Monday, May 30, 2016

What Sid taught me

It's been 25 days since my Sweet Sid passed on from this earth. In ways it already feels like it's been an eternity. I've heard many Sid stories, and analyzed every aspect of his relationships- with myself, his close friends, his distant relatives and old girlfriends. After the first few days I started to use these stories to reflect upon my own relationships. In addition to gaining a new group of his friends and family, I have stopped holding back feeling for my own. Love has flowed more openly, filters have fallen down, and I've started adopting Sid's "no shits to give" attitude. 
Carina (not me) and Sid <3
It took some time to shake the sadness off to the point of moving on. I still feel I am wearing a veil that no one else can see, though most are aware of. Some days the veil is thin and I can see through to the brightness all around. Some days, usually mornings when my tear ducts are refilled and ready to leak, the veil feels heavy and least until I let the tears flow and steal some of my sadness out with them.
I know that his absence will always be with me. Though I feel like I had been prepared for it better than many of his family and friends. I knew within the first year of meeting him that he would leave my life too soon. I had no idea I would be blessed with so many moments together, though. That he would confess that I was his best friend, and share his secrets with me, over and over often at early hours of the morning. Or that we would share beautiful imtimacies, some as simple as holding hands on the 367 mile drive from his house to mine.
As I mentioned in my stages of grief, I have reached acceptance. I don't look at his Facebook and expect a message. I no longer here the ping of messenger and hope it's him. I know there will be awful moments in which I blissfully forget he's gone, only to be abruptly reminded... but I can only embrace those moments. I can't spend any more time mourning. Though I will. He would have wanted me to be over it by now (and yet touched by my disobedience). So, I've realized the best way to get through this, is to live. His mom shared a sweet poem with me that summarizes my ambition these last few weeks.
We can't dwell on the deceased. We can only honor their every breath, and every success with our own energy and actions. I'm not going to put his spirit into stress eating bowls of ice cream (at least not too frequently), but allow his love and light motivate me to do one more lap, or make friends with a lonely frustrated child, or wake up early to watch the sunrise. So in addition to honoring him through my own actions, I've noticed myself taking on and modifying my life based on him not being in it to do these things for me. Without further adieu, here's what Sid taught me.
1) Don't give a f**k.
This one will be hard for me, as I've always been quite passive to others by nature. But there's something to be said for speaking tour kind when it comes up... why sit on a long boring trip just because you don't want to insult the person driving.... my fuck farm will always have more growing than Sid's did...but at least I'm learning when to use them. Or when not to. 
2) be nice to others.
Sid disliked most people, and for good reason. He could sniff out the liars and the assholes, and knew most people acted selfishly. But to his closest friends he was loyal as fuck. It didn't matter if they had a shelter to sleep in at night, an abusive girlfriend or a drug problem. He liked people for their absolute core, and he could read that a shit a mile away. His biggest problem was how sensitive was. He would cry over how selfish and ignorant people could be. He would put so much love and care into his friendships (in his own way) and when people wouldn't reciprocate the would break his heart, and build up his barriers. But to the people that broke through, he would do anything for them. I have learned a lot from his love and loyalty, but mostly for his ability to see and appreciate the truth and trust in the rare people that showed it.
3) don't be sorry, be silly
I know that he didn't originate that quote, but he said it, and lived by it. Sid never apologized because he said ways did what he meant to. But he was great at always adding silliness to a situation. Whether through costumes or just that sweet smile (or shit-eating grin, as some remember it) he ensured that no one took life too seriously. He was always a reminder to me to loosen up and take opportunities to relax as much as to work. And he could bring light to the shittiest situations, even the utterly hopeless ones, like the future of humanity. 
4) search for the truth. Always be willing to look deeper deeper than things seem.
Sid opened my eyes to corrupt governments, drug trades, political heroes and crazy outliers. He taught me to never take anything for face value, to question things, and to be skeptical of the answers you get. I can only imagine how deep I'll get down the rabbit hole he left me, but it's what I've got to do.
5) Dance
Sid danced better than I do, which isn't saying was still goofy as hell. But he loved the music. I strive to appreciate music more, from gheto boys to T swift. And to dance. To shake this booty he loved so much, knowing he's watching somewhere.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Life is what happens when you're busy making Plans

