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you died today.  Well I guess technically, you died yesterday, but right now is not the time to argue about facts.  The facts are just shitty terrible.  I’ve known about this for just over 12 hours now, and it’s positively unbearable.  How?  HOW?  YOU’RE 13, GODDAMMIT.  You just graduated from sixth grade a month ago!  ...I was at your sixth grade graduation a month ago.  Do you remember that?  Do you get to have memories now?  Nothing makes sense right now.  Nothing is fair right now.  You were 13 years and 1 month today.  You hadn’t really gotten to live life yet, and now you don’t get to.  How the fuck does that make sense?  I’ve yelled at you a bunch of times for near-cursing, but I’m allowed to curse right now.  It’s one of the few things that are going to help me process this.  I mean it’s you...but you’re not you anymore.  You’re not anyone anymore.  I’ve known you since you were five, but it’s all past-tense now.  I hate it.  I have been nauseated all day.  I was actually dizzy after reading the text from Mrs. E.  I had a hard time breathing when she changed it from, ‘bad accident.  Life support’ to ‘apparently he died’. APPARENTLY HE DIED.  That sentence killed me.  That sentence is currently ripping everything inside of me into shreds, and I don’t think the blades will ever dull.  That sentence is currently blurring my vision.


I keep having horrendous thoughts about you being gone, and then they lead to even worse thoughts.  How’s  your dad coping with this?  Can I reach out to him; am I known enough to offer him comfort?  What about Aunt Mary?  What about your older half-sister and your nephew, C?  Did dad ever marry Cynthia, making E and L your step-brothers?  ….Were they there when it happened? Who WAS there? What do I do when I run into GC, NL, or TD and they are gutted more than I am and we all want to pretend it’s okay and this didn’t happen...but it did?  Was KC involved in this at all?  Is there a time machine?  Can I survive going to your funeral?  You, my big-cheeked sarcastic monster, who never could let go of an inside joke?  What is life like without you there to tell me a ridiculous story in your ridiculous baby-voice to be ‘cute’,  The last time I got to talk to you, your voice was changed and deeper; it was weird.  And I’ll never get to memorize it.  Your other voice, the one you had before, has been in my head all day.  I heard your stories all day long.  I almost crumpled to my knees out on the playground watching a group of young boys blissfully horsing around.  They morphed into you and your crew, and I had to lean on a pole and look away.  I hope you have an inkling of how much I loved you, G.  Love you, present and future tense.  I refuse to say ‘favorite’ because I don’t play favorites.  But in terms of kids who have let me into their world, who have told me stories and made me smile and made going into my job a little more fun, you are very near the top.  There is a reason I had more pictures of you to donate to the sixth grade yearbook than anyone else who had me as a teacher or counselor.  Even things I hated, like when you just did the ‘Gangnam Style’ dance EVERYWHERE for over a year...I want that back.  I want to reprimand you for not just fucking walking down the fucking hallway like a normal fucking kid one more fucking time.  I want to play Camouflage with you.  I want to watch you cover your head in clothespins and invent different names for that moment.  I want to hear about your various MINOR injuries and threaten to wrap you in bubblewrap.  Would bubblewrap have saved you yesterday?  A really thick layer?


I am not sure if this post is English.  I think it is part a letter, and part a stream-of-consciousness.  I cannot vote harder for a ‘redo’ than the last we’ll call it 24 hours.  You never even got to be a middle schooler, G.  You and your sense of humor brought so much light into this world; knowing it is permanently extinguished is beyond depressing.  I want to be strong for everyone right now, myself included, but I’m just not.  I’m broken, G.  And I know this is just the surface.  This is me attempting to put the idea into my brain.  Look out when it registers that this is reality.  That we have no more chance reunions, or stories to share.  


Rest easy, kiddo.  Love you.




Better Things

I’m very conflicted with my feelings today. The fact that I’m conflicted shouldn’t be bothering me, but it is. So, I guess I’ll just write about it here, get it out in the open...but not TOO out in the open if that makes sense. 


