I’ve Been Crying For ~95 Hours, Now…

Hi everyone. Where do I begin?? And how am I supposed to tag this freaking post…? *Sigh*. I am… beyond emotionally drained as this week sorta starts to come to a close.  Please read down to the end if you care about understanding the extreme grief and trauma I’ve been going through since Monday.

[Huge Content Notes for: Murder, Suicide, Domestic Violence, Grief… um let me know if I need to add something else in here.]

I basically want to laugh (darkly) because The Asexual Agenda’s Question of the Week this week is all about keeping secrets and well… In the past few days especially and into this blog post I’m braving writing now, I’m going to make it so there are basically ZERO secrets anymore in my life, in the sense of no separation of my real life identity and my online persona. I’ve been doing it slowly but surely for a little while now, and while even now I’d still rather not write my full name on my blog here so that people Googling my first and last name don’t as easily find where I write about “not masturbating” or “trying sex and being averse” or whatever, just in case for my next job… of course that precaution might still not really be enough though. But basically I’m going to tell you all my first and last name now.
So, without further ado: I’ve been volunteering with Recovering from Religion as a non-profit internet-based organization since February 2015 when their “The Hotline Project” first launched. (It has more recently been renamed Recovering from Religion’s “Helpline”.) I have been in many roles as a volunteer there – Call Agent, Chat/IM Agent, Mentor, Supervisor, Moderator of a Helpline Community when they started the communities, and, most notably, since we published our first episode on Friday May 6th 2016, I’ve been a co-host of Recovering from Religion’s podcast.
2 months ago today, I even mentioned in my bio which you can read at the end of this that I was both a co-host of the Recovering from Religion podcast and that I blog under the username luvtheheaven at WordPress. 😛
William Scott Smith, who preferred to go by his middle name Scott, starting about 7 months later than me in September 2015, has been in every single one of those roles too, and he’s been one of my very best friends for most of that time. 2 years of my life I’ve known him… Pretty darn well for an “internet friend”.

He was a stay-at-home dad who was retired from the army (a Sergeant) and until the last day of October 2016 I had been unemployed, so we both were some of the volunteers with way more time to devote to the organization than… average.
The mission of this organization is to help people who feel they are struggling, desperately lonely, having existential crises, etc after they have started doubting their religious beliefs, or have come to the conclusion they don’t believe in their former religion at all. We also help atheists and non-believers who need resources specific to being an atheist, regardless of if they had a religion before. We are there to be reached out to, and are adamantly not “deconverting” anyone. We’ve helped people with very traumatic religious experiences, people who left cults, gay kids in homophobic families, people with mental illnesses whose family blames their mental illness on their lack of belief in God, people who are so isolated that they wonder if there really are other atheists in the world and if it would really be okay to say, out loud, that they don’t believe, and a number of other folks.
When I first published this blog post here you could see a list of what our podcast episodes were here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/recovering-from-religion/id1111790089?mt=2 and if you viewed on iTunes you can see the full titles of them all. You could get a gist for the kinds of things Scott and I covered over the course of our show, for the past year and a half or so.
(I came out to our listeners as asexual in episode #06 Sex & Religion, and I can’t remember if it ever really came up in other episodes. Scott… was a little resistant to me mentioning it as often as I wanted to. At one point I was in tears over a fight we had where he considered my asexuality as irrelevant as any of his hobbies to the topic of our show… I really wanted to spread visibility and I could’ve sworn in the second “Coming Out” episode we did that I related an anecdote about what it’s like to come out as asexual but when I re-listened I couldn’t find it so maybe Scott edited it out. I feel like readers of my blog might be interested in this fact…)
However the podcast stopped even having the episodes listed there, before long. So if you want a list of the episodes of my show let me know. I think I can find another way to tell you those titles.
Also, back in June 2016 I wrote this three post series (part 1 linked here) and this section of part 2 was about Scott – Scott is my podcasting partner:

I came out to my podcasting partner as asexual not too long before we started the podcast, so around March or April of this year. This partner of mine is a guy who’s 52 years old – only a year younger than my father – and I came out via online messaging back and forth, giving him a link to a far-from-perfect podcast episode to listen to which I knew he then did listen to, etc. I told him about my… “well… he isn’t really my boyfriend per se, but kinda close” person in my life, Robert, and tried to explain a little about our relationship. My podcasting partner is straight and cis, but since he wasn’t asking questions, I kinda figured he was understanding the broad strokes of what I was saying.

