Shark Heads, the Piglet, and The Really Awful Nights

I set up a little altar with your ashes, your pewter dragon, your little wooden treasure box, two quarters, the photo album Mimi made with the ribbon that was tied on the flowers grandma sent, the candle Maria made and the King of Hearts card. I’ll probably add to it as i find new things, but i thought that’d be a good start.

Yesterday, i was at Cunneen’s. Drinking wine. In fact, i got very goddamn drunk indeed. It was pretty stupid. At one point i was sitting there quietly next to Alaska and just had tears running down my face. I didn’t eat. But i did sleep. I told A not to let me stay in the bar if i’m going to be crying in public.
I don’t want people seeing me falling apart like that. There’s enough bullshit to deal with already – i don’t want making a public spectacle of myself just another thing to add to the gossip-mill.
I go to work every day, i keep it together in front of Robyn, Nate and the kids. I deal with certain people acting like jerks by giving it right back to them when what i really want to do is cry like a goddamned baby. I write. I hang out with my friends every day – and that makes it easier to keep it together. At least for the most part.

It’s funny how this sort of thing brings out the best in some people, and the worst in others. On top of feeling like i’m falling apart, i’m re-assessing many of the people around me. Fortunately, it’s mostly positive.
But i’m tired.
I’m tired of trying to act like i’m OK, when i’m anything but.
I guess that’s why i got drunk & sat crying at the bar last night. Something’s got to give somewhere, huh kiddo?
I should have left when i was feeling better earlier in the evening…
You know it was Mimi’s birthday yesterday?
Anyway i texted her Happy Hatching-Day and she texted back;
i’m wearing a shark on my head, followed by a picture.
I laughed so hard it hurt – man, Jamie, i am so grateful for her. She’s the only one that can make me laugh even when i’m feeling so bad i can hardly stand it. And that’s what she did. And that’s when i should have left.

I’m going straight to Grandpa Joe’s tonight. I may have a bit of wine, because frankly i seem to need it more often than not when i get off work these days, or i start thinking about you being gone and my heart starts to race and i feel totally panicked…
I went two days without it (the booze, not the panic) after the BBQ on Saturday, which is at least something.
I don’t want to use this as a crutch for too much longer. I need to get into some counseling.
I keep thinking i’m ready to go through the whole process of making calls to people who deal with uninsured patients like myself, but then i just sink into this funk and don’t do it. Probably because i’m terrified to open those floodgates.
But i will, honey, i promise.
I promised myself (and you) i’d not fall apart, after you died.

Working with Piglet helps, too – it helps but it’s also hard because he looks so much like you as a toddler, and some days when no one is around and he’s playing, i’ll just start crying while i watch him.
Today he indicated his stinky diaper by pointing and saying “Yucky!”, then turned around like a dog chasing his tail trying to smell his own butt.
This child keeps me smiling at least a few times each day. Times i’d otherwise be sunk in total despair.

It’s just not fair. It’s not fair you’re gone.
I’m haunted by all the accumulated moments of inept parenting, and can’t remember any of the good things i did. I know they’re there, because you were always telling me, “you’re a great mom, mom.”
It sucks. I mean it sucks that i just remembered that now. I’m glad i did.
I’m glad you reminded me. It helps.

Badger and i talked Saturday – he told me i should keep writing, and keep sharing it, because it’s going to help other people who are going through a similar loss, that it will help people understand.
I thought that was really good of him, i needed to hear that. He didn’t try to make anything better, he didn’t spout platitudes about how i’ll “be ok” someday. He reminded me that what i do every day is something that could help others, and that reminds me that i do have a purpose for existing still, even now you’re gone.
I will continue to do the best i can to be honest and real in the things i write to you – for you, because i hope that somehow you are seeing these from wherever you are; for me, because it keeps me sane; and for anyone else who might read it that perhaps will read it at just the right time and feel less alone, less isolated, less completely crazy with grief, less fucking desperate.

The Scarab-pendant ash-holder necklace is being designed right now; i look forward to being able to carry you around close to my chest instead of this stupid little glass bottle in my pocket.
It’s just that i need to keep something of you with me or i’ll lose my mind.
I love you, Jamie. And i miss you always.

xoxo
Mom

Shark Heads, the Piglet, and The Really Awful Nights

Coriander Sievers

Chicago, United States

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Artist's Description

Letter to Jamie – 1991 – 2010

RIP, sweet boy.

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