Another Sunday

Feb 12, 2017. 10:59am.

Life feels so empty this morning. Waking up on a Sunday morning without my love beside me is still too much.

I keep thinking that there has to be a way to reverse all this somehow, to rewind time, talk to her about all the options, let her know how much she is valued and loved.

I know my brain will get it in time, but today isn’t that day. I just want to feel okay again.

Feb 12, 2017. 11:21am.

Thankful to the many people that helped me to get Diana’s apartment emptied, and helped me to get items I wanted to keep to my place (and a few things to storage). I’m beyond grateful.

Next step: somehow organizing my now-upside-down apartment.

Next next step: somehow trying to adjust to this very unfamiliar, confusing, depressing, overwhelming, and lonely new life.

Next next next step: “grief projects” (there are so many things I want/need to do to honor our love and our life together)

I miss her so much.

Feb 12, 2017. 10:16pm.

My response to trauma has always been to vomit. Don’t know why. The night I found out about Diana, that was my first reaction. I’ve been nauseated a ton since then.

Couldn’t stop throwing up and sweating tonight. How in the hell is this seemingly getting worse instead of better? I don’t even know what brought this on, but it’s like I keep experiencing trauma reactions over and over again in different ways.

 

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Amaretto, Stories, Holding on

The very last drink Diana made me the Friday before she took her life was an amaretto and amarula on ice. We’d just finished a long conversation about her feeling hurt by my getting a new cat, and we had fully worked through it, as we always did with the tough stuff.

She made me a few drinks, actually, and we just sat together, laughed, touched and loved on one another, and told each other stories about our week. She told me all about her wild night at Rooftop the evening before.

I absolutely loved listening to her stories. She was truly a gifted storyteller.

Tonight, after finally finishing up her apartment, I got home, put everything away, and poured myself the last of her amaretto. I’d do anything to hear her tell me a story – I wish I’d recorded some of them.

I don’t think my life will ever be the same, but I’m determined to hold on to these beautiful memories, and the feelings of being truly cared for, adored, affirmed, treated with respect, and loved unconditionally.

Co-Habitating, Things, Spaces

When we talked about living together (which Diana called “co-habitating”), she always said she didn’t want to move into my place, or to have me move into hers.

Instead, she felt it was important to create a new space together, which was exciting to both of us. And I think we were more than ready to live together (providing I could re-home my cats). I was so eager to do this when my lease ended in January. In fact, we almost rented a house in Wilton together last summer, but I was stuck in a lease.

When I recently brought up living together, (just a few days before her suicide, in fact) she said she couldn’t ask me to re-home my cats. I told her I was willing if that was the only remaining barrier to co-habitating. Then she said she also “didn’t really want” to depend on me. It didn’t sound like a closed door, just some trepidation. I so wish I’d explored that conversation further. I believe this stemmed from trauma and fear, and that we could have worked through that. I had no idea that she would only be here a few more days.

It’s like she just lost sight of the future we’d planned together … started believing what the world was reflecting back at her for so long, and lost hope. It feels like she just slipped through my fingers somehow, and took all of our dreams for the future with her.

There’s so much irony in moving many of her things into my space anyway, without her here, instead of being able to co-create a new space together.

I miss her so much. Most days, my whole body hurts.

Diana, I love you as big as the galaxy, now and forever. I hope I did your many possessions and your beautiful and comforting space much justice over the past seven weeks. I did my best. I miss you, baby love.

Backlog 25 & a sign– 2/11/17

Feb 11, 2017. 2:14pm.

In between taking care of finishing up at Diana’s apartment and going to therapy, some indoctrination into the ways of Skyline Chili – another one of the places Diana and I loved to go to together.

I miss her so much and am glad I get to share these special things with our chosen family.

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Feb 11, 2017. 6:41pm.

Finishing Diana’s apartment tonight. I will be glad this task is over, but it is also very hard to say goodbye to a space where we enjoyed so much love, lots of new experiences, hours and hours and hours of conversation, and tons of comfort and joy together.

Feb 11, 2017. 10:33pm.

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This is where Diana and I scheduled our very first date. I was running about 15 minutes late coming from facilitating a youth group. She told me she felt disrespected, and said she was going to bed. I felt like a sad, confused puppy and just drove home. I thought she was a little wackydoodles and almost dismissed her completely. She reconnected with me the next morning, and I learned just how important time was to her. I am so grateful that I didn’t blow her off.

