Dear Hollywood

Dear Hollywood,

I think it’s about time we have a chat. Let me start with a little about me. About a year and a half ago I lost my sense of humor. This is really important to the story, so bear with me. It was truly a tragic thing, but chin up, it’s not all bad, I manage to soldier on with an assortment of death glares and the occasional severe lip pursing. There’s a vicious rumor that suggests my face may freeze this way, but I’m optimistic since I don’t actually live in a Twilight Zone episode. What a bummer for the people who do, am I right? Unfortunately, there’s no foreseeable end to my facial reign of terror, and thus I’m starting to suspect my friends and family are undermining me at every turn by trying to find it for me. They’re a treacherous lot.

Not having a sense of humor has allowed me to focus on another skill of mine – ranting. Let me tell you Hollywood, I’ve spent a good year and a half really just cutting loose. You know, just letting my mouth and brain run wild – no longer tethered by things like social niceties. One thing about losing your humor is now instead of people laughing along as I rant away, they stare in silent horror and occasionally suggest I “speak to someone”.  I thought I was, but ok…  

Anyway, enough about me. Let’s talk you.

First, I’ll offer up some understanding: you’re around to make a nice profit, to entertain, and to change minds. Now, now, don’t be shy. You own it! You occasionally even use it for good. Bravo. Second, I get it – there’s nothing you can make on TV or in film that won’t set some troll flipping out over it (like me). One tiny piece of dialog in an indie film that no one has ever heard of can easily spark a protest, but hey free advertising, right? And truthfully, you occasionally make some amazing art. I only say “occasionally” because SyFy still makes their own films. If there were a scale balancing pulp to art when it came to films/television shows, I’m thinking pulp is going to weigh a tad heavier. That’s not a sleight, Hollywood. There are lots of people in the world with differing tastes thus a place for most of what is produced, even stuff by SyFy.

Speaking of taste…

Here’s where I’m a little hypersensitive, Hollywood, and I’m hoping you can help me out. I’m really tired of the glamorization of suicides in everything. It’s likely that I’m noticing it more; I accept that. And there’s a good possibility it happens more in the shows I’m drawn to, but… could we just give it a rest? I’m completely over it. (This coming from the person who loves The Walking Dead; the irony isn’t lost on me. Although, in all fairness I’ve never been able to really make it through any Tarantino film.)

I remember a time when violence happened in the background. Where the horror of a scene was implied instead of spelled out for us in simple language with a gigantic crayon on a celluloid Big Chief. And who wouldn’t want to see that up close and personal? Why be subtle or merely imply it happened with a firecracker-type pop when actually seeing a prosthetic head explode, or blood spray against a back wall while simultaneously leaking from the actor’s nose really raises the stakes. Then we can all say, “oh, that’s what that looks like – I’m better for that knowledge.” From Mr. Robot to Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri to Mindhunter, the new show on Netflix (great job there – his head was completely gone – I know I was personally excited to see that).  I mean hey, why finesse a scene when you can go all Neegan and straight up bludgeon your viewers over the head with it (be sure to roll sound, and don’t forget to call “action”)? Then go a step further – maybe take it up a notch by having the character narrate their own suicide – makes it sound poetic – you can have the other characters show their sadness along with their deep understanding as they offer tear-stained forgiveness – golly, the victim left a beautiful note. They’re probably up there right now with Aunt May and Uncle Ben group hugging in heaven.

I never thought I’d get cross with you, Hollywood, yet here we are. I religiously watch your blockbusters, your action packed anything. Heck, I’m a huge sucker for award season. Plus, I literally have the tastes of the average 25 year old male (who is crushing on Vin Diesel or Dwayne Johnson); it’s embarrassing. I loved Dexter, Hannibal, The Sopranos, Homeland, GoT  – you get the idea, but FFS can you please give the suicide trope a rest? Or if your writers are really sure it’s going to make their work that much better, they feel the scene absolutely needs it in all of its horrific and graphic glory, then have them talk to actual family and friends of suicide victims so they provide their input and really reinforce how “romantic” and “poetic” suicide is. I’m tired of going to a show or turning on the TV only to turn ashen within minutes while someone tries to reassure me it’s going to be ok. Surely, there’s got to be other things more interesting than another bullet to the head.  Get on that.

In the meantime, I’ll work on finding my sense of humor, and you can work on “We’re the Millers Part 2”. Maybe green light a Ricky Gervais project. FYI – I’m also available for focus groups.

