In Memory of a Great Friend…

Last Saturday, February 23rd, I learned that a friend of mine had committed suicide. When I found out, I was at work, about two-thirds of the way through my shift. I had stepped in the back to get a drink of water and happened to check my phone. I saw I had a Facebook message from a good friend of hers. I read it and my world started to spin a little. He let me know that my friend CK had passed away. I was in shock, a state I remained in for the rest of the day.  I quickly fired a message back to ask how, etc. She was 32 year old, like me. She had several health issues like Fibromyalgia, Rheumatoid Arthritis, and Crohn’s disease but I hadn’t heard of her having recent health issues or needing hospitalizations. In the pit of my stomach I knew. I knew already how my friend died. Maybe not the method used but I knew she had committed suicide.

CK and I “met” over ten years ago now on some message boards for a show we both adored, La Femme Nikita. She was very passionate about her support of the actors, their characters, and every social issue imaginable. She often got into heated discussions on the message boards and was occasionally banned. While I didn’t see the need to get so worked up  over something online I respected her intelligence and her passion. Somehow, we started communicating. First just some back and forth on the boards themselves, then emails and instant messages. CK  came along at a time in my life when I would stay up half the night on my computer chatting away with multiple people, cruising the message boards, reading things online, and watching television.

As time passed our communication went on to include birthday cards delivered via snail mail, a gift of CD’s she sent to me, and phone conversations. We attempted to meet up when she lived in Ohio but, “The Blackout,” occurred and we both decided that driving several hours when there was no electricity it may not be the best timing.

At first, I felt weird having an “internet,” friend but then I realized that times had changed. It didn’t matter how we knew each other, we were friends. We would talk about our lives, our hopes, our fears, our dreams, etc. We leaned on each other in tough times, encouraged each other in good times. I knew of CK’s health issues fairly early in our friendship. What I didn’t know was the volatile dynamic between her and her mother.

Several years ago CK and her mother moved from their native Ohio to Arizona. The hope was that the warmer climate would make life easier with CK’s medical issues. Perhaps without the bitter cold winters or the humidity her fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis would be tolerable and she could put her Master’s degree to work.

It wasn’t until she was living in Arizona that stories of the fights between her and her mother started to seep out. I was definitely concerned but it seemed like old hat. She kind of blew it off after venting and I figured she was a very strong person, she could handle herself. I don’t know that I’ll ever know the true level of nastiness that CK endured during her too short lifetime.

Sometime during the last year CK and her mother got into a huge fight and she wrote her goodbye’s on facebook. She expressed she couldn’t live this way any longer. She was on the waiting lists for public housing but she said those lists could take years. She couldn’t afford to live on her own, she had nowhere to go. She was going to end it. When I read her status update I immediately started calling her cell phone and home phone. No answer on either. Sitting in my family room in Michigan I was at a loss as to what to do. Then an idea hit, I knew her address, I new her name, her phone number, her mother’s name. So I looked up her local emergency services and called to report her threat of suicide. With all the privacy laws nowadays the dispatcher couldn’t tell me much but she assured me the police had been out to CK’s home and spoke with her at length. My friend was safe. I didn’t care that that was all the information I could be given. My friend was safe, I was relieved. CK ended up in the hospital after that but when she got home she called to thank me for caring. She even assured me she wouldn’t let things get that bad again. It was at this point I started to learn how bad things could be between CK and her mother. The situation with her father was no better.

In the months that followed CK seemed to be doing all right. Sometimes they would fight but they’d have some decent patches too. So when I found out she had shot herself, I was completely shocked. A part of me wonders if I had been a better friend, would she still be here?Was there something I missed? Something I could have done? Should I have pushed her harder to leave her mother’s home and move in with a cousin or aunt or friend that would have been healthier, more stable? Logically, I know that there is nothing I could have done to save my friend. She had attempted suicide several times in her past. She was in a lot of pain, physically and emotionally. She felt trapped by her situation, her mother, her health.

CK was an amazing woman. She lived passionately and truthfully. She was always herself no matter what the circumstances. She had a loving heart, full of compassion. There is so much she could have done in this world had her life not been cut short. Despite the fact she wasn’t on this earth for very long, she made an impact. She challenged people, she encouraged, she supported, she inspired. CK, this entry doesn’t even begin to do you justice. I don’t know that I have the words to adequately describe the person that you were. Wherever you are, I am confident you are now at peace, without pain, and filled with love. Thank you for being my friend all these years.

Ghosts of Infatuations Past Part 2

MK was someone that I worked with in fast food. We started working together when I was only 15 going on 16 years old. He was a little older, about four or five years perhaps. He was black and he was very handsome. I remember having a crush on him for a very long time but knowing that there was a significant age difference (especially with me being in high school), and the fact that he came into work every night with a woman that I initially presumed to be his wife, I knew it was hopeless. 

At one point MK and the woman both quit I believe. Then they came back a year or two later. That is, if memory serves. We’re going back a few years now… As it turns out, this woman was his cousin, not his wife as I had presumed. I was closer to turning eighteen so I was a little hopeful that there could be something. However, he smoked, and I’ve promised myself since I was a kid I would not date a smoker. My dad smokes so I know first hand how gross it is to be around someone you love and have them smell of cigarettes and to worry continually about their health. Eventually, MK quit, all on his own.

