Dear you,

You called me on a night when I was actually in bed by 10:00 pm. If I had known you needed me, I would have been there for you. I'm sorry. When I got into my car this morning, I listened to your voicemail and truly heard in your voice the conflicts that were on your mind.

You wanted to know how you've helped me. In order to answer this, I have to go to my message archive and read through the dozens of messages from you. We first started to talk when I was living in Tampa. It was a temporary place for me, it was never home. I was still in the initial phases of my grief over Adam's death. I was trying to figure how to rebuild my life. Here's what you said to me then:

"I strongly believe that everything that happens does so for reasons and that bad things make a path and teach us new things we need or someone else needs. And we never understand it all, but in the end it is there."

You were right. I had heard similar sentiments from others but they said it when I wasn't ready to listen. You had damn good timing. I was searching for a way to really start to deal with my feelings and you gave it to me in a way and at a time when it was actually useful. Further, the idea that this was a lesson in life, something to prepare me for my future was an idea that I had toyed with but hadn't really accepted.

Over the next few years, we msg'd briefly here and there about mostly inconsequential things. Over time, I had dealt with various parts of the fallout from Adam's suicide. I was able to let go of some things, but some issues still remained, some big guilt issues. Then, out of the blue you sent me a message that said:

"I've been meaning to tell you something for a while. It has to do with realizing there are certain people that no matter what, we can't change their trajectory, no matter what we do or who we are. And I learned recently how hard that is to accept. This leads to something I cannot put into words, but you'll find the words. It is better that you do. Much love."

It took those words plus the following, to finally make me not feel like his suicide was my fault:

"Those that hurt without escape, they seek above all else, often subconsciously, to cause those who love them to feel some essence of their pain. This is the validation.

Certain people, I have come to have to accept, will not allow their pain to alleviate in this lifetime. It does not matter what you do or what happens. They will not allow it to alleviate. It has become too comfortable. And we both know people like this. To drive us to believe we failed, that is how they pass it on. We did not fail. We survived and did not succumb. The rules are what we call them."

That's how you helped me darlin'. I'll always be grateful for it too. You helped me to get past some seriously big emotional stumbling blocks.

Further, you're still helping me and you know it.

And lastly, I'll leave you with your own words as comfort, "You taught me much about limitations with your words. We all find something in the air between us. It is why we are here."


Hello. My name is Keith and I am afraid of American cheese. That is not a joke. I really am afraid of American cheese.

Lately I've been asking a lot of people some strange questions. The rough seas I've travelled this year have taken a lot out of me and quite often I don't feel like I am myself. I feel like I am somewhere outside myself trying to figure out why I'm not functioning on anything approaching my normal level of functionality. I've had to ask people close to me, and people not so close to me, for help at times, but the bigger part of my problem now is I've suffered a great deal of emotional and mental damage over the past couple of years. All of that has had a deeper impact on how I function than I'm usually willing to admit.

The insights of people who have known me for more than a few years have all tended to focus on the same things. I was always the one who never let "the little things" in life get to him, the one who rolled with it and had the faith and confidence to know that the next turn in the road would take me where I needed to go. And now, too often, I have that faraway stare in my eyes and find myself on the verge of panic, often over things I cannot even explain. Instead of always seeing the blue skies rolling over the horizon, I'm finding myself hiding from the mere idea that storm clouds have the ability to manifest themselves. It doesn't even take storm clouds or the forecast of them, all it takes is the very idea that storm clouds exist.

As I explained to some people a while back, I was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder following the extremely intense events that happened in my life earlier this year, events that were, in part, purposely created by someone I loved and trusted in order to recreate and mirror the events that led to my suicide in 1994. And this was done after she had created a scenario from which I could not easily escape. It is a long and complex story I've told parts of here, but in the end, the result is that I've become a shadow of myself trying to find the rest of me once again.

I'm weakened in large part by doubt, which I am told is the primary reason I have not been feeling like myself. I used to function almost entirely on faith and the belief that I was on a path that would unwind along my journey and take me where I needed to go and that if I trusted in the path I would never stumble in such a way that I could not rise again. She, who I once called The Muse, took that away from me. She took it away from me purposely because she had no faith in anything, hated herself and the world around her, and deeply resented me having my faith and finding joy in life. And I cannot let her succeed in doing that permanently.

There is something you ought to know. There are people who have given up. There are people who are filled with nothing but contempt and self-hatred, and at one point they may have wanted to overcome these self-destructive feelings, but eventually some of them give up entirely. And that leaves them with two choices, they can either destroy themselves completely or do what they can to drag those close to them down into the Hell in which they exist.

Those who choose the first option may find their wings again. Those who choose the second option...

We share a certain connection, Jennifer, and it is a connection I deeply respect and cherish. It has nothing to do with the connections most people assume men and women have. It is on a level I think perhaps only we really understand.

I will be whole again. I don't care if it takes me six thousand lifetimes.

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