This is a very personal post. You will probably see a side of me you have never seen but read quickly because the layers of the onion wont be pulled back for long.
Today I was copying music from my old portable hard drive and I decided to look at all the folders and files. I came across a file I thought was lost forever, a file I thought dies with my old computer. I opened it and I just stared at the screen for a while. So I popped the song files into my iTunes and started to play them. With that I was brought back to the days of The Blue Sweater Ninjas and endless hours of Kingdom of Loathing with my besties, KT and Tiff. We would have seemingly endless 3 way phone and chat room conversations. Funny thing is we would be having 2 different conversations about 2 totally different topics going at the same time. Sometimes we would throw in a quick email as well. The 3 of us were bound by a connection I can’t explain. I was 1400 miles away and yet I felt like I was right there with them.
MAN I MISS THAT GIRL!!!!
I remember when Tiff sent me some of these songs. She broke me out of my emo, goth, industrial, metal world. She showed me that not all country music sucks, but I am sure I liked it only because they were some of her favorite songs. As I type this I am listening to a digital version of a CD she sent me with the “Songs of Her Life”. I remember when she told me why she picked certain songs for times of her life and what she thought would come of it.
Now playing is Whiskey Lullaby by Brad Paisley and Alison Krauss and before Tiff died I just thought “wow what a sad song”. After she died it was the perfect song but the roles of the subjects in the song were reversed. One of my dearest friends I have had my whole life (well since I was 3 or 4) and her were star-crossed lovers. Days before Tiff died he was telling me how much he loved her and wanted to be with her. This song reminds me of them and their love every time I hear it even though she thought it matched her and someone else. The lyrics “Nobody knew how much she blamed herself for years and years” are perfect for how he described his feelings after she died.
I really liked the song “Homesick” by Kings of Convenience when she sent it to me. She had said how it reminded her of working at her telemarketing job. I thought it fit my role at the oil company too. “I lose some sales and my boss won’t be happy, but there’s only one thing on my mind … searching boxes underneath the counter, on a chance that on a tape I’d find … a song for someone who needs somewhere to long for… Homesick. Because I no longer know where home is.” This part of the song captures a little how I felt as I would go to work after she died. I was lost always looking for something and longing for somewhere, anywhere but where I was. I was homesick and I didn’t know where home was.
When she died my life was ripped apart on so many levels. I didn’t get to make it back to NY for the funeral. This left a void in my heart and an emptiness in my soul. It was like I was a shell of a person just going through the motions of life. I became numb and I didn’t want to talk to anyone. There were a very few people who I was close enough to and that helped me through the pain and grief. But it wasn’t just the loss of my best friend who was as close as a sister to me that had my world turned inside out but that weekend I saw my then fiancée for his true self. As soon as I collected my emotions and calmed down a little I called him. I asked him to come to Gainesville and stay with me because I didn’t want to be alone in the apartment that was picked out for me and Tiffany. Every time I walked from one room to another I was reminded that she wasn’t going to be moving in. Oh yes, he came to Gainesville. I thought I was safe to let my guard down and I cried on his shoulder. He offered to go and get us something for dinner. He left at 6pm and didn’t get back to my apartment until well after 2am. His excuse the next day was that he saw a friend and he was invited to a party, never even thinking of me or how I was doing. Needless to say in my state of grief he devastated me more than I thought I could be. While I waited I got madder and sadder so I found everything of his packed it in a box, put it outside my apartment door and changed the locks. This period of time was the lowest feeling time of my life. I have never felt so sad or alone but I plugged on because I knew someday the pain and sadness would go away. After almost 8 years all I can say is that the pain and sadness have transformed into something that stays with me and only comes up once in a while. From time to time I still have the “I have to tell Tiff about this” and then I remember I can’t.
“If Tomorrow Never Comes?” By Garth Brooks…. The lyrics for the perfect end of life song. (I chose Die in Winter by Wumpscut as my end of life song) I can remember the day Tiffany died like it just happened yesterday. The night before she took pictures of a few different outfits and sent them to me. I helped her pick out the outfit. She was supposed to call me as soon as she got home from going out. I didn’t hear from her, but that wasn’t unusual, it was late. She usually called or Instant Message me when she was getting ready for work but I didn’t have my phone with me at my desk and for some reason I didn’t have my AIM or Yahoo on. As soon as I got out of work I saw I have several missed calls but at times she should have been at work. I noticed I had a voicemail so I listened to it. It was her Pops calling me and asking me to call him as soon as I got the message. So I did.
I remember the sound of his voice as he said “Tiffany died this morning….” I replied “funny, put her on the phone”… No, he was telling me the truth. He repeated it one more time and it was like time was standing still. Everything was in slow motion as I felt my heart sink down and shatter into a million pieces. The bus pulled up and it was time for me to be around a bunch of strangers and head home. As soon as we hung up I called my mom. I didn’t care that I was on the bus. I couldn’t get the words out between the sobs. All I wanted at that moment was to be in NY, to be with my mom and friends. I can remember the smells like I am standing at that bus stop all over again. Most of the ride home is a blur to me.
I never thought my heart would heal. I never thought I would find love or be happy ever again. I spent months locked away from everyone but a select few. I decided on her birthday that same year that I was going to complete a new degree. I researched schools and found a good online one so I wouldn’t have to interact with anyone except via email and chat boards. I proceeded to work 60 hours a week and go to school full-time to complete my Masters of Business Administration focusing on Organizational Development and Psychology. I poured all my energy into my school work. Some how by focusing on school so much and going to the gym I was able to start feeling more social and making a few new friends. When I started the masters program I started going out with a few friends, even got set up on a few dates. I had no intention of ever falling in love and was content being single. I started putting feelers out in Boston and NYC for jobs and researched cost of living in the areas as well. When I met my now fiancé and we hit it off instantly. He was funny and a bit nerdy like me. He was so easy to talk to and a piece of me was starting to blossom. My heart started to heal and the pieces of my soul that I thought were lost forever were suddenly filling with life.
I look at my son and I think about how Tiff would love me being a mom and how adorable he is. She was one of the few people who knew how devastated I was when I got the news of how it would be an act of god if I ever wanted children. She helped me so much during that time and helped me come to terms with being childless. So I put that thought out of my mind and focused on work. Sometimes how my little guy reacts to some songs Tiff and I shared makes me wonder if a piece of her isn’t alive in him. I am sure that sounds silly but sometimes I do wonder. It doesn’t matter how much time passes she will always be in my heart and I will miss her forever. I look forward to moving back to the Rochester area so I can visit her grave and bring her sunflowers more than once a year.
And I still have Cotton Eyed Joe, the last song she sent me, stuck in my head… LOL Man I miss Tiff!!! ♥
Through the Rain – By Mariah Carey was on her list but the words really ring true about over coming loss of any size and coming through the other side stronger. The part I quote below is a good description of how I “made it through” my “rain”
When you get caught in the rain
With nowhere to run
When you are distraught and in pain
When you keep crying out to be saved
But nobody comes
And you feel so far away
That you just can’t find your way home
You can get there alone it’s okay
Once you say.
I can make it through the rain…
I faked being happy and “ok” for so long that eventually I started to feel it. I made it through the rain and made it to the sunny side with butterflies and rainbows. My life is filled with lemonade not lemons…