. I’m going to continue boxing up me and Jason’s life together. I’ll put it in storage tomorrow and hold on to something he said to me a long time ago when I was missing my husband. He said, “you will always have your memories. No one can ever take those away from you.” How right you were baby. How right you were…
Home is such a nice word and I never realized how lovely it is to feel “at home” until recently.
Following my boyfriend’s death, our apartment no longer felt like home. I told a good friend that I felt like, I want to go home, but didn’t know where that was.
Several days after I said those words to my friend, she called me. She started talking to me about her mom. She is a widow and lost her husband tragically as well. Then she told me her mom needed a roommate. It’s my friend’s childhood home, and her family has owned the house for 33 years. Another awesome fact is that the house is in my hometown.
I went to meet my future roommate the next day and hit it off with her immediately. I got a ride to her house later that same evening, and I stayed.
The energy in this house is good, and you can feel the history. It’s comforting. I feel safe for the first time in a month.
I do miss Jason so much. I still keep looking at my phone, expecting him to call or text me. When I look at photos of him it feels like he could just walk through it and kiss my lips. I wish he could. A part of me wishes I had kissed his lips one last time. I couldn’t have done that though, I was too freaked out. He landed right on my chest, like he was sleeping there. I knew by the hole in his head that he wasn’t asleep. Fuck.
How do I get that picture out?
If only I had let him sleep that morning. If only we hadn’t been arguing. I can’t stop doing this shit to myself, and it’s crazy. Couples argue all the time and don’t wave guns around. They most certainly don’t put guns to their heads and pull the trigger, even if they think it’s unloaded.
I have this dialogue happening in my mind every freaking day. Usually by the end of the day, I’m mad at Jason. Jason and I went through a time when he was very abusive. It was awful. Sometimes when I’m feeling really angry with him for leaving me like this, it dawns on me that this was an abusive act in any situation. If he didn’t mean to die, then he was trying to scare and manipulate me. Abuse. If he did intend to kill himself, he wanted me to see it. He wanted me to suffer for my words. Abuse.
Immediately after I have these thoughts, I feel incredibly guilty. Milliseconds after Jason shot himself, I blamed myself. It looked like he did it because I had just said I wouldn’t marry him, after I had already said “yes” an hour before. He had pointed that gun to the living room where my friend slept and threatened to kill him if I left him. I told him that his drama, behavior, and bullshit was why I wouldn’t marry him. Then he pulled the trigger. I blamed myself immediately, before I even got out from under him. What I wasn’t expecting, was other people blaming me.
Now I’m on my way to me and Jason’s apartment. Our home. Only now, it’s not our home. It’s a time capsule containing bits and pieces of our life together with bits and pieces of me and Keith’s life together as well. I have to pack everything. I have to be out on the 29th which is exactly one week away.
I am still in shock. I know this because I am not really dealing with Jason’s death. I have so much on my plate right now, it’s kind of ridiculous.
I had to wait for a bio-hazard cleaning crew to clean my apartment before I could go home, and they had to get three estimates before hiring a crew. The apartment manager had the first estimate done a few hours after the investigation was completed, a mere hours after Jason died. I was hopeful the cleaning would happen quickly. Well, they took their sweet ass time. I waited two weeks to be able to go home.
The walk from the parking lot to my front door seemed like a five mile trek. As I approached the door, I noticed a very mean looking paper attached to the clip on the door. I knew what it was. I unfolded the paper and read the words, “30 days to vacate the premises”, and the worst word of all, “EVICTION”. All of this before I even opened the fucking door.
Once I opened the door, I immediately noticed all of the carpet was gone. I walked into the bedroom, and the bed of course, was gone. I sat in my recliner and took a deep breath. I couldn’t believe I was having this feeling. Again. Deja-fucking-Vu.
Just a little over two years ago, I walked into me and my husband’s apartment for the first time after his death. I sat on my couch and breathed just like this. I had the same feeling, that my love would never walk back into this place again. This apartment would never feel the same. Life would never be the same. What I neverthought in a million years, was that I would be sitting in a different apartment two years from that moment, feeling the exact same feeling about someone else.
I thought I was immune from this type of tragedy happening again, I really did. Whenever Jason would take off for hours or days, I would be comforted by the thought of at least not having to worry about him dying the way Keith had. Shit. The universe has sick fucking jokes, let me tell you.
Jason has been gone three weeks now, and I have hit brick walls in appealing my eviction, I still have to pack up this place, and I have two weeks to get the hell out of here. To say I’m stressed out is the understatement of all freaking time.
I also feel so incredibly alone. I have some support and I am so grateful to have it. I never thought I would be left high and dry like this by a certain handful of people, but I know from experience that death can bring out the absolute worst in people sometimes. Especially when the people are grieving the loss so hard. At the same time, how the fuck do these people think it feels to be me?!
I have spent my life alongside this man. I sacrificed a lot, including my family to be with him. Not only did I watch him end his life, the nightmare is continuing for me in ways only I am having to deal with. I have the threat of losing me and Jason’s home and my housing program all together, my children are barely speaking to me, Jason’s family seems to blame me for everything and are pretty much pretending I never existed. Jason’s friends either can’t handle being around me, or blame me as well. My mom is battling stage four COPD and my sister is so self absorbed I would be surprised if I even enter her mind on a semi-regular basis. Well, unless it’s to talk shit about me or accuse me of using drugs. I’m sure the accusations make it easier for her to turn her back. Otherwise she’s just a shitty sister, right?
So, my reality right now is fucking crazy! I am getting better sleep, however. My psychiatrist gave me a new medication that is keeping me from dreaming, and that has been such a blessing. The final moments of Jason’s life replay in my mind all day. Before this medication, even my sleep was invaded. There was no time-out for the flashbacks. I am finally getting rest. Not a ton of rest, but more than I was.
I have managed to couch surf my way out of staying at my apartment for the most part. It’s incredibly difficult to stay there. It was hard to stay at the old place after Keith died because it had been out home together, but he jumped off a bridge. Nothing could have prepared me for the feelings involved with being in my current apartment after Jason dying there in our bedroom. The residual energy left by Jason is completely different from what had remained of Keith. It’s much thicker. It’s practically alive if that makes sense.
I stayed in my apartment on Valentine’s Day, I am not so sure it was the right choice, but at times throughout the day I was comforted by Jason’s palatable presence. At one point I was laying on the couch and took a photo of a heart sticker I was wearing for Jason in honor of the occasion. I posted the photo on Facebook and upon further inspection, discovered something resembling a face. Jason’s face. I’ll share it so you can see for yourself.
Whether it’s Jason or not can’t be proven of course, but the photo gave me comfort. To me, it was proof that Jason’s spirit is with me, watching over me, protecting and loving me.
My world is completely upside down and crazy right now. Jason’s presence is having a grounding effect that is so needed and I am grateful. Perhaps it’s selfish of me to want to keep him with me, and a part of me does hope his spirit will eventually move on to wherever he’s supposed to be. At this moment, I’m satisfied feeling that right here next to me is where he is supposed to be. I need it. I guess I’m more of a selfish person than I thought…