We ended up having many ice cream nights here. Her favorite flavor was the Strawberry Cheesecake, and she never deviated. She was a creature of habit.

Tonight, we all had that flavor in her honor.

We walked out and look what was on the sign – – They have 32 flavors, y’all. They said they change the flavor on the sign regularly. C’mon now.

And right above it, a “Trans and Queer liberation” sign.

 

Backlog 24 – 2/6/17 – 2/10/17

Feb 06, 2017. 7:22am.

You never know if the conversation you’re having with someone might be the last you have with them – don’t hold back. As John Mayer said, ‘say what you need to say.’

#FUgrief #guilt #ifonly #missingyou #whatif

Feb 06, 2017. 9:39am.

I’ve had so few dreams of Diana. I tried to force myself to go back to sleep this morning (since I woke up way too early), and then had a nightmare about her.

She was telling me that I’d called her a man, and wouldn’t explain when or how, but she was really angry at me. People were backing her up on it; we were in some class at UM together.

Then she was talking about the future, but I knew she had already killed herself, so I got mad that she was talking about the future.

We drove home together and I told her I was sorry for anything I’d ever said to hurt her and I was sobbing. This dream sucked. No more of these, please.

Feb 06, 2017. 5:54pm.

First full day back at work; definitely feeling overwhelmed, especially since so many other things remain to be done in relation to losing Diana.

I do not want to lose myself in this, but it’s a very real fear. I’ve already heard of many people losing their homes, jobs, animals, careers, and sense of self after someone close to them dies by suicide. I’m trying not to internalize that, and trying to keep two feet on the ground. I miss her so much. This shit is really hard.

Please send strength, healing, focus, calm, energy, tenacity, purpose (etc.) my way. I still can’t believe this happened.

Feb 07, 2017. 6:59am.

Brain woke me up at 6:30am today. Didn’t even make it to 7:30, which has been the pattern.

Can’t turn off my thoughts. Missing Diana so very much, and still wishing I’d done more. I didn’t fight for her. There’s so much I didn’t say that I wish I had.

We had something magical.

Good morning, reality.

Feb 07, 2017. 9:55am.

On a day when I’ve had only a few hours of sleep, maintenance decided to do some kind of major repairs outside starting at 8am. Two hours later, the banging and sawing continues. Guess there’s no more sleep in sight. Not only are my mind and spirit extremely tired, but so is my body. I really needed sleep. Life feels so heavy.

Feb 07, 2017. 10:43am.

Flashback to that time when Diana won me a bicycle, took home tons of leftovers (as usual), and when she rescued an injured iguana. I miss her so much that it hurts in every part of my body.

Diana wrote:  Fun at Aqua Foundation for Women Family Picnic!  She took this awesome panorama –

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Feb 07, 2017. 4:04pm.

A couple of times now, I’ve had to list my ’emergency contact’ on something. It destroys me every time. Diana was more than my partner – she was my family. This hurts so much.

Feb 08, 2017. 12:57am.

When the sun sits down on the mountains
and the clouds turn purple and pink
and golden rays send fingers out to touch me,
I stop breathing and inhale with my heart
because I know
that along those glittering strands of light
lies my connection
to you.
-Sandy Goodman, Love Never Dies

Feb 08, 2017. 7:40pm.

There are moments where I still feel completely gutted. I can’t believe my love is gone, and that she’s become a statistic. I can’t.

Feb 09, 2017. 2:59am.

Tonight I called the trans lifeline for the second time since Diana took her life.

I was feeling awful. And I worry about the ears of my friends growing wary. Plus, it’s so hard for me to reach out to people I know from this darkness.

Both times that I’ve called, I’ve gotten a warm, eager, kind, trans-identified listener. Being able to talk with another trans person about Diana’s suicide, to share her struggles and her story, how hard this is right now, and being able to just cry with someone, is meaningful.

If you’re trans and you ever feel like you just want to give up, or even like you just don’t have anyone to talk to who will understand, call them.

1-877-565-8860

Feb 09, 2017. 11:34am.

