Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Dear Lucy,
As I think on about the feelings one goes through when dealing with a death, I think about the initial shock.
I don't recall going through as much shock over Anne's death as I did when my sister Nancy died. She had killed herself.
I was with my partner Cathy living in the Bay Area at the time. It was 1991. Because she got home from work before I, she had the lovely job of telling me the news.
I remember her calling me at work and asking to talk to Anne who was there giving me a ride home as my car was in the shop. Cathy wanted to know if I knew about it yet and told Anne. I have to say, Anne hid it from me very well.
The shock was like what I imagine an out of body experience is like. Maybe more like having fallen so far back inside yourself that sound is muffled and garbled. Everyone seems so far away even as they sit before you. And faces look monsterous. Smiles look demonic and frowns clownish. You have tunnel vision. You can't tell if you are breathing or not. You can't form the words or the screams of anguish to let them out. You just scream inside, alone and unheard.
You are drowning in your own freakish world and nobody can help you. In fact, their attempts seem to only send you further down, like quicksand.
You know because you see it, that people are holding your hand or hugging you, but you can't feel it.
You are surrounded by people and utterly and entirely alone...



  1. I remember that afternoon well. I remember asking you to sit down before I told you. Very surrealistic experience for me. It reminded me at the time of a scene from a movie where they always bring the person into a room and ask them to "sit down" before they tell them the bad news. Perhaps that's why I did it - as I had no idea what I was doing or what to say, so I fell-back on the only thing I knew how to mimic - a scene from a movie.

  2. You did a great job swimming in those untested waters. It matters not where you learned that swim stroke! Kathy