Then, in early June, I spent a weekend with Robert, and a lot of the time we were also with my podcasting partner. (This happened to be the first weekend I actually “met” my podcasting partner in meatspace.)  During a casual lunch between the three of us, the topic of tattoos came up, and Robert happened to ask me if I had any tattoos – clearly I didn’t on the parts of my body that were visible given the clothes I usually wear, but you know, we’ve never even been swimming together and have never had much of an opportunity to see that much of each other’s skin. It did cross my mind, at the time, that this was “flaunting” how “asexual” our relationship was in front of my podcasting partner. But that fact only amused me, if anything. I told Robert I didn’t, and then asked him if he had any tattoos.

Not long after the weekend was over, one of the co-organizers of my local ace meetup group asked if I’d be interested in being interviewed sometime “today” (I believe it was a Monday or a Tuesday) about asexuality for an article they were writing in a local newspaper about the entire LGBTQIA+ acronym, which I assumed (correctly) they were trying to put out in time for pride.

I decided to say yes to being interviewed for the newspaper article.

I decided to use the excitement of “I’m about to be interviewed for a newspaper article!” as an excuse to, on that day, also come out as asexual to a group of people of which my podcasting partner is also a part. Go big or go home, they say. Right? So yeah, I decided to really go all out (pun intended) that day!!

At this point my podcasting partner brought up that he “knew there were different ways to be asexual, and for some people that means they only have sex under certain circumstances or something” but that “Robert asking you about if you have tattoos or not”… “it seemed like a weird thing for a boyfriend not to know” and he was just you know, curious to understand more about my asexuality.

And I was grateful for the opportunity to explain more about my asexuality to him, and I was glad he asked, but it also kinda hurt a little, in that jarring kind of way which I feel like I’m never gonna get used to but that keeps happening over and over, to realize how rarely I am fully understood by the people I am closest to in my life. My podcasting partner may be twice my age and someone I’ve only seen in person on one occasion, but he has kind of become one of my closest friends in my life, and for him to know for months I had a queerplatonic partner and was aromantic-ish and asexual yet still be surprised “that I wasn’t having sex with my boyfriend” – well like, come on dude. What’s even the point of coming out.

And more importantly, why does it so often feel impossible to properly be “out” in a way that makes me feel fully respected, accepted, and also understood? Because that is what I want. I have this huge desire for the world, and especially the people I care about, to understand me in a deeper way than they do if they are assuming I’m straight, or if they’re guessing I’m a lesbian, or whatever they may or may not be thinking depending on what they know about me. And while I can, most of the time, be okay with people not understanding me, it takes something out of me to be okay with it. It takes some kind of strength, to have this desire and yet to accept that the desire often will not be able to be met. It’s all tied into the concept of resilience.

BTW if you want to read that LGBTQIA+ newspaper article I was quoted in about asexuality now, I’m going to link it even though I didn’t before. The newspaper article kinda misquotes me or at least paraphrases my words into things I wouldn’t say, like that me being aromantic means I wouldn’t date. But my full name is becoming indirectly public through this entire blog post so I might as well finally link you to the news article too if you’re curious:

Okay. I think it’s time to get into the actual POINT of this blog post.
If you are Facebook friends with me (a few of the ace activists are), or if you follow me on tumblr or twitter (more likely) you may already know what is coming, which is part of why I wanted to just post something here about it finally.
What happened Monday… I’m not sure what to link you to or if I should be describing it in my own words.
I think links perhaps work best. Read this local (to him) news article:
Their daughters are ages 9, 11, and 14, and the son I didn’t even realize Scott had is 27, the same age as myself. Now that it’s been a few days I think maybe I do remember him bringing up his son’s first name once and maybe I just… never fully realized what he was talking to me about…
Scott would often have to schedule our recording around when he was driving his daughters to and from swim stuff as well, btw. The article only mentions Jennifer doing it. But I just feel the need to tell you that I know so very well how he did that too… I don’t know why I feel that need… okay hang on, let me share a couple more links first:
Here are Recovering From Religion’s official statements on the whole thing are probably better than anything else, given this context:
and
(and just to be clear, I had no part in writing those statements.)
I… I actually asked, back in March-ish 2016, to be his podcast co-host. He brought up starting a podcast, bringing up to the board of directors the possibility of this as a good idea for the organization to have an official broadcast since podcasts helped so many of us, like him and me, when we first left religion, and it could help spread the word about the hotline. I asked if I could be his co-host. He said he really had been hoping I’d talk him out of this because it’d be a lot of work. I said I had audio editing experience from being in fandom and… we started it as a team from day 1.
I asked to be his podcast co-host. I never asked to… feel responsible for making sure he didn’t take the most drastic measures possible. But oh gosh. I feel a lot of guilt right now. I can’t really help it. I know, intellectually, it’s unhealthy to dwell on this or to think it’s my fault. But emotionally it just… feels pretty true.
On the public Grief Beyond Belief page, a place for people grieving without belief in an afterlife or any supernatural stuff, the founder of this online grief support group wrote:

