About the blank notebook

Sad writer, reluctant grief expert and dog enthusiast. @mirandaryan

somebody’s someone: my mike

We are all somebody’s someone. He was my Mike.

I don’t have the perfect words today. So I was hesitant to share anything. I wanted to put it off for another day. However, maybe I’ll never have the perfect words. And who knows if I’ll have another day. (Don’t worry, according to my therapist it’s just an existential crisis.)

It’s International Overdose Awareness Day and I hate everything about it. I hate that since it was declared a public health emergency in 2016, over 7,760 people have died from drug toxicity in British Columbia, and over 21,000 across Canada. I hate that there is stigma around people who use drugs that prevents them from getting help. I hate that we need to be reminded to have compassion for other people. I hate the failed “war on drugs” and decades of policies that mean what should be a health issue is treated as a moral one and one of criminality. But perhaps most of all I hate how unaware I was until it was too late.

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kintsugi: emphasizing the breakage

I can’t remember who, but one of us, me or Mike accidentally broke this little ceramic bowl. I have a feeling it was Mike, but don’t trust my memory so I can’t say for sure. The grief and trauma have significantly affected my memory which is troubling in several ways, but particularly because I don’t know if I’m remembering our all too short time together correctly. I wish I could remember his exact words in so many moments, but sadly I don’t.

The bowl broke into four clean pieces, and I remember (correctly or incorrectly) telling Mike it was fixable. I told him about kintsugi, the Japanese art of putting broken pottery pieces back together with gold. The philosophy emphasizes the breakage and repair as part of the history of an object, embracing the flaws.

Mike liked this idea, he embraced flaws in everyone and accepted them as they were – human. He did this to me, and I offered the same to him. We are all flawed.

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grief judgement: why “words of comfort” can feel like judgement

If you’re not a fellow griefling (yes, we have a cute name for ourselves – don’t @ me) you may be surprised to hear that you can feel very judged in grief. I learned this over the past year from my experience as well as talking to other grievers. I found when I most needed support I was on the receiving end of comments that seem like they should be comforting, but instead I felt judged. It took me a lot of thinking, reading, and processing to understand why everyone was trying to comfort me and theoretically saying nice things and yet I often felt worse.

The first thing I want to say is that your words will likely never provide comfort in the way you wish they could. I hope this liberates you rather than brings you down. It’s not because you’re inadequate, it’s because perhaps the only thing that would bring them true comfort is for their person to still be alive. You can’t take their pain away. All you can do is acknowledge it and perhaps ease their suffering if you can (more on that another day).

Also, I’ve most likely said versions of all of the below in the past, and despite my experience I often have to check my urges to say them now, so I’m not some perfect example. I just know more now and want to share that knowledge in the hope it helps bridge the gap in a society that doesn’t understand grief. I also know that if you’re reading this you want that too and I thank you for that.

Here are a couple of things people (muggles – yes you get a cute name too) commonly say to grieflings and why they feel like judgements.

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a note for other grievers

There is so much loss and grief out there right now. I started trying to recap some of the latest, but then got overwhelmed and scrapped that idea. This isn’t a news site and you probably know it all anyway. So, unlike those recipe blogs that make you scroll as though your life depends on it just to hit that chicken soup recipe, I’ll get right to the point.

I wanted to share this blessing I wrote for other grievers… you can define ‘griever’ for yourself. It could be recent loss or a wound from 30 years ago.

for other grievers

I feel your pain. Your sorrow, your longing, your loss.

You have pain that can’t be fixed or moved on from or gotten over.

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mike’s orange slices

“Want to split an orange, Baby?” he’d call out to me from bent over the open fridge. Mike and I always used to share them.

The other day without thinking I cut this orange up into 8 pieces and started eating, by the third slice it was getting harder to swallow as I realized what I was looking at, on the chopping board were Mike’s orange slices. His portion.

“Everything’s always better when you share”. He always said. Of course he was right.

These were Mike’s orange slices. I left them out for a bit because I was too sad to deal with them. I thought maybe I’d eat them later. I didn’t.

I hate wasting food, but I couldn’t eat these orange slices. They were his.

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Widowed at 35: Hello, I’m still here and am bringing back the blog

I’m back on my bullshit. That’s what the kids say these days, right?

A new kind of bullshit for sure. I never wanted to be a widow or a grief expert, but here I am, a member of the worst exclusive shitty club.

My husband died on July 31, 2020. More on that later.

For now, I want to say hello again – it’s been over 6 years since my last post. Potentially 10 years since you subscribed to this blog. I’m sure many of you are like what, who, why am I getting this email? Yes, it was a completely different story Before – feel free to hit that unsubscribe (I wish I could).

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Robots gunna kill us all…

Stephen Hawking, Bill Gates, Elon Musk and many other of the world’s greatest minds agree that super-intelligence poses one of the greatest threats to humanity. The theory goes that humans will create machines so smart they will learn how to make themselves more intelligent, becoming superior to us. The super intelligent AI comes to understand that the death of all humans is the most efficient way forward and kills us all.

I guess we all gotta go someday, hey?! Continue reading

Peanuts for Allergies – Controversial Allegations Enough to Take the Rose out of Every Cheek

Controversial allegations have come to light that suggest senior executives at Vegemite created peanut allergies in efforts to reclaim some of their lost market share. A series of leaked emails allege operation ‘Down with P: V on Top’ was an ongoing take-down strategy that aimed to get peanut butter banned from schools and force parents to use allergy-friendly Vegemite.

One of the most shocking elements to the controversy was the alleged payment of school children to fake the illness Continue reading

Hottest 100 Predictions – What’s Going On This Australia Day?

Ken oath I love ‘straya. I’d potentially call myself ‘patriotic’ if it didn’t have the cringe worthy associations with racism and shame surrounding our colonial past. But I’m not here to lecture on our issues with racism, our binge drinking culture, or our national identity issues – I’m not actually clever enough to write about those things anyway. Instead I’m writing about the things I like about Australia Day, that is: barbequed meats; an obligation to eat lamingtons; and triple j’s Hottest 100. Continue reading

Bah Humbug! Down with Christmas!

It’s beginning to look a lot like I AM GOING TO SHOVE THOSE CHRISTMAS BAUBLES UP YOUR CHIMNEY IF YOU DON’T BACK THE F*** UP, Santa! You too Rudolph, if that even is your real name…

Seriously get out of the way, scrooge is coming through with big plans to hate, hate, hate all over your Christmas.

Turning 18, becoming fully self-dependent, purchasing a vacuum cleaner… all things we use to classify the transition to adulthood – until now. Continue reading