If I gave a graduation speech, it would have this theme.
Seize opportunity. 
The most inspiring people I have met in life are not those who simply climbed up the ladder to success. It's the ones who took each path that was offered, sometimes bounding from one to another, or taking several at the same time. The people who have been welders, wilderness therapy providers and dental assistants before settling into politics. And although some planning and goal setting is part of this process....the main thing they have in common is that they seize opportunity. Whether it fits in with the career path, or seems totally out of the way-- they take chances, even if they get messy and make mistakes.

This blog isn't really about them though. It's about how plans change, and how life is about making lemonade. And adapting to lemonade without sugar. I heard some 8 year-olds sharing wisdom recently... "If life hands me lemons, I SQUEEZE them into the EYES of LIFE!" said one clever little punk kid. Another responded: "I mean, what's the point. It's not like life hands you sugar. If you squeeze the lemons, you just get lemon juice."

I knew that life had quite a bit to dish to me on this, my 28th year, my Saturn return. I knew that the man I had obsessed over since I felt my first feelings of love would be gone from my life too soon. I knew that his greatest legacy to me would be the paths he opened up for me... but I had no idea it would be like this. 

A month ago, I was planning on spending this evening driving to Colorado, to get married the next day. Nothing special... a little party, some paperwork. We were then going to drive into Texas on an epic road trip-- I can't even imagine how that would have gone down-- to celebrate at our favorite water park before staying a night or two with my folks and him meeting my family. Plans. Just little words on paper. Shared thoughts through computer screens. Hopes and ideas. Fantasies of the future.

What's really strange to me is how possible it all seemed a month ago, and how impossible it all is now...and there was no inbetween. I've had someone disappear from my life before, but there was always the possibility of stalking and internet searches... It's been hard to wrap my head around his encompassing absence.

So... in lieu of getting married to the man of my dreams. [Literally the man who made me believe in paradise on earth...despite all his flaws and shortcomings...] I'm opting to seize new opportunities. Not right away. I hope it's going to be a slow journey. (Everything has been a little too fast lately)
I'm going to go to work instead of getting married. (I might have a few breakdowns). I'm going to fly home instead of driving. I'm going to dive into 10 weeks of working in the woods with a talented crew of like-minded people. and I'm going to try to spend some time with myself.
But also-- I'm going to explore the opportunities that only exist because of my relationship with him--new people, relationships, family and friends... new ideas... a whole rabbit hole he left me.

Rest Easy, Sweet Sid <3

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Holding his Hand is Heaven on Earth

Like most of the American population, I wouldn't have given two shakes toward New Mexico if it hadn't been for the object of my affection living here. We took a family trip to Santa Fe when I was 14 or 15 and all I could think about was bumping into him, which I did when we returned a few years later.
I had to apply for a scholarship for my creative writing degree at the College of Santa Fe, and one of the essay questions was to describe someone who has influenced your life. So I wrote about Phil (Sid). I remember the admissions director calling me at 8:00pm on a Thursday to tell me how much he liked it. They offered me $2-3,000, but I had to turn it down because it didn't make the other $25,000 worth a creative writing degree.

I got this quote because it described the two of us. "Find what you Love and Let it consume you". I didn't realize how well is described my relationship with him. 

Here's the essay, written 10 years ago by my 18 year old self...