Anyways, there’s a friend of my family who has been trapped in what I would interpret as an abusive relationship. His wife literally let herself go, in that she went from being tiny, to 500 lbs or more (no exaggeration), couldn’t work, they got dogs to encourage her to be active, she did nothing. She was warned she would not do well if she continued on this path. Of course, she did. She forced him to wait on her hand and foot. He took a second job just to support her medical needs, and monthly, her meds and requirements cost them thousands of dollars above his benefits. He could barely go out and do anything because he was expected (by her) to make her dinners, give her meds, pick things up for her, whatever. All the while, he’s been a gracious person, sarcastic, but nice and would give anything to help people. This woman was awful in that she would call my mom and just whine on the phone for hours about...anything and nothing. It was no secret that nobody really liked her, and that she couldn’t take care of herself because...I dunno, she didn’t feel like it?


Well, I found out that she passed away this week. And I feel...conflicted. Conflicted because I think all death should be treated with respect and dignity, BUT the first thing that came to mind when I found out she had died was “Oh, thank GOD!” I’m not going to lie, I feel like a bad person for that? But at the same time...our family friend...I’m sorry he lost his wife (though I think he’s just as relieved and free now, if not feeling lost because he IS free and he hasn’t known that for a long time…?), and I hope she didn’t suffer, but it’s a HUGE relief for people like my mom or him who had to use their kid gloves on this woman who basically was a leech, in all ways and shapes. I dunno, like I said, I feel bad for it feeling that. I guess the best I can say is that she’s not suffering anymore (though her suffering was self induced...) and I hope that our family friend can finally savor the freedom that he’s deserved for so long.


So...that was a cheery subject. Life is complicated, isn’t it?


My Friend is Dying

So, my friend was recently admitted to hospice.

I’m having some difficulty processing this.

Not that it doesn’t make sense to me – she’s been declining through cancer over the last year.

Not that I can’t accept this – she lives completely in love with Jesus, I know she’s going home and her destroyed body will be made new.

But I can’t quite talk to anyone about it, because it seems like everything I feel is wrong.

I see all of my Christian friends who know and love her posting things about how our only hope now is a miracle, and it just seems so weird. Our only hope is Jesus, yes? We are all in agreement on this? And we’re all living with our sights set on Him and being with Him? 

So our only hope to prevent our friend from being restored and living with Jesus is if Jesus does something about it?

I feel like I’m missing something crucial here. Something that makes this add up. I’ve probably seen some forty people from Camp post this same idea. Camp was where I learned about loving God, and how this family of believers interacts and meshes together because Christ is our head. 

I do get that she has a lot of kids, and several of them are quite young. But this is the Camp crew; we’ve seen God miraculously provide in thoroughly unexpected ways every year.

I get that she’s married and her husband treasures her.

I get that she’s a wonderful person, who has cried with us and prayed with us and done so much good in her life, just following Jesus.

So, it seems logical to me that all of us following Jesus would lead to us being pleased that she’s home with Him.

And instead, everybody seems upset about that.

And it’s not like we’re really losing anything. Sure, we won’t see her until we’re home – that’s going to be, what, sixty years for some of the longer ones? Two, for some of the unexpected? Drop in the bucket, next to eternity. I have a friend who moved to Damascus with his wife – I’m probably not going to see him again this side of Heaven, but they’re doing some serious good where they are, and we’re not all mournful about that.

I feel like I can’t talk to anybody about what I’m feeling, because I’ll hurt or shock them for having a different perspective. And I can’t even understand WHY I have a different perspective on this.


Dear Internet
Dear Internet,

I owe you an apology.  I should not have called you "stupid" last night.  I saw reports places (by places, I mean LOTS of places) that Robin Williams was dead.  So I said, "Idiots! Another celebrity death hoax.  Man.  People are so stupid".

Except Robin Williams really is dead.  It's somehow both impossible and accurate.

I liked it much better when I was right.

So much of me wants to put on Aladdin or Dead Poets right now, but I know I'll just burst into tears.  What a thing.  This ones going to hit me continuously for months, guaranteed.  He was such a huge part of my growing up (whose wasn't he?!?!), and meant so much to so many.

