I know it’s been a while. I miss you a lot, geez more than a lot. I’ve been meaning and trying to write something for you and your family and everyone else out there that needs a bit of light in times like these, but it hasn’t really come to me yet. It’s not that I don’t miss you or stopped hurting, it’s not that it’s gotten any easier, I think it’s because not much has really changed. I still feel all those things I last wrote you, maybe not as often, but still just as intensely.
I think this time of the year as we approach the anniversaries of your accident and death, I get really reflective. I finally allow myself to feel your absence and it fricking hurts.
I reflect on all the holidays you’ve missed, everyone’s accomplishments and big life moments. I reflect on how much everyone has grown in just a year: Brynne at college now, Brody graduating college, all of your friends that have moved or fell in love or are starting careers and families. I know you would be really proud of them. I reflect a lot on myself too, as much as I try not to but I’ve certainly thought about how I couldn’t imagine a year being any worse than the one I lost you. They seem to get increasingly worse. I didn’t like 2015, Brooke. I don’t know if you saw but it wasn’t fun and it was a year I could’ve used your advice and help and hugs and heart break remedies.
Meditating on all that happened this year, I realized when you’ve suffered a great deal of pain, every additional hardship is equally if not more unbearable; as though they increase the pain I permanently carry for you. Everyone I lose feels catastrophic because I immediately relate it to losing my best friend, losing you. I hate losing people I love and I know it’s a part of life, but it stings. Oftentimes, I feel deeply misunderstood. I’m aware losing you isn’t an excuse, but it is exhausting to bear all the time and not allow affect my actions, thoughts, words and emotions.
I wasn’t very good at that this year and pushed a lot of people away trying to grasp why I felt the way I did and acted the way I was. Thinking about these things leaves me disappointed because there were moments I thought I was finally okay, accepted it and life was getting better and then something would happen bringing me back to this day two years ago. I’m frustrated thinking I haven’t grown and continue to hurt and make mistakes.
It’s bad Brooke. It’s so bad without you here; we all need you all the time even if we don’t admit it to each other, or even ourselves.
I hope you’re doing okay up there too, I mean how could you not? I’m sure you’re having a blast and that makes me smile, but down here we don’t always have convenient distractions and the truth of the matter is: you’re always in our heads and forever in our hearts. I think it will always hurt and be something that has defined me as an individual, but my heart aches so terribly it feels empty – it feels broken. Maybe I shouldn’t be running from it all year because February and March come along and I can’t keep my composure; I can’t stand feeling so out of control.
I don’t think I’ll ever forget you or the way I’ve felt the past two years and I understand that’s okay, but every day is a struggle to accept that. I guess with everything that hurts, it can’t be forgotten, so perhaps as long as I remember you and all the beautiful moments we shared – in life and in death – you’ll always be here.
One of those moments was the day I met the woman who received your heart. I think you would really love Carol, B and she was the perfect person too. You saved her life and saved a lot of people who deeply care for her from this grief. They deserved it, but in all honesty I was unsure how I felt when your parents asked me if I wanted to meet her. It’s been a pretty bittersweet situation, but of course I went and tried my hardest to suppress the terrible jokes I make when I’m nervous. I’m sure you got a kick out of watching me bite my tongue. I listened to your heart too, it was so strong. Your dad asked who wanted to go first and out of reflex I volunteered, which made him laugh – it’s always nice to see him smile. I think he realizes why we always got in so much trouble – two spontaneous and daring individuals make a pretty good team I think. I liked hearing your heart beat; it reminded me of your hugs and the times I would cry to you and have you hold me.
I was still a little uncertain until we went upstairs to see your dad’s Daggerman photo (geez). I had ventured off and stared at a composite from the 80’s internalizing a joke about a woman with the most ridiculous hair when out of nowhere, Carol made that joke; she said what I had been thinking the whole time – something you used to do. I let Carol in in that moment and it allowed me to truly appreciate the experience. I know you were there, I know you saw, but I didn’t get to say thank you. That probably made my entire year.
I try to focus on moments like that, the good that has come, but I still hold onto the fact that you aren’t here anymore.