It's amazing how much your life can evolve in a matter of weeks, days or mere seconds. The first time I saw Phil was the moment that confusion and immaturity escaped me and desire and understanding began to flow through my veins. Months after I met him, he inspired me to write my first monologue, in which I described my first feeling of his presence. "I can still remember the glow from the sunlight of the dirty room, as I talked and laughed with my friends. I remember looking up from Drew's feet to a noise in the corner, and that moment in my life was the most important moment in all of history. He sat, now so close in my heart, but so far away in the room." And that is how I still remember him entering my life.
I had never felt this way for someone before. This extreme want of attachment, and yet being 6 years younger than him, it seemed impossible. It didn't matter to him who I was, what I looked like, where I came from-- I was just an audience for his rants of politics and physics. But to me, he was a deity. His features were handsome, unmatched and perfect. In him I saw a sense of badness that I had longed for and a challenge; like my very own Kurt Cobain, they even shared similar smiled. His personality was everything I had dreamed of come to life, trapped in a flawless body that became my temple. He walked into my work, while I was a 14 year old dreamer who had learned for a taste of reality, and though I believed he was my dream come true, he was never a possibility.  
Before I knew it, my summer with him had ended. I achieved my last hug, received one small ticket for further communication, and was left with my intricate memories of his aura. That one little screen name became the object of my intent. As much as I brushed aside my job to focus on him and try to make him notice me, I ignored everything around me but this tiny scrap of paper with a screen name on it. Alas! he came on line. The gorgeously intelligent twenty year old obviously didn't see much need to converse with my inexperienced opinions, but I forced myself into his life, stalking him with internet searches. Finally, my desire for him brought out the evil in me. I posed as his perfect match- an older blonde bombshell whose pictures i found on a t-shirt site. And victory was achieved! He wanted me. No, he wanted her. 
My life had now become this facade. Every morning and evening before and after school I would slip into a charade of my wild side- everything I had wanted to be but couldn't show- to try to impress my idol. I met so many other people this way as well. People who couldn't make judgments from my clothes and facial expressions. People who wanted me because of my false image, but wanted to know me because of my personality. Aside from Phil, I would always reveal my true character to my new companions once I was sure they appreciated me. I can't count the number of people I met this way, or explain without talking for years how each conversation with these unique and understanding people opened my eyes to life beyond first impressions. 
One of Phil's friends online sent me four seconds of one of the best songs I had ever heard. I finally tracked it down and bought the CD and joined a message board for the band, where I found a whole other family of insecure artists like myself. Dozens of experiences like that enhanced myself because of my short relationship with him. By my sophomore year the confidence I had gained, the appreciation I now held for others and the respect I had for myself had made my new idol me, although Phil would always be the object of my desire. In the next two years, through un-trusting relationships, frustrating fantasies and hopes of success and college I would go to bed dreaming of Phil. My ultimate goal and most common dream was to be in his company again, and for him to at least notice me. I once wrote after waking from a dream of him that, "I feel like holding his hand is something people get rewarded in paradise. So if I urge for it, and obtain it...there can't be a heavy, but on this earth, because holding his hand would be just that divine."
Well, it's always seemed sort of a fairy tale, but this last month I learned that dreams come true.When I told Phil that I wasn't his blonde beauty, but actually confused little Cassie abusing the powers of the internet, he was rightfully upset. It had only been a few months of bliss and confusion that I let him on, but it would cause years of punishment, I believed. He disappeared, out of my life, gone from my boundaries of view, forever...Or so I thought. A year and 4 months later from his last words to me, I was typing away to my current boyfriend, most likely using the sincerity that I had learned from my life for Phil, when an unknown screen name popped up on my computer. Much to my surprise and delight, it was him. Lonely and bored, he had probably forgotten my crime though his minute drug abuse. I was so thrilled to have him talking to me again that I couldn't stop smiling for a week. Pretty soon, he didn't come online anymore. I was left with our sparse and unspecific conversations, and with my old memories. Eight months later, he came around again. I began to think of him as Jenny in Forrest Gump. I would spend months running across the world, doing great and unusual things all because of the inspiration he game me; and he would wander back into my life in-between abusive relationships with girls and drugs. After 4 times of lighting up my life with his unexpected arrival, and leaving me again with more to hope for than last time, I got a message once again. "Booga Bogga Booga" the many says, "do you know who this is?" "Give me a hint," I inquired. "Uhhhhh. I like politics?" "Phillip?!"
He informed me that he still resided in Albuquerque, as I knew from the research I would do while he was missing from my life (a horrible habit that I have never ceased from the moment we met). I told him that there was a college I wanted to visit up in Santa Fe and before I knew it I was on a plane to one of my favorite cities with all of my desires possibly coming true.
 It was so weird to be sitting down to lunch with my parents and my deity. A man I worshiped before I even knew what he would do for me.
[and had no idea what was to come...] I couldn't tell this stranger that had lucked into getting food from an old friend that I had a shrine of his photos above my bed, and that for years every time I closed my eyes I pictured him, or that holding his hand would be bliss. [Although I learned 10 years later that he knew all this that day... that was his secret from me.] I couldn't tell him, because I didn't know why I had worshiped him so. [What I now believe was a stronger force...] He was human, as much as I or my father sitting across from him. He bit his nails and hated his hair cut just like so many others I knew. Although his words still grabbed me and his eager mind still inspired, and his goodbye hug left much regret for hings I could have done...but he's just a man. A handsome man, however, that symbolizes desire, confidence and success. 
We've talked more since that visit than ever online. He shares his rants with me daily and I hesitate to tell him how often he's crossed my mind. He has revealed to me that he appreciates my care, and I hide how much.  I have learned that obstacles like age, appearance and mannerisms are not as crucial to understanding someone as knowing their goals and beliefs. He taught me all this, and he never did anything but exist. And now that I've learned that love at first sight isn't necessary, he is interested in me, and I above all, and interested in myself. 

