Geek. Pirate. Mom

The Life and Times of Whitney Drake

Posts tagged 'jerad'

Hit from behind.

Earlier this week, I was browsing my Tumblr dash, and came across this post:


And if you look at the tags on the bottom, you’ll see what happened. I read it, and realized that I had a friend that was a soulmate. Someone who got me to the very core, who I didn’t have to say much of anything to- but did. We chatted constantly.


And while I have a lot of wonderful new friends, there’s still the hole that he left in my life. It’s not as big as it used to be- so many other things used to bring up raw grief that would literally force me to curl in on myself and sob. But it’s still there.

It isn’t as though this hits me when I think of something sad. It’s the happy memories that hit the hardest- make me miss him the most. Things he would have liked. Imagining the guilt trip he’d give me for screwing around on the internet instead of writing (he really supported my writing). Fond things like that post above. Memories of someone who understood me- the good and the bad.

I still wonder what if. Which is a horrible thing to do when you’ve lost someone, but inevitable if you’re me. That’s my job as a writer, wondering. So I let myself consider it, beat myself up over not being able to save him (though I know that I did all I could do) and I pick myself up and move on.

And then write about it.

The Doctor: Eleven, Twelve.

Over the weekend it was announced that Matt Smith would be leaving Doctor Who, and while I can’t say that I’m surprised (he has had a long run), I am both happy and sad.

Happy that Matt Smith’s career has taken off (because Doctor Who has proved how immensely talented he is), and sad because he was my first Doctor.

That isn’t quite true. I’d caught an episode or two of Nine and Ten, but hadn’t really started watching the show. I started with him and was immediately taken in by the ancient man who sometimes acted like an 5 year-old.

Doctor Who was something I shared with my best friend Jerad, and he died before the first Smith Christmas Special aired (which I still can’t see without being reminded that it was something we’d both been looking forward to, and was the first thing I had to experience without him). And the more I watched the Eleventh Doctor, the more I realized that he wasn’t just dear to me because he was my first Doctor. It was because… he was like Jerad. Jerad was clever and kind, but incredibly hard on himself. He used humor to mask the pain he felt inside, and…

I’m getting sidetracked. Even with all my attachments to Eleven- and I suspect that I will be a sobbing mess because it will be like losing Jerad all over again, I’m still looking forward to the future. Because it’s the nature of the show. We know that each end is a new beginning. That companions come and go, and that the same is true of the Doctor.

I hope that Doctor Who is ready to take the next step. In the grand scheme of the series, we’ve only had a couple of non-white companions, and there absolutely zero regenerations have been a POC or woman. Considering the show has explained that other Time Lords have regenerated as a different gender, and certainly, Melody Pond regenerated as a black girl to become Mels- there’s no canon saying it couldn’t happen.

It would be fantastic, too. The Doctor would be treated differently as a woman or a person of color, and that would be amazing story-wise, seeing a character we’re so familiar with actually have to grapple with how the Universe treats someone else. And it isn’t as though the show would actually change its focus. S/He would still be running around saving people hunting things. Just seeing it all from a slightly different place.

What are your thoughts on Matt Smith leaving? Or are you waiting until the Anniversary special to even start processing it?

Missing the Nickelking.

As I mentioned yesterday, it’s been 2 years (exactly) since Jerad passed away. For those new here, Jerad was my best friend. He was the person I would talk to about everything, endlessly- usually online. He used to give nickels to special people in his lives (myself included)- and online, he went by Nickelking.

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t miss him. I miss him terribly. I can’t even turn to the internet for some distraction either.

This week I saw someone advertising the Eleventh Doctor’s tweed coat, and I found myself swallowed up by grief. I still can’t watch “A Christmas Carol” (er, the Doctor Who Christmas special, not the Dickensian tale) without weeping through most of it.

In these two years, I’ve tried to be braver than I used to be. I’ve made new friends (and even if I haven’t met you all in person, you mean so very much to me). I’ve pushed myself, and continued this blog even when my heart hurt so much I didn’t think I could find anything to write about, not to mention on the days that I worry that nobody reads this or cares (though you all constantly remind me how wrong I am about that). I’ve kept working at the novel. I’ve given myself other outrageous goals (like next month’s 5k run). Tried things that terrified me (like representing the preschool at the private school’s Booster Club- talking to people I vaguely know is terrifying. Complete strangers are much easier).