Sincerely,

Beth

I’m Still a Mess

I started the Whole30, and yesterday was day 4.  I mention this only to add some context, and for you to know that day 4 without certain foods left me a tad lethargic (among other things). I compounded that with a poor night’s sleep (I woke up at 10pm, and thought I needed to get ready for the day, then followed that by my brain deciding to continue that cycle every couple of hours), a tiny hormonal imbalance, and a poor performance at the gym (yes, yes, I know… they said that would happen), and I found myself in the gym parking lot deciding today would be a great day to take full inventory of my life. You know, like you do sometimes. Of course the inventory had the header, “Things That are Unfair to Beth” then I listed them in my head (again, like you do in the gym parking lot). “It’s unfair everyone else gets to have a complete meltdown, and I have to be stoic. Stupid upbringing! Stupid stoicism! Stupid genes!” “Who’s the person who’s going to hold me? Tell me it’s ok? Oh yeah, I remember now. NO ONE! Stupid death!” “It’s unfair that a person suggested I was over Jay, and that by contrast she would never be over losing her husband, but go me. Witness the tempest that whirls around in my mind EVERY SINGLE FRIGGIN’ DAY, LADY!” “It’s unfair I’ll die alone.” “Watch PS I Love You, lady… one speech beautifully captures where I still am.”   “Don’t mourn enough? Too functional? And guess what, lady? I don’t get Jeffrey Dean Morgan in the end OR get to move to Ireland!!!” “Speaking of, it’s UNFAIR I don’t get to move to Ireland!” “It’s unfair that Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s character isn’t a real person who coincidentally is a chubby chaser!” “Where’s MY meltdown? WHERE?!?” Deciding “meltdowns” equaled falling apart and blubbering dramatically over friends, family, and colleagues who would doubtlessly watch in shocked horror. And that’s when I burst into inconsolable tears… for like two to three delightfully self-indulgent minutes.

They started out pretty swell, and then I realized I was just making noise – like the kid trying to get attention through crying, but not 100% committed, and I had to ask myself, “are you done? You had your moment? Can we drive the car now?” FINE. So, I drove to work, tears drying on my cheeks as I headed into the building, but thankful it was still dark outside.  I got in, and my lunch was immediately torpedoed. Now “torpedoed” on Whole30 meant I had to rearrange what I had for breakfast and try to figure out how to make that stretch into two meals.  Having forgotten my lunch on Day 1 of Whole30 gave me a neat window into “I don’t want to ever do that again!!!” That’s when I declared I couldn’t be around people. Ok, so I didn’t wave a flag around and really shout it out to anyone, I told a couple of people. I also explained to those couple of folks that said meltdown was occurring because of X, Y, and Z – lack of sleep, diet change, hormones. You see, on a very rational level I understood the “why” of it all, but that it didn’t take away my strong desire to flip all of the coffee tables.

Enter my friend John – the office mate you all should have.  My other bestie office mate wasn’t quite able to run over to my building. Although, she did show me that I was officially at the Whole30 stage of “Kill all the things!” (FYI, “kill all the things” is based on science. Mmm hmm. It starts on Day 4. I’ve seen the graph. It’s on my phone; therefore, it is fact.) And another who was busily cracking the “I’m a moody little princess” shell with some “guten fruiten thutens Thursdays!” (I can’t possibly explain that, it’s “German,” please don’t ask. You’re clearly not bilingual.)  Although, poor John got to be the one at ground zero.

Now here’s what I like about John. He’ll listen patiently (without outwardly judging – I suspect there’s some judgment behind the “mostly” placid face), and he won’t throw out ideas to fix whatever it is you think you’re currently suffering from, that likely you aren’t. I think he truly realizes “kill all the things” isn’t a cute euphemism for “please give me a sea of suggestions that I will definitely hear and appreciate while I’m mid rage, and rampaging about like an out of control penguin” (look elephants? bulls? so passé – also, I learned in Behind the Scenes at Sea World that penguins can be little tuxedoed jerks, so this analogy is really working for me). John is more action, so when he got out of me that my world had worked out so I could have lunch, he basically said, “you need to go away from here for a bit; I know a place that works with your Whole30.”

With that one action I got out into the sun, got to hear new stories, discovered a great place to eat (Salata), and breathed just a little bit better.

So, everyone (including me) owes a huge thanks to these people for putting up with my shenanigans, getting me back on the rails, and for weathering the mess that was Beth yesterday (and all the other days).