I think this says as much about growing up with Chat rooms and internet as it does about my relationship. I'm so scared and curious for the next generation.

It's hard not to edit this with hindsight...but I think that makes it just as interesting. A snapshot into my 18 year old mind. I would say that I wish I had known then what would become of us...but I think I always knew...deep in my heart. I knew he was my true love, and I knew we weren't going to be together...and I have the rest of my life to cope with that.

 You Make me So Very Happy <3

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Good Grief - 7 Stages

1) Shock- You do things that don't really make sense given the gravity of the situation. You crumble, you cry, you hit the ground. No matter how much you expected it... you grapple to understand the news. You are thankful for the voice that told you. You call your mommy. Shock continues to rock you, like a ripple on water, dissapating and concentrating throughout you.

2) Grief. - You cry until you can't breathe. You catch your breath, and look around at the blankness before you. You cry again, this time until you feel discomfort. Your guts writhe with the feeling of being empty and full. You cry again, until you're numb. You body buzzes but feels frozen. Your heart stops and stutters simultaneously. Your skin crawls inside and oozes outward into your space. You breathe. You cry again...this time until you're hollow, there are no guts inside, it's all dripped out of your face, emotions, thoughts, control.

3) Sorrow- You begin to grapple. To piece together the situation. I formulate a plan. I'm a planner. I compartmentalize. I buy donuts, but I can't eat them. I ache for one more moment with him. You try to distract yourself and concentrate on every minute detail at the same time. Thoughts speed through your brain but time is standing still. Sorrow envelopes you like a dark dress that no one can see, but you can feel it's pins and needles upon you at all times.

3.5) Sharing- Sorrow continues, but his spirit exists in the memeories people share. We are all simply made of memories. Our own unique beings. No matter how much you share with others, know one but yourself will know your entire being. I talk to people that knew him 5 years ago, or when he grew up. People that knew him for the last five years. My timeline with him stretches through the middle to the end of his life. We honor his spirit the way he would have wanted. We honor his life, his selfishness and his selflessness. "Fuckin' Sid" is all we can say.

4) Acceptance- Acceptance starts inside you like oil, mixed with the water of sorrow. You know it's going to settle into layers, that sorrow will always be there, but with acceptance it won't hurt as much...but first it's too shaken to settle. By 3:00pm of day 4, acceptance had started to settle, thanks to gentle conversations and lots of hard decisions. Plans are made toward finding closure for him and honoring his wishes, which allows us to be prepped for acceptance to wash over.

5) Anger. I didn't feel this one, but I know many do. I'm not angry at Sid for not taking care of himself. I can't be. I have to accept his fate as well as he did. And respect the hell out of the fact that he lived and died doing exactly what he wanted.

6) "You don't get over get through it." You realize that the best way to honor the dead is by living fully, and begin the transitions back to your own life. You are grateful for those around you, and you start to tell them so. Suddenly saying I love you doesn't feel awkward, it feels necessary. You breathe, thankful of each breath. You take one step, then another, knowing that some steps can be taken in his honor, some need to be taken for yourself, and some are going to hurt like hell.

