« Modern Love

Modern Love Presents: Shipwrecked

2020-03-13 | 🔗

Could you use a little extra comfort and love from afar right now? We thought so. We're sharing an episode of another WBUR podcast, "Endless Thread." This is a story about processing grief, and where we turn when the people closest to us don't seem to know what to do or say to help us move forward. If you enjoy this episode, subscribe to "Endless Thread" wherever you get your podcasts. More info here: https://smarturl.it/endlessthread

This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
Modern love, the pad cast supported by produced by the island at W B war, Boston, hey. Modern lovers were dropping into your feed for a second time this week. To give you a little extra love it, pursuit of another, W B, you are pod cast endless thread hosted by M, receive written and Ben Brok Johnson. Every episode feature something extraordinary found on Reddit, the surprising, the mysterious and the utterly human. This episode tells a story about processing grief and where we turn, when the people closest to us don't seem to know what to do or say to help us move forward. Here's the show, hey just a heads up. This episode deals with the topic of death in a pretty detailed way. If that's not for you
maybe take a listen to something else from our catalog. I guess it's like the idea of legal, you're, like a dark tunnel, I see the light at the end of the tunnel built like you could do know where the tunnel ends and do just keep going through the tunnel until you get to the other side. I didn't you, don't really know when that will be, but you just have to keep the otherwise you're stuck in the middle of the tunnel right, This is T J, she's, redder and I'm a journalist. I am thirty one and I live in Brooklyn. I follow a ton of different sub right from food. Two memes to repulse drag race, and I am a part of a couple of different feminism communities. I have a feminism tattoo on my middle finger. It's the Venus symbol and I use that to flip off the Patria
I whenever I can, I know TJ because we both used to work for the same radio station in New York and when I into her about a year ago, she told a story that practically knocked me over about something that happened a few years back. That has changed her life completely and how that change has played out on red it. Can you take us back to late twenty? Sixteen? What did you? life, look like then ya, late, two thousand and sixteen living with my partner. We had been together at that point. Just a little over six years, TJ doesn't want to use her partner's actual name. We talked about giving him a pseudonym, but considering the circumstances of all this that felt pretty weird too. we're just going to call him her partner, I'd, relocated to upstate New York. With my partner, he had gotten
job and I had the ability to work from Home- and I kind of felt like hey, like I've, never really lived outside. New York City in this or the immediate surrounding area. So I said like okay: let's do it. Let's move upstate states, I have been living up there for a year and a half, or so we had like a really cute two bedroom house with a literal white, picket fence backyard. Our border Kali smoke. We had gotten him of shortly after we relocated there. I am so yeah now he's the best t J describes her partner as being part of a big family from Upstate York. He grew up in pretty humbles, from stances. He was one of the only members of his immediate family who left went to college. She says he got out and made something of himself. He was ambitious. My partner, he worked as a golf courses, are intended in its money. He hated Gulf.
