1:19 am in Greenville, North Carolina

April 14, 2010

Well, I don’t do this every night.  However, since I withdrew from school two plus weeks ago, a lot of my nights I do quite a bit of late-night grieving and connecting with other sibling suicide survivors (my apologies to family members who do not wish the nature of Mariahs’ death to be broadcast).  No specifics of death should ever be taboo, as it is merely the other side of life.   I decided , since this blog is still frequented by loved ones, that I would post a bit about my grieving process.  It is unique to my life experiences so far.  Here is what I just posted on the sibling suicide survivor site a few minutes ago:

I found myself in my own bedroom closet an hour ago. Tonight that is where I found more comfort than anywhere else in the last handful of weeks. I will try it again if I am blue tomorrow. The first thought that came to mind while i curled up in there was the memory of my first night staying by my sister’s bedside at the hospital. It took me two weeks after her stroke to make it there (I am a working musician and I struggled to afford the ticket to travel to her) The first night I curled up in a ball on the chair next to her hospital bed and slept there… I just wanted to be near her. The next several visits I spent a lot of time moving her about transferring her from bed to wheelchair and tilting her back in the sun outside and playing guitar and singing to her. She couldn’t speak or swallow or move except for toes, so we had “yes” and “no” written on her socks. I would ask if she wanted me to keep singing, or if she wanted to be in the shade, etc…
Mariah I miss you soo much!!! I need my sidekick. I need my big sister. I need a hero again. I am so discouraged and lonely without you! I am so mad at God for letting you take your life. I needed you so much. I would have taken care of you forever. You only needed a little help at the end of it all. You were getting so well again. I need help letting go of you every day. Every night. I miss your encouragement and your faith in me. I miss your laughter. Your friend, Eric, wrote to tell me he wanted to name a daughter after you one day. ….Not if I beat him to it first! This sucks, I am hurting unbearably without you. Only God understands. I know that I don’t. Sometimes I am too angry with Him to even want to spend time with Him. Its been 3 and a half months since you left. It hurts like yesterday. Bless you, my angel.

Part of my grieving process is based upon my personal belief that no feeling I have is unhealthy or wrong or suspect.  No feeling or mood necessitates therapy or scrutiny or “fixing” any more or less than another.  Easier said than done, however.  Anger, anxiety, and insecurity are some of the most difficult emotions for me to deal with.  I have beaten the sapling tree in my backyard to death, spent countless baths screaming under water in the middle of the night, sobbed through the pain on my floor, in the arms of friends, or in the supermarket while purchasing a few items to accomplish my daily goal of eating three meals, and I have laughed and loved and been loved deeply through and between all of it.  Also, envy confounds me.  Some would call me crazy to say it, but suicide has many times been a logical “option” to me.  I am a recovering drug addict, and insane thinking is one of the most obvious characteristics of the addict mind.  I can’t help it.  It is out of my control.  I can go from serene to suicidal myself in a matter of minutes.  This is why I make life choices that go against the grain.  This is why I perform for a living.  It is why I just left school to take care of my insides.  It is why I need encouragement, help, and positive people.  It is why I have not spent one day in over two years without spending time consciously with the God whom I serve.  It is why my spiritual life is everything and the material: school, relationships, finances, achievements, MUST take a backseat.  All things come and go, so more can always be had.  Time is the only thing already measured and slipping away one day at a time.  Mariah’s days were measured before her birth, as are my own.  I have been cheated by addiction, disease, and wrong perceptions afforded me by misinformed people so many times now that the only place for me to truly live is with my heart in Gods hands and my eyes on Gods wisdom.

I am very joyful to say tonight, after another one of the particularly difficult evenings, that I am very grateful to have been endowed over time with the courage to stand and face the wind.  I am grateful for the hope in tomorrow, the pain that spiritual growth necessitates, and the friends I have who have been with me through the storms.  May 3rd I will celebrate, sadly without Mariah, my Fourth Year Clean and Recovering from the horrors of life in active addiction.  This year it is in honor of one of my biggest heros and greatest inspirations:  my big sister and best friend, Captain K


4 Responses to “1:19 am in Greenville, North Carolina”

  1. Mark Steinwinter said

    Clay, I know how it feels to lose a daughter, but I don’t what it’s like to lose a sister. My heart goes out to you and to every person who, through painful experience, knows the “other” side of life.

    I’m excited to visit with you in Greenville next week.

    God bless you, Clay.

    – Dad

  2. Jamie Umber said

    Dear Clay,

    We have never met and I hadn’t seen Mariah for at least a year when she had her stroke. I was a Vet Corps colleague of hers. I still think of her often and checked in on the website today. While I can only imagine what Mariah went through and what you and your family continue to go through, and quite honestly I’m not sure if my small note will help or harm that process, I want you to know that you are in my thoughts and my heart. Your honesty and courage inspire me – just as Mariah did and does.

    Please know that you and your dad have touched the lives of others in immeasurable ways over the past almost 2 years now – even those that you have never met. I am very grateful for your hope in tomorrow.

    Here is to your strength and your loving heart!

  3. Suzie Poteet said

    Dear Clay,
    We have never met but I knew Capt. Kovachi from Ft. Meade vet where she took care of my dog K9 Sonya who loved to visit to visit Capt. Kovachi whether it was for exams or just to say hi. She was a very special person who loved all animals and it showed in her work. She took special care of K9 Sonya when she became sick and was not able to eat. She even went as far as to give me her personel cell number to call her while she way away for work if I needed her advice about K9 Sonya. She will be greatly missed by people and animals. I was very sad and upset to hear of her passing ( I just found out today). My thoughts and prayers go out to you and your family. Capt. Kovachi is an angel smiling down on everyone she touched.


  4. Heidi Bassani said

    Hi everyone.

    I don’t know what it is about this week but I’ve been thinking about Mariah a lot. I was very sad to see your last post, Clay. I hope things have gotten a little easier every day. It did make me think about when I was working with Mariah on her speech (bear with me for the leap this may take). No matter how understandable she was with her speech, her main complaint was how effortful it was. It made me think that really everything in life that is worth anything takes effort. Even the things you think shouldn’t, sometimes require great effort, like love and faith. I imagine it takes EXCESSIVE amounts of effort to beat addiction and maybe even more to fight that monster in times of crisis and I highly applaud you for that. I think Mariah lived with effort everyday as you all do now. I think with all of your help she found ways to reduce the perception of that effort with love and laughter. I hope you can all do the same. That is how I think of her now. Laughing.

    One of our early speech tasks was for her to create a lengthier sentence with the starter phrase I would give her. One of those was ” I want…” I thought she’d give me some lengthy, complicated thought and then she said ” I want a pony!” It just struck us both as so funny and it found it’s way in most sessions. Still today I picture that big loud laugh of hers and that big smile. I hope that mental picture can give you the smile it often gives me.

    Miss all of you!

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