2394 Sleeping With Her.

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I’m just gonna talk about my actual life, so if that offends you please skip this blog.

Saturday was Grandma’s funeral. It was… Taxing. I got some closure, although it doesn’t feel like I can ever truly accept that she’s gone. The idea of living another however may years without her in my life isn’t very appealing. I said this on twitter, but since most people have abandoned that platform I may as well repeat it here. Grandma called me Special Angel my entire life. I’ve heard it hundreds of thousands of times & she meant it EVERY time. To my ear those words are what love sounds like. It’s so childish but knowing I’ll never hear it again, the way she said it, fills me with despair.
I have a feeling that without her our extended family will drift apart now. With no central location to come back to everything will change. Of course things have changed over the years as we’ve lost family members and gained them. Maybe the new version of life will be tolerable. I’ve dreaded this point in my life for almost as long as I can remember. I’m the kind of person who gets obsessed with future calamities & now I’ve lived though one of the ones I’ve been haunted by.
We’ve had the last Christmas & Thanksgiving at Grandma’s I expect. None of us knew it for sure, but I’m sure most of us suspected as much. In my family those holidays were almost ridiculously important. My great grandmother didn’t have happy Christmases so she overcompensated with her kids and passed that pageantry down to through them. Those traditions have been slowly deteriorating over time, especially after I had several years of ill health and whatnot that damaged me in so many ways, plus the deteriorating health of my grandparents generally.
There’s just a lot of little weird things that you never think about until they are taken away. Like stopping in at Grandma’s on the way to or from someplace. I can hardly fathom that never being a thing anymore. I haven’t let myself think about it because I truly experience profound grief when I do. I’ve tied to train myself not to bask in sorrow because I was addicted to it growing up, but some of this has to be experienced because it can’t be ignored. I’m standing on the edge of a level of depression I haven’t been in danger of in a very long time. One wrong move and I could slip into it and never return.
I’ll have to look after Grandpa for a week at least. After that maybe off and on until fuck knows when. Grandma’s deaf blind dog who screamed when she couldn’t be near her was put down & put in the coffin with her, so I don’t have to look after her. She’s Grandma’s eternal problem now. Although I expect Grandma would see that as a blessing if, in fact, all dogs go to heaven. It’s certainly a better fate than wandering around crying all the time because your person is gone forever.
I’m going to see if I can just keep things going like normal. If I can’t then I’ll see if I can find some kind of filler story to keep things going until everything settles into whatever the new normal will be. If you have any suggestions for topics feel free to comment about them. I’ve finally experienced enough turmoil that I’m legitimately creatively impaired now.
I know some of you will say I can take a break if I need to, but I really can’t. Without me this whole circus burns to the ground. So either I work, or I lose everything. Just like anyone else in the world. There is a hard limit on how much charity the general public is willing to tolerate & I don’t intend to press my luck if I don’t have to.
I’ll go on in hopes of helping others through my work, maybe making Grandma proud posthumously. Just trying to do my best in the times between.


I just wanted to tell you how amazing you are and how much I love your work. Since you won’t rest unless you have no other option, appreciating and supporting your work seems like the best course of action on my end. So even though I’ve said it before, I’m saying it again for good measure. I love your comic, your writing, the characters. They feel real, even in abnormal moments, and the whole comic is a light in my life.

Just do what you can, and give us filler, sketches, or whatever. Even one shot pages if that’s easier, since I know you’re not going to actually take a pause. I’m totally down for full page sketches myself instead of comics for a while. I’m sure others are too.

That said, I empathize with you. I lost my gram at the start of the pandemic two years ago, and she raised me as well. It was the last though for me. I’ve lost all my grandparents and my step father who raise me. Just my mother is left but we’ve never been close my entire life, and she’s in another state. All I’ve got now is my wife, and my kids. Most my family is gone, and I’m about to be 35 soon. Same for my wife, other than her sister all her family is gone too essentially. Loss is hard. It sucks. And it drains you in ways that is ultimately impossible to fully articulate unless someone has gone through the same, and even then it’s always unique pain.

