It’s been four years and still August 14th is a hard day for me. It isn’t like today is any different from any other day, really. One doesn’t suddenly start grieving just because a certain day comes up. But it is more tangible somehow. There was just so much that went into our friendship. I am sure lots of people who knew and loved you could say the same. We each have so many memories that we cherish, or look back on. For me, I am just glad that I was able to share this life with you. I am in a place now where I am able to miss you, yes, but I can also embrace the fact that I can continue on. I’ll just carry you in my heart.
Grief is so strange. At first it just sucker punches you right in the gut. You can’t believe you’ve even been hit yet. And then randomly you realize that, no, the unthinkable has actually happened. It’s particularly hard if you’re like me, and you spent ten consecutive years of your life trying to save your best friend who was so broken and hellbent on making unique life choices
that may or may not be life threatening.
Oh, that’s the other thing about grief. A lot of people tend to glamorize their loved ones. I always feel guilty for not being able to do that. I love her so much but, it was messy. I mean we were both adopted. Both knew what it was like to live with people who had mental illness. We had mental illnesses. We made bad choices. We were impulsive and young and 24 years old is too young to part this earth. It’s too young for me to lose one of my best friends.
I’m not angry about it anymore. Just sad. I can gladly say though this year is the first year that I am happy that I can continue on in this world. That I can carry her torch in my heart forever and keep living and creating memories so that when I do see her again, we can hug and catch up like normal.
For now, I’ll just post a wall of memories. They’re personal. Some are funny, some are dark. This is not for people who would be triggered by eating disorders, depression, grief, sadness. All are true. It feels good to get this out. Sometimes, things are too heavy to carry alone. I’m slowly learning the freedom in the truth that is opening up more. ❤
We are 13 years old giggling and dancing in a mutual friend’s living room. We are 14 and walking around at the mall discussing boys and Paganism, because those two things somehow go together in our minds. We meet up after school at a local ice cream store and eat rose petal flavored ice cream. We feel so sophisticated that we keep coming back until the store closes. It’s Halloween night and you insist on watching Freddy Kruger despite being terrified and squeaking every time there’s a jump scare. We are 15 running up and down the lacrosse field. You pass me the ball and of course I miss the catch. We laugh about how pathetic I am at this sport until you run off in a sprint. We are in my room burning incense (which you got me into) and talking about how being adopted can feel so lonely and wondering what our birth mothers are like. It’s 4AM and we haven’t slept a wink. In an hour we will walk out my front door and meet up with”the boys” and plan to go to Ihop for pancakes. We wuss out because we don’t want to betray my mom who ends up making an amazing breakfast for us anyway. We eat pizza and candy in my room with Hunter and another friend before you disappear for longer than 20 minutes. I knock on my bathroom door and you swear you’re just washing you’re face. I see through the lie immediately, but I hold my tongue for now. We are sixteen years old now arguing via AIM about how hard life can be sometimes and can you just please not throw your life away to this eating disorder? You threaten suicide and I call your dad. Again. He promises to check on you, and I hate him for not doing more. You tell me I don’t love you, and every step of every single day for the past however many years have been for you. Of course I love you, but I know you’re hurting. You sob as you tell me how your first semester of college is going. All I can do is be there for you and listen. We both come home during the second semester of freshman year. We go to a party and you swear you’re not pregnant, but you’re global. You call me while you’re at the doctor’s office. “it’s positive,” you sob as I quickly tell you how it’s going to be okay, we will figure this out. You hang up as the doctor comes into the room. A week later you have “back pain” and a new baby. You call me every day that you’re in the hospital and we talk for hours. I stay on the phone with you as you cry, hating yourself for putting her up for adoption, but you know it’s the right thing to do. Watching Juno on repeat in your room is the one thing that gets you through this. You grab drinks with two of your best friends and I see the photos online. I smile to myself to see you’re having some fun after such a large ordeal. A year later and your mom and you are arguing again and you beg me to come pick you up. Your mom comes out and screams at me to make sure you are taken care of. I write my address on a piece of paper for her and give her my number. When you go out with your boyfriend later on to grab some beer, your mom calls me and breaks down worried about you. I just listen to her. My heart breaks for both of you. I ask you why you drink and why you are so sucked into this eating disorder. You explain things to me in the most explicit details. Your pain is bone crushing, but this is who you are at this point. I push for you to go back to rehab. You scoff and say that you can’t go back. It isn’t until your car is totaled and you ankle is shattered that you realize how precious life is… sort of. You tell me that I have to be okay because I’m me, and even though I am a new mother with my own problems, you need me to be okay. The pressure is unbearable sometimes, but my fiance and I take you in to our home when you and your boyfriend are two lost puppies in this world. You creep into my room at 5AM and watch me sleep with my angel daughter in my arms. Part of you seethes with envy and part of you is so full of joy to be able to witness this. You tell me this when you think I’m deeply asleep and not listening. You steal from me. It’s impulsive, but it still hurt. I call you and you break down and apologize. We meet up the next day at U of H before your class so I can get my belongings from you. You call it “accidental stealing,” and I swear you’re the only one who could ever get away with it. Your parents call me begging to see you. They want me to sneak behind your back just so they can look at you and know you’re okay. Understanding this, I do as they ask. You are so angry with me. You have never felt so betrayed when you see them walk into that waffle house. I shout that I owe you nothing when you try to blame me. You scream “I KNOW!” and cry. You leave the restaurant. Your dad gives me a ride home saying he has no idea what to do with you and your mom. I tell him it’s fire fighting fire. He is so tired. A year goes by and we don’t speak. Finally you add me back on Facebook and we pick up right where we left off. We meet up for coffee at Kenny J’s which is now Coffee Oasis, but we still call it Kenny J’s because: memories. I encourage you to go back to college and for once you sound hopeful. You want to leave your boyfriend, but it’s complicated, you say. You text me a few weeks later telling me how much you love me. I respond that I love you, too. This will be your last text message to me. Ever. A few weeks later you post to Facebook that you hate doctors. I tell you that I am here for you but you never respond. Weeks go by and I am working as a receptionist and my husband is unemployed. Our daughter is three. I fell asleep early that night and woke up around 1AM to a voicemail from Nic. She says that you died. I refuse to believe it, but I know it’s true. The next day your parents call me and we talk for a long while. We take in your guinea pig before we can find her a forever home. We all agree that no one will be as good of a guinea pig momma as you were. Your parents and brother come to my apartment and your mom breaks down, “she was so little. Just so sweet. I’ll never get to hug her again.” They loved you, you know. And I loved you, too.
Remember to be kind to yourself and if you or someone close to you is in serious distress or simply needs to talk to someone, please call the national suicide hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or text 741741.