the very idea he was like. I M here to talk about the flowers, so he was like the Laura spoke for a flower CIA. Exactly I think when he and teaching met near New York City. They really hit it off. We had met when held his eyes. Twenty two. We are both twenty two and actually leg. This whole story has with plague technology, like the way that my partner and I met we met on match dot com like back when there was no app for it or anything like oh gee match dot com. Yeah we met and We went on one date and then we never were. Apart again, in the in all the photos. We've seen of him TJ partner. Has this kind of boyish grin stretching from ear to ear? Tito says she liked his dry slightly dark sense of humor. He was
all blond, hair blue eyes. The relationship was great, but about six and a half years after it started in January of two thousand and seventeen something happened, Teachers partner went away with some friends for the weekend and when he came home he told her. Oh, I have like this really bad headache. And I was like oh that really sucks like me, you didn't sleep enough this weekend and you know- and I had made us dinner and we were watching always sunny in Philadelphia, which is a show that we liked and hanging out with the dog and the couch and around nine o'clock. He was like you know it is killing me like I'm going bad early, and I was like okay. That's so sounds good. I gave him some ibuprofen and he went up to sleep and the dog followed up with him and next morning, her partner's alarm went off about half an hour before hers like it always did. Tj was still have
I sleep, but I remember the alarm going off and he said baby. Don't you have to get up and he said yeah I am getting up in a minute. Tj went back to sleep for a little while, started her own usual routine. I heard the sink running in the bathroom. Like I did. Every morning I knocked on the door- and I said you know here the water in a sad hate. This continent just come in for a minute. I just want to brush my teeth and he didn't answer HMM and Johnson, Mary see, written and you're listening to endless thread, the show featuring stories found in the vast ecosystem. online communities called Reddit it coming to you from Will you be? You are Boston, NPR station. Today's episode shipwrecked so tedious partner is in the bathroom. The water
running and T J needs to brush her teeth. She doesn't really know yet that something is wrong, but her partner isn't letting her in and then I was waiting. I knocked again really hard and he didn't answer, and so then I just decided to open the door. open the door and he was face down on the bathroom floor and his ankle was twisted. It looked, maybe it was broken and he was face down and at first for a second, I thought What are you doing asleep on the bathroom floor like and then I awoke walked over to him and that's when I noticed his foot and I that was really concerning. I thought he tripped didn't like blacked out or something, and I shook him and I said
It goes like what are you doing here and he didn't move, and then I looked closely at his face and his face was blue and that's when I knew like. Oh my god, something is wrong and at first I I still thought. Maybe he was asleep at and its or something so. I turned out of the bathroom to start down the stairs to get like a pot of water to throw on him, because that's how you wake people up and but I stopped halfway down the stairs- and I was like Hughes Blue, like the water, is not going to help. So I ran back upstairs and then I started to shake him pretty violent to try to wake him up and that wasn't working. So I called nine hundred one eleven and I you know my partner he's blue and I don't know what happened. Please send help.
when she thinks back on. It. Tj recognizes that some of choices in the moment might sound a little strange like? Why would run downstairs to get water to throw her partner when he was in the bathroom to start with. But this is the case, I stood in series when something bad happens. A lot of it in retrospect doesn't make a ton of sense, TJ's, pretty small five ft for her partner six ft. One over two hundred pounds. She still talking to the nine one, one dispatcher and at the same time trying to do something. She finally gets him fully rolled over to start CPR I'd new kind of the basics of like clear the air passage. So I opened up his throat and I heard him like gurgle- and I was like- oh my god, that's
good sign and I started doing chest compressions as directed by the operator on the phone, the police and empties show up quickly. They want to know if Tj Partner has been doing drugs she's, like no, of course not it's Monday morning, he was headed for work, as the e m t start to do. Their work. Tj starts trying to call her partner's mother, but she recently changed cell phones, so TJ can't get through and the a m t is then wound up taking him out on a stretcher, and I had asked them, and you know how what is his status, and I remember this woman just looked at me and she's like we're just trying to do everything that we can and I knew at that point. It was not a good sign and that, like that's, not what you want to hear. The ambulance heads to the hall.
Little TJ is right behind it. Thanks to a ride from one of her, only friends in the area the whole ride. She is frantically trying to reach family members. I got to the hospital oh and I walked in, and I he said his name and asked them. You know. Where is he? I asked that point assumed that he must have been in surgery of some kind and then that thou he told me to sit down on a bench and and a social worker came over and that's when I also knew that it was probably not going to be very good. What I was about to hear and and then they brought me into a small room, which I also knew. That was really not a good place to be in Adam. They then told me they did everything they could, but I could not revive him and that he had died and I was alone it's like re
what is shatter in Keno? It's like what are you talk? route like not even twelve hours ago, we were on the couch watching tv He and I made chili for dinner and he was standing there talking to me and now he's dead. Tj was in that room by herself for about forty minutes. She called a couple of close friends, her partner's boss, and she was texting back and forth with his family. They tried calling TJ, but she wouldn't pick up. She knew she'd lose. And once they finally got to the hospital TJ realized she couldn't face them now with what they were about to find out. They were taken to a private room next to teach and then I just heard his mother scream like I've, never heard anyone scream and that's when It's like. Oh, they know,
I went in and she had thrown up all over the floor at the end, then they were just asking me what happened and I didn't have any answer for them. The hospital doctors didn't have answers either they suspected hard trouble, but for reasons that T J still doesn't fully understand, they didn't come up with any, even as the day dragged on that turned into a week, two weeks more and we would call like once a week asking cause like again: it's like how does somebody that's like seemingly healthy, and he was twenty eight years old, like literally drop dead one morning It took nine months for the autopsy report on T partner to come back. He a brain aneurysm, but the aneurysm had apparently been caught. Caused by an undiagnosed heart condition it slowly.
