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When I was ten, I went to my grandmother’s funeral. I remember watching my relatives mixing and whispering to each other in low, respectful tones. For a moment I didn’t see any faces, but only their souls moving about in the confines of that funeral home’s parlor. I refused to accept that my grandmother had ceased to exist, recognizing only the presence of these souls. I simply decided that she had gone to another place. I was too young to be affected emotionally by the vision, or even by the sight of my grandmother’s dead body in her casket. I’m older now, and the weight of suffering and death weighs heavier on my heart, but the notion that peoples’ souls are eternal has never left me. My friends are my most precious claims in life. In the end, it’s the realization that I hold so little of these claims that pushes me into the deepest place of my sorrows.

I can relive a hard situation for me in this node created by thornton. I thank him for giving me the opportunity to give my take on losing loved ones.

When I was 14 years old, my mother died. A week before freshman year in high school, August 21st, 1996, at 4:21 AM, my mother was taken from me. There were no warning, no advanced signs. I will not go into specifics of how she died, how long it took for her to die, etc. etc. What I feel is the more important things to know in this node, is the affect that her death had on immediately, and now, over 5 years later.

I can tell you now, that immediately after it happened, I shut down emotionally. The friends I knew, well, let me say, the friends I thought I knew, no longer mattered to me. My family, the ones that I should have been able to find comfort in, I closed them out. I also shut down grandparents, aunts, uncles, friends, sister, and father. I felt, that there was no one that could understand what I was going through. I was wrong, of course, but at the time, I was convinced that no one could help me.

The week passed, the funeral done, the internment finished, and my grief was still strong. School started, and of course, I was the talk of the school.

Did you hear about Mitch's mom?

I know, it's so sad. Let's invite him with us for lunch.

The first two weeks of school was basically me being at the center of the school's attention. I was always talked to, always asked how I was, always asked if I wanted to be included. The first two weeks were not really anything new, as I had always been included in the so called 'popular' group, the preps, as we called them at Southwest High School. I was always good friends with them, why should now be any different?

It came to me though, a few weeks later, that the calls started stopping. The questions on how I was stopped coming as frequent as they did a short time before. Now, I see that it was to be expected, everyone has their own lives to lead, and their own troubles to worry about.

This is the time when I started to distance myself from my friends, and my family. I was a lost soul in a lost world. I was alone. This is also the time I started into drugs. Weed, LSD, Ecstasy, Heroin, Coke, you name it, I took it. I was at rock bottom. I became more and more of an addict, and more and more of a recluse. I refused to have social interaction with anyone. I went through my school day without muttering a word. All the while, my old 'popular' clique wondering what the hell was wrong with me. They never abandoned me, they just thought I was over it. They thought I didn't need them anymore, but they could not have been farther from the truth.

We now jump to today where I am recovered, I have graduated high school, and I have a girlfriend. She is everything to me. My first, my last, my everything. As Barry White once put it.

Heather, she means so much to me, yet she can hurt me like no one else ever could. I love her so much, yet because of my social ineptitude for the past 5 years, I cannot open myself up to her. We have been dating strong for 3 years, and she has given me her everything. Her love, her heart, her virginity, her soul, her life. And what have I given her, but a 3 year period filled with never-ending why's, how come's, and what if's. She deserves so much better than what I can give her. So much more, so much more depth.

Yet she sticks by me, through thick and thin, through our troubles and tribulations, through my lies, my deceit, she forgives me. I find solace in her, and her in me.

I guess what I am trying to get across, is that when you lose a loved one throughout your life, you don't just lose the one that dies. You many times lose the people you will never get the chance to meet, because you are so hurt, that you refuse to let anyone in, no matter how much they love you, or you love them.

You also may lose yourself . . . and that is the hardest part of all.

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