Also, while things still aren’t “fair” (are they ever?), I do believe I am actually owed one gigantic, ugly meltdown where someone will have to pat my head. I’m just sayin’. Hey, the title of this is “I’m Still a Mess,” you didn’t really expect some epiphany here, did you?

Book Ends

It started with a picture, and a kind note, and I was reminded of a drawing, tucked away in a box, sleeping in its frame. “Don’t forget the note.” A 15 year old version of me repeated.  When I’d framed the drawing  – one of a young woman resting contentedly in the arms of her lover – I had worried that I would forget the dedication on the back. “Don’t forget the note.”

I had forgotten the note along with the picture decades ago. I suppose it was a form of self-defense – a way of flipping the coffee tables within my mind, and storming off to help push down the memories.

If you knew me well in high school, you knew I was a quiet but horribly sarcastic nerd. You probably knew that I was the president of our orchestra, I was reasonably smart, my best friend was Julie, and that I was completely obsessed with a guy named John. This guy was beautiful, vibrant, funny, completely aware of who he was, and was able to see through the layers upon layers of walls I’d built up to protect myself from people seeing any shadow of the real me. (I build a great wall. It’s the best wall. Just saying.) He consumed my thoughts almost every waking minute from 15-18, and probably a couple of years beyond. Being around him was like dancing too close to a bonfire, but I could never quite resist that flame (much to the chagrin of my best friend, who had to tend to each tear-filled wound every time I was scorched); I made for a beautiful and perfect moth.

John was my first kiss. I was a freshman, and it was minutes before my final exam in Mr. Casarez’s Algebra 2 class while we stood in the drama hall.  I was so giddy, I could barely focus the rest of the day, and it’s a small wonder I actually passed that final. It’s also a small wonder I didn’t jump up and down, clap, or do an interpretive dance. My heart sang with such tremendous joy that I can only imagine how obnoxious I was for the days, weeks (and years to follow – sorry, Ju).  Thus began my personal angsty teen girl saga.

As a teen, adults (not in my close circle) viewed me as polite, smart, and reserved, and they usually felt that my parents had won a sort of teen lottery, because I did not have any noticeable streaks of rebellion. I was a rules follower, I was quite studious, and I was seemingly above all the typical teen drama.  In truth, when it came to John, I was your average teenage girl. I could waver from super dramatic highs to super dramatic lows, and sometimes those occurred within hours of each other.

When I think of him, I remember silly things like him riding his bike from Wm. Cannon to Barton Springs (roughly seven miles), then we’d walk down to Zilker to go swimming or watch the kid’s train wind around the park while singing When Doves Cry. I remember his best friend, Carlos, the worst teen driver in the history of teen drivers whom I was forbidden to ride with, so of course I got in his car all the time. I remember John carrying me on his shoulders across Wm. Cannon while I held a gallon of milk and just laughing. Now, when I imagine how that would look, the daydream ends with two people in traction (and a smile). I remember the song he dedicated to me, Duran Duran’s The Chauffeur (which when I’ve listened to it as an adult, it has given me a tad bit of pause – though I find I’m still drawn to it).  I remember him saying the movie Purple Rain was very “him” and me agreeing. (Watch that as an adult, and see if that wouldn’t make you want to put your teen daughter in an convent or move the family to another town.) I remember the notes passed in the hallway,  the cards (all of which I do still have), and of course the crushing heartbreak when he and a close friend destroyed my teen heart. So much aftermath – thoughts and feelings that ripple into today and form the tapestry of my soul, affecting how I feel about certain people in my life – creating its rough template of who I tend to fall for. John was my foundation.

We stopped speaking sometime in college.  Encounters with him, though pleasant, would leave me temporarily wrecked and withdrawn, and at some point I had to cry “uncle.” And then I received a picture, with words meant for the back, and remembered another picture from a long time ago with a note I was never supposed to forget.

I went looking for him, willing to risk the flame, only to find that he had gone.  The 17 year old that lives in my heart fell apart, and then the one friend who remembers my 17 year old, and accepts that’s sometimes who I am,  stepped in like she always did to remind 17 year old me that she was ok. That dealing with death is challenging.

John 11/7/1966 – 12/25/2014

John

He had passed away on my birthday a few years ago. I read his tributes, since I really never knew him as an adult, and he was loved dearly by his friends; I’d expect no less. He had grown into quite a beautiful human being who pursued his passions.

