Monday, December 23, 2013

Good Guilt, Good Grief

If you've been reading my blog at all this year (and bless you if you're still here), you know that I learned about the death of my former friend/boyfriend in June. He passed away in January of 2009 under "suspicious circumstances." And when I found out - in June of 2013 - I lost my proverbial shit in more ways than one.

Because I was raised Catholic, or perhaps because I share so many neurological similarities to the alpaca, I spent a good portion of the summer wallowing in guilt. Whether or not anyone else knew, his death was clearly my fault. For one, I wasn't there. For two, most things that happen on Earth are my fault. It takes quite a lot of worry and effort to make the sun rise every morning, my darling friends.

I did some internet sleuthing, which offered little solace and less credible information. My unhealthy obsession with Florence + The Machine grew steadily less rational as I teetered on the brink of middle school level angst. Despite my intense meditation and wallowing, I could not remember the last time we spoke.

Because of my extensive list making and highly effective calendaring, I was able to determine that I was watching my hubbster perform in The Full Monty the night Jon died. I spent months in anguish about whether or not Jon was psychically calling to me for help while I was at the theatre.

Excessive Self Importance, see above.

One of my tremendous students happens to know a thing or two about Air Force legal matters and suggested that I file a Freedom of Information Act request to learn more about his death. Maybe nothing would turn up, but maybe I would get a hint or two.

Today was the day, my dear friends, when my guilt has transformed fully into grief. The FOIA informed me that his death was most certainly an accident and that he'd been out having a good time the night he died. He wasn't contemplating life and death and the great hereafter, he simply made a bad judgement in a place that was too cold.

It is terrible. Yes. A life that ended too soon. But he wasn't running from demons in flesh or mind. He died immediately after singing some karaoke. He drifted into the great dreamless sleep.

Tomorrow would have been his 33rd birthday, the day before Christmas. And as macabre as it sounds, this resolution is the best Christmas gift I've ever received.

This day has been an excellent lesson for me. Again, I constantly need reminding that I'm not responsible for the actions of everyone I've ever loved. I needn't be available around the clock to reach out over the ledge and pull friends out of the canyons by the ankles. My only job here is to grieve. To appreciate the life that graced mine, to mourn whatever futures I could have dreamed possible, and to move on.

Rest in Peace, dear Jon.

And happy birthday.

Yoga Sutras 2.16: heyam duhkhamanaagatam (The pain which has not yet come can be avoided)