Saturday, June 17, 2017


I've been pressing repeat on Imagine Dragons' "Believer".  The main refrain tells 'pain' to "break me down and build me up" and "make me a believer."  Then "My life, my love, my job, they came from pain."  The word 'believer' is left ambiguous.

I've had many conversations with my younger brother about the yin and the yang, how nothing can be complete without it's opposite.  The conversation was always a little too metaphysical for my taste, but here I am recognizing that recently, for every laugh I have, I will have 20,000 tears hours later.  The tears empty out my heart so that laughter can surface again, and the laughter is so much sweeter after the tears.  So which one is better?  Is it actually possible to have a better?  As long as the pain does not become chronic and unable to manage, it is simply the darkness to the light, the empty to the full, the deep to the shallow.

Pain grounds us at times, and it inspires us to create art.  Some of my best writing has come from pain I couldn't keep inside.  It has a purpose. 

Embracing pain and putting it in the necessary-for-life box is new to me, but it feels healthy.  The walls I usually build around the pain to keep it from spreading also keep out the laughter, so then I'm left feeling nothing.  Just a person constricted by walls in a maze of numbness.

Break me down and build me up, I'm a believer.  


Saturday, June 3, 2017

The things I would have said and done.

As usual, the only way to stop the thoughts is to put them on paper.  I do not believe in an afterlife so it is odd that I should try to tell you things, but I can't  stop thinking them and the thoughts are making it hard for me to go about my day.

If I had known you were going to take your life that day, I would have said:

There is nothing on this earth that can't get better.  Try therapy, try meditation, try medication, try quitting a job, try trikking across country, I don't care.  Just try anything to make it through the hardest time.  Suicide is such a permanent solution to a temporary problem.

I love you immensely.  Dad loves you immensely.  Drew and Heather.  Your kids.  So many people.  Can that be enough?  It has to be enough.

I'm driving over there.  I will slap you, hug you, get you drunk, take you to the hospital, bitch at you, tell you beautiful stories, cook for you, trikke with you, ANYTHING to make you not do this.

You are an imperfect human being.  We all are.  We have made so many mistakes.  Those mistakes do not define us.

I'm sorry.

You are good enough.  I would not say it if I didn't mean it.

I'm not above guilting you.  You will devastate this family.  Trent will not understand, and he will wonder about his Uncle Chad.

Now that you are gone, I have these thoughts:

I have enough education to understand self-determination, hopelessness, and mental illness.  All the education in the world doesn't make this easier, and in fact, it might be impeding me because I analyze every thought and feeling.

I've been hopeless at different times myself, but when the act is complete, it leaves a trail of destruction behind you.  I'm not supposed to speak ill of the dead, but you have left this mess behind.  And I'm angry with you.  So angry.

I shouldn't feel guilty and I know that.  But I do.

I interviewed for an amazing fellowship a few days ago.  I didn't get it.  I blame you because my heart and mind is elsewhere, and looking back, I probably blew the interview. 

My career has stalled because of this.  That makes me feel even guiltier, as if it is all about me, but that is how I feel. 

"I CAN'T BELIEVE" was your and his joke.  I will probably never hear it again.  I'm not sure I want to.

If you had seen the amazing people that came to your say goodbye at your funeral. You were loved.

There were things I believed about you that weren't true.

Trent didn't like most of Universal, but I keep wanting to tell you about the parts he did like.  I keep waiting for you to comment with a Jesus meme or corny comment.  I wait and wait.  

I can't follow one of your directives.  I'm trying and I'm sorry, but I can't right now.

Hasn't this family suffered enough?