“We Will Miss You”

When I Think of You

When I think of you…
Not if.
If still leaves some part to chance,
But you were always more than happenstance,
and if?
If implies that some days pass without your presence
Which isn’t true,
Because every day I think of you.
Every day you come to mind,
Weighing down the tics and tocs of clocks which stop defining time,
Forcing me to count the lines between memories and the hour’s chime
Just wishing, wanting, pining, praying
that the ghost of you might cease its haunt
and find some other means for staying,
Because the truth…
Well, the truth is I can’t let you go,
Or won’t.
Ha, the truth is I don’t know.
The pain of loss still daily grows,
and I’d love to simply let you go:
Move on and find new friends,
New love,
New ghosts and future haunts thereof,
But such is life:
The great lost and found.

I can’t help but wonder when the hour sounds
Do you think of me?
Do your thoughts return
to the souls you ditched, abandoned, burned?
Try as desperately as I may,
My heart still yearns
to know you’re well
or at least to know you’ll be okay,
Because once upon a distant time,
Our lives were made to coincide,
Our souls were wonderfully intertwined,
And as I sit here, trapped by time
while the clock still tics and tocs and chimes,
My thoughts, again, have turned to you.
Is it wrong that I wonder,
‘Do you think of me, too?’

The eldest of us is 64 (the old man, or TOM, as he’s been partial to of late), and the youngest are 19 (the twins), with most of us maintaining no-man’s land at 34. Even going by our youngest alters, though, we have lived more places than most. Multiple states, multiple living situations, and not once have we lived in one place for more than a year at a time – usually by choice and seldom by force. We’ve met all kinds of people from all kinds of backgrounds, we’ve shared life in one form or another with more people than we can count, and the vast majority of that shared life has not been in vain if for no other reason than because the system we are today is a product of those interactions, those connections. You don’t need DID or any kind of condition or disorder or disease to be able to say that, either, because we are all the results of the people and cultures and societies around us. We are all inextricably connected to the people who have had some influence on our life.

Is that too vague?

Okay then, let’s put it this way: when you close your eyes and let you mind drift, what do you see? Blue skies? Puppies? Friends and family? Art? Plants? The ocean? Whatever it is, we can bet you almost anything, that if you tried closing your eyes again in ten minutes or an hour or even tomorrow, that what you see would be different. Whatever you see, though, it had an impact on you even if only in the very slightest of ways, because if it didn’t, you wouldn’t think of it. When TOM closes his eyes, for example, he often sees an old, blue house standing high and proud above the wind-blown sea grass and sun-bleached sand. Why? Because that was his childhood home, and it holds some of his most cherished memories. When Samantha closes her eyes, though, she frequently sees the red and navy flannel shirt that her father used to wear – it isn’t an especially happy memory, but we bring it up now, because not all influences in our lives are positive.

When most of us get lost in thoughts and daydreams, our minds have this funny habit of dropping memories of people into the mix. Sometimes they’re oddly specific – like the day when 2 & 3 kept telling our brother how much we love him, and he didn’t know how to respond, because showing emotion like that, especially back then, was incredibly rare for us; and other times, those memories are just a face that pops into focus as quickly as it disappears again like the ripple on the pond that catches the light just so. We think of those people from time to time, because they meant something to us – or maybe they still do – and it’s important to keep those people in our hearts whether or not we understand why.

When seemingly random faces from the past appear in our mind, we make a point to reach out to those people (provided they were positive influences, of course). Who knows? Maybe we have been missing something about that connection, and the triggered memory is our soul’s attempt at filling in the gap. Maybe that person is the answer to a question we haven’t thought to ask yet. Or maybe they came to mind, because on some level, that person is struggling with something, and we can help. Whatever the reason, with the endlessly expanding social networks at our disposal these days, it feels wrong to us to not reach out to at least say hi. Even if that person mistakenly interprets our actions as creepy or stalker-ish, it’s worth the effort (and misunderstanding) to let them know, that they crossed our mind.

