Login

Please login or register. Welcome!

Welcome Friend!

Do you have someone you really want to share with the world?

Attention: open in a new window. PDFPrintE-mail

Last Updated on Wednesday, 27 October 2010 14:17 Written by JD Austin Wednesday, 02 December 2009 07:54

This site is for anyone that would like to share someone with the world, the lessons they taught us, and the ripple their loss left behind with the world.  They may be gone from this world but they still mean so much!  This site is for YOU!

If someone is remembered are they really gone?  Is Elvis gone?  How about Marilyn Monroe or Michael Jackson?  I believe that every day people deserve that kind of immortality too.  This is a place to share that essence of them with the world so that they continue living in our hearts and minds.

Share your grief, joy, pain, and most of all the person that left you behind with the world!  If you'd like to send me a word document with an article about someone you'd like to share on this website please contact me by clicking contact us above.

 

JD

 

 

The Story That Started This Website.

Attention: open in a new window. PDFPrintE-mail

Last Updated on Friday, 22 April 2011 16:00 Written by JD Austin Wednesday, 02 December 2009 18:03

I am sure each of you have your own burdens but mine have nearly destroyed me. It started 23 years ago for me. It was one of those moments you wish you could take back, do over, remove from your life, but it cannot be done.  It is one of those moments that will haunt me forever.

JD_and_LaurieProm1985When I was 17 I was deeply in love with a young woman named Laurie Michelle Clovis.  We met and fell in love on her computer bulletin board (The Jackrabbit) and by the time that we met her disability didn't matter.  Laurie sustained a brain stem injury from a car accident when she was 11 that robbed her of the coordination to be able to walk or talk.  She could stand, balance for short periods of time and make sounds but lacked the ability to form words or walk.  She could communicate just fine.

We spent a lot of time together doing things most people would not consider significant.  It was enough just to be together.  We shared all of our deepest feelings, dreams, and talked a lot about our future.  Our love was a magical thing!   I was her world and she was mine.  We didn't know how it would all work but we were all in.

Our Prom picture on the right doesn't do Laurie justice.  In order to stand she had to tense her entire body including her face.  You just can't see her sweet soft face and warm beautiful eyes in this picture :(

JD_and_LauriesmOthers in her life that had been there all along through the surgeries, body cast, and rehabilitation still saw her very much as the 11 year old girl.  While she was in some ways less mature than other girls her age I saw her as an 18 year old woman capable of much more.  She wanted so much to be independent and I wanted to help her.  It was the little things that bothered her like getting most of her nourishment through a tube, others dressing her, and needing assistance to go to the bathroom.  I saw everything through different eyes and knew there were ways she could do just about anything; it just wasn't the normal way.  Together we experimented in different ways to do the things she wanted to do until she had learned how to do a lot of new things.  Soon she was eating food normally, taking herself to the bathroom, and other things.  Seeing her gaining freedom made us both happy!  We had plans to get married and intended to live together forever; then it happened.

Just after my birthday in late May 1986 Laurie and I had a fight because someone said that I didn’t really love her.  It wasn’t true!  I couldn’t believe she’d even believe such a thing.  I was hurt and I got angry and left.  We didn’t talk to each other for about two weeks.  I kept expecting her to have someone to call and when a call came from her house it wasn't me that answered, it was my Mom.  She just put it plainly:  Someone just called from Laurie's house and Laurie was dead. 

Laurie Michelle Clovis Grave Marker

On June 16th 1986 just nine days before her 19th birthday Laurie got out of bed into her electric wheel chair 10-15 feet away, put on her bathing suit, unlocked a safety lock on the sliding door, and went out to the pool.  That's where they found her.

I immediately felt the weight of it all and it was unbearable!  I blamed myself for her loss and despised god for taking her.  I began to spiral into a deep depression that colored my world black and made it impossible to feel joy.  I had been the one that had taught her how to do everything she did that morning; it would have been impossible otherwise.  I was the one that was the jerk that stormed out of her house and hadn't talked to her in two weeks.  I felt responsible either way and there was no relief from my own personal hell.  Now the young woman I loved more than life itself was dead!  Did she commit suicide or was it an accident that happened while trying to demonstrate her new independence?  It didn't matter... it was my fault and I couldn't live with it.  I spiraled into the deepest depression, withdrew emotionally and otherwise from the world, and woke up every day feeling the weight of her loss.