And as cliche as it sounds, I still feel him here with me. Not as often as I used to, but I’ve found more than a few nickels in odd places when I’ve needed the support. (The first I found was at a gas station. One of the more recent was in a boot of mine)

Miss you, J.

8 years!

Today’s my anniversary. 8 years ago, I was lucky enough to be marrying a man I loved deeply then, but even more-so now.

We had a lovely ceremony at a building that’s no longer accessible. I would talk about it more, but it’s not available as a venue anymore, since it was bought by Scientologists (I am not making that up).

The building was an art deco affair in Santa Ana, with an old elevator, as well as a theater. We used the theater for both the wedding and the reception. Chairs were set up for the wedding, and after the ceremony, guests were whisked away to a cocktail reception while they set up the reception.

The room was transformed into a 1930′s nightclub, with a live band, and even a Maitre’d to tell the guests where they would be seated. The tables were named after nightclubs and dance halls, and the signs served as the guestbook.

We danced! Our first dance was to “Can’t Help Falling in Love With You,” my dance with my father was to “Moonlight Serenade”- since he introduced me to Glenn Miller’s music, and TheBoy’s dance with his mother was to “Unforgettable”. And the rest of the night was a blur of dancing- with just about everyone.

Pictures and helpful links behind the cut. Read More…


Some things in life I just can’t blog about, even though I feel like I need to for therapeutic reasons.

Something happened to someone in my life. That’s about as much as I can say without invading their privacy. But I will say that it involved alcohol.

I have mixed feelings about alcohol. I don’t really drink much these days. Admittedly, the only time I really drank was when it wasn’t legal for me to do so- and even then, I drank at home. By the time it was legal, I was a drink on special occasions type of girl. And by drink, I mean, ONE drink.I enjoy being sober. I can be crazy without having a single drink.

I’ve seen a lot of people get plastered to the point where they don’t remember a thing- and honestly, good or bad, I want to remember my life.

Then of course, there is Jerad. Drinking led to his pancreatitis, which is what killed him- and I still have a hard time watching people drink heavily. I have the occasional drink. One drink in the span of 24 hours, and typically, only one or two drinks in a month. Honestly, I think I’ve only had about 10 drinks total in the year and a half since his death.

If you’re going to drink, please do so in moderation (your liver and pancreas will thank you).

If you’re going out to drink, make sure you have a designated driver. And if your designated driver drinks, call a taxi instead of getting behind the wheel.

When you’re 30 and under, it’s easy to feel like you’re invincible. We believe that in life, we’ll be remembered by the big things we do… and sometimes, it’s the small decisions we make that will change everything.

Just be careful people.

(The blog post I’d scheduled for today will go up tomorrow)

A year ago.

A year ago, the world fell out from underneath me. You see, a year ago I found out that my best friend died (on the day before).

It’s been a strange year. One filled with sadness and a lot of anger. A lot. I’m not an angry person, but this had me shouting to the skies because I was so mad. I’m still angry, but I suppose a part of me always will be.

There is no making sense of it, that much I know. Jerad was a very private person, and while I was one of the closest people to him, there are so many things that I found out after his passing that it made me doubt whether I really knew him at all.

I know that in my long post about the hospital stay I urged anyone who reads this that’s been putting off going to the doctor, or who’s been unsure about whether or not they should mention past health issues- do it. All it took for me to get on the path to answers was mentioning the right symptom, which led to the right test. It pains me every time I think about the fact that if he’d just mentioned his pancreatitis in the past, it probably would have been caught in time. (And honestly, if money is keeping you from running tests- find something to sell, find someone to borrow money from, work out a payment plan. It might be embarrassing, but it also might save your life)

I’ve grown closer to my little sister- my first best friend, and still one of the few people who gets me on every level. I wish it hadn’t taken his death for us to be friends again, but I’m thankful that I have her in my life again- even if she’s half a world away. Bawk bawk, seester.

I’ve learned a lot in the last year, about myself. I realized that I am a loner, but not by choice. I had to confront a lot of anxiety attacks in the days following Jerad’s death because I’m completely freaked out by unfamiliar situations. I was fine after my grandfather’s funeral… I had two little kids, so I got to focus on them. This was the first time I couldn’t hide behind them.

