The 5 Stages Of Grief: A Requiem For A Friend

My Best friend Justin Ramos, died on August 9th, 2020. And it’s has had a profound effect on my life. The immediate effect was me falling into a deep despair!

At the time, I was staying in a homeless shelter in Brooklyn, but in a “great place” mentally. Working a security job and waiting to move into my current place(which I plan to leave soon). I fell into a deep despair; a catatonic unresponsive state. I would lay in bed and only get up to eat and go to the liquor store.


I’ve spoken on my drinking before and will go deeper in future posts but THIS ONE isn’t about that! This post is about GRIEF and the first step of grieving is DENIAL; an outward refusal to accept the shock of the trauma. Liquor was a big help with that!


Time passes and I’m out of the shelter, working and sober. And I’d like to say I was “happy” but I’m starting to think that I just have a jovial disposition; the opposite of “Resting Bitch Face.” Anyway, I am punching people in their faces on a regular basis.

I know I can’t convince people one way or another of who was at fault, so I won’t try. But I can say I have fought more people in the time I have gotten sober and left the shelter than I have in the 3 years preceding it. THIS STAGE IS ANGER!

Bargaining, Don’t Rock The Boat…

Eventually, I start TRYING to do better at work. CONSCIOUSLY, trying to ACT like I enjoy it. If I do better at work, GOD via PEOPLE around me will see this, and I will be elevated to higher position in life… Bargaining. The thing about this stage is that I found myself compromising in every possible way. In-effect I became a people pleasing pushover. THIS IS BARGAINING!

Truthfully, these stages are spoken of like one time things. As if you won’t feel anger again once you pass this stage. From my experience I found myself carrying all of these “previous stages” around with me along with the new ones! Conscious of my dissatisfaction with EVERYTHING(I DON’T KNOW THIS IS GRIEF) I say fuck it, and decide to QUIT my JOB at FreshDirect. Sliding out of Bargaining, head-first into Depression.

Just… Bleh. Depression.

I’m pretty sure all of this IS DEPRESSION but in the context of this whole “linear 5 stage theory” that I don’t necessarily agree with philosophically but has honestly helped me “make sense” of my emotions and cope, this “DEPRESSION” is the physical embodiment of “NOT GIVING A FUCK!”

THIS ONE however I SAW myself LIVING (almost like an out-of-body experience) To be honest it had a real effect on how I interacted with people and how others interacted with me; many have decided not to! (I can’t blame anyone🤷🏾‍♂️)

My Facebook for instance, while it has a very humble reach, it is a very consistent driver of traffic to my site. I found myself alienating people I care for and REALLY alienating myself.

Sharing self-righteous manifestos and morbid content that would deal with death! Going as far as actually sharing a video of a terminally ill woman in hospice with some “THIS IS WHY I…blah,blah” self-serving message. I was despairing at my OWN mortality!

I’m going to die! And it may not be in 60-70 years like I imagine. That’s quite the concept to wrap your head around, nothing, literally. In a weird way while, I believe my fixation with death made everyone around me uncomfortable, it was therapeutic, but more importantly, necessary. This is Acceptance, I think.

A loved one came into a large sum of money and was gracious enough to give me enough that I would be able to live off of for a couple months if need be. (This would be my first introduction to the concept of living off of crowd funding, in a sense)

I didn’t want to “NEED IT” so I set out to drive a cab. The idea was that I would be technically working for myself in a way. At least operating at my discretion. I did that for a week before deciding I didn’t want to do that either. I can’t shake this feeling, this unease.

The one thing driving cab for those 8-9 days showed me clear as day is that people have so much baggage! I don’t only mean the people in the back of my cab. But the bus driver who brought me to the LIRR train station in the morning, and the conductor who scanned my ticket. All the way to the lady who handed me the keys to the cab, “MY BOSS!”

The other night I had an exchange with someone who pretty much articulated explicitly what I KNOW SOME PEOPLE THINK. Feel free to check out the link below, but what he did was just reinforce that unhappy people are more than happy to welcome you to that club!

I am surrounded by unhappy people, who feel the need to project their “stuff” on others. I’m taking all of this in. I am unhappy also, but I KNOW why! Not to say others don’t, but I can’t speak to it one way or another.

Iggy Pop Knows My Heart…🖤😅

I want to create content! I know that’s a broad term but I’M OK with it! What I know, is that people die with regrets and unfulfilled dreams after carrying around a lifetime of sadness. I do not want to add my name to that list. I refuse to!

If you believe in the Divine, maybe you can find some deeper, nuanced interpretation. I’ll keep my personal thoughts on it as a whole, private. But I will share this that seemed almost callous to say a year ago, my Best Friend losing his life put mine in perspective for me!

I would like to say he is with me, but I don’t believe that. I’ll end on this, on hopefully a positive note. I met someone a couple years back in Mt.Vernon, NY and he spoke about how “we travel the universe” when we die. He never expounded and honestly, he didn’t need to.

That is what I believe my friend is “doing,” he is traveling the universe. In a weird way I believe my call to travel is almost a divine sign to live again. Or maybe live for the first time.

I don’t know where this journey will take me, but I know it’s the one I’m supposed to undertake. To quote the urban scholar, and poet Jermaine Lamarr Cole “I think being broke was better.” I’m going to give it shot.

Executives, I wish you profound love and blessed vibrations. ¡Mañana!🖤🗽✌🏾

This Post Is Dedicated To The Memory and Spirit of Justin Ramos, October 14, 1991 – August 9, 2020 #JustBlaze4ever “You was my nigga when push came to shove.” I love You, My Brother- Kai🖤

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