TOUGH THINGS (AKA MY BEST FRIEND IS DEAD AND I'M FINALLY REALIZING IT)

  1. I've reached for my phone four times this week to call my best friend who died almost two years ago.
    This is the last picture I have of us together (he moved right after we graduated high school, the summer before we all went off to college). We had more on his phone but I haven't asked his mom for them yet.
  2. And I don't know what's wrong with me.
  3. I've never done it that many times in one week before, I usually just make the mistake like every few weeks.
  4. I just have so many things I just want want to tell him and don't feel like I can tell anyone else in my life, and it's not fair.
  5. I got the news the day after it happened, right after dinner with my best friend/roommate and her family on her birthday. I saw another mutual friend calling and immediately knew it was bad, so I didn't excuse myself to answer and texted her that I would call her later. She said it was important, but I knew that.
    I knew it was about him. This friend, KG, was good friends with Lauren, who was close with his parents and would have been told to spread the news. Lauren and I were friends but I knew she wouldn't be able to tell me herself.
  6. He had just finished chemo but he had a unexpected stroke from a medication he was on because of an infection (the chemo had wiped out his immune system, leading to the infection). So the cancer didn't kill him, but it made his body kill him.
  7. And I had one really long (like 4 hours), amazing phone conversation with him like two weeks before, and had texted with him the day before.
  8. But I still didn't get to say goodbye.
  9. And I really, really miss him.
  10. I didn't really get a chance to mourn because I was finishing my second semester of my freshman year of college and was totally removed from everyone who knew and loved him, and no one here understood.
  11. Two weeks later my dad flew us both up to Long Island for the funeral and wake. I could only go to the wake, I wasn't strong enough.
    I remember crying in my professor's offices when I tried to explain why I would not be in class. I had to miss three tests even though I only missed two days of classes, but they were all very understanding and did not make a big deal out of it.
  12. In May, when everybody from our school had come back to Charlotte for the summer, his parents flew down and we had a memorial mass for him.
  13. I eulogized him, along with about five or six of his other close friends.
  14. I have no memory of what I said, but I remember my shaky voice and trying not to burst into tears in front of all my old classmates and teachers because I didn't want them to cry more, too. Sydney and I went up together and held each other's hands.
    I typed up what I wanted to say and it's saved on my computer, but I'm not ready to open it.
  15. That night was so sad I literally just put it out of my mind and wouldn't let myself think about it anymore.
  16. And I can talk about him to others without bursting into tears, but it weighs me down so much because I feel like I need to clarify that he's not here anymore so I don't forget it and be sad again.
  17. Like, every time I think of him I feel like I have to remind myself he's dead so I don't get excited about talking to or seeing him soon.
  18. I've lost a lot of people in my life and I'm not scared of death, but this has sucked the most.
  19. And it is only making me feel worse as time goes on.
  20. So I'm sitting here crying alone in my dorm room, all because the lady at Starbucks gave me a free frappachino in his favorite flavor because she messed up on the order before mine and I went to call and tell him.
  21. And my best friend is out with her fiancé for Valentine's Day, my older best friend has shifted our relationship to a point where I don't even feel comfortable talking to her, especially about him, and my parents are busy and can't talk tonight.
    And I have other friends here I SHOULD be comfortable talking to, but this feels like too close to my heart to put that out there right now. Because if they aren't in the mood for this, I don't know how that would make me feel.
  22. And so I decided to write it all out here, because it seems safe and non-judgmental and writing what I feel is better than not expressing it at all.
  23. Now I'm going to go watch a movie or something and try to stop crying.
    The original plan was to stay in tonight to get my mountain of homework done so I can have fun tomorrow, but I'm deciding to throw that out right now and pour myself a glass of wine instead.
  24. I love you my tall, fabulous Bowen. 💖