Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Misery Loves Company

When you are orphaned in your twenties, there are not a lot of people who understand what you are going through. The only other people who may be able to comprehend it are your siblings. I don't think I'd be as close to my brothers, Juan and Dat, if we didn't experience the death of our parents the way we did. It made us who we are today. To some degree it defines us. We had to stick together like Willis and Arnold Jackson, except we didn't have a wealthy Phillip Drummond to adopt us. Even though I had my brothers, what I really longed for was an orphan friend. Then, one day, my wish came true.
Juan, Dat, and I, in happier times.

I had an acquaintance by the name of Flora. Her mom died when she was really young and I heard her dad was now sick. We shared a very similar story. I ran into her one night at a local bar. She told me that she was getting married soon, so her Dad could walk her down the aisle. Just like I did the year before. We chatted for a bit about how much life can really suck. But all the while I was trying to contain my excitement. I was going to have an orphan friend! This was going to be awesome. So I just sat back and waited patiently.

Soon, the inevitable happened. Flora was now an orphan just like me. We had a special bond. Finally, someone who knew what it was like! My first friendship based solely on death. My first, of many friendships, based solely on death. A few years later, another acquaintance was suddenly orphaned. And being the good orphans that we were, Flora and I welcomed Fawn into our triangle of orphans, with open arms. Together we help each other get through each parentless day. Their friendship has been a true blessing.

One particular Mother's Day, I found a bottle of Death's Door vodka on my front porch. The note said, "Love, Mom". It was so awesome to laugh instead of cry. Another time, after a particularly hard day, I was welcomed home with a liquor store gift certificate simply signed, "Orphan Triangle". And yet another time, there was a bottle of wine in a monogrammed thermal wine bag. Notice the theme?

During the same time period, I also had other friends who were experiencing the loss of a parent for the first time. So a few of us got together and started a group we named DPS, or Dead Parents Society. The only qualifications needed to join was to have one dead parent. As per usual, I was over-qualified. Our first meeting, in Flo's man garage, was a smashing success. It was a great place to get together and drink, laugh, and cry. Not necessarily in that order. That was a few years ago and we continue to hold meetings about once a month. To say these gals mean the world to me is an understatement. Since we started our group, four more members have been orphaned. It's really sad to watch your friends go through this experience, especially when you know exactly what hell it is.

But just like Dolly Parton's character in Steel Magnolias, laughter through tears is our favorite emotion. We laugh. A lot. Not about things normal people laugh about. Not about anything particularly funny. Mostly about extremely morbid things. Things only people who have lost parents would laugh about. We have seen a psychic and an medium together and we have had a meeting where we came dressed as our dead parent. We got a lot of looks that night.

Here are the DPSers dressed as our beloved.

Our meetings do revolve around drinking. Or sharing meds that our terminally ill parents left behind. We've all dealt with hospice so we know the drill by now. It's all about numbing the pain and being there for one another. We count ourselves lucky to have one another. We also count ourselves lucky because Carah was trained to give B12 shots when her mom was sick. So one night, we were all the beneficiaries of one of those bad boys. Still have the bruise to prove it. Anything to not feel the actual pain that we have inside of us. We all have lives that have to go on. We all have husbands, we all have kids, we all have jobs. But one night each month, we get to feel sorry for ourselves and drown those sorrows. And it feels good.  I know what you're all thinking, "but now I want to be an orphan!" Don't worry, you will be. Soon enough. Just make sure you surround yourself with the best damn orphan friends you can possibly find.

I have had friends say that they know someone who is also an orphan, or even half an orphan, but they don't think it's funny like I do. Let me just say, I don't think being an orphan is funny at all. I wish my parents were alive. But these are the cards I was dealt and I can't do a damn thing about it. If I didn't laugh about death, I would never laugh.


  1. This may well be my favorite post so far - and there have been plenty of awesome ones to choose from. Jonathan Swift ain't got nothin' on you, lady.

  2. I became an orphan at 24. All my friends still have their parents and don't understand my secret dead parent club. All my siblings have their families and live in different states. I'm single and childless so its a very only depressing clubs. But this post definitely made me chuckle. Thank you

    1. I just wrote a girlfriends guide to grief. You may find that relatable as well. Thanks for reading!

  3. How does one join this club? I recently got the credentials to join....