I outed myself as a procrastinator and I’ve been trying to do all I can to be a writer working on a regular schedule. It also seems like what he would have been pushing me to do anyways. (Seriously people, if I was sitting online all day surfing the net, I’d get chat messages telling me that I was wasting my gift. He tried- just like I tried to push him, too. Turns out he was just more stubborn than me.)

It seems like no time has passed at all, but it feels like it was another lifetime ago- if that makes any sense.

My oldest remembers him, and I’m doing all I can to ensure that never changes. Of course, there are little things here and there that make it possible. Books that my boys discover that he’d bought them. Puzzles. Toys. Pictures of him stacking a bunch of Lightning McQueen’s for no other reason than he wanted to see if they would stack. In fact, I asked OK what he remembered about Uncle Jerad not that long ago (while I usually hate making people “aunt” or “uncle” who aren’t relations, my parents adopted him during the wedding, so he’s family. At least that was the logic I thrust upon him, telling Jerad that my boys understand what an uncle is, and know that it’s someone who is there and loves them… and they’d never be able to spell Rejershnivit.) he said that he reminded him of Doc Brown from Back to the Future.

I asked him if it was because of the hair (Jerad’s did have a tendency to stick out when it got long enough). He said it was that, and because Doc Brown was funny and smart. And he remembered how much Jerad knew about science. Which made me thoroughly happy because aside from being an amazingly talented actor, he was brilliant and always learning about science. So I think he’d be happy being remembered for that.

Yesterday was my first full day with the kids after the whole hospital thing, and I was so focused on that it didn’t hit me until I saw a headshot pop up in my Facebook stream that I remembered it was the 6th and not the 7th. (The 7th sticks in my head since that’s when I found out)

Funny how that works out. Though it’s pretty much how the last year has been. I’d function well with the kids and through my regular routine, and then in the quiet moments, it would seep in and hit me.


Earlier this week I freaked out friends and family by talking about life changes vaguely in the same post as me being depressed over the loss of Jerad. I mentioned I wasn’t quite ready to talk about some of these changes, but I am ready to talk about one of them now.

I know I’ve mentioned that we’ve been gearing up for the Oldest Kidlet to go to kindergarten. We’d signed up for a tour of his school (the private Church based school that his dad and uncles went to), and were gearing up for their aggressive kindergarten program… when they gave us the registration form with the monthly tuition. Even anticipating the extended hours and a higher cost… it was more than we thought. And the family discount was less than we thought.

So we had to sit down and figure out if it was even possible…. and realized that it wasn’t. So the Oldest Kidlet will be going to the public school right around the corner. While the school won’t be as academically challenging, I know that any friends he makes will at least be in the neighborhood. Which excites me.

The Little Kidlet has been enrolled at the preschool- we’re having him at the same school, mostly because they’ve seen him all year long and already know a bit about him. So I won’t be springing his allergies on them. Or the fact that he’s really really quiet. The director of the preschool has already assured me that if he suddenly starts talking that they’ll put him in the academic program vs the language one.

Of course, this means that my little boys are growing up. And as the preschool director pointed out, I’m actually going to have some time to myself. Scary…

Struggling to find words.

There are so many things I wish I could talk about. We’ve had some big changes in our life, and I’m still waiting for some time to pass before I can talk about them. (Before anyone leaps to conclusions, no, I’m not pregnant)

However, in the rest of my life I am struggling to find words. I sit down to write blog posts about mundane things, and suddenly the words disappear as though one of my kids is stealthily hitting the delete button.

Don’t even get me started on my creative writing. I haven’t been able to get much of anything written, though I’ve tried.

Everywhere I’ve turned in the last week, there’s been Jerad. Or at least enough reminders of him that it’s jarred me from my routine. Between the Discovery launch and even Charlie Sheen’s bizarre string of interviews- there have been so many things that I would have wanted to talk to him about or things that I knew he would have been geeking out along with me. For some reason I thought that the dead were supposed to be the ones with unresolved business, not the people they left behind.

It’s almost laughable. I’m crippled by his memory, and he was my biggest champion when it came to my creative work.