A day later, and we are still struggling to find words to address the tragic murder of Jennifer Smith by her husband Scott and his subsequent suicide. Before and beyond all else, we are thinking with love, sorrow and compassion of the children, family and friends — but especially the children — left behind.

The fact that Scott was an active member of two organizations with which this community overlaps, Recovering from Religion and Military Atheists and Freethinkers, necessitates that we reach out to those who are currently overwhelmed by sadness, anger and confusion.

If you are suffering, we are here for you. We ask only that you remember that Grief Beyond Belief is here as a source of comfort and support. Please limit all comments to expressing your emotions and asking for support if you are personally affected, and offering support and words of kindness and compassion. Please do not criticize or debate anyone else’s feelings. All our usual conditions of participation apply.

[GBB offers support to people grieving without faith. Please do not post religious or spiritual comments.]

This woman had been on Scott’s and my podcast – I had been the one interviewing her, and she also reached out to me personally with a email that said “So Deeply Sorry” in the subject line and in the body:
Emily, I cannot help thinking of you today. I have no idea what you are going through and no words. But if there is anything I can do, even just listen, please do not hesitate to ask.
I pretty much never offer personal support within the community, because I can’t offer it to everyone. I usually just refer people to the group. But given the circumstances and the public nature of Scott’s death and your loss, I can imagine you might need private and confidential support.
You don’t need to answer now. I just want you to know the offer stands if you need to talk.
Thinking of you with so much compassion,
Rebecca
And I just… I’ve gotten so much support from people. I’m surrounded by amazing folks. Before going to bed so late on the 29th that it was technically the 30th in my time zone, after reading the other short comments under the post, I commented on the Grief Beyond Belief public page:

My heart is shattered, utterly broken by all of this. I’ve cried so much in the past ~30 hours especially. The last thing Scott ever texted me, a week before his death and his wife’s too, was his children’s names and ages because I’d asked their exact ages again. He and Jennifer wanted to have one last really nice thanksgiving together as a family before announcing the officialness of the divorce to them the next day. I didn’t know that last detail till after the tragedy but I did know they were doing a cute Charlie Brown thanksgiving food reenactments the Wednesday before. And I’d forgotten the exact age breakdown of the girls! And Scott immediately prior was saying he was dreading every task of every day, dreading this coming Christmas with the divorce hanging over them, but he unprompted assured me he wasn’t suicidal. I should’ve… I could’ve… I feel a LOT… if you tell me it’s not my fault I’ll start crying again. I know from experience.

I had hoped he could hang in there, offered my sympathy and wish that he try to enjoy a little bit of the holiday if he could and he said he’d try. I chatted with him on the phone also the day before, Sunday the 19th, about starting up our podcast again. We had gone on an unannounced hiatus because of Scott’s… Dealing with his marriage falling apart and everything else that meant for him.

I’ve never heard a bad thing about Jennifer, never got the chance to meet her, and I’m going to try my best to go out to her funeral. In Texas. Where I’ve never been. Across the country.

When I realize Scott isn’t going to get a funeral, and that’s fair and understandable and makes perfect sense in these circumstances, the world again is so not fair and not understandable to me that I start crying again. I’m an emotional wreck, and I finally kinda let my dad and my brother both of whom I live with realize just how much I’m hurting. Or. Some degree of it. I’d been I guess hiding my grief too well. (From them. Not from so many of my sounding board friends… )

It’s not just grief, it’s totally a trauma too, and it’s hard to feel all of it at once. I like one person talking on his wall about anger and sadness canceling emotion out to numbness except I’m past the numbness now I’m pretty sure and full into on the verge of tears constantly.