I wish you the best Jackie. I’ve been reading from the start and I’ll keep reading to the end. I’ve seen you go through it all, and as much as it sucks, I do know you’ll pull through, even if you don’t feel like you will. I know I’m far from the only one rooting for you. Reach out when you need to, there are always people here who would love to listen

I wish you the best and I’m sorry about your loss. If I had the money to I’d help out if I could but unfortunately I don’t. But I think you’ve touched so many people w your stories that no one would consider you asking for help as just leeching. Please do take care of yourself first.

I am sorry for your loss.
I just wanted to reflect on the last lines: I am fairly certain, that if she called you her Special Angel, then you made your grandma proud already. I am not saying that you should stop aspiring to keep doing so, just merely trying to radiate some positive wibes into the black hole of emotions, that greif brings along.

I know the feeling, Jackie. I have lost several very special family members over the years. Individuals whose presence we count on to be linchpins of our lives will leave painful gaps.
All we can do is lean on what they’ve taught us to move forward, knowing they wouldn’t want to be the reason we’re held back. It sucks. It sucks massively. But I can either move forward knowing that if the family member were still here they’d be cheering for me, or I can stop and make that little imprint of them on my soul/psyche/whatever sad. I hope you can find your way forward; it’s not going to be easy, but eventually if you do, I think and hope you’ll find another reason to smile and keep moving.

I have never understood the concept of “sexually frustrated” or “You just need to get laid” It feels problematic to legit think that way. “My crappy behavior is due to my not getting X thing”

I get how being happy can put you in a better headspace and frame of mind don’t get me wrong but there are very few things that people will act like you’re going to become a horrible person without. Two of the only ones are sex and food.

Difference being we need food to keep living while sex not only isn’t essential to keep living but is literally something a person can do for themselves.

Actually sex is essential. It is necessary in order for the continuation of the species. If all of humanity stopped sexual activity we’d be extinct in a generation. So, aside from food & water, sex is very, very essential.

Of course- sex is needed to keep the human species continuing.
But please tell people that- using sex to keep humans on the earth, is not an excuse for: sexual harassment, or sexual assault.
All activities have limits.

People are also known to be cranky when they don’t have tasty food, or their favorite food, or food they are simply craving at the moment, eihter way, no true hunger in sight, so similar to the “something a person can do for themselves” of the sex situation.
No one sane will defend someone crossing the lines and truly hurting someone, but our state of mind IS affected by things one would deem simple, small and “unnecessary”.

Sorry for your loss, Jackie. Lost my last grandparent this time last year, so I won’t say I know what you’re going through, but I can sympathize.

If you want to keep trucking, then more power to you; whatever it takes to help you get through right now—we’ll be here, regardless.

real times bro, real times. The whole thing is a sad business, and I don’t envy you. You can’t take any day off work? Well hmm…. We could try and do guest comics? I’m sure various people would be willing to step up, maybe even myself included with my own limited time.

Jackie, take care of you and yours first.

I don’t know what’s cuter, Nina sucking her thumb in the first panel or Carol face in the next-to-last one.

As much as I’m enjoying the current story arc, I pray that you don’t overwork yourself.

Take whatever time you need to keep yourself healthy and sane. I would rather wait for a while than see you push too hard and burn out permanently.

Hey, Jackie, just wanted to tell you that I’ve been there. If you Gram was the linchpin of the family then, yea, there’s the possibility of drifting apart. It’s not guaranteed, though, and certainly far from hopeless.

At the funeral, you doubtless saw people you haven’t seen in a long time. That was how things went at my Mom’s funeral last year. I made a point afterwards to reach out to the members of my family that I want to keep near, and it has strengthened my relationship with my sister and with my one remaining aunt, both of whom I adore, but hadn’t kept touch with.

The social media age has left people thinking they’re in touch with each other, when all we get are little snippets of people’s lives, some of whom we can’t actually claim to know well, if at all. Actually getting on the phone/Facetime/Duo call with a loved one makes a better connection.