I don’t know how to crawl out of this pit. I am going to therapy (often), taking meds, writing, reaching out when I have the energy, reading and listening to podcasts about the afterlife, going to work, trying to stay grounded, trying to force myself to eat and sleep (neither are working out well, but I’m trying).

I just don’t feel like things are getting better. I don’t know what else to try/do.

Feb 10, 2017. 1:34pm.

I read that sometimes the pain seems to get worse as we get further from a loss, because we are further and further from seeing that person, from our last connection with them. I feel like that is true for me. Sometimes the depth of the hurt is just so very deep.

If only I’d had any idea that Diana would be gone that Tuesday, I would have held her all night Sunday night. I still can’t believe this.

 

Generosity Returned

Feb 02, 2017. 6:48pm.

Sending family photo albums, pictures, and school yearbooks back to Diana’s mom and bio family. I hope Diana would want this, and I hope this helps them to heal.

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Feb 04, 2017. 3:21pm.

Diana‘s mom received the boxes of photos and memories I sent her. She wrote me on Facebook and began with “Dearest Landon,” which hit me in the gut because that’s how Diana addressed me in her suicide note.

She went on to say:

the box arrived today. First we can not thank you enough for the memories you sent. We loved her so much accepted her more than any parent would and understood her needs.

We must tell you she spoke with us about the love she felt for you. It was the deepest and most profound love she had ever felt from anyone that she loved.

We love many things many people in our lives. But there is that one that will always stand out amongest the rest. Landon that’s what she told me about you.

Plus she said it was the greatest sex with you that she had ever had. so do’nt forget my words they were her words told to her mom that she could tell me anything.

its from my heart i know how you must be struggle everyday every night. That’s how i felt about her dad.

You have to realize you must go on without her but she will never leave your side. You have many things to do. She would want you to finish what you have started.

The best thing when someone leaves are the memories they have given you. No one can ever take that from you.

Backlog 23 – 2/4/17 & 2/5/17

Feb 04, 2017. 2:35am.

I really hope this is true. Having a night where I just want to fucking give up again. Just plain tired of feeling.

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Feb 04, 2017. 9:11am.

I have forgotten what eight hours of sleep feels like. I can’t stand how my body keeps waking me up after only four or five hours.

Feb 04, 2017. 10:44am.

I’ve lost about 20 pounds since losing Diana. I really can’t afford a whole new wardrobe or even the stress of trying on clothes somewhere.

Life feels pretty suffocating lately. I wish I could be more positive but everything feels overwhelming.

Feb 04, 2017. 12:14pm.

Telling Diana’s story today at the Point Foundation brunch. I hope this not only touches those in the room, but that it also helps me to heal. I miss her with my whole being.

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Update: I got a standing ovation.  I hope the message hit home for many.  We must do better.

Feb 04, 2017. 8:48pm.

Saturdays are by far the hardest. We’d be deep in conversation and/or debauchery right about this time.

Feb 05, 2017. 10:14am.

On this day last year, Diana posted to Facebook:

“Just hung my Landon J. Woolston collection, but can’t post due to FB TOS. You’ll have to come by. Also hung my Michael A Smith – only took me 17 years to put it on a wall.

She loved me so much and so well. I can’t believe she’s not here, with her art-covered walls.

I love you and miss you so much, baby.

Feb 05, 2017. 10:30am.

Maybe Sunday mornings are even harder than Saturday nights. I’d usually be waking up with Diana, and we’d be loving on each other, cuddling, talking, sharing our hopes, fears, dreams. Sometimes we didn’t even get out of the bed until 2 or 3pm.

Things feel unbearably difficult this morning.

Backlog 22 – 2/2/17 & 2/3/17

Feb 02, 2017. 4:28am.

Took a whole Klonopin and still can’t sleep. Missing my baby love so so much. There is so much more I wish I had said. I wish I’d fought harder for her. I just want to hold her in my arms again.

Feb 02, 2017. 11:30pm.

Very very thankful for Jack, today and always.

Feb 03, 2017. 1:25am.

I still have moments where I realize Diana is gone (at least in body, as I am now making space for there being more to us than our bodies), and they totally take my breath away – – every time. Sometimes I still go into shock.

And when the pain comes, it is so profoundly deep. It aches in my belly, my chest, my thighs. I guess all of this speaks to the depth of our love.

