I’ve been sitting in front of this screen for 45 minutes with tears in my eyes trying to hold them back before I start writing, but just like a year ago, that is not possible.
A year ago my friend passed away and a day doesn’t go by that I don’t think about her.
When I was learning how to combat daily anxiety attacks through classes and books, they talked about putting things in boxes, labeling them and letting them be. Emotions and situations that I had no control over needed to briefly examined and then put away. This was a concept I was very good at. Putting things in boxes meant that I didn’t have to revisit them. This was a survival tool I must have picked up at a young age with a high success rate.
The last few years have taught me a lot about “letting go”.
There are dreams I had for my life that weren’t selfish dreams, but I boxed them up because in life, sometimes we don’t get what we want.
I can’t put anything in a box right now because it’s all connected and it’s a beautiful mess of tears, smiles, laughter, pride and guilt.
Tears because I miss my friend. I miss reading about her adventures, her love for people, her amazing husband and loving son. She loved life so much. She was one of those people. She taught me so much just by being in my life and living.
I wonder if I wasn’t where I am in my life I would have gotten on Facebook and saw that a year ago I lost my friend, sent a message to her widow and said some heartfelt things and “I’m thinking about you today, let’s get together and have coffee and catch up.” The coffee visit would have never happened and I could put that hurt in a box and go about my gloriously selfish day being oblivious to all those boxes with ‘Dreams you had about being happy, but people fucked you over 1 too many times and you decided it wasn’t your lot in life to have a someone love you and be able to trust them’ written on them shoved in the back of my headspace closet.
That didn’t happen though. She brought five people into her world the night before she left this earth to take care of her husband.
My role was to make him laugh. I was going to go over and make him laugh, say my goodbyes and go home to cry. I had a plan. Her plan was bigger.
Because I wasn’t allowed to put my feelings about this in a box and move on, I had to examine every single thing that goes with it and accept it.
Tears: I cry a lot. Mostly when something awesome happens and I think, “She should be here for this, she would LOVE this!”
or when something happens that in the past I would send her a message and she would send me one back that always felt like a hug and never the ‘answer to my problem’, but moral support that she loved me and was here for me.
Smiles: I smile so much more now. I’m happy. I understand WHY she smiled as much as she did. She didn’t have those boxes in her headspace. She was loved fearlessly.
Laughter: Jon and Jesse make me laugh and shake my head at how dorky they are. Jesse though, whoa…wicked smart and it makes for this sense of humor that I can understand and he makes me laugh. Jon has this different sense of humor that I get about 90% of, but that 10% makes me look at him like he’s crazy…which makes him laugh. He loves me and makes me laugh like it’s his job.
Pride: I’m so proud of my life right now. I’m exactly where I need to be, where I want to be and I am grateful for every single detail of it. The icky flawed parts of it too.
I’m proud every single day of how Jon is raising Jesse. I am proud every single day of Jesse of the man he is becoming.
I see so much of her in him that it’s overwhelming. His smile is hers and when he smiles (and he does all the time) it lights up the room just like she use to.
I’m proud that I live in a home where it’s okay to tell someone you love them 20 times a day and you always hear, “I love you too!”
Guilt: It’s not fair that she’s not here. She appreciated life and loved it. She had a wonderful husband who made that smile as big and bright as it was because he loved her. I know this because I am learning how to accept that kind of love and I am telling you right now it’s A LOT of love.
My friend, Bitsy said something to me when I teared up talking about Midori one night. I was telling that I miss her and it wasn’t fair. She was too good to die from fucking cancer. She was amazing. She said to me, “Give yourself a little more credit. YOU are JUST as amazing.” That may take several more years of the love that I am learning is okay to have.
So today makes 365 days that I lost my friend. Jon lost his wife. Jesse lost his mom. Yesterday was 364 days. Tomorrow will be 366. It’s just another day, but it’s that day on the calendar and I hate that this day is the worst day in this family. If she could be here, cuddled up next to Jesse and not be gone…but she can’t.
I made her one promise that night. I will make her husband laugh.
She didn’t realize that I meant only that one night and I hope she was laughing thinking, “all those years of seeing you with someone that treated you like garbage. all those years before fighting to find that love you deserve. Here, take this because I know you will cherish it as much as I did. You’re an amazing mother and a step mother. You won’t believe the amazing adventure we are both about to go on. He will cherish you. He will make you proud.”
I hope that was her plan, because out of the 5 people in that room I’m still here and spending every single day cherishing, loving, supporting and laughing.