We are sure, that many people will read the poem above and misinterpret it as being about a former lover – some relationship from the past that we wish hadn’t ended or some other nonsense like that. The truth is, though, that it’s about all those people from our past who meant something to us once: the ones who called us friend or family, the ones who claimed to love us, and the ones who said they’d miss us when we left. It’s about the countless people with whom connections were created and bonds were forged… but years and years and years later, we have yet to hear a single word from them.

In the mind of systems like us wherein conversation is constant and far more than a single, unending line of thought, the fact that no one from our past whether family, friend, lover, or acquaintance has ever reached out to us to say, “Hey! I know we haven’t spoken in ages, but you crossed my mind the other day, and I just wanted you to know that,” begs the question, are we simply not crossing people’s minds, or is it that we are, but people are too wrapped up in their own lives to say something? Truth be told, we can’t agree on which side of that question feels worse.

Granted, we know what this world is like, and to say that people are overbooked, too thinly spread, and usually overwhelmed 30 hours a day or more is an understatement. Most of the people from our past who are 34.ish years old are married by now with anywhere from one to three children, and kids, while wonderful, are a major distraction from social interaction. We don’t have kids, but we also don’t need to in order to understand that truth. But in the words of at least one very wise woman who knows how much it pains us to say it, “You make time for the things you want to do.” And how many times has that truth rung loud and clear in our life!

So again, is it just that we don’t rank high enough on the list of priorities to be worthy of sacrificing less than five minutes of your veg-out time in order to drop a quick hello via phone, text, email #1, email #2, business email, Facebook, Instagram, or any one of the bajillion other forms of instant communication available to thumbs everywhere? Or is it that we, like Michael Scott before us, romanticized our relationship and connection into something more than it was thereby rendering any expectation of reconnecting ever-so-briefly in the future merely the stuff of fairy tales?

And we get it: we haven’t always been the most stable person on planet Earth. We’ve been prone to dramatic mood swings, anger, frustration, stubbornness, opinion, and a host of other character “flaws” which, arguably, come as a lovely bonus package with humanity, in general. So yeah, we’re not now nor have we ever been perfect, and for as much as we can say it without sounding completely insincere, we’re sorry about that. You’re the ones who said, “We’re going to miss you,” though. You’re the ones who claimed to be sad to see us go, but as heartfelt as those words may have been at the time, now they just appear empty – puddles of ink on the ground beneath an abandoned boot.

Below, we have compiled a list of the people who come to mind most frequently. For the sake of relative anonymity, we’ve kept the list to initials only even though we are fully aware, that the chances of any of these people reading through this post, let alone the list below, are next to zero. A few of these people did nothing wrong at all! They’re just people we have missed over the years and despite our best efforts to reconnect, the missing continues. We aren’t sharing as a way of passively telling these people, “You suck, and here’s why.” Not even close. If anything, we are sharing the list in the hopes that spelling it out will grant us some measure of release or closure. Not a single person listed below is 100% at fault for the demise of our relationship, and we know that: all relationships are two-way streets, and if the people below are at fault for anything, then we are at least equally to blame.

This shouldn’t need to be said, but too many times in our lives we have left things unsaid and deeply regretted it down the road, so if, in reading through these descriptions, you recognize or otherwise put together who we’re talking about, please do the right thing, and keep your mouth shut. If you’re even a little worried about not being able to, then we would encourage you to end your reading with this challenge:

If someone from you past comes to mind, whether by way of a random memory or through dream at night, find them. Believe it or not, people like to know that they’ve made a difference in the lives of the people around them and even more so in the lives of the people they also cared about. Put off your Netflix show for five minutes (it’s not going anywhere), and type them a quick message just to say, “Hey, you crossed my mind today, and I just wanted to see how you’ve been.” Maybe you’ll reconnect and rekindle the flame of a friendship long-lost, but even if you don’t, at least you will have made a small difference in that person’s life by letting them know, that they are important to someone.

