Someone once said (and actually, people say it often) that people die every day. My grandparents passed a long time ago, and maybe yours did, too. My husband lost his sister to suicide in 2012 and my coworker lost his sister the same way about four years ago. There is no good reason to mourn famous people, some say because regular people die every day. No one is talking about them in the media.
So what if Tom Petty died, or Prince died, or some other famous person died. What is so special about rock stars? Why do we mourn the loss of famous people so openly? What’s so great about them anyway?
Because they connect us.
When a family member dies, the family and close friends gather all around, maybe at the funeral home or the house of the closest loved one. We all grieve together for our grandmother, father or maybe a brother, aunt or dear family friend. The family is connected. Honestly, we are really grieving for us.
It’s really the same way for us commoners with rock stars and other famous people.
They interest us. They make us feel things; heighten what we feel and sometimes make it go away. They help us to trek on, to not give up and they do it with anthemic lyrics and pulse-pounding bass. They heighten our love, loss, fear, and sex.
How many times have we tried to talk to someone who just didn’t get where we were coming from? And then we hear a song and listen to the lyrics and right then we feel it. It consumes us with such fervor, that we have to play it for someone – for that someone – we have been trying to get through to for so long.
“Here. Listen to this. This is what I was was trying to tell you.”
First, we’re just tapping or humming along but then… then we listen to the words, and it hits us. This guy gets me. Tom Petty gets me. He’s been through it. He’s singing what I want to say. His music is for me; it is to help me cope with life when I don’t know what that word even fucking means.
Our rock stars feel like family. I cried hard and loud yesterday… I’d like to say that I cried for his family, for the loss they will feel now that their dear loved one has passed. But that’s not why I cried. I cried for myself. I cried as I listened to ‘Breakdown’ and countless other songs while I relived my youth and thought of all the times I wanted to give up.
But I didn’t. Music saved my life and so did Tom Petty.
When I went to detox in 2005, I knew my stay would be tentative. It was in January and I was just going to clean up a bit so I wouldn’t need so much to get high anymore (cue New Year Resolution confetti). I doubt I am the only addict that has ever done this.
And yes, this was because I honestly thought that I didn’t have an addiction. What I had was more of an ‘inability to ration,’ but once I fixed that, I would be able to do drugs and drink recreationally like all my friends. I was too young, too smart and too pretty to be a drug addict or alcoholic. Things just got a little out of control was all. In five days, I’d be back home and things would be fine.
My first mistake was the whole time I was in detox, I kept comparing myself to everyone around me.
“Oh jeez, listen to this chic. Is she crazy? I am not this bad.”
“Holy shit. I grew up with that kid! He was insane then! Now I know I don’t belong here.”
“Oh my f*cking God, this place is nuttier than a squirrel convention.”
I went to the groups, said all the right shit and then, at the end of my days there – despite being asked to stay one more day because my insurance covered it – called my dad to come get me and I went home.
I got out of rehab, er, detox, on January 4, 2005. My sober date is May 24, 2006. So for sixteen months, my life was an absolute shit storm (more than previously).
Why didn’t standard detox work for me?
A) Because I didn’t want it to work for me.
B) Because they never let me feel bad or sick. They gave me phenobarbital for my withdrawal symptoms and good food and outside time and even let me smoke cigarettes.
C) I was only there for four days, which is pretty standard.
So did I really, truly detox?
After I got out, the first thing I did was call my dealer. “Hey, I just got out of detox, do you have anything?” I guess that week she had a conscience because she said she’d call me back and never did.
Not that week anyway.
So the universe gave me a shot; it was on my side. I went with it and even went to an NA meeting with my detox roommate with her big fake boobs (she got hooked on Percocet after a boob job). One meeting was all I attended. Maybe it was all the hugging after the NA meeting, but I didn’t like it.*
After a week, I was back at the bar and drinking. I wasn’t taking any pills… yet. I was convinced that I could drink because I drank in the past (before getting hooked on pills) and everything was fine! (Did I mention my insanity?)
It wasn’t long until I started drinking heavily, popping pills and snorting cocaine again. This time twice as hard as before I went into detox. I even got involved with a man I knew a while before and we were great together, but in March of 2005, he left my house after starting an argument. I didn’t think much of it until I found out that Monday that he went home and shot himself in the head.
My drugging and drinking escalated; despite not being right in the head before then, I was really twisted inside after that. I spiraled hard and fast unaware that the forming vortex would swallow more lives than just mine.