started to sink in that not only was her partner gone, but a few. or as she'd imagined. It was also gone. I looked at places of where we wanted to get married. We talked about like who would be in our bridal party. We had picked out. What are we wanted? Our kids' names to be and when and how many we wanted to have, and so we were like, officially engage, but I would consider him that's why I say that he's my partner cause, that's what he was right after he died. This person who she had spent years planning her life with T J had a whole other set of decisions make alone in a place that wasn't even really their home, yet the first, like the day after I literally woke up
ooh? I didn't have any community. I didn't have like an office or like a support system at all, and also he died in our house. So I made a decision that I needed to move out of the house as soon as possible. So within ten days of his death, I left our house ooh. It's now been almost two and a half years since TJ left the house, but she still about her partner's death. Every day I mean the whole thing, it didn't feel real. You know, and it still sometimes doesn't feel real. When I saw him on the floor, like he looked like a little bit blue, but I I mean it didn't I've never seen a dead person before her and he was dead. On the floor
and you know I never see I've never seen that and I didn't I understand what to make of it like. How do you wake up a person who will not wake up Tj came to us in part because she just couldn't tell her own story. It was just going to be too much, but also as sad of a story is. This is we're not telling TJ story today only because her partner died died it because of what happened after he died on Reddit will be back back.
I love spelling bee my boyfriend and I often play spelling bee together by together. I mean sitting next to each other playing individually and not cheating. Sometimes when I open outgoing d- and I see that you have completed a few words on your own, I feel a little betrayed in sorry. It may have happened again, I have one friend who I will say in the screenshots, from spelling bee of inappropriate words that I always get nervous that I sent it to my parents or something like that was my bad. It was the first time together and I was out. I think I got to see it. J, a c k, p o t We hit the jackpot,
I'm same as earth's sky, the digital puzzles editor for the New York Times. You can try spelling bee and all our games at N Y Times dot com, slash games in the chaotic weeks following her partner's death, TJ moved around a lot and money was tight. She was going from the benefits. if the two income household to navigating the world by herself when he passed away like he didn't, have life insurance, we barely had any savings like we didn't have anything really. I mean he had just actually gotten to the point where he'd pay off his student loans, which is so fucking sick. Really
it's one of the reasons why we had delayed getting married. I mean I had to sell everything, our furniture and pretty much. I could just pack whatever I could fit in the back of a car which were mainly just like clothes, then some memories, keepsake and stuff and the dog, and so a lot of that life that I had seen with him. I died when I left the house it was almost like in order to survive this awful thing to keep her head above water TJ had to get free of the stuff from the life she and her partner had been building together. She had to stay afloat, She didn't know how, because T J was arrested, her and a really active render it seemed natural to look there for answers. I had posted, I think, and unlike grief support,
kind of saying. Like I don't know what to do. I lost my partner and I don't know how to function, and somebody said: oh, you can go to widowers, which has, we been saving grace for me and a lot of ways. Despite the name. The widowers community is not just for widowers. The community describes itself as a place for anyone, who's lost a companion to share and heal their people who lost partners years ago and there people who lost partners hours ago and they share all kinds of updates and questions with subject lines like we were supposed to be married tomorrow, and when did you start eating properly again, you said the