Two things I learned from him: 1) Live passionately. 2) Don’t rely as much on words, as on what your heart and senses tell you is right. People will say things to protect themselves, but your heart knows the truth if you’ll listen. You just have to have faith in what it’s telling you.

And now the bookends of my life… my first and last love have left, and I sit a little more broken.

Match.Com

I set-up a Match.com account. I don’t know why.  Well, I do. I need someone to tell me they think I’m pretty. It’s not that you guys aren’t great, but you guys saying “you’re smart, or you’re pretty” is exactly like having your Mom or your favorite aunt say it. It’s not that I don’t trust your words, but you’re biased, and let’s face it, are you really ever going to say, “damn, eww…” when it comes to me? If you are, then wow, where were you raised? I thought we were friends?

I did it because over a year ago I lost my best friend. There’s a gigantic hole that forms when you lose a spouse, but it’s made even bigger when it’s also the closest person to you. People don’t mention that when your husband dies, you lose your identity. I’m no longer a wife. I’m no longer someone’s best friend. I’m just that lady who lives alone with her cat. I spiral a bit. That’s the hard stuff I think about and face each day. I find I watch happy couples with great envy and a sense of complete loss.  At nearly 50 I recognize every great guy is taken, and the ones that aren’t have better going on than a lonely fat girl. I go through the motions of getting dressed each day with the realization that when I walk into the living room no one will ever say I look pretty, and no one will ever hug me with great love in their hearts.

So I joined, and people said I had a pretty face, and that was nice.  And about the time I thought, “this is all really flattering” the creepers emerged, which turned “this is nice” to “this is kind of creepy”.  From the guy who writes every day, “Hi! Hello! Hi! Good morning! Hi! Good evening! Hello! Hi! Hi beautiful! Hi!” To the guy who changed his ideal woman to exactly match my description and then thought it would be cheeky (???) to chastise me for not writing back with a “naughty girl” message. I responded by tap dancing on his head a bit. He apologized and offered to slink away. Then there was the one hot guy. I mean seriously good looking, who sent a form manifesto (turns out that’s a thing) on how he is estranged from his family, is a widower, and hoped I never experienced such loss. Umm… my profile actually leads with, “I’m a widow.” So, points off for not reading. More points off for not writing coherent sentences.  Then there was a guy who said the last thing he read was “[his] paycheck.”  Ummm… nope! That’s when I started really reading the bios, and got the feeling that these guys would prefer to date a mindless doll.  That’s also when I realized I needed to re-do my profile, because “I like movies” wasn’t cutting it.

I’m re-posting it here, because you guys know me best. Help me make this stronger realizing we only have 4000 characters to make a point/sell my “stellar” qualities.

 A week ago I wrote a small profile to give the briefest of summaries of who I am. Today I’m starting fresh: I am a recent widow. A year ago I lost not only my husband, but my best friend and favorite person in the entire world. I’m not looking to get married at this point. If there is that soulmate out there for me again, they’ll have to live up to a pretty high standard (and make it past a slew of relatives, friends, and my in-laws, who are very much in my life). I’m looking for friendship/companionship.

About me: I like writing, movies, and computer games. I like having my friends over for our board game/card days. I’m not talking Parcheesi or Hearts, I’m talking Betrayal at the House on the Hill, Ticket to Ride, and Munchkin – those types of games. In my free time I help a local theater group as an assistant director/production assistant, I produce films for short film fests, I’m on the board for a local non-profit. I’ve written, directed, and filmed my own sketch comedy pieces. So, when I say I have a sense of humor I mean I’ve gotten on stage and performed improv/sketch pieces live, and I’ve written for other shows.I once made this one person laugh; it was a great day.

I was raised by social workers, which has affected my political views. I’m liberal. Maybe more a conservative liberal, but liberal none-the-less. If you voted for Trump, we will never get along. I’m not saying you have to like the other choice, but you should at least have a soft spot for Bernie.