I eventually turned my life around… but this story needs to be told. So I decided this time frame will be the focus of my memoir.
Thanks for letting me share.
*NA meetings work for many people. They do not work for me. Some NA’s go to AA, some AA’s go to NA. I am not trash talking any program.
School started back up and if you are a regular follower of my site here, you know that means I won’t be around as much. 😦 Bummer I know… I will try to get on here a couple times a week. I thought my one class was going to be a piece of cake, and the material is fairly easy, but the amount of time I have to invest in the class is more than I anticipated. But the good news is school is finite like everything else in the world.
Well, you know what they say about assume and all.
So, finiteis the word of the day.
Can we think of even one instiance of legitimate infinity? Everything is finite except for the universe I believe. Inclulding the accesibility of this site here. I just read it will be down for maintenance for a week! That kind of works in my favor because by then I will have a good handle on my classes and know exactly how often I can post here. Hopefully, I can get a couple entries pre-written.
Cruel, finite love
Your shallow grave sooths my soul
There were others, you know
By the way, you can find me on Facebook at Darlene Steelman McGarrity… I write stuff on there, too. But when you request me, be sure to tell me you’re from WordPress or I most likely won’t accept the invitation (lots of spammers on FB).
So, in 1996 I had a stroke (brought on by taking too much Ultram) and was dead for about somewhere between 20 minutes and two hours… my six-year-old daughter found me, and after the EMT’s showed up and worked on me for nearly 30 minutes, I regained a pulse. I also gained some brain damage. After a week long hospital stay and two weeks of grueling occupational therapy, I was sent to live with my mother because I couldn’t be trusted to take care of my children.
Everone was afraid I’d start dinner and burn the house down because I forgot the stove was on or even worse, have the baby in the bathtub, get distracted by the phone or my reflection and let my baby drown because, ‘what baby?’ Or maybe I’d drive to the store with the kids, forget I went there with kids, leave the kids there and then think I lived in Oklahoma on a llama farm or something.
My short term memory was shattered. People have compared me to Drew Barry’s character in Fifty First Dates which was cute until I actually saw the movie and I wasn’t as amused as most people.
“Jesus Christ, I’m not that f**king bad,” I’d snap in annoyance. I was finally able to watch the whole movie about a year ago and laugh at most of it.
My long term memory was fine. My memory about grade school, getting picked on, and my abusive cheating husband at the time were all grooved in my brain like a brand new tire tread. I still remembered I was married (miserably), that I had four kids and amazingly every word to any song I ever heard prior to 1996. But it ended there.
I couldn’t remember anything new. I couldn’t remember that I told my mom a story (from my long term memory) every twenty minutes. I couldn’t remember that I just ate or just drank coffee or just smoked a cigarette. I couldn’t remember that the bedroom I occupied at my parents’ house was mine; my old bedroom – my childhood bedroom – was the back bedroom and now my little brother had that one. How the hell did I get downgraded to the oversized closet with a bed?
Oh right… I hadn’t lived at home since 1990. I had no clout there. I was the dysfunctional eldest daughter; the oldest sibling who could never quite get her shit together… ever. And now I was back like the beer stain everyone thought was permanently scrubbed from the carpet.
I moved out of my parents and got my kids back in 1999, and while I had great intentions and did my best, it all fell apart in two years and then I was back in a new level of hell with less kids and more drama.
Fast forward to 2017, twenty-one years later, and I can honestly say while keeping weird lists, writing down directions to a place less than five miles away, writing down on my hand where I parked the car and other things that I should remember, it is a little less daunting, but still embarrassing.
“No, it isn’t a tattoo. It is directions to my car in the parking lot.”
There are even times I am talking to someone and the thoughts I have in my head are disappearing as I am trying to convey them. I’ll be mid-sentence and just wrap it up because I literally forgot what I wanted to say.
:(I have tried Ginko Biloba, changing my diet, more sleep, and lots and lots of brain puzzles. Every day I do word searches and even play my own ‘memory games’ in an effort to make my brain stronger, but honestly, all I can really ever do is memorize lyrics to songs.
That’s it. I mean, yes, I remember other things. But I have to work really hard at it. But I don’t have to work so hard to remember music. Never music.
Maybe I should sing everything I want to remember.
Take nothing for granted my friends.
Do you have any tricks to remember stuff or are you like an elephant?