a99kitten's Musings

I blog about a WHOLE LOT of stuff :)

I am very sad tonight.

Robin Williams died. I read it first on forum for toys that I am part of. Funny place to see that news. I instantly searched twitter, because that’s far more reliable and instant than any news site or Facebook, and saw actual news stories from “respected” outlets (so not a twitter hoax which is just a f***ing mental dickness of some people. No…that is not a typo.)

And I got very, instantaneously sad.

When celebrities/famous people have died in the past, I can reflect on the loss. I can say “oh man…that sucks.” But I generally don’t get truly sad. I didn’t know them. They were people I watched from afar. They were figments of TV or movies or whatever. Ronald Reagan made me sad but in a “he was very old so not unexpected” kind of way. More of a loss of an ideal. It is sad they are gone, but more for the people actually in their lives than me.

But perhaps it’s because as people, we grow up watching these actors or singers. We go through our lives and they become part of it through memory. I know that I remember watching Good Morning Vietnam with my Mom and my little brother, both who I have lost.

I remember watching Mork & Mindy as a kid. With my parents. My Mom who is gone and my dad is who is in a nursing home – essentially gone.

I remember watching Mrs Doubtfire and The World According to Garp with my brother. And Hook. And Moscow on the Hudson. And Dead Poets Society. The Birdcage! Of course Goodwill Hunting. Or creepazoid One Hour Photo and Insomnia.

And oh my god Death to Smoochy had my brother and me rolling on the floor laughing as we talked about it. And holyhell the doctor in Nine Months!

And yes, I did enjoy his new show The Crazy Ones. And not just because it was with Buffy. I loved him. I’ve loved watching Robin Williams in anything since I was a kid. Heck – I even liked his Law And Order: SVU guest starring role. #notahappy

He was great in everything. I loved when he was on talk shows because he was able to take any subject, at any time, and run with it. Pure genius.

So maybe when we get so emotional about celebrities dying, it’s not only because we know we have lost the enjoyment they bring us when we watch them, but also what it represents in our own lives. The memories it stirs up. The ones we have truly lost in our own lives. Whether through death, or them leaving you. Family, friends, beloved doggies.

So yeah..I am very sad tonight.

You would have been 28 today.

I remember all the birthdays I got you Ducktales cakes, Teenage Mutant Ninja cakes, or GI Joe cakes. Of all the GI Joe stuff I put together with you on your birthday. And the Super Mario we played. As you got older, I realized you preferred money or gift cards, which isn’t nearly as much fun to shop for, but hope you always had a good and fun birthday.

I recently received a letter from the man who received one of your kidneys. He has a new life off of dialysis to spend with his kids. He said he had given up on ever getting a match. It’s sad for me to read but good at the same time. I hope he realizes how lucky he is. Pretty sure he does.

I was hoping to hike your ashes up to Hawks Peak today. I always wanted you out here in CA with me, and you finally realized, after your tumultuous teen/early 20s years, that it would be a good thing. I want part of you free in the mountain air where I know you would have loved it.

I am still sad. And think life is wickedly unfair and stupid. But there isn’t much to do about that other than recognize it and deal with it. Never think for a second I will ever forget you. That I won’t still laugh at all the funny stuff. I have the Chewbacca action figure you gave me 1 week before you died. It will always be my most treasured and favorite Chewbacca.

I hope you are enjoying a much easier, fun new life where you are now. Wherever that is.

I miss you dude. A lot.

…it’s been a month. Still not any easier.

Still can’t talk about it much though. Maybe it would help, maybe not. I don’t know. Can’t talk to my husband about it (truthfully, don’t actually think he cares) and no other family really. And don’t want to spoil anyone else’s mood. No need for that. Like I said, not sure it would help anyway.

Trying to suck it up though.

One week ago today, I held my little brother’s hand for the last time. Saw him for the last time. Technically that is when he died. In reality, he died on Sunday morning, November 7th. But his death certificate says November 9th. He was kept on life support after 2 heart attacks. His EEG showed no brain activity. And many other tests they ran and re-ran for us showed no life, as I would define life anyway. He was 27.

There are a ton of things I could say about him. About how much I loved him. He was my “little dude”. We were many years apart. But even when he grew to a foot taller than me, I called him that (when he’d ask why the heck I still did that, I’d always answer because you always will be.) I spoiled him whenever I could and told him he was a dumbass when he needed it. I took care of him and raised him for a year when he was 10 between my mom getting sick with Alzheimer’s and my Dad changing his life to take care of her/him. I should have kept him. I will always think that. He and I were very close. No matter how well he was doing or what trouble he got into, I loved him the same. He was my brother.

