The Saddest Thing I Own
May 3, 2006 11:02 AM   Subscribe

Sad -- such a sweet-looking kid, the smile on the face of a future suicide. Sad -- "If she only knew then how things would turn out…" Sad -- "I chose to kill her." Sad -- "You could see her personality break through the coma." Life is dukkha, said the Buddha -- a Pali term that means something like "suffering" or "the incapability of satisfaction." (Or as Mick Jagger put it, "I can't get no...") Here's the tangible evidence.
posted by digaman (39 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Come On, Get Happy.
posted by fugitivefromchaingang at 11:16 AM on May 3, 2006

thanks for ther post, digaman
posted by matteo at 11:22 AM on May 3, 2006

everyone needs a hug
posted by BobFrapples at 11:25 AM on May 3, 2006

Thanks, digaman. The photos reminded me of one I have of my dad, taken a year before he died, between doses of chemo and radiation, during his last visit to my place.

posted by MrMoonPie at 11:29 AM on May 3, 2006

Jeez, that story about the baby is so sad, yet hopeful too.
posted by Biblio at 11:31 AM on May 3, 2006

The saddest thing I own is my Voter Registration card from 2000 where my friend Mark scawled "Vote Nader".
posted by tkchrist at 11:32 AM on May 3, 2006

What a spectacular, moving site. Thanks, digaman. I don't know whether or not to send the vase story to my friends whose sister is going through a very similar situation right now.
posted by ibmcginty at 11:35 AM on May 3, 2006

Oh. Man. The sheer volume of pain in some of these is deafening. Wow. I'm not sure I'm strong enough to read much more, at least in one sitting. What a emotional find. Thanks for sharing.
posted by dejah420 at 11:40 AM on May 3, 2006

A lot of the stories are very moving, and I'm glad to see them. Perhaps I'm a cynical bastard, but the project as a whole strikes me as a sort of rip-off of Postsecret. That seemed fresh and amazing, this seems more like a clone. Since these things (I mean websites like this) help people make careers I'm not sure that a little cynicism isn't warranted.
posted by OmieWise at 11:43 AM on May 3, 2006

Why would anyone put the saddest thing in their lives in the FREAKING INTERWEB? Isn't THAT the saddest thing ever?
posted by DenOfSizer at 11:44 AM on May 3, 2006

Well, I guess it was commissioned.
posted by OmieWise at 11:46 AM on May 3, 2006

Which doesn't mean it isn't a clone, but may be yet more evidence that I'm a cynical bastard.
posted by OmieWise at 11:47 AM on May 3, 2006

posted by chunking express at 11:56 AM on May 3, 2006

The internet sure does bathos well.
posted by _sirmissalot_ at 11:59 AM on May 3, 2006

The Saddest Thing I Own invites people everywhere to share the saddest thing they own. What are these sad things? What makes things sad? Do things start off sad? Do some sad things begin as happy things that then become sad? Are some things only sad because for some sad reason we kept them? Are some things just plain sad no matter what? This is what we want to know.

This paragraph made me laugh.
posted by fugitivefromchaingang at 12:04 PM on May 3, 2006

Ah, Mr. Moon Pie -- I relate. My dad died a couple of years ago.

The saddest thing I've ever touched I did not own. My father had a heart attack in a meeting of his union, no one in the room knew how to do CPR, and the paramedics took 20 minutes to arrive, during which time my father suffered massive brain damage. My parents had been highschool sweethearts, and shared the kind of love I've only seen in movies. They were symbiotic.

My father was in a coma for a week, and seemed to be suffering tremendously, though the doctors dismissed his constant writhing, grimacing, and moaning as "reflex actions." At one point during this week in the Underworld, a nurse handed me a biohazard bag, saying, "Your father's finger was so swollen, we almost had to call in a plumber to cut this off!" The bag contained my father's wedding ring.