Where's community has been kind of a saving grace for you and in person, widows support groups which I attended, one of their older people and it's just a different dynamic of like the kinds of grief and even though they're similar, but they're also different, as like the widowers community, it seems like most of the people in there are like younger people And also when people ask you the question of like: oh: are you okay? They don't really care about the ants. Her didn't want to hear like that. You are destroyed and in widowers- and you can say that, or you can like say a lot of when things about the process of dealing with grief that, like you, would never say to any one else in your life of lake, you know
Oh, my in laws are being really should. He to me were oh it's two in the morning and I can't sleep. Ah, you know or oh my god, like how am I eventually going to do this- I don't know how? I'm going make it through and people are not you know just being Oh my god, don't worry, it's going to get better like that. It's just like yeah that sucks like. happening to me. Right now to in real life, TJ was facing some tough choices. It didn't make sense for her to stay in upstate New York, so she eventually it back to the city and settled into a tiny shoe box of a bedroom in an apartment back in Brooklyn. Where- slowly started rebuilding her life, a life that looked very
different than the one she'd had and although the circumstances couldn't have been worse, she was moving forward. She was proud of herself She decided to share her progress in a post on Reddit My fiance died four months ago this week I found him. He had an a heart attack. Due to an underlying, but undiscovered heart condition. He was twenty eight and the last four months I have moved five times. I finally found a permanent home for my dog and I two weeks ago I bought a car last week, I successfully negotiated a large raise with my boss. After being with the same person for seven years, I did something very scary and I went on a date this weekend.
It went well. I am on my way to being independent again. I have a long way to go, but I am proud of me today. Why did you make that post? Sometimes they just need to express this to other people, but I don't like to do it in front of. I guess people I know and have them all worried it. Such aid is such a strange thing where it's like you go. One goes through a lot of their life with people not asking them directly and honestly enough, maybe how they're doing and then something like this happens in its way relentless. I also don't want to seem him performative to other people about it, which could I find it to be very glee. Gross in the of ways- and that's that's why I like it, because I can be sort of anonymous, I'm just a user account-
On widowers, anonymity is a gift. It's permission say how you really feel to ask disturbing questions This is somewhat unique? Definitely in comparison to real life, but also on the internet, which, more and more is all about people building identities, online for J. It was the other way around. And the iniquity has been an essential part of a slow recovery. T Jays honest, I am proud of me: Post, took off it, hit the front page of read it. I think. At the height of the post it was like twenty thousand in a boat said several hundred comments. but soon TJ, J, that internet honesty, even when you're anonymous can backfire first people started commenting, and saying leg: oh, are you sure you want to be debating this soon? I always treat my therapist at the time, and I remember, crying and being like
I don't know how I'm going to do it again and also I don't even know how feeling very hopeless at the time
if she had encouraged me to like. Why don't you eat? Try, try and try like online dating not to meet someone, because I didn't want to meet anyone. Many of us are guilty of this thing that TJ was trying to avoid among people who knew what had happened to her. What had happened to her was the only topic they wanted to talk about. She wanted to move on. I just wanted to connect with someone that what was going to treat me for like two minutes, like a normal person like I didn't, have this horrible thing happened to me, but I just had to prove to myself that I could do it because it meant. I guess that, like I would survive that too, because it didn't feel like. I would I'm sorry.