Quick thoughts on the ACA repeal attempt.

I was going to post at length about the Affordable Care Act, but I’ll just sum it up with this:

Don’t repeal it. Republicans say it’s because it isn’t Constitutional, but really- they’re trying to protect insurance company and pharmaceutical profits, because insurance companies and pharmaceuticals make huge donations to campaigns. Largely so that their interests are protected.

If someone says that it’s anti-American to say that a company shouldn’t be able to turn a profit, nobody’s saying that they can’t make a profit. The US is the only country in the first world tier of countries that doesn’t limit the profits that a private insurance company can make. Not all Europeans countries have nationalized health care, and those that don’t treat health care the way that we treat homeowner’s insurance and car insurance- as something that you’re required to carry for your own financial protection.

What isn’t very nice is that every day, average Americans are forced to make decisions about their health based on whether or not they can afford it. Treatable illnesses go unchecked and become something more serious.

Two anecdotes. My father found himself without insurance and COBRA premiums were just too high. So he looked into private insurance for our family. We filled out the paperwork, and they told us that three of us had preexisting conditions and our rates would go up for coverage. These preexisting conditions? My mom and I get migraines. I had a back injury but had completed rehab for it. My sister had ADD. To solve this problem, my dad put me on my school’s bare bones insurance (which essentially just covered visits at their school clinic). To this day, I am grateful that while I was on this insurance that the later back injuries I had occurred at my job, which had an in-house rehab center. If they hadn’t provided that to me free of charge, I know I would have been in big trouble.

Then, Jerad. He had been unemployed and without insurance for years. He was going to school full time and started to get sick regularly. A cold here and there, and a stomach bug with side pains that would keep him down for a weekend. He didn’t have the money to go to a doctor. There were many times that I offered to take him to my doctor and pay for his appointment, but he turned me down. I actually heard him says (many times) that “if I’m still in pain” or “vomiting blood” in X days, then he’d go. Of course, he felt better by then.

He suffered from pancreatitis on and off for the last year- at least that’s what I’m certain of now. He went to a doctor who wanted to run a panel of tests just to confirm it was a stomach bug. Jerad said no (since he couldn’t afford it) and felt better shortly after the trip. That panel probably would have shown he had pancreatitis. Basic medical coverage would have saved his life.

Can’t we send the message that individuals are more important than corporations? That our legislature values the words of the people, not just the companies that will contribute to their campaigns?

Update: On a similar note to Jerad’s story, here’s the story about the death of writer Melissa Hall. Don’t tell me that it’s just the poor who are without insurance. There are self-employed individuals who otherwise make a good living, but can’t get insurance because of the cost to insure someone with a “pre-existing condition.”


I promise, a less ranty post tomorrow. On what? My birthday weekend, of course!

What Might Have Been and What Is.

Today has been a mixed bag for me. I’ve been sick, and last night as I drifted off, I realized that today would have been the day that Jerad and I were supposed to go to Glen Ivy to celebrate my birthday and his half birthday. Usually we would go closer to the actual date, but because of school, he wanted to move it up a little.

In some ways I wish I’d kept my appointments- because I could sure use a massage.

I admit, I’m doing much better than most people expect of me. Which makes me feel guilty. As though I should still be wracked with sadness. All I know is that isn’t what Jerad would want for me. Granted, he’d feel bad that I’m not writing much in the way of fiction- but I think he’d be proud of the writing that I’ve done here on my blog.

Also today, the Oldest Kidlet is sick. He climbed into my bed today and said he was going to throw up. I told him he wasn’t, since he didn’t seem like he was ill. But we came down, and he threw up on the carpet. And has thrown up twice since then. I guess I was wrong.

I had just written a paragraph about how the hardest part was telling my son he couldn’t go to school- he really really loves school. No, the hardest part of the day thus far has been cleaning up vanilla flavored vomit (thank you flavored milk alternative) while the Little Kidlet pretended that he needed his shirt off (because the Oldest one threw up on his, and now the Little Guy wasn’t getting any attention).

Thank goodness my brother-in-law is here, so that he could run out to the store for some Gatorade.

At least the vomit is keeping me from dwelling on what today might have been.*

*A sentence I never thought I’d type.

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