I was fairly certain Diana would die by suicide; I just did not think it would come so soon. I may forever wonder if I could have done or said something to have prevented this outcome at this point in Diana’s life, in our life and journey together.

I miss her in ways for which there are not words.

Feb 03, 2017. 1:52am.

In pondering the afterlife yesterday during therapy, I looked at both possible outcomes:

A) there is no afterlife. We turn to dust. This is what I’ve always believed prior to this significant life event. This would mean that Diana is no longer suffering in any way.

B) there is an afterlife. I am just beginning to contemplate such possibilities. This might mean her body is gone, but her spirit remains … And perhaps we will see one another again.

While I am deeply sad for the time she spent planning her suicide, for the fact that she didn’t feel she could tell anyone she had an active plan, for the time she spent driving to Stuart with her thoughts (I can’t help but wonder what they were), and for her having to engage in this final act of self-preservation entirely alone, I know that this time was fleeting. She had a lifetime of struggles and trauma.

Neither of these aforementioned outcomes seem bad for her. Both would suggest that she is in peace, one way or another.

Today I am driving to Cassadaga to meet with a medium. I can only hope this brings me some peace, too.

Feb 03, 2017. 10:19am.

Sitting here, thinking about my life again
And I don’t know if I’ll be able to write about anything else
Cuz there’s so much about me

And I can feel the Earth moving beneath me
The ants are going about their daily work
And the grass is shifting under my weight
And the weight of my childhood lies heavily on my chest

So, it’s time for me to start telling the truth in my life
Stop pretending I don’t see or hear anything at all
And I heard a poet quote another poet on some summer’s day
She said we lie with words and silence, too

Chorus:
Wake me up from this long lost dream
Cuz I’ve been sleepwalking for most of my life now
And I don’t know if this Earth can be healed
So I’m working really hard to heal myself

And if you think it’s getting better, then let me ask you this:
What if there were no bitch, no whore, no motherfucker
What if it was just fuck you, father?
I said, Fuckyoufather

Chorus:
Wake me up from this long lost dream
Cuz I’ve been sleepwalking for most of my life now
And I don’t know if this Earth can be healed
So I’m working really hard to heal myself

And what if women weren’t afraid
And what if men weren’t afraid too
And what if we all stopped to think about our place in this world
And what if I could love who I wanted
And what if I could be who I wanted

And I laugh when people tell me they don’t want to be extreme
And I say think of this: misogyny’s extreme
And patriarchy’s extreme and homophobia’s extreme
And hatred is extreme and rape is extreme
And unconsciousness is extreme
And consciousness is extreme
And feeling is extreme and freedom is extreme
And choice is extreme and self-love is extreme

By singing, I heal myself
By climbing mountains, I heal myself
By lying under the Moon, I heal myself
By telling my stories, I heal myself

Chorus:
Wake me up from this long lost dream
Cuz I’ve been sleepwalking for most of my life now
And I don’t know if this Earth can be healed
So I’m working really hard to heal myself
I’m working really hard, yeah, to heal myself

-Kate Reid

Feb 03, 2017. 10:42am.

It isn’t very difficult to see why
You are the way you are
Doesn’t take a genius to realize
That sometimes life is hard
It’s gonna take time
But you’ll just have to wait
You’re gonna be fine
But in the meantime

Come over here lady
Let me wipe your tears away
Come a little nearer baby
Coz you’ll heal over
Heal over
Heal over someday

And I don’t wanna hear you tell yourself
That these feelings are in the past
You know it doesn’t mean they’re off the shelf
Because pain’s built to last
Everybody sails alone
But we can travel side by side
Even if you fail
You know that no one really minds
Come over here lady

Don’t hold on but don’t let go
I know it’s so hard
You’ve got to try to trust yourself
I know it’s so hard, so hard

Come over here lady
Let me wipe your tears away
Come a little nearer baby
Coz you’ll heal over, heal over, heal over someday
-KT Tunstall

Feb 03, 2017. 11:03am.

In less than two years, I’ve lost my grandpa, my aunt, and my partner. “Wish You Were Here” by Pink Floyd used make me feel really sad when my aunt listened to it as I was growing up. I didn’t even know why. She’d blast Pink Floyd all the way to the Keys, and I’d always have a reaction to that song. After these two years, it just hits me in the gut. To love really is to lose.

