You were never supposed to die. All the twist and turns of the incredible future I saw for you and for our friendship never took into account your death. I never thought that someone so alive and so present in my life could all of the sudden be gone. That I can't pick up a phone and call you, that when my phone rings I know I won't hear your voice on the other end. And yet my fingers still ache to dial your number even though it would be futile and useless. Each time my phone rings, it still runs through my mind for just a glimmer of a heartbeat that it might be you. That I might pick it up and hear the way that only you say hi. If there was a way, I would ask the phone company to block your phone number. Then I would know for sure that there was no way for you to call. Even though you're gone from this world, it would force me to stop hoping it was you each time the phone rings. I've blocked you from my e-mail account. Your fingers will never again touch a keyboard sending words of love and frienship to me, but I still had to make sure. I had to give up hope. I deleted everything you ever sent me except for the love letter you wrote from San Francisco. I do believe that friends can write each other love letters and so even though you'd argue with me endlessly that it was most definitely NOT a love letter, there isn't much you can say about it now. I get to call it a love letter and you can't argue with me anymore. You can't talk to me anymore. You can't be my friend anymore. I will never feel your arms holding me at nite while I talk to you about secrets I so rarely share. You won't ever try to find the joke to make me laugh. In fact, you'll never hear me laugh again. I keep thinking of everything about you that I will no longer have in my life. Of everything in my life that you will no longer have. It runs through my mind over and over... all of the moments that have happened since you died that I've wanted to share with you. This must be what people mean when you have to accept death. I struggle to accept the loss of you from my life. It just seems so unfathomable. It feels as if my mind is on pause, holding onto the moment when I knew you were never coming back. My mind just keeps staying in that moment, frozen in that initial crush of despair. You're supposed to know that I finally quit smoking. I was up to a pack a day and I literally couldn't financially afford it anymore. Everytime I tell people that, they always emphatically say "You couldn't afford to smoke in a LOT of ways!" and nod their heads wisely. I don't care about that. I only care about the fact that I can't financially afford to smoke and so I quit and you don't know. I even write this as if you're going to read these words and know that I don't smoke anymore. As if you'll congratulate me, be relieved for me, be happy for me, be proud of me. You don't feel anything anymore. I don't believe in heaven and I don't think that you're some benign spirit out there watching me from above. I believe in hell and I think that you were in it, here on earth. Anyone who knew you would say that you lived a gifted, incredible, talented, amazing life. But I knew better. I saw the confusion, the tears, the suffering and sadness. I confronted so much of it inside of you, dragged it out into the sunlight and forced you to deal with it and process it and embrace it. I got to see the side of you that was ugly. Everyone who knew you always used the word "nice" to describe you, and a part of me wants to grab those people and shake them and explain the part of you that I got to see. The part of you that was cruel and malicious. Those aspects of your personality that were manipulative and opportunistic. The way you used people, discarded them, and moved so casually on. As much as I loved parts of you, I also got to hate aspects of the man that you were. And now that you're dead, it makes me want to embrace only the hate. I had put so much faith into you and your death is the ultimate betrayal. It makes me want to remember the ways that you hurt me, the ways that you used me. Now that you're gone and I will never have you back, why would I want to venerate you into some incredibly gorgeous creature? That sounds like absolute torture. When I think about the time you drove me to the hospital and I was in so much physical pain that I couldn't even think straight and you took care of me...those memories feel like they are razor sharp and as if each mental picture cuts me to my core and makes my very heart bleed. Fortune cookies that seemed to prophesize everything that our hearts yearned for. Hearing the faint and constant beating of your heart. Holding your hand as we walked down the pier after throwing pennies down into the depths of the bay and made wishes. And now my wish won't ever come true. You're dead and my wish is resting at the bottom of the ocean, waiting to come true. It is going to wait for years and years until I am dead too and there is no longer any strength in those wishes that we made as we kissed those pennies and threw them into the darkness. I feel like that penny, slowly sinking into darkness and coldness. Waiting and filled with hope, yearning to have everything come true. Waiting for you to come back. But you won't because you can't and even writing that just seems so final. So cut and dried, so black and white. There is no gray area for me to get lost in and I want desperately to lose my way and somehow find you. But you are lost to me forever and I will never stumble across you again. I will never casually pass you on the street and be surprised to run into you. I will never see your car pull up in front of my house and show you the beautiful garden I've planted. I will never again hear the faint and constant beating of your heart, only the overwhelming silence of your death. The keys I had made for you to unlock my front door have probably been thrown away by some unsuspecting person who couldn't figure out which lock those keys were meant to open. Do you see why I would want to cling to hate? Why it's easier to throw away every single thing you've ever given me? That in a frantic purging, I dumped everything in a paper bag and threw it all out in the garbage in the hopes that unloading physical reminders of you would ease my pain. Percy, videos, photos, books, the chess set...everything is permanently gone, as are you. I had to put every single CD you gave me in a hiding place or else I would have thrown them all away too. Someday, I want to be able to listen to the music you gave me and not think of you. That it's simply music that I enjoy, music that I respond to, and that it is no longer connected to your memory. My pain over losing you is so sever and so complete that I can't imagine a time when I will be able to listen to certain CD's or hear particular Low songs and not feel as if the floor is dropping out from beneath me. Every single day, I struggle towards not caring. I see a vision of my life where your death no longer cripples me and I am healthy and beautiful and strong and that your passing is a tragedy, but that I have lived through it and become a better person for it. I never deserved to have you leave me. I never deserved to have to live through your death. I am so disapointed in you. So furiously outraged. I am consumed with remorse and anger, I cling desperately to hate, and yet someday I know that I will no longer care. And when I've lived many more years and have loved many more times and been endlessly consumed by passion... when I've forged friendships that are strong and true, and when I've continued living the incredible and amazing life that I've always lived, then I will think of you with kindness and with gentle memories. I know I will have forgotten so much about you after years and years have passed, but I will remind myself over and over that you were a man struggling with many demons. A man consumed with doubt and pain. That you were human and fallible and that even in your passing, I will struggle to not hold so tightly to your flaws.
Losing a friendship can feel like a death has occured. Sometimes, the loss of a friendship is a natural thing. Someone moves away and you slowly lose contact. A friend starts getting involved with other things and your social circles start gradually moving in different directions. There are a lot of reasons why friendships sometimes falter and fall away. Or sometimes, you can decide that a friendship is no longer healthy for you. Maybe the person is partying in a way that you don't want to anymore, or maybe the person has started to treat you poorly and you're not having fun with them when you hang out. Other times, friendships get brutally ripped apart through betrayal, lies, cheating, or deceit. People put on a mask and they want you to believe that they are a certain kind of person when they are not. They try to hold that mask up for a long time, but eventually it slips and falls and shatters on the floor and you get to find out who that person really and truly is. A death has occured inside of my heart, and I struggle to hold onto my faith in people, my trust in those that I allow into my heart, and my belief in the brilliance and beauty of the people who are my friends.