Pick up the phone and make some calls. I’m sure your family will be glad to hear from you.

BTW, I love the way this one went. I was worried Carol was going to come home to find Tom and Nena together and get jelly. I love the fact that Carol trusts both of them, and that she *can* trust both of them.

I definitely sympathize with you. All of my grandparents have been gone for some time, but I just lost my Mom two years ago, and lost my life-long best friend about 5 months ago, both to COVID. I honestly don’t know how much longer I’ve got on this rock myself (cancer patient, 3.5 years and counting), but I know how empty those years will be without them. My Mom was my anchor in the storm, always keeping me grounded when life got out of hand, and my best friend was that wild and crazy soul who was always there when I needed someone, despite all the troubles he was caught up in himself. I do good most days, when I’m distracted by the mundane toils of living, but every so often it hits me like the boulders did the coyote in the old Road Runner cartoons. I don’t have any profound wisdom, or words of comfort that would help right now, but just know that some of us have been through it, and we’re all thinking of you and sending positive vibes or whatever your way.

I’m a Shotgun Shuffle reader. I recognize a few names on this comments section from over there too. Right now, we’re approaching another month without strip, and most of us still come back.

You, meanwhile, are easily one of the most regular updaters I’ve ever seen. You’re on par with Tatsuya Ishida for sheer regularity, and that guy’s lost his damn mind.

My support doesn’t add up to much, granted. But if you walk out of here for a month, I will be back unless I’m either dead or the internet has exploded.

Be gentle with yourself.. this is going to take time, a lot of it, but just one day, one hour, hell one minute at a time if you have to and just move through the grief to the other side of what will become some kind of normal… big hugs, we love you, so do take care.

Oof, that’s rough, chief. Hope you feel better over time. Trite sentiments, but what else can you do when someone is in pain over the internet? Thanks as always for the comic, and I, at least, will stay on your Patreon even if you need time off. I think you are right to not test the internet’s charity, though.

As someone who is watching their grandmother approach deaths door a lot faster than anyone would like I feel for you. She’s starting to lose her eyesight and she’s having memory issues. Even though she isn’t gone yet it still feels like she is a already on the last part of the journey over.

Losing anyone close to you in life hurts no matter how it happens. Please don’t rush yourself or feel you are obligated to do anything you absolutely don’t need to. As others have said already, you’re work is great and has often touched on very human things emotionally. But please take some time for yourself. Take as much as you need to feel stable. You are never the same person after recovering over the loss of someone special but you can still be strong for them and their memory.

It’ll be six years this April since I lost my Gramma. She was the only grandparent I knew, my father’s parents lived on the other side of the country and my mom’s dad passed away several years before I was born.

I still miss my Gramma. The grief settles, gets easier to deal with, becomes part of the white noise of life like so many other things. Still, once in a while I’ll notice it’s Sunday and make a move to call her like I did so many times before. I still haven’t deleted her contact card from my phone, not sure I ever will, it’ll just keep getting transferred into every new phone.

All that preamble to say that I’m genuinely sorry for your loss. The bond when you’re especially close to a grandparent is unique and so very special and it feels like a crime that we don’t get to keep them longer. Treasure the good memories, cry when the need hits you, and remember that her love for you is never really gone, it’s a part of you forever. Tell her stories to the new generations that enter the family, keep her memory alive, and spread that love that she so generously poured out.

I’m sorry for your loss. Nothing I can say – nothing any of us can say – will really help much, but I would advise that you try to focus on remembering the good times and be grateful for the time you were able to spend with her. It’s a lot more common for a real honest-to-god grownup (not a technical grown up like just turned 21 and can legally drink but still really mainly a kid) to have living grandparents, but there was a time not so long ago when it was actually pretty rare. Losing grandparents is unfortunately unavoidable, except by dying young yourself. So treasure her memory and be thankful that your time with her lasted as long as it did.

My grandma died when I was 14, and that exact thing happened. Our family drifted apart. But I think my family all secretly hated each other, but if yours was loving, you might avoid it. I wish you love.