7) You learn to appreciate hurting like hell. Cause at least when you're hurting you're feeling something. And that's what life is all about. Feeling.
You may swear to never love again. Or know that you will never find a love like that again. But you reflect on the lessons that they shared with you, the incredible influences they had on every aspect of your life, even the ones you're not aware of yet.

Our Story

I have written out story a dozen times, in a dozen different ways. I even won a scholarship for writing about "someone who had influenced your life" when I was 18- from writing our story-- but it was so short then. I had a feeling that this year I was going to have an ending to part of our story, but I hadn't expected it to be like this. After I first met him when I was 14, I wrote it as a monologue. Digging back through my journal pages today, in which almost every entry is directly or indirectly inspired by him, I found that monologue, written months after we first met. 

I had thought that love at first sight is silly. I didn't think it was possible. i thought that emotions like love were measured by how far you could get with the coolest highschool guy. I wasn't that shallow, just ignorant. Then my life changed. I was training for work some Saturday just before summer. I still remember the glow from the sunlight off the dirty room, ans I talked and laughed with my friends. I remember looking up from Drew's feet to the noise in the corner and that moment in my life was the more important in all of history. He sat, now so close in my heart, but so far away in the room. His head was recently shaved, his tiny blonde hairs glistened. I learned later he had shaved his mohawk just for the job and of his fondness for them. His face was shaped and structured more perfectly than I could have ever imagined. His chains, chokers and spikes added a glistening perfection to his Godly figure. His baggy, worn transformers shirt spoke his personality and hang over his sagging multi-pocketed skater pants. And then Candyce said something to make him laught. That smile could make starving children feel no pain. As his laughter reached my ears, I suddenly felt like I had melted into a pathetic puddle of love left to be stepped on. 
Over time I got to know him. I fell down on the job because of my yearning to get to know him. To love him. For him to love me. For the most part, I locked my desires internally and before I knew it, the fun experiences of the summer had ended....
I knew the gravity of our relationship from that first moment, though we could never explain the draw we felt to be together. Now as I type this from his chair, after hearing hundreds of memories other people shared with him, it was confirmed. His cheesy grin, those beautiful gray eyes that stole my heart, and occasionally looking into my soul with the deepest love I could have imagined, and his goofy confidence had indeed brought a whole town to light.
Our story starts that summer. The summer of 2002. Somehow, I don't remember much of him throughout that summer, but I know it took all my willpower not to follow him around like a puppy. He filled my head with his conspiracies-- ideas I hadn't heard of before. I was attracted to his brilliance, his beauty, and that fucking charm that stole everyone's hearts.
It was the end of summer that my life started in an unusual way that only Phil was able to arrange. I have a memory of standing outside the school, trading Yahoo Instant Messenger screen names. What happened next is strange, and shameful and easy to omit, but it's important to the story of Cass and Sid, or perhaps more important to my story. Assuming that as a charming 20 year old he didn't have to waste time with a stupid 14 year old, I abused the power of the internet to create a fake profile. I filled it with photos of some blonde from T-shirt Hell website. I brought her  into a chat room that he frequented. (Oh the early 2000's! chatrooms, memes, or facebook videos, just ebaums world and Kazaa). I slowly tried to steal his heart, as someone snuck in and stole mine. I ended up confessing to him first. "Dec" we called him, was the first one I confided to about my true identity. Sid's screen name was Richard Hell so we all called him Rich. the blonde girl went by "itch". This is chatting in the early 2000's. Dec told me to tell Phil, and after a few months, I worked up the courage to. I'm sure I have that conversation saved, but unsurprisingly, he was upset, and essentially told me to fuck off. Actually, he told me to come back when I was 18, which gave me a glimmer of hope toward the love I wouldn't know he shared for me until more than a decade later. From my monologue, 2002: 

Phil and I grew close. We talked about and shared things that I will never and can never forget. Whether taunting others or in our own passionate fun, it was an undescribable feeling...of deceit. [I made friends with other people in our chatroom, some of whom carried me through difficult parts of my life, and I considered my angels] But in a way, Phil is my true angel. He led me to this life, he brought me to this state of self-satisfaction and unintentionally introduced me to my [other] saviors. I still try to talk to him. He exists forever in my heart and mind but it kills me to think that I haven't crossed his mind since then. 