Feb 03, 2017. 11:59pm.

Grief continues to be an all-body experience. I start to live for an hour or two, and then it comes back again. I just envisioned Diana sitting with me on my couch not that long ago, cuddling, talking, my head in her lap, staring into her eyes. Sometimes I just feel totally nauseated – I still cannot believe she’s gone.

 

Cassadaga Mediums

Saw two mediums today in Cassadaga, in search of some connection with my love in spirit form – really, really stretching myself here.

First medium felt like a bust (though I realize now that some of what she said overlapped with what the second one said).

Second one really did seem to nail Diana. She also hit many of my personality traits spot on. We talked for an hour and forty minutes and she only charged me for an hour.

She ended with “you were the love of her life” (Diana told me this in her suicide note). I didn’t ever actually tell the medium that we were partners. I only gave her Diana’s name. The longer we talked, the more that came out that was accurate. She spoke about the realness of our love, the authenticity, how Diana opened me up to love, and how I’d never loved someone in this way. She kept seeing a bench; I carved our initials into the bench where Diana took her life.

She said a lot of things that were truly Diana, including Diana being someone who fought for marginalized populations, fought the system, and even bent the system when she could if it would mean helping someone else. She talked about her politics, and said Diana was big on women’s rights! She said she was a healer, larger than life, an amazing snuggler, someone who made things with her hands, someone who laughed heartily, was magical, had a very ‘unique’ style of dress all her own, someone who could hear trees and animals talk (Diana told me this, and I always thought she was being silly). She said Diana loved to be alone in nature, which is wild because this is how she chose to die; in her very last post on Facebook, she said being alone in nature with her thoughts was her form of meditation (I’d never heard her say this).

She also said Diana’s death was/will be covered up – – and I have strong feelings about this being accurate in complex, systemic ways.

I tested this medium and tried not to give up much info (though I mistakenly told her I was a social worker right at the beginning!).

I am still not 100% in the ‘believing’ category (among the categories of skeptical, believing, and knowing), but I’m a lot closer. I am eager to listen to the recording and to share it with others who were close to my baby.

Backlog 21 – 2/1/17

Feb 01, 2017 4:03am

“Every look back at the past is viewed from a new place, therefore one’s life history is continually reinterpreted through a newly born perspective every day. The road behind gets longer, and the road ahead shorter, and life and love seem so so immeasurably precious.” -Diana Hemingway, 11/5/16

Feb 01, 2017 4:19am

I need to try to sleep. I need to end this tough ass day on a positive note. Here it is.  Diana wrote this on May 8th, 2016:

“Gratitude in relationships.

I’m grateful for all the wonderful people in my life.

I am especially grateful for Landon, who I am in love with, and with whom I share a very special bond.

I am grateful for the many lovers who hold special places in my heart – near and far, in plain view and in private, regular and infrequent, casual and committed, friends who play and paramours. I am grateful that after all the suffering I’ve experienced, that I can still feel love…and infatuation. And desire.

I am grateful for my chosen families for the connections we share in community. For the way that time and distance don’t change the caring and affection we have for each other. For those who choose to keep me in their lives even when I’m beyond difficult, or simply misunderstood.

I am grateful for my first family – at least for those who still choose to be a part of my life. And for the extended family of the people I love, whether steps or in-laws or however they might be described.

I am grateful for my friends. So many many friends. And many acquaintances. For how we enrich each other’s lives. If we are connected here on Facebook, there is a good chance that we share strong personal experiences or vibrant community.

I am grateful to all those whom I’ve worked with at various jobs, in many different fields. And every artist, and every artist’s muse.

And a special shout of gratitude for all the sex workers and former sex workers in my life. We know how precious and important every one of these connections is. Especially since our emotional & physical labor takes everything we’ve got sometimes, and we leave it all on the bed, pole, camera, cross, and/or sidewalk. And then come back to whatever part of ALL OF THE ABOVE that remains in our life.

I am grateful that my “all of the above” is pretty damn full of wonderful people.”

Feb 01, 2017 11:31pm

I found an aborted suicide note written by my love from 2011. I took solace in the fact that the one written to me in 2016 was filled with love, whereas the one from 2011 was filled with darkness.

I remember her telling me how I had softened her, reconnected her to the world, helped her believe in love again.

I miss her so much.