take a break for things got worse for Tj J when an anti feminist subreddit shared her post. The people in that group read some pretty terrible things. Just really vicious and horrible things that I don't anybody, would ever actually say in person. You ended up to leaving the post postern yeah. I did why I deleted the post because people started to click on my username, he saw that I had been chairing things in the widowers community and
so they started following me in there and commenting things on my partners photos. I had posted pictures of us there just saying, really horrific and nasty things about him, and I just couldn't stand for that. Even though going viral had made her miserable teachers involved and in the widowers community, and made her some friends. Someone started responding to the trolls sticking up for tee J. This person, who had also lost someone, was fighting some battles for her when she almost couldn't fight them herself and that's important, because she was fighting other battles in real life. Like, for example, we had a weed open of rising together when he passed away, eighty I owed Verizon over it in dollars between of weed one back bill
We had to pay and then also like his cell phone. Make credit is like in the toilet and like I've been sued by directors, are currently going through a lawsuit right now T J says you can look at her financial history and almost see the death of her partner. She used to pay more than she owed on her credit card bills and then, in January of two thousand and seventeen her payments start to be late than not be paid at all ones. Like payments stop February, one payment, stop smart one stops April. You can see like one by one the payments stop at that exact time period. It has been really hard, but for the last two and a half years t J been calling her way on this hollered ground. She change jobs to get a better paycheck she's been working on our credit score.
she's now moved out of the shoe box room and into the bigger bedroom in her New York apartment. But it's not like she's trying to forget her partner. She just wants to do her best to be in control of how she remembers him. You talked a little bit about how your life with your partner kind of died. after he died, and I wondered if there anything in your life. Now that is kind of a keepsake of that life that you had together, yeah I have a painting a fairly large painting of a batman Abraham, Lincoln, oh my god, That is what I was expecting.
I'll send you guys a photo of it and it kind of like has that air. To it see. We had it on our mantle above our fireplace, and I have it I'd save that I have that in my room and I have his student id in my mirror my vanity soil. Look at that every day is that's how he looked when we first met, so that reminds me of him and I have smokey. I mean Look he's my biggest keepsake. Gradually, things are getting Back to normal, or as normal as they Get one really. Nothing in your life feels normal, which is also something TJ's learned, partly from read its infinite compendium, which she's still using all the time. How do you feel about Reddit after the sixth
I think this story shows that it can be even though, like it was horrible being harassed. I dont think that I would be able to function without or I would have been able to function without the widower support community. I honestly believe that so T J still posting, along with all the other anonymous users, her own thoughts and feelings and some times, seemingly anonymous quotes and ideas on an aid there is this like that I found in the the winners community that I think for a lot of people. Their people will share it there all the time and as a way to
welcome newcomers, but also I have revisited it several times and I think it summarizes perfectly what grief is and how to process it. I dunno if I can read it for you yeah, please do. Let me see if I can find it. I have like sent it to other people too and they've like lost people and ok. I found it okay, so this is how it starts. Alright, here goes I'm old, and so what that means is I've survived so far and a lot of people, I've, known and loved, did not lost friends, best friends, coworkers acquaintances, grandparents, my mom relatives, teachers, mentors students, neighbors and a host of other folks, but here's my two cents. I wish you could say you get used to people dying. I never did. I don't want to
do it tears a hole through me whenever somebody, I love, dies, no matter the circumstances, but I don't want it not to matter, and I don't want it to become something that just passes. My scars scars are a testament to the love and relationships that I had for and with that person, and if the scar is deep, so was the love so be it scars or life scanners or insurance formulae. That alone, you learn. This passage shared over and over across. Read it isn't an anonymous quote. Just re posted on the site turns out. It was actually written by another redditor, some people just call me doesn't want to identify himself beyond that. He says he
want to direct attention away from the people. His words seemed to help, but he did agree to talk to us about this piece of his writing. That is famous for even if a lot of people don't actually realize he's the one who read Gees knows a teacher, and one day he saw a post on red it from a user who said they were seventeen in their best friend, had just down the. So I just any responded off the top of my heart. It took no more time to write it, then what My typing skills were, I never really and did it to be for any other audience, except for that seventeen year old. It was just me writing to him or her. I dont know which that was eight years ago, the passage has been floating around ever since and it is taken on a life of its own, sometimes juice, no open up his computer and have forty new messages about this stream of consciousness. Piece of writing. He did. He says he responds to every single message. We told you know about him,