I wrote some weird angsty poems about Sid. He came to me in my dreams, often...and throughout my life. I remember one dream in which we were walking down a road under a tree and he casually reached out and held my hand. I woke up feeling so strong and connected to this stranger, not even knowing where he was or what he was doing. I thought of him as the Jenny to my Forest Gump. Throughout our relationship, I would take any opportunity, go new places and try new things, while he wandered through life just living... living his highs and lows in ways I will only get to hear about from friends and family who were with him throughout those journeys. 

It wasn't much later that he came back into my life, Jenny-style. A new screen name popped up saying "ooga booga" and I immediately knew it was him. We chatted on and off for months, and then he would disappear again. When he wasn't in my life, on my screen, sharing little bits and pieces of his life at the moment, I can only imagine the characters he met, and made fall in love with him. I've met many of them in the last few days, but I can only imagine how many others there are around out there. And so the story goes on until as an 18 year old looking for collages, inspired by his existence in New Mexico and the thought of being at least a little closer to him, I flew with my folks out to Santa Fe to look at a school. We picked him up in a Dunkin Donuts and watched him get in a car to get or sell some weed in front of my parents. 

But they still took him to Kelly's for a beer. I don't think I took a breath that whole afternoon, and I remember my elation in the hotel room that night as I wrote in my journal that this beautiful creature I had put on a pedestal for so many years was in fact, just a man, a human... my person. 

I talked a lot about driving to visit him in NM when I was in college in Texas, but it never worked out. It wasn't supposed to. Instead, I waited 2 more years until I had transferred to New York, conveniently accessible to Pittsburgh, where he now resided. On Spring Break I bought a $30 China Town bus ticket and spent 6 hours wondering what the fuck was going to happen. I hadn't ever actually been alone with him before so having him tie me up in a dungeon was a legitimate possibility. (Sorry Mom). Instead, his roommates picked me up at the train station. He carried my bags. We went up to his room and ensued some awkward but sweet tension that had built up for years. When it was finally released, I remember laying in his cave, on the same red sheets I'm staring at now, aware of how our auras were dancing, entwined with one another as our bodies lay wrapped up below.  

I visited him one other time that Spring, and he came out to NY to stay with his mom, and I spent Easter weekend with him. We went to the Sex museum, and I drank my first Red Ale next to him at a bar in Manhattan.

By May he had started to pull away, ready to ride the world wherever it was to take him. I was heartbroken and I still remember all the ways I tried to distract myself from his absence that summer. The following Spring Break I met a new man and spent the next 5 years settled with him....
Sid still came to my dreams. He still warmed my heart. He told me of a girl he met and how he was in love, and how she made him all romantic. I kept tabs through their on and off relationship as my seemingly stable one soared. He grumbled a lot in the last few months with regrets that he hadn't taken my heart when I gave it to him the summer of 2009... but we wouldn't have been ready to love each other back then. I had to learn how to be patient, to be accepting, and to love unconditionally. Perhaps he had to learn how to accept my unconditional love. 
Despite a time or two of him casually dropping a "love ya" in conversation over the years, I had no idea of his feelings for me until November, 2015. He confessed that he had seen the shrine I made in a selfie I sent him...that he enlarged it and studied it. He told me that my love for him kept him carrying on in the most trying times. Among the many messages that made my heart soar was this: 
" i love you and i would like to at least sometime in my life get to spend more than a few days with you" 
When I finally drove up to Manitou in December, and he ran down the hallway to the door to let me in, and kissed me like 6 years were just moments and we had our whole lives to be together, I had to really wonder. I wondered what the fuck kept us together over all these years. Kept us coming back to each other. We were polar opposites. We existed in each others' challenge zones. His world and behaviors were as foreign to me as mine were to him. Yet we loved. I loved his brilliance and he loved my loyalty.
We didn't get to spend much time together in this world, but everything I did had him in mind. We were always destined to be together... whether it was our souls pulling us close despite our differences, or if we carved the other person into what we needed...or a little of both.