I quickly took the ring out of the bag, warmed it in my fingers, and gave it to my terrified mother in the hallway -- the saddest thing I've ever done.
posted by digaman at 12:14 PM on May 3, 2006

Wow, some of these are quite shocking. You'll be reading along thinking, "what's so sad about Mad Magazine?" and then - bam! - oh, the guy was carrying it when his father was killed right next to him. Pretty stunning.

Incidentally, I was sitting on the crapper reading a Mad magazine when my mother got the call that her father had died. I was 10 or so, and it was the first death that really affected me in any meaningful way so Mad and death have always been linked for me too. Very strange.
posted by stinkycheese at 12:25 PM on May 3, 2006

I was on a break from work, tossing around a nerf football with the Receiving Guys behind the building, when I got the news my mother died. I haven't owned a nerf football since.

However, I did 'inherit' my parents' second car after her death, just at a time when my current car was chronically falling apart. It was fortunate, and made me feel very guilty.

I have a storage locker full of stuff that belonged to me and my Ex before she began her now-permanent residence in a mental facility and I came to realize that her love for me was just another of her psychotic delusions (and that she had moved on to more dramatic delusions some time ago). No wonder I paid the rent on it six months in advance. And I just realized that I have completely forgotten where my wedding ring is.

Why am I telling you people this?
posted by wendell at 12:57 PM on May 3, 2006

Thanks for the post, digaman. Good stuff.

Though that paragraph made me laugh too.
posted by languagehat at 1:22 PM on May 3, 2006

I was on a break from work, tossing around a nerf football with the Receiving Guys behind the building, when I got the news my mother died. I haven't owned a nerf football since.

I tend to get rid of everything connected to a sad event - even tangentially. But you have to resist indulging that reaction because it starts to infect everything - kind of like an OCD response.

While my wife has the opposite response. She collects these things like talisman.

I also get a self-inflicted sort of amnesia... FI: I can't remember a thing about the details of the day my Sister-In-law died. My wife can remember everything. I mean everything. If she reminds me what shirt I wore on that day I have to go burn it, she wants to put in a trunk.
posted by tkchrist at 1:37 PM on May 3, 2006

I can't remember a thing about the details of the day my Sister-In-law died.

Strangely, I have a couple of non-negative memories of the day my mother passed away...

The Divishion Vice-President's secretary, a beautiful redhead with excellent organizational skills (which I remember equally), made quick arrangements for me to fly to Phoenix. In order to save me form paying for airport parking, they let me keep my car in the office parking lot for the week and she drove me from El Segundo to LAX... via Imperial Highway... and her car was a convertible with the top down. I couldn't help notice that I was living the first verse from Randy Newman's "I Love L.A."

Then on the plane, I was seated behind two jovial brothers returning to Albuquerque from a fishing trip with their catch in foam coolers sitting on their laps (Would airport security allow carry-on fish today?). I occasionally conversed with them for a while and later, while telling them they had lightened my day, commented that they reminded me of "New Mexico's answer to (SCTV characters) the MacKensie Brothers". At that point, the man sitting next to me, who had been quiet the entire flight, spoke up with a heavy Scottish brogue "MY name's MacKensie..."
posted by wendell at 2:18 PM on May 3, 2006

Divishion??? I am NOT drubk; I just left my spellcheck in my other internet.
posted by wendell at 2:19 PM on May 3, 2006

Ooof - like a kick in the guts, with (at the most) one or two laughtears for relief.