impact on t dot, J and how she and others in the widower's community send it to people when they first join. It's like a gift, I'll, be it a gift to Marcus. Addict and I have come to recognize- that the biggest are the ones to somebody else, but through you and. to me has been kind of the redeeming element in India with grief somebody finds a way to take their grief and turn it into a gift to somebody else. I do believe that that grief can't be measured. define defined. I think I would say it's it's. The pain felt when love gets yanked out from under us and I don't mean love as an emotion that mean love is a connecting force, and when that get yanked away grease is the echo
even with all of the thoughts he has on this topic. Most of the time, Gee Snow just responds privately to people who get in touch. He lets that one passage he wrote eight years ago do the talking for him scars are a natural right to life. Scars are a testament that I love deeply and live deeply and be cut or even gouged, and that I can heal and continue to live and continue to love and the scar tissue is stronger than the original flesh ever was scars. Are a testament to life? Scars are only ugly to people who can't see, as for grief, you'll find it comes in waves when the ship is first wrecked, you're drowning with wreckage all around you everything floating around. You reminds you of the beauty
in the magnificence of the ship that was and is no more and all you can do is float. You find some piece of the wreckage and you hang on for a while. Maybe it's something physical, maybe it's a happy memory or a photograph. Maybe it's a person who is also floating for awhile. All you can do is float Stay alive in the beginning weighs one hundred one ninety and they crash over you without mercy. They come ten seconds apart and don't even give you time to catch your breath. All you can do is hang on. Float after awhile, maybe weeks. Maybe months will find that the waves are still a hundred feet tall, but they come further apart and when they come they still crash all over you and wipe you out, but in between you can breathe and you can function. You never know. What's going to trigger the grief.
it might be a song or a picture, a street intersection, the smell of a cup of coffee. It can be just about anything and the wave comes crashing, but in between the waves there is life somewhere down the line and it's different for everyone. You find that Waves are only eighty feet tall or fifty feet tall and while they still come, they come further apart and you can see them coming an anniversary birthday or Christmas, or landing at O'Hare International, you can see it coming for the most part, and you prepare yourself
when it washes over you. You know that somehow you will again come out the other side, soaking wet sputtering, still hanging on to some tiny piece of wreckage, but you'll come out ticket from an old guy. The waves never stop coming and somehow you don't really want them to, but you learn that you'll survive them and other waves will,
and you'll survive them too, and if you're lucky you'll have lots of lots of love and lots of shipwrecks and lots of shipwrecks the endless thread from WB. You are, if you like what you heard subscribe wherever you get your podcasts, and this is an especially good time to subscribe, because in just a few weeks, endless thread is launching a five part. Investigative series called madness: the secret mission for mind control and the people who paid the price so we'll leave you today with a preview of the series and all
next week scratch the surface of the internet and you will find conspiracies a lot of conspiracies vaccines killed while deportations desirable to Vienna secret facility, the law between fantasy and reality blurred. What if we told you one thing is: CIA is very good that is destroying evidence. One of those conspiracies was actually true. People have a heart I'm listening and grasping the reality of this. It shut is their belief system. It was a shadow, a shell of a man. Every girl that I went through hell this April endless thread is back with a new series about one of the biggest open secrets in western history: grim with one objective. They saw him confessing and they thought
Buddy else is controlling the skies mind, a secret that changed how we fight, our wars, how we heal people, how we torture, even how we free mines. The CIA was trying to frame this as a l, a steep testing programme, a CIA programme with an unwitting ally, a doctor in Montreal, with surprising methods and a whole bunch of test subjects. was one of the leading psychiatrist in the whole world, like deprivation shock treatment or listen to generic drugs and she lost her soul. She was a pacifist and she was disgusted and mortified that she'd been used as a guinea pig to create human weapons of war. You know he did have the ad
to that. To make an omelet, you have to crack a few eggs or nobody's run accountable for it. Kind of bility is, is like a ghost endless thread, presents madness. The secret mission for mind control and the people who paid the price. new episodes coming soon to apple podcasts or wherever you listen, subscribe right now to endless bread from WWE you and read it.
Transcript generated on 2022-04-15.