Today marks one week out until the second anniversary of your death.
I’m trying to place my life that week out; trying to remember if there were warning signs that death was imminent — but all I remember was us casually talking like normal. I’d share with you my weekend plans, and how I’d just spent all of Saturday hopping wineries with my group of girlfriends. I’d share with you the painting I’d just done at one of those wine and sip classes. I’d share with you my desire to re-do my newly moved in kitchen.
One week out, you organized my spice shelf and yelled at me when I didn’t bring you back anything from the Olive Garden. You held up a can of strawberry banana yogurt, telling me how insensitive I am that you had spent your entire morning organizing my apartment, only for me to not bring you back a Zuppa Toscana when I went out shopping for scrubs with Amanda. I’ve gotten over the regret of not bringing you soup, but your can of yogurt still sits in my fridge.
I remember, one week out, me having to help you sit down into the black, swivel chair in the middle of the chaotic living room. Your face was swollen and as I needed to help place you, you had an honest breakdown about what life was like. As you cried, and as you spewed anger, I somehow managed to say to you, “I worry, that when you die, I will have thought you led a miserable life.”
And you told me that you did.
And one week later you were gone.
Two years of grieving have taught me that anger-laden moments aren’t representative of life in a bigger scope. I’ve had plenty of anger-laden moments since you’ve been gone: rage toward my fiance that he would have rather spent our first Thanksgiving without you, with his own family; anger toward shopping for wedding dresses; rage when someone would tell me to cancel my wedding, to cope, to change the way I was thinking about it; rage when it came to feeling so confused over doing what I wanted when it came to getting married — because I didn’t want to get married without you, but I wasn’t ready to take that experience from me entirely. Rage, rage, rage. I’ve had my moments.
I’ve had the rage seep into every seam. I’ve felt it coil around my neck like a noose. I’ve known it as an intruder. I’ve felt it’s violation like a #MeToo movement.
In the scope of things, I know that your life wasn’t bad. It was made up of moments. Moments painted by insecurity. Moments painted by past loves and feelings of inadequacy. Your life was not as you pictured it — but mine didn’t flourish in roses, either. Mine’s still blooming. I’m still a bud shrouded in thorns.
One week out and I’m sure I didn’t imagine that what was coming up would materialize. I thought I had more time. I thought I’d get my chance to say goodbye, to tell you how much you mean to me, to remind myself that no matter where you were, the love you feel for me would always be in reflective reach.
There were many nights I banged my head against my kitchen counter just wanting to join you.
People say that they understand what it means to lose someone they love. You and I never spoke sporadically. We didn’t go from being close during childhood, to distant during adolescence, to visiting once a month because I have my own life going on as a twenty-something just trying to get by — just trying to make my mark.
You and I, we spoke every day. We spoke for hours every day. We weren’t a part of one another’s world – we were the world to one another. Everyone beside us were just guests — invitees to the party we’d concocted. Losing you is losing my right arm when I’m right-handed. It’s hard to breathe. It’s hard to think. It’s hard to wake up every Saturday morning and not have the stark reminder that I can’t call you; that you can’t call me. It’s hard to find the kind of naive, innocent happiness that I held, one week out.
Because one week out, everything was still perfect.