When I first started reading profiles, I was shocked at the number of folks who wrote some very specific/prescriptive things about the kind of women they were seeking. I had a few “wow, ok dude good luck with that” moments. Then I realized over this one week that I have my own quirks, so in a nutshell:

  • If you’re the kind of guy who speaks about women in generalities, as in “you know women… women this, women that,” we probably won’t get along. I see people as people, and men as individuals, not a pack you can apply a one-size-fits-all stereotype to.
  • Also, don’t be the guy who says “I don’t want drama” in a way that makes me think you believe only women can create drama. Hoooo boy, guys can also be pretty dramatic. So, surprisingly enough I don’t want drama either. I’m too old for that.
  • If you’re the kind of guy who flips out that I haven’t written. First off, I’m busy. Between work, volunteering, and taking care of friends/family I’m not loitering on this site. * If you edit the type you’re looking for to match me, then I may think that’s a bit odd. Like whomever you like; it doesn’t have to mirror what I’ve written down. I was one person’s ideal. I’m ok with that.
  • If you need someone to control, I’m not the person for you. I have a lot going on, and I’m a grown-up.
  • I’m not a sports fan, but I’m ok if you are as long as when your team loses it doesn’t wreck your day. If you’re angry about a loss the rest of the evening, then I’m not the person for you.
  • We all have varied opinions, but I’m looking for someone who, if they don’t like something, will have experienced it first. The whole “I’ve never done this/seen that, but I hate it” followed by “I don’t need to experience it to know it’s bad” doesn’t work for me. Be adventurous – willing to try something before dismissing it.
  • You need to like your family, and your friends. Mine are pretty great; we’re kind of a package deal.
  • Also, if you wrote “my paycheck” on the last thing you read… wow.

What I am looking for beyond what’s on my profile:

  • Someone with a keen wit, who can tell a story – a real story

  • Someone who’s up for trying something new

  • Someone who doesn’t believe in holding me or even themselves back

  • Someone positive, who sees what I/they “can” do and doesn’t limit themselves with “can’t”

  • Someone who knows who/what the following are: Neil Gaiman, Douglas Adams, Rising Star, Kabuki, ElfQuest, and who has an opinion on whether Han shot first.

I left off important facts (I ran out of characters) like:

  • If my friend Jonathan meets you, and does impersonations later, this won’t work out.
  • If you hurt my feelings or do something ugly, my in-laws will plot your demise. Plus, they’ll be a little ticked at me if they have to get up early to beat you down.
  • And I left off the phrase, “I’m a grown-ass woman,” which was in there, but I removed thinking the Match.com filters would choke.

Sooo… send me a message, post a comment here (or on FB) with a line or two you think I should add that better describes. You’ll be judged on wit!  Hey, and since we’re talking about it… if you know of any single, great guys, who like chubby girls, and who just want to hang out let me know. 🙂

I’ll be sure to keep everyone updated on this whole glamorous/self-deprecating process. I should at least get a good story or two out of it before throwing in the towel, and accepting that I’ll be alone.

John Kelso

Yesterday, my phone lit up with messages – John Kelso, an Austin icon, had passed away.  If you in any way claim to be a true Austinite, separating yourself from the throngs who appear adding condos along Town Lake and driving up real estate prices, then you love a few things: Barton Springs, Zilker hillside musicals, Chuy’s  jalapeño ranch, ACL, and of course John Kelso.

I could recount some of my favorite articles, but y’all have Google and a curious mind, so I’ll let you enjoy the thrill of discovery.  That said, the time he shamed the city into re-thinking their stance on a goat’s living situation near “So-Co” (don’t get me started; I was here before South Congress started putting on airs) made me proud. Hey, sometimes gentrifiers need friendly reminders. (Chin up, guys you’ll eventually drive the goat family out thanks to increased property taxes. Every cloud, right?)

I was going to link to a blog piece where I’d written about my encounters with Kelso, but I did a search and discovered I kind of love talking about him. You see, he’s the kind of guy that one story would never do.  I can tell you that my adoration started when he joined my high school for a week posing as an 11th grade student named Clarence Frick (my year), then proceeded to write a series of articles about his experience. That led me to eventually inviting him to our 20 year reunion at Opal Divine’s where he accepted, showed up, and kept our school elite entertained.

Over the years, I’ve had the good fortune to have my writing style compared to his. It even once inspired me to contact him, and see if he might have some advice for the likes of me. He encouraged me to give him a call, which took me a few weeks to muster up the courage to do. I mean, I write like me, not like him, and it seemed a bit uppity on my part to say “hello sir, people say I’m like you, how do I get better – how do I become you? What brands do you buy? Would you call your hair shade salt and pepper? How much salt to pepper would you say?” (I would have left off descriptions of said friends – their questionable tastes, their TBIs, etc.) When I finally did call, I got his voice mail, and didn’t hear anything back. I can’t attest to what my message said, but I suspect it was a bit rambly, and full of fan girl blithering.  The kind of stuff that sets off warning bells, and causes one to invest in a personal bodyguard or five.) He’s always had a lot going on, as one of Austin’s patron saints, so I suspect he was busy (contacting the APD).  Still, I held onto hope he’d one day share some pearls of writing wisdom.  Sorry guys, without those pearls this is what you get. Hey, you decided to follow this blog. That’s on you.