But I can’t think, let alone type, any of that right now. Makes me cry too much. But I do think letting things out is healthy and bottling up emotions are bad. And maybe writing about it will make me cry a little less. I’ve been barely keeping it together since Sunday when I got the call from Florida that he was in the ER. And that’s very unlike me. I couldn’t even make my flights as I stared at the computer unable to comprehend what I was doing. Or when I saw him lying there, hooked up to a bunch of machines that were keeping him alive. Or when I had to sign all of the paperwork for his organ donor procedures. Or as I held his hand up until they told me it was time for him to go. That is a crushing sadness that I had never experienced. And never want to again. Then as a next of kin you need to suck it up and get to make all the decisions and take care of all the details, go to the nursing home and tell your sick father that his son died, and deal with his fiancee and friends, and the funeral home. And his stuff. When all you want to do is curl up in bed and cry.

Luckily, I had friends there for me. Even though I suck at ever, ever asking for help from anyone – I needed it. Good friends made my travel arrangements when I couldn’t confront it, flew out with me, stayed with me, came to visit me and sat there with me as I said goodbye. They drove me around, helped make arrangements with me, called and brought other friends together for me, told me funny stories to get my mind out of sadness even if for an hour or 2, and sometimes just sat there quietly with me as I cried. I will never forget that. And appreciate it more than they could ever know.

I asked my husband to stay behind to take care of Storm. He just had surgery and wasn’t doing all that well and the last thing I could handle was anything happening to him too. So he stayed behind and took care of the huskies and sent me pictures of them all the time. His Mom flew out to be with me too and she was awesome. You will never meet a more perfect mom. I hope she fully realizes how much she helped.

His fiancee and friends told me he always talked about me. About how much he loved me and how close we were. That I was his best friend and kinda like his Mom. While it did make me happy to hear, it made me cry. Still does. It’s not fair. And while I have always known life isn’t fair – this is beyond F’ed up. His fiancee gave me his Star Wars toys. She said he would have wanted me to have them. I put them in my closet. I cannot deal with them right now. Along with his papers and some pictures. I know that some day I will be able to look at it all. But not now. Right now I get up and walk the huskies which is the best part of my day. Then I go to work. When I come home I do chores to stay busy and then stare at the TV as I try to go to sleep. I find it hard to go to sleep now. I have to concentrate on counting sheep so that my mind doesn’t start going with other stuff. It actually works if you are tired enough. I know it will get better. But it’s just not right now. I used to think I could handle anything in the world as long as nothing happened to my little brother. Just not fair.

He chose to be a donor. I remember when we talked about it. Him asking me my opinion on it. Him laughing when I said yes I am a donor but man – they better try hard. One thing to know – even if you choose to be a donor, if you are not dead and they get you hooked up to life support, your family can still make/change that decision for you. So make sure they are on board with your decision. And can deal with the paperwork. It’s not really all that easy. Not at all. Analytically I knew he was gone. But seeing him there looking like he was sleeping, holding his hand, remembering our conversation not 2 days prior about his upcoming wedding and the Star Wars figures he was collecting made me want him back and to save him no matter what. Having to kiss his forehead goodbye and know it was the last time I would ever see him. But I knew he wasn’t there to save.

Thursday morning, the nurse called me to tell me that in addition to his various parts going to people in need, he was truly a hero and they wanted me to know it and be proud. A 16 year old boy who hadn’t found a match and would have died in a day or 2 without a new heart, was a match for my brother. So he saved a 16 year old boy. Allowed him to go on and live a full life. Hopefully one full of promise and good. I always said he had a good heart. He would really like that.

..his family said he always told them no funeral. No sadness. He wanted to be cremated and any gathering should be a big party – otherwise he wanted nothing at all.

So tonight we gathered at his favorite post-bike ride restaurant in the hills of Marin with the most beautiful views of the trails he loved and shared stories. Shared pictures. Laughed. Cried.

We all said at one time or another throughout the evening that we were just waiting for him to walk through the door and say “don’t tell that story!” But he didn’t. At least not in any physical form.

He definitely left behind many people whose lives he touched. Who he made smile and laugh. A friendship they clearly valued.

I hope he would have liked tonight. I think he would have. We will all miss him very much.

Time for bed. Long day after a long week. Always remember to tell your friends how important they are to you.

A friend died last week. My husband and I found out on Friday morning. He apparently died Tuesday night/Wednesday AM in bed and was found Thursday by a neighbor.