I know Turbulence, and I know one of the folks whut done this, and I'd say they outdid themselves. It's beautiful.
posted by adamgreenfield at 2:43 PM on May 3, 2006

digaman, powerful FPP. Thank you. I also appreciate your reference to dukkha. There are a few resources that have helped me deal with deep sadness I've experienced in life: The Grief Recovery Handbook : The Action Program for Moving Beyond Death Divorce, and Other Losses; SWIRL, the five stages of abandonment; and The Four Noble Truths.
posted by nickyskye at 3:23 PM on May 3, 2006

digaman, thank you. It's a hauntingly beautiful site. Like others who commented before me, I hold on to items for the significance they hold to people I have lost. My grandfather died of lymph node cancer at 91, and I have a cd of Mary Chapin Carpenter that I played once for him. Sounds silly, but he was very old school with his music, and to see him tapping his foot along with the songs made me very happy. It's been five years and each time I hear that cd, I think of him.

oops, sorry, I got lost in my muddling there...
posted by annieb at 6:03 PM on May 3, 2006

Thank Christ this isn't Monkeyfilter. I couldn't deal with all the fucking kittens right now.
posted by Decani at 6:54 PM on May 3, 2006

Eeee, I'm afraid I'm with the "I can't handle this site right now" people. A great idea, just -- not for me, at this time.
posted by JHarris at 7:04 PM on May 3, 2006

Thanks for that post, annieb.

Mary Chapin Carpenter:

It's a photograph taken in Paris, at the end of the honeymoon
In 1948, late in the month of June
Your parents smile for the camera in sienna shades of light
Now you're older than they were then that summer night

Come on come on, it's getting late now
Come on come on, take my hand
Come on come on, you just have to whisper
Come on come on, I will understand

It's a need you never get used to, so fierce and so confused
It's a loss you never get over the first time you lose

And tonight I am thinking of someone, seventeen years ago
We rode in his daddy's car down the river road

Come on come on, it's getting late now
Come on come on, take my hand
Come on come on, you just have to whisper
Come on come on, I will understand..

posted by digaman at 7:50 PM on May 3, 2006

I read the linked ones, but I think I'll stop there.

Good post.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 7:55 PM on May 3, 2006

Wendell: I came to realize that her love for me was just another of her psychotic delusions

Those are the kind of thoughts best left alone and eventually forgotten, Wendell.

That's not easy though.
posted by jouke at 8:22 PM on May 3, 2006

I'm depressed now.
posted by OverlappingElvis at 10:37 PM on May 3, 2006

Well, my buzz is officially harshed.
posted by quite unimportant at 11:59 PM on May 3, 2006

In my closet there lurks something special. Sad, maybe, maybe not. It is nothing fancy, yet it is very special. It is a well-worn fleece jacket. It was a warm hug when I needed it. My first partner gave it to me the day he died.

Yes, I am sentimental. I like it that way.
posted by Goofyy at 2:02 AM on May 4, 2006

That is not dead which can eternal lie. And with strange aeons even death may die.
posted by malusmoriendumest at 4:16 AM on May 4, 2006

I got a gracious email from one of the site creators correcting some of my speculation above. She had this to say (and okayed me posting it here):
This project idea and proposal originated in May 2003. It was floating around for a long time and sitting on my website as
something we're going to do someday since then.

We submitted to turbulence and got funded mostly because they're a really nice organization that has been funding art on the web since 1996 and we needed a deadline. I really recommend spending time on their site. They're great.
posted by OmieWise at 5:13 AM on May 4, 2006

My dad had his leg amputated. He was being really positive about getting up and about as soon as possible but the sight of the empty pyjama leg really bothered him. I asked for a scissors, cut an nice even line and brought the piece of fabric home. Two nights later he bled out internally from an ulcer. He was 62. It's plaid and has moved with me several times. I never told anyone this before. I now know why people design such a site, so thanks for the FPP.
posted by Wilder at 7:54 AM on May 4, 2006

So sorry, wilder.
posted by digaman at 10:58 AM on May 4, 2006

It's eeire that Mad magazine is coming up as a sad object.

A friend of mine hung himself in junior high, and for the longest time, I had the copy of Mad magazine that he had left at my house.
posted by Durhey at 3:17 PM on May 4, 2006

Thanks for the post, digaman.
posted by Cyrie at 7:11 AM on May 5, 2006

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