I wonder how I’ll be going forward. I wonder if it still has any further worse to get before it gets better. I… I think it does and that scares me a little. But not really that much. I am just broken and need to give myself time. I know I’ll heal, even from this. His… *Their* daughters are the ones who have SUCH a harder road ahead than me, and I just wish there was a way to turn back time for their sakes, even wish Scott had just died by suicide and not become a murderer. And I didn’t wish Scott to die. I in fact used the word wish to him one month ago yesterday. Repeatedly. Scrolling through my texts to October 28th “About your situation with Jennifer I really wish you didn’t have to go through that.” And a couple texts later “I wish there was more I could do to help or make it less painful”. I was sincere then. And now. Now I’m sincere in not knowing what to feel but knowing if he just died by suicide in his home but Jennifer was not at all involved in his choice? It would be infinitely better.

I expect to be reeling over this for a very long time. Thanks for providing a forum where I can share and cry while I write this. I’m gonna try to get 6.5 hours of sleep now.

(I really wish I could afford to take time off work because that’s been the hardest thing in some practical ways. I’m. Managing I guess. I’m trying to wait until the funeral to use my limited remaining PTO. I’m… Doing a lot of “slacking off” in a super not fun way as I obsess over Scott thoughts and inundate friends with them and cry at work and try not to let my co-workers really see…)

I just hurt. I haven’t even shared so much of it right here. There’s like an entire book of things I’ve already thought of or felt and another book I’m not prepared for yet that I’m sure is coming. But for my own sanity I am gonna cry myself to sleep now and stop typing this Facebook post on my phone from bed.

Now, I’m…
I finally have taken a day off work, after being an emotional wreck crying constantly and spending more time texting friends than doing actual work the first 4 days of the week. I slept 4 hours Monday night, 2 Tuesday night, despite my hope to get more sleep after posting that only 3 or so Wednesday night, and since Thursday I’ve been trying to catch up on sleep but I’m finding sleeping very difficult. I have gotten maybe a total of 6 since trying to go to sleep Thursday. That’s kinda generous.
I’m watching this now:
– I managed to watch half of it last night and I… I relate to a LOT of what Fil at the start went through, even though I wasn’t there in-person, as I was still tracking everything on Facebook, and following Fil’s updates in Scott’s “Goodbye.” post including video/audio updates. I too was thinking… pretty much every single thing he says he was on Monday, even though I was stuck in Maryland just living it all vicariously through Fil and Anthony and Facebook.
There is a The Thinking Atheist podcast episode that just was released that adds new voices, including mine, to the conversation about what the hell happened with one of my closest friends murdering his wife and then choosing suicide, leaving his daughters orphans.
You can hear me talk about this stuff here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NjAxOJjs_zI or if you prefer, http://www.thethinkingatheist.com/podcast/a-murder-in-san-antonio-1 (downloading or streaming here.) – I’m impressed I didn’t cry at all on the podcast.
We recorded it last night. I test listened and gave my seal of approval of it becoming public to thousands of listeners, possibly tens of thousands, and the other 3 people speaking to Seth Andrews needed to find time to listen and give their seal of approval too before it went public. My own podcast was never nearly as popular as The Thinking Atheist btw. That show has had really impressive reach for a long time now. (Blog post edited/updated once it was released to have this paragraph reflect that.)

I am so grateful for the atheist and skeptic and freethinking community I’ve had around me in this grief, mainly people who actually volunteered with me at Recovering from Religion, an organization whose mission I still believe and an organization that even now I still volunteer forhas just right now kicked me out/terminated my position as a volunteer immediately for writing this blog post because they saw it and saw me in a previous version of it, down near the end, violating their copyright policy and offering to privately share episodes of my podcast. I had been skirting the line and hoping they wouldn’t see but because the podcast is “The Official Broadcast of RfR” I have no right to do this. *sigh*. This is my life now. I have a lot of feelings about this but they are hard to feel quite yet. Mainly just resignation mingled with frustration and anger but enough resignation that… okay. Anyway…

But there are a few from some local secular meetups I’ve gone to who have become dear friends who have expressed sympathy.