I lost my grandmother when I was six years old and things just haven’t been the same since. While there’s no question that my family all still love each other, the happy and warm atmosphere that she filled her house with has long been gone. I truly am sorry for your loss.

In regards to the comic, ultimately I would say that you what you want and what you think is best for it and more importantly for yourself.

“She reached out then and touched the back of my right hand with her fingers; my hand still bears that touch, invisible and yet indelible as a tattoo” – Wendel Berry.
I was just tonight reading a good story about how kin remain a part of us, down through the years.

Sorry to hear this. I know what you mean about losing the family social-anchor. All my family used to meet up at my granny’s house on Dec 26th ( Boxing Day to us Brits ), which was the only time I saw most of them, then I moved to the US and quickly found that flying back home in December was a recipe for disaster with continual cancelled flights and delays, it got so hard to visit family that eventually I had to give up until warmer months, especially once I met someone here and had kids. So I only saw my immediate family over there, mum, dad, brother. Then over the years my brother emigrated and we fell out, my dad died, then my mum died, then my granny died, so now there’s no ties anywhere. All I have is my immediate/new US family, but no backup/childhood/original family anymore. I miss my parents terribly, but what can you do? Put a brave face on for the wife and kids and just hope I can be around long enough to see them settled as adults one day – which isn’t certain since I’m in my 50s and my kids are still teens.
There have been times in the past I’ve been really depressed – life seemed pointless, and at one point the only thing that stopped me ending it all back home was that when my parents were still alive I knew how much it’d upset them. Luckily, I met someone before they died. It can happen, and given long enough it will, statistically, then whilst you still get depressed about things after that, it’s one that can be shared, or buried while you care for others.
Alternatively, for those that function on a more logical level ( always hard when depressed ) think of the potential for maybe some breakthrough in brain-interfaces that can mean you can spend your final days in some VR paradise? Man went from first powered flight to landing on the moon in one person’s lifetime, so who knows what the next few decades might bring, would be terrible to miss out on that…
All the best…

I lost my own grandfather, who held a similar place of importance in the life of my dad’s side of the family. I lost him in 2020, the day of mine and my wife’s anniversary. The weight of it never hit me, but I do come back to the weird feeling like it was just last year, and the realization that I can’t call him and ask him to pray for me anymore. I cried the last time he prayed for me, I needed it so bad. The church we went to that day didn’t know a single thing about my grandfather, but they sang his favorite hymn, having never met the man or having known his existence.

I haven’t experienced a true pain around it, probably because I had to go look after him in the months up to his death, but I do know what it means to have lost the part of your life where you got to experience your best frame of reference for what love really and truly is.

I’m sorry for your loss.

(There’s not really a great way to anchor this into the rest fo the comment, but the bit with Nina sucking her thumb is a really cute touch.)

I am sorry for your loss.

Nothing I can add much that would apply.

In my culture, there are commemorations after 3 months, 1 year and 3 years, with family get together, which I like as a rhythm to honor the person’s memory. One serves light food and gives to people in need.

Then they also announce the death publically by gluing a paper poster to the front door. It remains there until the wind blows it off, piece by piece. Some villages look like run-down ghettos and in constant mourning, because of the desolate reminders. I don’t like that tradition at all. They could express it with a black ribbon or like, rather than littering the whole place.

Your art seems to be getting better, in spite of life. The wake-up eyes are priceless. Whyever not enjoy this source of strength.

It’s not a consolation, only a perspective: That is what the grandparents must have gone through during their time, maybe even before meeting us, and see what they created in us afterwards. So, definitely worth going on, even so as to carry on the best parts of the character. Carry the torch, so to speak.

This said, if a break would be better (not just tempt, but allow for some rest), then it could be a time for it. I’m sure enough people will come again, to pull you back in, when time is right. Rumination does not fall in that area though. This said, I know how I don’t care for advice that’s not specific to me, so why should anyone. You know what’s best. I support you.

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