It’s hard to feel strong all the time and even though I could say all the right things, talk myself out of a bad mood, doesn’t mean I always do the right things. I feel like I did a lot wrong this year and now I’ve been reaching out to the wrong people and feel lost all over again. I tried so hard to find myself this year and now I’m second guessing it all.
Things and people I thought I let go of that were toxic, I suddenly can’t stop thinking about and just want to be around and I don’t like that. I hate hate hate missing people and I hate that I’ll always be missing someone, I wish it didn’t have to happen. I wish we didn’t lose people and sometimes I wish I didn’t love people so much maybe making things easier. And I wish I wasn’t thinking like this, but this is what has happened to me. Everything I’m usually grateful for that has taught me so much, I all of a sudden resent.
I stopped writing up to this point one night, completely drained and not feeling too well. I woke up to a text the next morning from someone I hadn’t spoken to in a long time, someone I love and lost years ago. They made sure I was doing okay and talking all day completely changed everything I wrote prior to this. I like to think you were trying to help me, show me the type of people I should be reaching out to and surrounding myself with. Or showing me that sometimes the things we love and lose come back when they’re meant to, when timing is better, or maybe we never really lost them in the first place.
This person reminded me to see beyond all the negativity and my unproductive thoughts, beyond this search for myself and happiness and to take a moment to realize how far I have come.
I think I’ve been searching so much and for so long, that I barely notice my growth. Instead of thinking about how much I’ve hurt and lost, I should think about how it has all helped me become the person I am today and every day hereafter. I will find myself when I’m meant to find myself – in the wrong or in the right place, today or tomorrow – it’ll happen. So to take a moment to stop and breathe and realize our growth is so rewarding. We’ve all come a long way and I know you are so proud.
In being hurt, we will always be experiencing highs and lows and perhaps we just need to enjoy them, enjoy our problems.
These highs and lows are helping us blossom and become beautiful individuals; they change our perspective, teach us lessons, force our spirits to grow and to never give up on our self. It’s easy to believe nothing has changed because day to day it seems that way, but thinking back to the girl I was two years ago: she’s a stranger. Even the girl I was last year, 7 months ago, 2 months ago – I don’t recognize any of them.
I’d bet anything that patience is the key in all this, it’s the real gift.
Practicing patience is miserable, but I think that is how we get through life with grace. It teaches us discipline and it’s what will carry us, give us strength, courage, and a brilliant life full of everything we could imagine. And once we learn it, we can share it.
There are 7 billion people in this world, 7 billion, and all it takes is one. One person can love us, hurt us, leave us and change our lives forever. You did all those things, but you also believed in me and I think that is what life should really be about. One text changed my day, changed my thinking and truthfully, changed my heart because when people believe in you, you start to believe in yourself. Life needs to be about rooting for each other, watching each other grow, truly believing in something, having compassion and being honest with people while you still can. It’s what could save this world, maybe even lessen human suffering.
If we open our eyes and most importantly our hearts, we can achieve all of this.
It’s easy to shut people out, get lost in our thoughts and remove our hearts from the things we do. We think it’ll somehow minimize the pain, but it doesn’t at least not for long. It’s okay to love again, lose again and get hurt; it’s a beautiful part of being human. Love gave me a lot of wonderful people in my short 21 years, especially my best friend, and it also gave me hope. It gave me strength and grace and as much as it can hurt, I wouldn’t ever take love out of my life no matter how terrifying the things it leaves behind can be.
Patience, compassion, believing are all the answer, and so is love. If we do everything with our hearts, and allow them to escape their cage into our world, then this place will be filled with purpose and we can leave our mark even through all the losses and pain.
What a switch from the beginning of this letter, huh B? There always was something about you that got me back on my feet. Just have to remember that something will always be happening to us, changing us, challenging us making us go mad, but that’s life right?
I can’t believe this is just a few of the things my amazing best friend has taught me, in life and in loss, happiness and grief. I owe a never-ending thank you to such a beautiful soul and the wonderful and brave individuals that brought her into this world and raised her to be so incredible. And a thank you to something, someone higher for bringing her into my life and my heart, where she will stay forever as one of those things I hold on to so dearly but never actually touch or see and I’ll take that.
I’m not exactly sure how, but I know I will; I know we will all make it through. We got this. I love you, I miss you, and thank you.