I also am extra appreciative for three friends I made through our local ace meetup group, three women who are my best friends in life right now. Two of them recently moved away (to different places), and they’re the ones I’ve been talking to the most about all of this (if I don’t count RfR folks). I’ve had phone calls with 2 people I’ve never met in person who are in Texas and knew the Smiths, and I’ve had emotional phone calls with two of my ace friends too. And then there are various fandom people on tumblr and twitter and I feel all the virtual hugs and comfort, all the condolences, every single one being secular words of support I might add which really makes me feel respected and understood as a real friend when I stop and realize how impressive that 100% ratio is (although it also means I just surround myself with a ridiculously high amount of people with the same lack of belief that I have…) and I know I am beyond lucky to have all these people in this painful time in my life.
 RfR has removed all episodes of my podcast from the internet, deleted the audio hosting we had for them and everything, and is distancing themselves as far as possible from the memory of Scott for the sake of their own reputation as an organization and for the sake of remaining a place that feels truly safe for new folks who might know nothing except this man was capable of homicide.
I, personally, would’ve highly recommended the Music & Religion episode with Shelley Segal as the ultimate example of why I am in such deep grief. This was our podcast at its best, Scott Smith at his happiest and kindest, our friendship at its most comfortable. I cried and laughed and found it cathartic for my grieving to remind myself of this side of who Scott was before the events at the end of October that led to his extreme depression. To remind myself via relistening to this episode.
If anyone wants to message me privately about this, I will not be tiring to talking through my feelings on this or listening to others feelings about what happened any time soon. 💙 I appreciate a variety of perspectives although I am so very close to this nightmare horror of a tragedy. I…
This doesn’t even begin to cover everything I’ve been going through this week. I just. Really wanted to share something. I’ve literally been crying or on the verge of tears every hour I’m awake, which is way more hours than it should be btw, since this all started for me 4 days ago on Monday. Hence the title of this blog post. I’ve been such a grief-stricken wreck and I… I know I’ll be okay.
I’ve since found out that Jennifer’s funeral will be tomorrow, Saturday, as it says in that news article I linked too (I hadn’t known that yet at the time I posted on Grief Beyond Belief’s page). I bought a plane ticket and will fly out to San Antonio, being in Texas for the first time in my life and meeting in person those two people I had phone calls with and… I’ll be there till Monday.
If anyone wants to donate even just $10 or $20 for the fundraiser to help these girls… please, every amount helps. So this is my mandatory plug.

I donated 2 hours ago without wanting my message public over on the GoFundMe itself, so I checked the “privately” box, and did so with this message:

I am beyond devastated that all of this transpired, as Scott’s other half for the podcast, his podcasting co-host. I know I was one of Scott’s closest friends and I am still in the early stages of struggling to believe this happened at all. Of course Jennifer never in a million years would’ve deserved this. I pretty much only knew who Jennifer and these girls are through what Scott would say about them and their lives as a family, and through those words, I still was already picturing all four of them as vibrant souls. It pains me that I never got the chance to meet and know Jennifer.

I hope these three sisters find a way to lean on each other as children who each at least have two other allies going through the most painful thing imaginable at the same time. I hope they can find a way to grow up happy and healthy. And I know $150 is not nearly as much money as this fundraiser needs but I’m also asking my entire extended family, aunts and uncles, to help these three girls because in my grief, this would mean so much to ME too, if they were to donate and want to help you. I’m glad the atheist & specifically the secular podcasting community is coming together to get the word out about this fundraiser to so many people too.

“The weird, weird thing about devastating loss is that life actually goes on. When you’re faced with a tragedy, a loss so huge that you have no idea how you can live through it, somehow, the world keeps turning, the seconds keep ticking.”

― James Patterson

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16 thoughts on “I’ve Been Crying For ~95 Hours, Now…

  1. I know there aren’t really any words I can add to this to make you feel better, or different, or anything really, so I won’t bother. I just wanted you to know that your pain is being acknowledged, and that… well, I guess all I can say is that whenever someone we love dies, no matter the method, we always find a way to blame ourselves. Always. It’s a normal but terrible response to loss.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I didn’t really feel these things with the two other significant, grieved deaths in my life — even the one where I was with a person the same day he committed suicide (an uncle of mine) — so idk if this “Always” thing really applies, but I do know that you’re right that most of my feelings are… are somewhat common across a broad array of ways loved ones died. Thank you. I really really do appreciate every acknowledgement. 💙 💙 💙