He was a closer friend of my husband’s. They’d go bike riding a lot, kart racing. Talk about Porsches (they each have a great love of them and own them) and F1 non-stop. I know my husband is very, very sad. He just spoke with him 2 Fridays ago about doing a car/driving class thing and the new F1 season.

But I always considered him a friend as well. He was always extremely polite. When he’d stay with us in Tahoe he’d send a handwritten thank you note. He was fun to hang out with and talk to about anything. Everyone he met always said he was such a nice guy. You really couldn’t think of a bad thing to say about him. He’d tease me about my love of Star Wars, football and Jack Bauer. But he said he appreciated my great love/passion for these subjects. He agreed with me politically so that was a nice change from a lot of people in the Bay area. It was always fun to discuss politics or world events with him. His take on people and situations would make you laugh out loud whether you agreed with him or not. He called it like he saw it, which is a quality I like in people.

He was a very smart guy – a lawyer, who kept his Bar certificate hanging in his bathroom as a nod to what he thought of it, and he went into investment banking years ago and did very well for himself. Quit it when the big market downturn happened and has been living a seemingly fun and care-free life since. He didn’t have to work thanks to his investment banking days so he got to do what I think most people want to do – fun things every day with very few cares or worries.

He lived in the Marina area of SF. He went for long bike rides all the time. Would pick up and go for bike rides in Oregon or a weekend in Tahoe. He loved sushi more than anyone I’ve ever met. He was always up for whatever fun thing we wanted to do – river rafting, bike riding, etc. He recently joined Facebook so he could update us working stiffs about his daily fun days. All of his friends loved him. He had every reason to live and be happy.

But I guess he also had an addiction to Ambien. Even his closest friends only found out about this a couple weeks ago. But apparently, his girlfriends knew about this. What we’ve learned since his death, in speaking to his former girlfriends, is that he would go through periods of binging on Ambien and then quit cold turkey. He couldn’t sleep and it would drive him over the edge. His latest girlfriend met with us on Friday and said this was the reason she broke up with him in November. She told him “you will die from this unless you get help now.” She went to his family and 2 closest friends a couple weeks ago after receiving a call from him where he sounded high. Apparently, within the last month, he really started a downward spiral or partying and prescription drug use. His 2 friends met with him last week to talk about this. He assured them that he realized how stupid it was and how bad it had gotten and that he was stopping cold turkey.

He also told his closest friend that not only was he quitting it cold turkey he had even stopped drinking any alcohol (and he loved his sake!) to get fully healthy and was excited about a new business venture they were starting. They were supposed to meet Wednesday to get it going.

But then he also had outside bad influences of recently-made “friends” in SF. The ones who make taking drugs and partying completely acceptable and OK. Ones that also took Ambien (it seems to be a huge issue which I find amazing), or smoked a lot of pot (because in the bay area this isn’t a “drug” = losers). Or took who knows what else – all prescription apparently. All doctor Okayed. By multiple doctors. I guess Heath Ledger was not alone in this practice.

He never let his close friends see this side of him. Or his family. We learned that he started taking Ambien when he was in banking as he had to get to work at 4-5am and be asleep by 8 or 9 and this was difficult for him sometimes. And like all drugs, your body gets used to it. So it needs more to work. So he took more. And apparently, when you take enough you get high. And I guess some people like this high. Who knew. I would have assumed you died from too much due to slowing your heart down. Well…I guess that does happen too.

I hate drugs. I hate doctors that will just write prescriptions for people like they are handing out candy. A doctor I had seen for 20 minutes for an annual physical wanted to prescribe something for anxiety when my issue was a physical, heart-related issue. I told her thanks but no thanks you are wrong and never went back. This does not absolve the responsibility of the person taking it. Not at all. But too many people look for answers in magic pills and many doctors are happy to just write that scrip. And then think it’s “safer” than taking illegal narcotics because hey – doctors prescribe them. How bad can they be?

But ultimately, you are responsible for your own condition. For your decisions. No matter what kind of outside influences are around you, you still have to be your own person and be strong. If there are issues that need to be addressed to make you a happier person, do so. Talk to someone. Don’t keep it a secret. Your friends and family love you. They want to help you if they can. If you let them. But getting hooked on anything, being dependent on a chemical (whether street drug or prescription) that you need to take to function – this is not a solution. This is just another problem.

So part of me is angry. Angry at such a stupid waste. In reading all of the updates and notes on Facebook from friends near and far, all of the photos of memories of good times and seeing your smiling face – I have to be angry at such a stupid, selfish waste from such a smart man.

I will miss you my friend. I know all of your other friends will miss you terribly. Your family is distraught. You didn’t give anyone a chance to help you. We wish you would have.

“When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.” –Kahlil Gibran