All of that to say, we will miss him and his humor – the way he influenced all of us to laugh a bit, and to inspire us. I hope he’s somewhere now having a beer with Molly Ivins, and Ann Richards, and that Leslie pops by to offer a lick of his “knob” (a story for another day, and not what you think so get your mind out of the gutter).

RIP John Kelso, and my favorite classmate, Clarence Frick.

Jay Anthony Utz: 2/25/1976 – 7/9/2016

There wasn’t an official obituary announcing to the world the loss of my husband. Of all the things we had to deal with that day, and for the days that followed, this was one we pushed to the side. If you planned well, or worked with any funeral service, someone will likely handle this detail. We did not. We were reeling.

I learned that in trying to settle Jay’s affairs that there are companies who really would like one to prove a death has occurred by means of an obituary. I suppose a medical examiner’s report or a death certificate doesn’t carry the weight that an obituary posted in the newspaper does.

So, I give you this – for all the people who need one…

Jay Anthony Utz

Jay Anthony Utz of Pflugerville, TX passed away on Saturday, July 9, 2016.

A memorial was held at 10am on Wednesday, July 13, 2016 at Restoration Covenant Church in Round Rock with Jay’s aunt, the Rev. Marsha Emery officiating.

Jay was born in San Antonio, Texas to Lois and Samuel Utz on February 25, 1976. He married Beth Doughty on May 21, 2007 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Jay is survived by his wife, Beth Doughty; his sister and brothers Enid Celeste Kowalik, Joel Samuel Utz, and Dale Eldon Utz; his parents, Lois Margaret and Samuel Franklin Utz; and his nephews and niece, Everett, Zachary and Katy Kowalik.

Beth’s aunt, Philis Goodwin read the following on Beth’s behalf:

Today we say goodbye to a husband, a son, a brother, an uncle, and a friend who left us all too soon with so many words left unsaid, so many adventures left to do, so many wry/sardonic laughs left un-chortled, and so much love left unexpressed. For me I’m saying goodbye to my best friend, my confidante, my co-conspirator, my teacher, my hero, my voice of reason, and the only adult in the house.  And today and for all the days to come, I’m also saying goodbye to my very favorite person in this world.  The best person I know.

Monday was our 202nd Monthiversary which celebrates the day we started dating – it’s a ridiculous holiday unless you’re us. It also happens to be my very favorite.  This was the day I’d try my level best to wish him a Happy Monthiversary first.  I never really told him we were in competition, but still he almost always managed to win.  

And this is also one of the thousands of things I’ll miss.

Jay was the person who stayed with me each night until I fell asleep.  Then he’d be there when I’d wake in the middle of the night to ask important questions like: What’s the difference between alternating and direct current? Tell me about stationary objects in motion.  And he’d patiently answer until I was satisfied I completely understood and I’d wander off to fall back asleep. I suspect he shook his head when my back was turned, but I have no proof.

On the plane Saturday I realized I didn’t completely understand how planes generated lift, so I made a mental note to discover this information on our ride home.

There wasn’t a ride home – not with Jay, not on this Saturday when my best friend felt he had to leave.

Someone suggested I might be angry, and if I’m angry about anything it’s at this faceless disease called depression.  I’m angry that it took away the best person I know.  I’m angry it made him feel worthless and that it blinded him to being able to realize how amazing he truly was.  I’m angry that he tried and didn’t get the help he needed to fight it.  I’m angry it made him see so much bad about himself when all I could ever see was good and kind and beautiful, and he was absolutely beautiful. It robbed me of laughs, of the one person who understood me, of a thousand inside jokes, and a thousand more kisses.  It took away our ridiculous Monthiversaries, and it took away my favorite person.

I love you, Jay. You said I deserved better, but there will never be better than you.  You are the love of my life, and I miss you so much.

Jay’s brother Dale also spoke and shared personal stories that helped further bring to life a person whom we will all miss dearly – with whom we’ll never get to share another laugh, nor enjoy another character like “Laguardia”.