bliss-sad's Diaryland Diary



I've never used a trigger warning before, and I don 't really know if it's necessary, but I just want to let you know that this entry details the story of how I found my grandmother's body. It's kind of sick and dark and graphic and I probably will insert humor into weird places that it doesn't belong, but I have to get it the fuck out of my head. I have to write it down.

My brain is comprised of hundreds and hundreds of cardboard boxes. They aren't necessarily sorted quite right or labeled in the most helpful way, but everything that happens in my brain has a box I can shove it into when I can't (or don't want to) deal with it anymore.

Everything except the happenings of the past month, I guess.

The truth is, I've never been very good with death. I mean, that's a really obvious statement and it's probably true of everyone in the entire universe. I think what I mean to say is that I've never known how to process death. I've lost a few people in my life, but I never really dealt with any of it. Honestly (and this makes me feel like such a fucking asshole), I usually skipped the funeral and went about my day to day life as if nothing had happened. I mean, I knew that they were gone, but in my mind, they had basically just stopped calling me. I was able to pretend that we'd fallen out of touch or that they'd moved across the country or that they'd simply just disappeared from my life the way people do sometimes.

And then one of my best friend dies. The best friend who, when I was eighteen and depressed and confused, talked me out of killing myself. The best friend who brought fast food to the mental hospital and taught me how to laugh again. The best friend that I taught how to drive. The best friend that joined the army and became a big shot and made us all proud of him. And it's not like he just died. It wasn't quiet or peaceful or calm or anything like that. He fucking shot himself. On accident. While gesturing with a gun after he had been drinking. It was so cheap. It was so fucking cheap and stupid and bogus. There's no box for that. There's no way to process the death of your TWENTY SIX year old friend's life cord getting pulled. Fucking twenty six.

And then, five days later, I get this call from my aunt and uncle. They're out of town, they're not sure if they'll make it back home tonight, they want me to go check on my grandma. She's no answering the phone at the house, and they just want to make sure she's not worried when she wakes up in the morning. So, even though it's eleven at night and I just took all my clothes off to slide into my bathrobe and embrace the day, I decide to get redressed and go over there.

I walked in the front door and was greeted immediately by the dogs. I couldn't find the light switch, but it wasn't a big deal. My grandmother's bedroom door was to my immediate right and it was open. I called out to her but didn't get an answer. It didn't phase me, I assumed that she was probably asleep or something. So I walked into her bedroom. It was so dark that I could barely make out the shape of her bed. I remember touching it to see if she was in there--putting my palm flat against the bed and pushing my weight down behind it to see how much it gave. When I realized that she wasn't somewhere in the mass of blankets and pillows, I noticed a really faint light coming from the bathroom connected to her bedroom. "Duh", I thought to myself, and I peaked in.

I saw her there. She was sitting on the toilet, her head leaned against the wall in a funny way. I didn't really look at anything beyond that, because I did what everyone does when you accidentally see someone on the toilet... I backed away as fast as humanly possible and apologized like seven times. Then I sat on her bed and started talking to her. Because, you know, at this point, I didn't realize that I was talking to a fucking corpse. Alone. In the dark.

I started talking about how I was sorry that I hadn't seen her much in the last couple weeks since we'd begun this really arduous and horrible project of transferring several hundred pages of family geneology (in pdf format, no less) onto this weird Mormon website. I explained that the job was a lot bigger than I'd thought, and that I wasn't ignoring her, just really busy with other stuff. I said some other things, but mainly, it was a diatribe that consisted of, "Forgive me for being a selfish fucking asshole and blowing off this project that we've been planning, despite the fact that it will teach me about our family and heritage and you."

And after something like five minutes of talking, I realized that she wasn't saying anything back to me.

So I crept up to the bathroom door and looked at her. For real this time.