A(A)M: you used to be our best friend, and granted, you might not have ever considered us your best friend, that didn’t matter to us, because when we were with you, life wasn’t terrible anymore; we went to camp for the first time ever the same year and everything, but when you got married, you didn’t even fight to keep our friendship going – it was like we never meant anything to you

AM: you were the only person we trusted after coming out of our dark years, and we did everything together – you were our only friend outside of school, you introduced us to the concert scene and helped us to get through some of the darkest and most confusing depression of our life, and now you couldn’t care less

A(S)B: you were the first person we ever called “sister” despite the fact, that you warned other people about us (which was totally fucked up) – now it’s like we don’t exist to you

AN & J(D)N: we popped into your lives unexpectedly, but in so doing, it was like we were somehow able to start fresh in a post-college world; we became friends with you and your kids, and we even gave you a night out on us without said kids. When we moved, and you said we’d be missed, we disagreed despite your insistence, and yet, here we are, several years later, and we can’t remember the last time you said anything to us

EY & AY: we were all but inseparable for years – neighbors, friends, cohorts in every regard – and even after apologizing for our behavior, you didn’t even see fit to come to our wedding let alone find the time to keep up with email correspondence

H(C)R: you probably don’t even remember that we used to be friends, but whether you remember it or not, you were one of three people who, quite literally, saved our life the summer after our freshman year, that is until you wrote us off completely less than a month later and labeled us a camp-only friend: it still hurts when we think of how terribly you treated us

J(A)B: we had each other’s backs in high school when nobody else did – you were the only person we would’ve called “friend” in that hellhole

JB: we understood one another and connected in a way that didn’t even make sense to us, but for whatever reason it worked until you bailed on us as our best man, and we haven’t heard from you since

JS & C(W)S: no exaggeration whatsoever, you two restored our faith in humanity and proved to us, that it is possible to care about the planet and the people on it at the same time, and to this day, the only truly perfect moment in time we’ve ever experienced was in your back yard the night after your wedding; then we moved, and you just… stopped trying? Stopped caring? Now whenever we think of you, we can’t help but wonder if any of it was real or if it was just another of our dissociations.

KL: man, we used to have so much respect for you – by and large, you were the reason we thought EBC (and GAC) was the place for us, until first, you judged us as unworthy for reasons you wouldn’t put your finger on, and then second, you had us banished from the only group of people we had ever thought of as family; while many factors contributed to the choice, your actions in that time were instrumental in our decision to permanently leave the church

KTL: you might not realize it, but you were the first person, let alone the first guy, who we started meeting with on a regular basis to talk about life and the “demons” inside, so you can probably imagine how painful it was for us to hear that you, along with your father, were banishing us from the only positive aspect in our life, and out of love? Even if we didn’t have a laundry list of bad experiences with therapists before you came along, you single-handedly proved to us, that trusting strangers with our demons is a practice in foolishness

SC: all we ever wanted from you was to see you try, and you didn’t simply fail, you flat-out refused; then at our wedding – which we almost didn’t invite you to –you sulked the entire time and tried to make it about you

SEC: you should know us better than anyone else, and being the upstanding Christian guy you claim to be, you should’ve been the very first to forgive us for our wrong-doings whenever we apologized, yet even after more than a decade of trying to build a relationship with you, you want nothing to do with us

SJ: the one and only member of our family with whom we ever felt comfortable and safe enough to talk about DID, and where everyone else was concerned, for ages we were on exactly the same page until something happened which caused you shut the book entirely on our relationship…again

SW & MEW: you were our neighbors, mentors, poker and cooking buddies, and we were there in the hospital when your first kid was born, but you didn’t even come to our wedding despite being given more than six months’ notice, because you had committed to VBS (which we suspect was a lie)

TB: we’re assuming that in calling us “jail bait” throughout our high school years, that you were just trying to show us some tough love, and maybe you didn’t realize how scarring you words were whenever you told us you were praying for our salvation despite the fact that we had already been saved, but we still can’t think of you (and we think of you often) without feeling the knots form in our shoulders

WW: we used to call you our mom, and when others had nothing but terrible things to say about you, we defended you as if we truly shared blood and bone, and for the what? Five years or so that we worked with you, you never seemed to mind, but then one day we mentioned wanting to get a tattoo, and you told us, that if we got one, we’d no longer be welcome despite having zero valid reasoning for such a harsh and judgmental action

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