I eventually learned to function by burying my feelings and keeping my mind busy.  I was really just going through the motions and it wasn't relief but it did allow me to begin moving forward in my life.  I met my wife Darcy eight years later and we have been together for 15 years and married for 9 years.  I love her too!  I should have been over what happened 23 years ago long ago but I was still haunted by Laurie's loss every waking second that I couldn't divert my attention toward something else. 

It just hurt to think about any of it so in a way I put it in a 'box' and tried not to look there in the same way you don't look at the sun or talk openly about cancer.  It was simple: don't think about it, don't talk about it, and find something else to do.  The problem is that I couldn't just put those specific feelings away.  I put all my feelings there; it made it almost impossible to feel anything good or bad and there is a price I (and others) pay for that.  It did however make it possible to exist in the world and be productive and sometimes to be happy. 

Very few people want to hear you mourn, I know.  "Cheer up!" or "You're bringing me down!" they say like you can just turn it off.  I managed to do that by buryingshe  that bomb 'safely' away until it was suddenly triggered.  Try as I might though I can't rationalize away love and longing for someone that is dead.  The real victim in it all was my poor wife who could scarcely get an emotional reaction from me for anything.

 

Then my facade came tumbling down.

For years I had no idea where Tamara (sister) and Karen (Mom) had gone since they'd both remarried.  They were family to me and I'd completely lost touch with them.  On August 28th, 2006 Karen died and eventually I knew about it when I visited Laurie.  It has been very painful to see Laurie there so I didn't visit a lot.  Now that I knew Karen's new last name that set me on the path to find Tamara and soon I knew her new name and how to contact her.  Once I knew I sat on it.  I didn't want to bother her by dredging up old painful memories; for all I knew she hated me or blamed me as much as I did myself for Laurie's death.

I wasn't even feeling depressed (or anything as usual) when it happened.  On November 30, 2009 something happened to me that I couldn’t explain.  I had been doing highly repetitive monotonous work all week and had streaming music on in my headphones from grooveshark.com to help pass the time. Suddenly it was like it was 1986 all over again!  I was sitting there with tears pouring down my face that wouldn't stop no matter how hard I tried to put them 'back in the box'.  I felt an overwhelming need to contact Laurie’s sister Tamara.  It wasn't a rational thing but it wasn't something I could resist.  I sent off a rambling emotional message to her essentially appologizing for Lauries death not sure if I'd ever hear a reply but I did just a few hours later. 

On December 1, 2009 it happened again!  On about the same time of day as the day as before I was suddenly overcome by long repressed emotions and crying uncontrollably at work... again.  I couldn’t understand out why it had happened until I re-listened to the Kelly Clarkson play list I’d been listening to.  Three songs were all it took to unwrap 23 years of defense mechanisms: You Found Me, Miss Independent, and Already Gone.  I listened to the lyrics of those songs and began to understand what happened.  The first two songs brought back things that reminded me of her and the last was like Laurie speaking to me telling me to move on.  Even though I wasn’t actively listening to the song it released years of repressed feelings all at once like a tidal wave.  I had the illusion that I'd found a way to get past this and that I'd found a way to cope... I wasn't even close!

Flash forward to just four days later (Thursday December 3, 2009 ) and something miraculous happened!  Whether I had some kind of nervous breakdown or semi-religious experience I am suddenly free of this burden that I've carried for 23 years like a cancer inside of me!  I know that Tamara was the catalyst in it all that allowed me to finally find closure and peace. Without that great weight I feel centered and whole.  I feel blessed!

"I cannot be awake for nothing looks to me as it did before, Or else I am awake for the first time, and all before has been a mean sleep" - Walt Whitman

I created this site because I am sure that there must be other people out there that want to share the people they loved with the world to make sure they're never forgotten.  If I can help at least one other person out there suffering in grief to start the process of moving on or just give them a place to share the essence of that person they love so much with the world then it would be worth doing.

I hope that person is you.

 


 

Building this site helped me let her go after a very long time.  It can be difficult to move on after such things and with such a connection.  For me having it reside outside my self for all the world to see meant that I didn't have to hold it inside me anymore to keep her memory alive.  I had compartmentalized it as a way to cope and I tried to lock it away and forget it but I couldnt.  It only kept the it more alive.  It has been most difficult for my wife and I love her dearly for her understanding and support through all of this. I've finally let Laurie move on but I still want to make sure she is remembered and never forgotten.