Hope you'll forgive me one day, internet,
Emily (no smiley face)

Musing on sports and mortality
I've been a fan of the Pittsburgh pro sports teams since I was a preteen in the '70s. Ah, the '70s...the Pirates bookended them with World Series championships in '71 and '79; and the Steelers dominated the second half of that decade with four Super Bowl titles--at that time twice as many as the next-highest total for any team (for the record: the Cowboys, Dolphins, and Packers, with two each). The Penguins never won anything in the '70s--their most notable moment was becoming only the second team in U.S. pro sports history to blow a 3-0 series lead, against the Islanders in 1975--but in the City of Champions year of 1979 they made it to Game 7 of the second round, whiuch was as far as they'd ever gotten. Cool stuff, growing up.

The Pens did finally win a Stanley Cup in 1991, and repeated the feat in 1992; they won a third in 2009, after making the finals and losing in 2008--both against Detroit, which is where I was born, so both of those years were a little bittersweet. The Steelers didn't make it back to a Super Bowl until 1996, at which time they were just another AFC sacrifice to their NFC masters, but they finally did win a couple more, in 2006 and 2009. The Pirates...well, they made the playoffs again between 1990-1992 without making it to the series, then set a record by having 20 losing seasons in a row, before finally having a winning season last year and making it back to the playoffs--they won the Wild Card game and lost in the Division Series, neither of which existed the last time they'd been in the playoffs.

The Penguins were just bounced from the Stanley Cup playoffs after blowing a 3-1 series lead; they've been having this sort of oopsie and losing to lower seeds in each of the last five years, since they won the Game 7 that won them the Cup in '09. The last interregnum between Cups was 17 years for them. This is nowhere near the record--even for Pennsylvania; the Philadelphia Flyers haven't won a Cup since 1975--which currently belongs to the Toronto Maple Leafs, who last drank from Lord Stanley's Cup in 1967 and haven't been back to a Final since...increasingly-elderly me would have been three years old at the time. But the Penguin's failures have them in disarray at the moment; the GM has been fired, the head coach should be fired, and the team itself needs a serious enema if they want to do anything more than inflate their point totals in the regular season and fail in the playoffs. They are, however, the best of the Pittsburgh teams.

The Steelers made it back to the Super Bowl in 2011, losing to the Packers. Then they made it to the playoffs the next year and got bounced in the Wild Card Game by Tim-freaking-Tebow, which was a sure sign they didn't belong in the playoffs to begin with. Sure enough, they haven't made the playoffs since, though they keep finishing 8-8 and seem to be proud of managing to be mediocre and finishing ahead of Cleveland--talk about your low hurdles. They won't be going anywhere soon, so five years and counting, which beats the 26 years between 1980 and 2006. But, as with the Pens, they can at least lord it over the other PA team--the Philadelphia Eagles haven't won an NFL championship (the Super Bowl didn't exist yet) since December of 1960; I wasn't even born yet; Dwight D. Eisenhower was President. Even that's better than the NFL record-holder for futility: the Arizona Cardinals haven't won an NFL championship since 1947, when they were the Chicago Cardinals, though they did make it to the Bowl and (barely) lose to the Steelers in '09.

The Pirates haven't won a World Series since 1979--I was at Game 4, the last World Series game they've ever lost, which put them down 3-1 before they came back on the Orioles--which is 34 years and counting...and this year they have reverted to nobodies, so that won't change. In this case the Philadelphia Phillies are better, and thus impervious to ridicule out of Western PA. But the all-time champions at not being champions, in baseball and every other pro sport, are of course the Chicago Cubs: they last won a World Series in 1908 (a month before William Howard Taft was elected President to succeed Teddy Roosevelt; half my grandparents hadn't been born yet) and haven't even been back to one since 1945 (my parents would have both been eight years old). Heavy duty frustration to be a Cubs can easily live and die without ever seeing them win anything.

Actually, that's what occurred to me today while reading about the Pens canning Ray and dying. I'm 50 years old, and I came very close to dying last August; it would seem unwise to bet on me having a long life. If it takes 17 years between Penguin Stanley Cups, that might be too long...I might not have another 12 years in me. I could fairly easily not live to see another championship from the Pittsburgh teams.

 photo graves_zps76683023.jpg

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