Monday, February 9, 2009

My Syracuse Trip: How to forgive the scene of a crime

If you're unhappy, Syracuse University could easily make you suicidal. Sunshine is nonexistent from October through March, making it the epitome of a gray and dreary winter. It's no shocker that this is a prime location for S.A.D., aka Seasonal Affective Disorder, a type of depression that occurs largely from lack of sunlight. To top it off, Syracuse, NY gets more snow than any other large U.S. city, averaging 115 inches each winter.

But I'm going to tell you what I realized over the weekend, on my first trip back to the place I spent 4 years of college: It's not Syracuse's fault.

For the past 9 years, since my freshman year in 2000, I have been angry with the Central New York city. Syracuse took me 5 hours away from my sick mother. Syracuse was where I returned just 2 weeks after she died. Syracuse was where I experienced the hell of my grief: the overeating, the weight gain, the pneumonia, the inability to cry because of how afraid I was to face my own sadness. Syracuse was the place I said "good riddance" to after graduation and told my roommates that I had no desire to return.

And yet, this past weekend I did return -- and I smiled so much my face actually hurt at one point! Seeing my friend Marissa with her roommates reminded me of my girlfriends, and how much fun and laughter we shared together. Meeting with my old professors made me reflect on how much I learned from studying under some of the most intelligent journalists I know. And playing Flip Cup and Asshole at my favorite bar, Chuck's, made me realize how much FUN I had in college.

Grief in the land of beer pong is both grief and beer pong. Maybe being able to let loose during those years is what balanced my grief and made me eventually able to accept my mom's death... because I knew I could still have fun, and that because of that, I'd be able to live.


  1. Love this post, Miss! Gave me goosebumps! So glad you not only had a fun trip back but a profound one. I went back to Bing this past weekend too, and while my circumstances are totally different than yours (especially since I just graduated in May, haha) it was just great being there again and definitely made me reflect A LOT. In the end, your college experience is always going to be an important one I think, definitely plays a MAJOR role in shaping who you will become. Can't wait to speak to you more about it! Gotta catch up, fo sho <3


  2. Syracuse was lucky to have you back Ms. Bardach. Thank you for visiting the Salt City and diving right back into it all! While your name might be gone from the Chuck's wall, the memories and the pictures will last forever :-)

  3. I love how
    you are so welling
    to be so open...

    I am glad your trip turned out great.
    To me this was another
    step of grieving!
    Its wild to think
    you could still be grieving
    nine years later...

    But its true we can.
    Just this past summer
    I grieved over myself
    having cancer in 2000!

    Hope you have an awesome rest of the week!

  4. Hi Miss,
    I haven't commented on your blog in a long time (and I haven't SEEN you in a long time, which i think needs to be rectified ASAP!), but I just read a bunch of your posts (even though I should be working :) ) and I am literally sitting at my desk in tears. While I'm reading your blog, all I can think about is when my mom was sick and how lucky I am that I can't totally relate to what you are writing about and this makes me feel guilty and happy and relieved and so sad for you all at the same time. I really wonder if I would be as brave and inspiring and as strong as you are if my mom hadn't made it and this blog honestly makes me look more deeply at myself as a person, which I really appreciate and value. And I really can't imagine what this blog does for people who have lost a parent--I am so sure that you are helping and inspiring so many people. I feel really lucky to have you and our little cousin circle in my life!
    Cousie sleepover soon!!
    I love you,

    Ps Loved the shout out in the post about girlfriends!