      And I’m really glad to know that you know what I’ve been dealing with. I really want all the people “in my life” to know the “important things” that make me who I am and I really do feel like you count as someone in my life who should know. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Now one of the paragraphs above reads: I am so grateful for the atheist and skeptic and freethinking community I’ve had around me in this grief, mainly people who actually volunteered with me at Recovering from Religion, and organization whose mission I still believe and an organization that even now I still volunteer for has just right now kicked me out/terminated my position as a volunteer immediately for writing this blog post because they saw it and saw me in a previous version of it, down near the end, violating their copyright policy and offering to privately share episodes of my podcast. I had been skirting the line and hoping they wouldn’t see but because the podcast is “The Official Broadcast of RfR” I have no right to do this. *sigh*. This is my life now. I have a lot of feelings about this but they are hard to feel quite yet. Mainly just resignation mingled with frustration and anger but enough resignation that… okay. Anyway…

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow.

    I have nothing helpful to say in a situation like this. I have no experience that even comes close. I only have these thoughts:

    – Thank you for sharing. This is something you felt you needed to talk about and I’m glad you felt comfortable enough to talk about it here. And I hope sharing helps, even if only a tiny bit.

    – This is not your fault. I don’t see how you could have predicted this or prevented it. Clearly he was beyond the influence of friends and loved ones when he acted. His actions do not reflect on you.

    – I’m really sorry for the way this has affected you, not just personally, but in terms of your activism work. You must have put a lot of emotional effort into that podcast, and it must really hurt to see all that work suddenly erased. I hope you will be able to take that emotional energy and (one day) find another project to put it into, something you find just as meaningful and just as fulfilling.

    – I’m glad you have friends to support you. I also hope you can find professional counselling to help you through this. Don’t neglect your mental health, or feel you have to “tough it out”. You’ve gone through a devastating loss, the kind few people have to deal with. The kind of loss that calls for extra-strength support.

    – It’s okay to feel broken. And it’s okay if you keep feeling broken for a long time. You may never stop feeling broken. Perhaps you’ll only learn to live with the brokenness. That’s okay too.

    Those are my thoughts, subject to much less editing than I usually give them. Please forgive me if I’ve said anything hurtful.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much. You wrote so much and clearly want to help me practically and cover a lot of bases. I don’t think it comforts me to consider feeling broken forever as something I just learn to live… Around. But maybe I needed to hear that possibility too. Your words mean a lot to me. Especially in regards to how this affected my activism work. Only a couple people have pointed out that I need to grieve the podcast itself too now and well, since rfr just fired me Friday for offering to share episodes privately, I’m going to need to come to terms with something ELSE that has been a huge part of my life since early 2015, volunteering with RfR, being just. Not in my life at all anymore. I’m going to have to mourn that too and deal with my anger and frustration at Darrel Ray and the RfR board.

      I think putting most of my effort into asexuality or aromanticism activism type causes is probably what had already been building as the next step for me and my life. There’s so much I can try to do – consider writing an original novel with asexuality, working hard at pushing asexuality inclusion at the Creating Change conferences and at nearby pride parades, start a new podcast for the intersection of Asexuality & Fandom even.

      I’ll always a little bit be an atheist activist rather than “just” an atheist, probably. This will always have been part of my past. But the future has plenty of potential. And I always knew we couldn’t do the podcast forever anyway…

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m so sorry to hear you are going through all of this. This is such a terrible situation. And I know that because of what he did, many people will not show understanding for your situation. But his awful choices don’t make your grief any less real. It just complicates it all the more, piles on more trauma for you to have to process. I wish there was something I could say to make it better, but I know there isn’t… But I share my condolences, and I’m donating what I can spare to help the girls.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so very much for donating!

      I cried every time I read this comment from you the past couple of days (which was indeed a few times). It just sucks, this super hard to for anyone to sympathize with, complicated grief I have to go through. Thank you so much for acknowledging it all for me. And thank you for openly sharing other stuff about Trauma in your blogging and comments over the years too, as I have been thinking about it all a bit this past week.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m glad that my previous posts/comments have been of some help to you now. ❤

        I'm sure you're incredibly tired of crying by now (probably an understatement?), but on the plus side, at least, from my understanding of trauma, the more you process it right now while it's at the acute crisis stage, the better chance you will have that it won't set in long-term as part of PTSD. So for what it's worth, I want you to know that you're doing the right thing by openly processing it, for your own mental health. I hope you have access to good support and professional care, too. Probably some aspects of this you might feel you can't share with anyone, and that's okay too. I'd recommend writing those out privately, or drawing/making art, as a way of processing it. Just externalizing it in some way really helps, I've found. (Destroying the writing/art/etc. you made just for processing can also be cathartic.)