We grew a bit closer was I was out of high school but it was still a work friendship and that was about it. I do recall that he was the first person I worked with to make a comment about my being white and going to a private high school and how different life was for black people and people living in Detroit. It was not an angry or malicious comment. It was an honest conversation and as he got to know me better, he learned I didn’t fit the stereotype he was referring to.

Towards the end of MK and I working together he found God. Having come from a Christian high school and still excited to talk about faith and God it was an awesome connection that we shared. He left the fast food restaurant for an office job that he is probably still at. I say probably because we lost touch several years back. 

Around the time that MK found God and we started talking more since he had left our mutual work place, I was reading and obsessed with the “Left Behind,” series of books. For anyone unfamiliar they are Christian novels based on the idea of Armageddon or the end times, specifically dealing with the Rapture, when the believers are all taken to Heaven and suddenly vanish from this Earth. What ensues is a time of trials and tribulations where non-believers have a chance to repent and believe before the world comes to an end. The book series focuses on the challenges of those times and the world powers happening, the Anti-Christ, etc. 

Any book that really captures a reader’s attention has a love story to it, right? Of course, the “Left Behind,” series did as well. A young college girl, a reporter and previous non-believer who is ten years older and still a virgin. They are a perfect match and fall into the purest form of love during these dark and trying times. Reading these books made me yearn for a Godly man. A man that I could see myself going to church with (though I was not a church goer myself) and someone that I could experience spiritual growth with. MK now fit the bill entirely. I’d long had a crush on him, he was very handsome, articulate, funny, shy, and Godly. He was very devoted to his faith and was an all around nice guy. A mutual friend insisted that MK was gay and had been spotted at gay clubs but I refused to believe it. The mutual friend happened to be gay and had a little crush on MK as well. 

MK and I hung out a few times in person meeting up for dinner or things like that. He even attended my best friend’s wedding with me. He came to my home on a couple of occasions and we’d have amazing, long phone conversations. I loved listening to him talk. I was certain that if I married MK then I’d have the religious/faithful/Godly love I was dreaming of. I could see him fitting into my family and with my friends.

The only kink in the works? We weren’t dating. Finally after a few years of our friendship I confessed my feelings for him. I left it on a voicemail because I was too cowardly to call again later when he may answer. It took him a while to call me back but being the good guy he was, he did call back. He told me that he was very surprised by my confession and had never thought of me “that way,” but if we wanted to try dating we could. Not exactly the reaction I was hoping for. I didn’t want to try anything if he wasn’t actually interested in me. So that dream crashed and burned. 

We still maintained a friendship for a while but MK had his own demons to fight. He suffered from depression and would often isolate himself. I was no stranger to depression myself so it was another thing we had in common and would talk about together. Eventually though we drifted and somehow haven’t found our way back together as friends. Maybe it will happen one day… If not, I wish him well. He was one of the kindest souls I had ever met which was a bit part of what drew me to him. I hope that he has found happiness. As for me? I miss our friendship but I know that while I’d had this idolized idea could  be, we never were more than friends.

Meet Milo

After introducing Dane and Frankie I really thought an entry such as those would not be happening for a very long while. I have often said my next dog would be a pit and while I have pondered adding a third dog to my home had ultimately decided that now was not the time. Two dogs were enough to handle and our little family seemed complete. So while I dreamt of one day owning a female, gray pit, the emphasis was always on one day. Life, fate, destiny sometimes has other plans.

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Meet Milo. Milo is a three or four year old male Boston Terrier that was in need of a home. He belonged to a friend of my sister’s and they couldn’t keep him anymore. While the sister that I live with and I were both content with the two boys we figured we’d at least take Milo in until his new home was found. We were contemplating keeping him but both of us had our reservations. Neither of us wanted a third dog.  That being said, if we did want a third dog, we both wanted a female.

On a snowy Saturday, after work I drove out to Milo’s home and picked him up. His former owners cried upon his departure. I had never met him before so here I was, a total stranger, ripping him from his home. I put his dog bed on the passenger seat and let him snuggle in for the forty minute ride to his new home. He was a little antsy, occasionally standing up and peering out the window, unsure of what was happening.

When we got home, my sister was still at work. It was up to me to introduce the three boys to each other. I wasn’t nervous though. I had heard that Milo was good with other dogs and I knew my two. I walked Milo into the house on his leash and went to the bedroom that the boys’ were confined to. I scooped Milo up in my arms and opened the door to let Dane and Frankie out. Milo was so excited he was squirming in my arms. Dane and Frankie seemed interested but not overly so. Then they started barking at hime. Despite the commotion I got Dane and Frankie outside where I finally put Milo down and they all got to meet outside. Lots of sniffing, a few grumbles, but it all went really well.

After their outside meeting I brought all three boys back in the house but I kept Milo on his leash so I could control the situation. There was a minor scruff over some food that Dane wasn’t eating, was nowhere near, but didn’t want Milo eating either. Milo is a chow hound so if there is food he wants to be eating it.

It’s been two weeks now since I picked up Milo and the three of them are growing closer every day. While initially there was some debate as to whether or not we’d keep Milo, it didn’t take long for us to decide that he was a permanent member of our home. We definitely were not looking for a third dog but one found us and I’m glad.

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