Jun. 30th, 2017

Shashigai

Jun. 30th, 2017 07:21 pm
pyraxis: Pyraxis (Pyraxis)
I guess I need to get it together to make a public post. My partner, [personal profile] shashigai, died from complications of cancer last Sunday night.

We've been keeping it on a private filter because he didn't want a lot of people to know he was ill. He believes that it's too easy for people's expectations to shape reality, and he didn't want to live the reality of being treated like an invalid. He wanted his accomplishments and his mistakes to stand on their own, not to always be tainted by "You're doing so well, for somebody who's ill," or making excuses for him. It carried over to offline life as well, and his work. He has an advanced degree in psychology and for the past few years he's been teaching online. Being a college professor was one of his dreams.

I've known him for twelve years, and we've been together for ten of them. When I met him, he was working in a hospital as a psychiatric crisis clinician. He's always had a thousand stories from his time there, from the silly ones like the woman who went dancing naked down a public street and when questioned, sung out, "I'm a treeeee! My branches need to grow free in the wind!" to the serious ones, like the former alcoholic who was being written off by the doctors and herded off to rehab. Under questioning from Shashigai, she admitted she felt a "tight band around her head", which he correctly identified as carbon monoxide poisoning. He sent a fire brigade to her apartment, where they found a gas leak behind her stove, the source of the faint hissing noise that everyone else had been calling her hallucination.

He's always been a storyteller. I only know a fraction of the stories in his head and I'm sure I could only tell them a fraction as well. He's left me journal after journal of writing. When we met, I introduced him to our world, Karn, and he took it on as his own. He made it his home in the Dreaming, and his presence has left it infinitely richer. I believe he is still there, both as his own self and in the dozens and hundreds of people we met there. We discovered other worlds together - Ua, and Beren Gan - and wrote stories and made art and stood together in fascination and admiration as it breathed into life.

We've fought like cats and dogs, we've screamed at each other and hurt each other, and I hope that in the end it was enough for me to stay with him when he acknowledged that there was no other treatment to be tried and the only question left was how should it end. He asked for his cowboy boots and his Superman hat, because that's the kind of guy he is. He's been defying human physiology for as long as I've known him. He's set me on fire (it was an accident!) and I've cut him on purpose, and beyond all that, I did every damn thing I could to support his free will in a society that is all too quick to disempower. He'd disagree with that and in the worst times he'd call me lazy and selfish, but we hung the fuck onto each other through the storm. We were proud of our track history of resolving conflicts.

He is a collector and a tinker and an idea person. He can name every brand of fountain pen and clean them to work again too. He could fix our dryer and our internet and cook like a professional chef. When we went out to eat, he would pick the best dishes and reproduce them at home by taste. I've managed to save some of his best recipes and I'm sad for all the other ones that were never written down. He did his best to teach my reluctant self not to be afraid of breaking things.

We went camping together and he took me for a walk through the deep woods at midnight to show me the delicate white mushrooms that creep out of the ground and the blossoms that only open at night. He knew all the secret places in the town where he lived, like the little tea hut at the end of the trail where we shared a thermos of ginger tea. He gave me a pen that could light up, for writing at night, and any number of blank books and journals in encouragement to write. We went hiking in the early morning so that we could be painting watercolour as the sun rose. I taught him everything I could think of about painting, so that he went from hesitating to do anything more than mix colours, to painting lighthouses and clouds and landscapes from Karn.

I could keep going. He helped me get my dream job despite my frantic efforts to take the first halfway decent opportunity that would have gotten us out of one place where we were living. He helped me rediscover my sport, rock climbing, and took me to the climbing gym religiously every weekend despite the fact that he often wasn't well enough to climb himself. He used to say that one of his biggest mistakes was allowing his former partner to discourage him from his own sport of marathon running. He ran ten marathons before she got to him, and he finished nine of them.

He said he'd lived enough for six lifetimes and blamed it on his ADHD. It still tears me up to think of all the things we still wanted to do together. We were in the middle of a move across the country which we had to delay because of the illness at the end. We were just buying a house together and ready to start a new life. All his things are halfway across the country now and I'm going to be putting pieces back together in the place we chose to suit both of us. I want to honor him and I want to share his stories with the world. I only hope that he can still see it.
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June 2017

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