        Being in a situation where you also already have gone through a lot of trauma from past abuse though, that makes it extra hard, and when people don't get that aspect of it… yeah. It sucks. It really sucks. And I'm so sorry you have to go through that.

        I hope that, when you're ready, you can find a new project to work on too, since with such a major disruption to your volunteer activities, that huge change in routine is another really hard thing to deal with. Even if the circumstances were different and that was the only thing you were dealing with, it would still be hard.

        Take good care. ❤

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Like many people, I can’t even begin to understand what you are going through. I’m really sorry for everything you’ve been put through here. I can say that even as hurt and broken this whole thing has made you feel, I think you’ve been strong. To be able to articulate what happened, give it out to the world like you did takes guts especially when you know a lot of people might not be sympathetic. What he did, doesn’t take away your right to feel everything you feel.

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    1. Thank you so much, Rivers. I really appreciate the community of folks who regularly read my blog commenting with these types of words of compassion and support. I feel very understood and like people maybe *can* imagine what I’m going through after all. The first time I read this comment last night, the “I can’t even begin to understand…” part was making me want to cry as most validating comments of how extreme this whole thing is and feels have been doing. I think part of it is that I too, even in the middle of it, cannot even properly understand fully quite yet all of what I’m thinking and feeling in reaction.

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    1. The get together after the funeral and staying these 2.5 days in the house of a friend of his have been extremely comforting and I am much calmer. The funeral itself was offensive to the atheists and nonbelievers in the audience including Jennifer’s own children which both pisses me off a little but also scares me for them, as they probably are going to be forced by their grandparents to go to grief counseling where they aren’t allowed to just not believe in heaven. There’s more reason to be concerned for this too. Mainly the funeral had nice moments but was way too short and didn’t feel like a proper way to honor her life, didn’t meet most people’s needs. It was packed, standing room only, and there were parts that were good though. But Pascal’s Wager and references to how good the movie Wonder was really don’t have any place in a funeral, nor does being ableist toward her brother with turrets by saying/joking it was a miracle when he finished his emotional speech. So a lot of us really didn’t like the preacher in the end. I got to introduce myself briefly to the oldest (14 year old) daughter and hug her tearfully, I got to sign the guest book and beside that book see the montage of photos of Jennifer and some photos with just the girls as babies and toddlers, and even if it was appropriate to not show any trace of Scott, pretending he didn’t exist in her life or the kids’ lives still hurts a lot kinda like trying to erase the existence of the podcast does. It feels confusing and complicated. I just wonder how the girls are handling all this at this time. I just don’t know what any of us are supposed to think and feel.

      As soon as I landed in San Antonio Saturday morning, I felt a lot calmer. I think sitting quietly in the dark on the plane for 4+ hours, crying listening to music for the latter half of it, might’ve helped but also being around people experiencing all the complicated feelings too. Or maybe it was just that enough time has passed and my body just clicked back into sync finally. All I know is Friday night, after posting this blog post Friday midday, I was still a wreck, I was starting to feel truly scared that my brain had broken in a particular way, I was like permanently on adrenaline and even when beyond exhausted, physically could not sleep because my heart was racing. Like. I find myself lying in bed shaking for no good reason for a period. But idk. Once in got to San Antonio I just felt calmer and things got a lot easier for me to handle. I barely even cried at the funeral or throughout this weekend when talking about all the Scott stuff with people who knew him (-or knew both him and Jennifer, or knew his kids before everything, etc etc…). But I still feel everything, I’m sad, I’m just not as extremely overwhelmed. And I’ve finally been able to sleep. I’m still here in San Antonio now and I really do feel like maybe I’m less traumatized than I was for the entire past week. I’m still certainly grieving and sad but I feel a lot better than I did. This has been the lowest point in my life even if I have been through a number of traumatic things before but I finally feel pretty sure I’ll be ok. 🙂

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