I was aware that he was sick, but not how much. I wonder how much he knew. He was always open about his own death, and we were genuinely surprised when he turned 30, that he hadn't killed himself yet with his hard habits.

When we kissed on New Years I felt complete. The love that had lingered with so much distance between us, was now able to grow. I could feel it enveloping us. I spent half my life just waiting to be with him. Waiting for those cherished moments. A brief hug, a drunken conversation regarding the latest conspiracy. I feel lucky that I mostly knew Sid in my heart, because he will remain there forever, not much different than before, except that I'll never get an "ooga booga," or an "I love you more than you'll ever know," again. There are echos of him everywhere, especially here in Manitou. This was his community, his home in a way I don't think he ever had.
I don't know if he was "lost" but he spent most of his life on a journey he couldn't fully comprehend.. His brilliance left him bored...and angry at how un-accepting and ignorant the rest of the world was. He was the most sensitive person I had ever met.  He cared so much about his people, his cats, and our fucked up world that he had to constantly distract himself from the pain. But it seems his journey left him in just the right place. He found his people-- a whole town of them. As 'Mayor of Manitou' he found his niche, in being a shoulder to cry on, a fist to a fight, or to pick your drunk ass off the streets and take you home, he was a caretaker. He gave his love to the world every day, and didn't ask for much in return-- just some pot, a drink, or mostly, some company. 

We talked a lot about his mortality this year, though not too much more than every year before. We also talked of our future. We agreed against every having kids, but he loved the thought of helping me raise an adopted one. One of the days we were talking about our plans, curled up on his bed just going to sleep at 5 in the morning, he looked straight at me with those gorgeous gray eyes and asked me to Marry him. Because I had imagined being Cass Schneider since I was fourteen, I didn't hesitate. He asked me again and again over the weeks, just to be sure. I assured him that he had always had my heart, and we toyed with different states, times or ways to get married... Which community to have it in, to elope or celebrate with family.
One night in March, after he sat with me for painful tattoo session, we walked to Kelly's where we had hung with my folks 10 years before. We played darts until he went out to smoke and saw the drive by chapel. Unfortunately it was closed, but we intended to go the next day until we realized he needed his Social Security card, which was back in CO.  We planned on getting married when I came back up there, but in my haste to see him, I forgot my social. We agreed to set a date that his friends could come in town for, and planned on May 24th, before retreating to our favorite water park in Texas for a honeymoon of sorts.

Our time together felt too short, but it must have been perfect. Everything about my life happened because of him. My openness with others, the honesty he taught me. Even the work I do that I give myself so fully to I found as a way to distract myself from our in-betweens. (Ironically, those habits were so strong that by the time he came back into my life I spent most of our time working in the world that I had used to run away). I don't think we could have been together any sooner. He hasn't learned how to accept love, and I hadn't learned how to love unconditionally. I believe that once he had that, and had his people, and his town...he had finally found enough bright spots to make the pain go away. I think he held on until he was sure, and then let his soul slip away.

He better fucking come back at a cat, and find me. We have a lot of snuggling to do.  My life will have significantly less debauchary in it without my Sweet Sid...though his spirit will live on inside me. You never know when a random "BANGARANG" might come up. I will forever strive for his spontaneity, and his sometimes brutal honesty that made him so fucking genuine and real-- which was refreshing in this fake ass world.

As I sat down to write this, I thought I could jot down our simply story. But no one's story is simple. Each moment of his life was a memory. Every note he wrote, word he said, friend he made, and hug he gave was a piece of this world. Thousands of people were lucky enough to share those with him, and they will carry on those memories, just like I carry on my memories of our moments together. We will share our Sid stories, laugh and cry together, honor his soul and his spirit, and put together our pieces. But no one will ever know the full Sid. 

His passing is a reminder to be honest, to be real, to live life and not give a fuck (I'm still working on that one). I'm so grateful to have had him in my life, to have gotten to know him "better than anyone else," and to have shared these last few months with him. Xoxo Sid
These are not flattering photos, but they are the only ones that He took of us, in a happy moment after haircuts.