Thursday, 18 February 2016

The Ones Left Behind by Natasha Ragsdale

I recently saw heroin for the first time in my life. It was over Skype or FaceTime or something. It was in the hands of one of my best friends and she was explaining to me the different kinds of heroin and how it worked and what the process was to prepping and using it. She was a pro, you see. She seemed to educate like a tenured professor to a naive but precocious college student looking at Manet for the first time. She showed me her collapsed veins. Her bruises. Not because she was proud, in fact she was ashamed and even in the heat of summer would wear long pants and long sleeved shirts. She showed me because she trusted me. Because she cared about me. Because she knew I loved her no matter what. And she needed me to allow her to unburden herself.

It's been a year and a half of non-stop death in my life. From the things I witnessed while traveling in the third world, to "pulling the plug" on my Grammie, but the worst of all has been the overwhelming weight of the deaths that seem so random. So unexpected. So terrifyingly personal and so, so pointlessly unnatural. Which I think is an odd thing to say as death is one of the more natural things that life has to offer. But what happens when you find out from a newspaper article that your friend and former neighbor passed out in the snow a block from your old apt building and froze to death because she was wasted?
What happens when you hear of another person you knew flipping his car near the same place? What, for fucksake, do you do with those last Facebook texts to your silly, sweet crazy friend who has broken her sobriety of years and is now texting you about all the coke she has snorted and is asking you how to stop her panic attack and all you can think of is DOWNERS, take some booze! No caffeine. No more cocaine! And instead she decides perhaps heroin. And she is found dead the next day. How can you talk to your elegant, gorgeous friend of many years about everything BUT her depression? Another OD. Or is it? How do you reach out to your classmate you've known since kindergarten when you don't know he is hurting? How do you pick up the pieces of all this and not feel broken to bits yourself?

My beloved first stepfather shot himself in the head when I was in grade school. That kinda shit just didn't happen in my world, my community. People didn't deliberately leave you forever. Sure people died. Of old age. It was sad. You cried. You understood. This is life. Death. But when people so young are dying for such stupid reasons it scares me and angers me. It also makes me ask....WHAT COULD I HAVE DONE?

Today I feel so lonely for my friends. For the ones who ended. Today I feel afraid I could join them. Death is arbitrary. Who knows what could happen? But today mostly I feel so strange about this culture of "live fast and die young." It is not like it is a new concept. Some would say it's aspirational, but to that i just have one response "Have you LISTENED to David Bowie's last album?"
That is a man clinging to every last beautiful breath and moment of love he had and creativity he could share. And there is a beauty in that. Until you realize that you would do anything and everything for one more kiss or hug, one more I love you then it is not natural. It's tragedy. It's not fucking natural to leave everyone who loves you behind. It is sad and selfish. It's heartbreaking. You are not here anymore. We survivors have to pick up all the shattered pieces of our hearts and carry on and every fucking time it happens there is another empty space where a person used to be.

My friend is out of the hospital now. She is planning to Skype me when she gets home. I hope when she reads this and when the families of the above mentioned friends read it, they understand my anger.  I am sure I might become a pariah to a few, but if I didn't get it out, if I couldn't lament and question and cry, I could possibly end up like the people who have left us.

And to quote the great (left) Amanda Palmer "And when they put me in the ground, I'll start pounding the lid, saying I haven't finished yet! I still have a tattoo to get that says 'I'm living in the moment." And it's funny how I imagine That I could win this winless fight. But maybe it isn't all that funny that I've been fighting all my life. But maybe I have to think it's funny that I wanna live before I die. And maybe it's funniest of all that I'll die before I'll actually see that I am exactly the person that I want to be."


I wish with all my heart that my friends who died so young, desperately and abruptly could have seen how wonderful they were. Are. And I hope that anyone who feels depression, anxiety, hopelessness, loneliness, despair or are dealing with drug or mental issues will please get help. Below is a list of phone numbers in several countries, because I know our readership is vast and diverse. You can also email us if you need a shoulder to cry on. We are NOT doctors nor are we medical/ psychological professionals of any sort, but we are friends with open hearts. And our Facebook page is also a forum for people to talk about anything. "Come Together Magazine" is just what it says it is. People coming together. Welcome. We embrace you.

http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org
1-800-273-TALK (8255) 

http://www.suicide.org/index.html
This one is international I think but has links to NHS in the UK

We here at CTM are not choosing to affiliate with AA or any 12 step program but if you are struggling with addiction here are some people who might help

http://www.recovery.org/topics/non-12-step-recovery-programs/

Oh and here is Bowie and AFP videos referenced.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y-JqH1M4Ya8  David

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q9WZtxRWieM  Amanda


Love,
Tashie and all the Staff










2 comments:

  1. Very nice job. Well written and informative as usual.

    ReplyDelete