Another Year Passes

When I think of you I still picture a young man; it’s how I’ve preserved you in my head. I picture the smile that stretched across your face, the sound of your laugh, the feeling of your hand in mine. I picture you as you were.

Twenty-eight. That’s how old you would have been today and, as hard as I try, I can’t seem to wrap my head around that fact.

Who would you have been? Where would you be? Would you have looked the same? Sounded the same? Would you still be drawing or onto another lifestyle?

Us

We had created this little routine for your birthday; I would have made some comment to you about being so old today (“Almost 30?!”) and you would have laughed and made fun of me for being young. It was small and sarcastic but it was ours and I loved it. I’ve been replaying your last birthday we spent together over and over in my head. When I walked through the door, you picked me up and wouldn’t let me go right away. We laughed, we grilled, we binge-watched SVU, and we spent as much time together as we could. That’s the last birthday memory I’ll ever have of you.

Birthdays are my favorite. Mostly because I know how important they are. I’ve had enough people in my life die for me to learn how precious this life is and to celebrate each year that passes. But today, I’m not in the celebrating mood. Your birthday is a reminder of what I’ve lost. And that each year that passes, I grow another year older than you.

Today, I can’t stop picturing your smile. It’s not often that I remember you that way so I’ll take it as a sign and I’ll celebrate and remember you today.

Happy birthday, Luke.

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1460 Days

When someone you love becomes someone you loved, it becomes really difficult to try to wrap your head around.

They were here. You were in their arms. You held their hand. You laughed. You had adventures. You loved. You were loved.

All past tense.

Trying to understand that you will never get the opportunity to do these things with this person again is nearly impossible.

Instead, you fill your days trying to remember the exact lines of their smile. Or the way their hand felt wrapped around yours. You try to remember the details of every single conversation the two of you ever had. But slowly these begin to slip away.

35, 040 hours. 1,460 days. Four years. I could have sworn it’s been decades since he was here. Since we were together. And yet, I can still remember how he walked and I can hear his laugh if I focus. What I can’t remember is who I was before all of this happened. I can barely remember the person I was at 21 when we were together.

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Four years ago, at 11 in the morning, I received the worst phone call of my life. I can recall so much from that moment. The sun was shining, the pavement was hot under my knees when I fell to the ground, there wasn’t a cloud in the sky when I looked up questioning what it was that I just heard.

I was in love. I was head over heels in love. I was nearing the end of my college years and I was ready to start my life. My mom had just been diagnosed with cancer, which put a huge speedbump in my life, but she was going to beat it and life was going to continue to get better and better.

And then I got that phone call that shattered my whole world. The person I loved was gone. He chose to end his life. He chose to leave this world. And I was left behind to figure it all out.

I’ve never been angry. I’ve never questioned why this happened. I know why my boyfriend chose to end his life. And I could never be upset with him for that. I can, and am, sad that he felt that was his only choice. I feel guilty that, even with all my efforts and the conversations we had, I wasn’t able to save him. I don’t think that feeling will ever go away.

I just miss him. I miss the nights we spent cooking supper. I miss binge watching season after season of Dexter in my college apartment. I miss driving up to small mountain towns in California. I miss carving pumpkins at Halloween and drives to his dad’s house on summer nights. I miss talking about our dreams and how people suck sometimes. I miss his advice and his honesty.

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My heart breaks for people who are in similar situations. For those who feel so alone in this world and feel like there’s nowhere to turn.

I could talk about Luke for hours. I could tell you his views on religion and society. I could tell you about his love for Star Wars, That 70s Show, and how he was an amazing artist. But I only tell his story, and some of mine, in hopes that maybe sharing it could help someone else down the line. Maybe it can save some heartbreak, and maybe – hopefully – four years down the road, it will save someone from sitting down at their computer writing about the person they miss on the four year anniversary of their death. Maybe it can save someone. And maybe it can’t. But this is my way of keeping him alive in my memory. This is the way I can remember, and celebrate, the person that I loved.

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Putting the World on Hold

One year. 365 days. I never knew it was possible for time to stand still but speed by at the same time. I’ll never forget the day that my boyfriend explained to me what déjà vu was. We lived in San Diego at the time and we were headed to the movies. I was telling him that I was having déjà vu and felt as though I’d been there before, he just looked at me and laughed and told me “déjà vu is just one half of your brain catching up with the other.” That was three years ago and to this day I’m not sure if that’s true or not, I just know that right now I wish both sides of my brain were at the same place. It’s as though part of me is stuck in the same place I was a year ago…it’s hard to accept the fact that someone has died, but this time it is even harder for me. When I was in high school two of my friends were killed in car accidents and I thought that was the worst kind of pain and heartbreak I could ever experience. Until I lost Luke. I not only had to mourn the death of my boyfriend but I had to mourn the loss of my best friend, our relationship, and the future we had planned.

I’m a writer by nature and that is the only way I know how to get through good or bad experiences. I write…it’s just what I do. I was reading through the many pages I wrote at this time last year about what I was going through. At one point I was trying to write everything about him that I could remember. I was terrified I was going to forget what his smile looked like or how his voice sounded or the way his touch felt when we were holding hands. It’s a year later and I know those are things I’ll never forget. I did come across this, though, in the many things I wrote after his death.

“I always told you how you were such an inspiration for my writing and you would reply with ‘well, I’m just glad I can be helpful in some sort of way to you’. You’ll never know how much of an inspiration you were to me. The highs, the lows, the in-betweens…everything helped me.”

One year ago today I lost one of the most important people in my life and I struggle every single day. But I share my story and his story in hopes that I can make a difference in just one person’s life. I’ve shared my story, will you?

The Days Pass By

Throughout my life, I have lost many people close to me. I lost my first friend when I was twelve and the losses just seemed to keep coming after that. In high school I lost two of my best friends. Through these experiences, I learned what it was like to go through traumatic events by myself; I found ways to grieve and move through the situations, each one taking a longer process than the one before. The difference between losing someone in a skiing accident or a car accident as opposed to suicide is this: one was an accident, the other was a choice.

My best friend, who was also my boyfriend of the time committed suicide two months ago today. I never knew that one day could feel like a lifetime until he was gone. Losing him to suicide was not something I was willing to comprehend at first; I didn’t want to believe it actually happened. Losing my friends in high school was a shock and came about so suddenly, but I had never felt the pain of losing someone who meant everything to me. When someone so close to you commits suicide you are left alone. You’re left with unanswered questions, conversations you wish you could have one more time, or even just the overwhelming pain of missing that person. Although suicide may seem to answer that one person’s questions or solve their problems, it leaves loved ones hurting and trying to find answers.

So here I am, two months to the day. Some days it feels like it’s been years since he’s been gone, and other days I still check my phone waiting for him to call. Each day is a battle that we all have to overcome. If he taught me anything, it’s that I am always stronger than I believe. Everyone is stronger than they believe…you just have to be willing to fight.

World Suicide Prevention Day is coming up on September 10th. I never really believed that I would be an advocate for such a cause, but if I can even help out one person then this has been worth it.

Open up your eyes, look around you, listen to the people who are suffering; offer help.