To be honest, I knew she was gone the second I saw her in that weird dim, grey bathroom light. I knew she was dead. But something in my mind was saying, "No fucking way. No way. You're blowing this out of proportion. This can't be what you think it is." And so I start to freak out. I start hyperventalating and crying and I'm frantically running my hands all along the walls, desperate to find a light switch. I couldn't find on in the bathroom, or in the bedroom, so I ran to the living room and turned the light on there. I opened the door that lead from the living room to the bathroom where my grandma was sitting, and started grabbing her arms, screaming at her. I remember hearing my voice shake, I remember hearing it rise and fall to different octaves. I remember hearing different inflections. I don't know how long I tried to wake her up.... Maybe it was a long time, maybe it wasn't. After several moments of alternating between grabbing her face/hands/arms and screaming at her, I ran next door to my parent's house.

I found my mom sitting in their living room, completely shit faced. I told her that something was wrong with grandma, that she wouldn't wake up. That I didn't know what to do. That she needed to come help. She tried to start speaking, to say something about how I should calm down, but I'd already run upstairs to talk to my father.

He was sleeping in bed when I barged in, panicked and scared. "Grandma won't wake up, I can't get her to wake up, she's sitting on the toilet and I don't know what to do." Then I ran out of the room. I ran back to my aunt and uncles house, next door to my parents where my grandmother lived. I ran back to her bedroom, to the bathroom, and began grabbing her hands and face again. I felt like she needed me. I felt like I could help, like if I could grab her hand the right way while saying her name the right way, she would wake up and everything would be magical and happy.

My mother was a couple seconds behind me. She found me in the bathroom holding my grandmother's dead hand, screaming at her to wake the fuck up. My mom, drunk off her ass, knelt down and touched my grandma. The moment she touched her, she knew. I just remember that the moment she laid her hands on my grandma's cold skin, she said "oh god."

And then my dad was there. He walked in, completely calm, completely composed, and he touched her neck. Then he touched her wrist. Then he told me to go home.

Something inside of me knew that I couldn't go home, though, not yet. Maybe it's all those Law and Order reruns, but I knew that there would be questions that I had to answer. I knew that a paramedic or police officer would want to speak to me, to ask me questions. So I went and sat on the porch while my parent's called 911. I had considered calling for a moment, before running over to my parents, but I remember thinking that I was being dramatic... Now, I realize that it was actually just some hardcore denial.

The sequence of events from then on are fuzzy, far less burned into my brain. I remember my mother coming out to comfort me while I sat on the porch. She was so fucked up, though, that instead of saying something sweet and comforting, instead of assuring me that it would all be okay, she kept saying that she was sorry. She told me that she had been the one to find her mother, and that I would probably never stop seeing it. I don't remember the exact phrasing, but it boiled down to, "I'm so sorry you had to see this, it's going to leave you broken."

Paramedics came. Police came. I ended up having to give an official statement on the whole thing.

My father called my uncle to tell him what had happened, to tell him to get home, and he did. They were there only a couple hours after I found her. They arrived as the funeral home laid her out on her bed to let us say her last goodbyes.

My mother, father, uncle, aunt, husband and I all stood around her bed in silence crying for a while when my mom started in. She was a total shit show by that point, she had continued to drink even after we found her. She started yelling at my grandmother's body--talking about how my grandma was so hard on her, about how my grandma hated her... I tried to tell her to calm the fuck down, but she roared at me that she'd known her longer, and I just left the room.

I didn't get to bed until ten am the next morning.

That morning, by the way, was the memorial service for my best friend. I didn't go. I couldn't go. I hadn't slept and it was a three hour drive.

I will never forgive myself for not going.

I buried my best friend that Tuesday. Two days later, we buried my grandmother.

Two deaths that I have to deal with. That I have to grieve. Two deaths that I have no boxes for. An experience that will haunt me for the rest of my life.

I feel guilty for not being over it, but I feel like I haven't even wrapped my mind around it. I don't know how long it takes for a person to process death in general, so I don't know what to allow myself for these circumstances.

I also don't know how to begin moving on. I don't know how to sleep without seeing it all. I don't know how to go about my life as if it's not all hopeless.

You can be 81, with a long and beautiful life behind you, or you can be 26, with the entire world in front of you. It just doesn't fucking matter.

09:55 a.m. - 09.15.14


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