Friday, January 4, 2008

Dumb Girl

This is a repost of a repost... Because....

Because 3 years ago today, my family lost someone very special, and I lost a good friend...

Because even 3 years later, it sometimes feels like it just happened.

And because I miss her even more now than I did then. So please indulge me, and read about her again....

My favorite cousin died this past January.

Even though nearly 10 months have passed, I still have days that nearly knock me flat. Today was one of those days, so I’ve decided to tell you about her.

A few days after the New Year, my mom called.

Mom: “Honey, I just talked to your Uncle B, and it’s not good news.

Me: “It’s FC, isn’t it?”

Mom: “Yes, it’s FC”.

Me: “She killed herself didn’t she?”

Mom: “Yes…… she did.”

I don’t know how I knew that she was calling about FC, or how I knew she’d killed herself. FC had had issues in the past, but she seemed to be doing better the month or so leading up to her death. Still, when Mom called…. I knew.

She had always been my favorite cousin. When we’d go on trips to visit the family, FC would always entertain us. I know my grandmother slipped her money to take my brother and I bowling, and to movies, but she always had as much fun as we did, and she never made us feel like she was being paid to hang out with us.

She had an amazing sense of humor, and even as adults, whenever we’d all get together we’d laugh until our sides hurt. We were an odd group of female cousins, and our favorite term of endearment for each other was “dumb girl”.

She was an amazing athlete, as well. She played softball, tennis, and practically lived to golf. She had a zest for life and an enthusiasm that was contagious.

FC and her 4 siblings came from a family more dysfunctional than most. Her mom was an alcoholic and her father worked long hours to avoid the situation, so our grandmother did most of the parenting. FC had had issues with drugs and alcohol herself in the past, but she got clean, went to college, and even went on to get her Masters Degree.

Then things started to change….

First our grandmother died. She was the glue that held the family together…. The heart and soul of us all. Almost 2 years later my aunt…. FC’s mom… passed away as well. She had been sober for the past several years of her life, but her body was just so devastated by years of abusing alcohol that it couldn’t recover from a routine operation she had to have. She never came out of the anesthesia.

It was hell for everyone, but it hit FC the hardest. She was never the same after that. Everyone tried to get her help, but she didn’t want help… “I don’t need help”, she said.

Finally, her partner of several years couldn’t take it any more and left FC. No one blamed her. But it was the final straw for FC. She couldn’t hold a job, so she moved in with one of her sisters. We were always worried about her, and wondered if the FC we knew would ever be back.

Looking back, I know that this was a sign the end was coming… but a month or so before her death, the old FC started reappearing. She'd even moved out on her own again. My last memory of her was a telephone conversation we had about some of the Danish phrases our grandmother had taught us. We giggled uncontrollably as we tried to remember them and pronounce them correctly. "Dumb girl", we both affectionately said to each other as we ended the call.

The weekend before she died she attended a New Years football party that her sister hosted, and was the life of the party.

Two days later, my mom called.

“She killed herself, didn’t she?”

“Yes…. She did.”

She left a note, but it was mostly illegible and totally incoherent.

She shot herself… and then called her sister.

We’ll never know why she called. She didn’t speak…. Couldn’t speak… They only knew it was her from the caller i.d.

Was she calling to alert someone so her body would be found quickly? Or was she calling to ask for help because she’d realized too late that she’d made a mistake? It didn't matter. Her sister immediately went to her house, but it was already too late. FC was gone.

I have nightmares about that phone call to this day.

One of her best friends since grade school spoke at her funeral. The first thing she said was, “I know that the first thing FC would want me to tell you all was that she is so very sorry… and if she knew her actions would cause this sort of pain, she never would have done it.”

I know FC is sorry. I know she loved us and didn’t want any of us to be in pain. But for whatever reasons, the demons she was battling wouldn’t allow her to see past her own pain.

I don’t blame her any more. I’ve gotten past the anger, and have forgiven her.

I miss her nearly every day, and look forward to meeting up with her again some day. We’ll get some pizza at Brick Oven, go bowling, and then hang out with Grandma and learn some new Danish words.

I love you FC, and miss you terribly. I hope you knew that you were loved and cared about. I hope that somewhere in the vast sea of pain that you were drowning in, there was a place you could still go to in your mind where you knew how special and amazing you were.

I miss you. I love you.... Dumb girl.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008


Well, good morning and welcome to another new year! I hope that you are all bright-eyed and hopeful about the fresh new year ahead, and aren't nursing some nasty hangovers.

We had a quiet night at home, which at my age, is really where I'd prefer being on New Years Eve anyway. We watched movies and ate junk food, and I was sound asleep on the couch by 10:30pm.

(you know that feeling when you realize you've turned into your parents? I get that feeling a lot these days)

The girls poked and prodded me a few minutes before midnight so that I wouldn't miss the big event. They had conned me into buying some of those "popper" things where you pull the string and confetti explodes everywhere, so we went out in the front yard and made a big confetti mess. I dared D2 to run around the car screaming "Happy New Year" as loud as she could. (never dare an 11 year old to do anything.) D1 rolled her eyes at me and said "Mom, that is SOOOOO embarrassing" and promptly ran in to the house.

Then, being the big party animals that we are, we promptly went to bed!

The girls are now with their dad, and I'm off to see a movie with my mom. (We're seeing "Juno". I'll let you know how it was!)

Wishing you all a very Happy New Year!!!