Previous Posts:

The End: Creativity, Cancer, and Caretaking (part 1)

The Beginning: Grief Comes in Waves (part 2)


Part 3: Recognizing the vicious cycles…

for nearly 2 years I held it together. I didn’t break down. I hardened. I hollowed out. I built walls. I was tired. I developed facial twitches that lasted for weeks. restless nights from keeping my ear open for bumps or falls or calls for help. I stopped being able to communicate beyond the medical knowledge I needed to sustain for my mom’s welfare. I was already breaking down and I didn’t even know it.

Parts of me were dying too, parts I began to question if they had ever existed in the first place.

At the end of the last post we left with my first undeniable breakdown. It was the moment I had to finally accept I had no control, tho it still took me months to understand it. 1 month after my mothers death, after holding it together to get the immediate things in place, the funeral, the bills, the money, the will, the assets, the things… The relief I was feeling came with a price, the cost of cracks in the walls of my shell, quickly spidering and weakening my ability to hold back the floods of repressed emotions and trauma. People had stopped coming by with kind words of re-assurance, meals, check-ins, and “She’s in a better place” mantra’s.

After my first undeniable breakdown I spent months aimlessly pacing around my house, surrounded by memories of my mother, my failures as a caretaker and a parent, unemployed, depressed, devastated, ashamed… My muscles would tense and I would shudder constantly. In my haze I was hurting people around me, my relationships were tested to the point of breaking. Every morning I woke to cry, and eventually learned just to get out of bed as quickly as possible. The dreams were guilt ridden, but the reality was equally hard to bear. I felt like a monster, destructive and and a mess even I couldn’t process or understand. I was lost.

A Note on Inheritance

I first and foremost want to recognize the privilege of receiving any assets at my mothers passing. I find the talk of inheritance to be a tough one, that is almost impossible to express the grief, shame and guilt that come along with the appreciation of having this resource. Bottom line is, I got alot of money, not alot to a rich person, but to a single parent who hasn’t made much more than a few bucks above min. wage my whole life, Alot.

I won’t lie, I treated myself. I filled that never ending hole of grief with a new guitar, fancy latte’s, cigarettes, more musical instruments. I bought books on Hawai’i, and a few that weren’t cheap because they’re out of print, but one of the few legit resources to Hawai’ian history that exist (like $20-40 expensive… hey, like I said, I’m a min. wage service worker/activist, single parent, 90% of my clothes, and things I get 3rd or 4th hand and are cheap by nec.)..

I also sent my son to theater camp, took some college classes, donated to a few projects I believe in, paid a handful of writers to write content for Trans-Genre (as well as continue to contribute to 75% of the budget for Trans-Genre & Trans-Genre Press), invested in a car that should last me 10 years and gets me 46mpg (which is crucial considering the amount of travel I do for T-G and the Press). Yet I still consider all these things luxuries and privileges despite the cost of having them: my mothers life, and my own for the years I spent dedicated to her fight.

I’d be lying if I didn’t say I’ve felt guilty for every penny I’ve spent, and shame for how little I have left. If I didn’t admit that I still cycle between times of wanting to save and pinch every penny, pretend to be middle class with a “savings” and a financial “net”, as well as wanting to just spend up every bit of it and get rid of it as quick as I can.

What the Hell did/will I do with all the money?!? Fuck the money. The grief still sucks with or without it. The hole still remains empty.

The Final Breaking Point

*trigger warning, suicidal discussions

August 2013.

After months of previously mentioned pacing, grief cycling, depression, wanting to give up {everything} , failing relationships… After having one too many thoughts of how to peacefully cease this miserable existence. After crying in a McDonalds in LA, and across the country. After the devastation of destroying a relationship I had been trying (but seriously failing) to nurture.

After realizing I had access to a gun…

I knew I needed help, that I had to reach out, and accept help at the min, at least until I was strong enough to ask for it, which was the moment after I had envisioned exactly where that gun was,  coupled with the increasing thoughts of slit wrists, a vision that came with a new first for me: that of seeing my tattoo’s on the flesh. These thoughts weren’t passive, they were active, and calculating, and beyond dangerous.

What Surviving has taught me about Suicidal Thoughts

Iʻm no stranger to mental health survival, and after years of struggling with my own mental health, with the many traumaʻs of my past, Iʻve learned the difference between “Iʻm having a bad day/week and Iʻll get over it”, and “Iʻm in some really serious unhealthy states right now”. Problem is those states had been growing and creeping in on me for years as I had been neglecting my own needs for my mothers (*note, my mother did many things to help take care of me and support me while I was caring for her, just together we did not have enough to care for each other), and now they were way past out of control.

What I am thankful to have recognized is that I was in that space, and needed help. Luckily, I also had people in my life that I could call on to help see me through. My partner d of 2 years offered tons of emotional support and resources on grief, and continued to remind me of the good and worthy person they saw in me. My other partner at the time (Iʻm poly if I hadnʻt stated) continued to hang in for months, despite the mess I had been making of our relationship and my just consistently being too out of it to salvage the relationship I had hoped we could have, even they continued to offer their support and resources. My Brother who tells me he Loveʻs me all the time, and has dedicated himself to the caretaking of our house. My son who continues to keep me laughing. My community who keeps fighting all the bullshit despite and in spite of all the bullshit.

Thereʻs so much to live for.

God Damn/Bless my mom for fighting so hard.

God Damn me for blaming her.