Where I Am Today

I’m writing this entry in the moment, expressing my present mindset rather than looking back. This might be a rambling entry but so be it. My goal with AFL has always been to show you my mindset and today nothing will help me more than baring my soul.  

This week has been a brutal one in my community of friends. One of our lights was taken from us all too soon. And I’ll be perfectly blunt: it’s really hit me hard. I just saw my friend last week and I will never see her again. I’m really trying to process this.

I have no experience with grief like this. I’ve lost grandparents. I’ve lost acquaintances. But I’ve never lost someone who was so deeply a part of my life. My friend was someone I’d even been seeing more frequently of late. She was very close with my wife. In fact it didn’t shock me to come home and see her hanging out with Amanda.

It’s weird because it’s not real. Or at least it’s just now sinking in. My dear friend Albert compared it to trying to process infinity and he nailed it. It isn’t “like” it, it is just that. I’m NEVER going to hang out with her again. This isn’t someone moving away or getting into a fight. This is it. And the human mind isn’t built for it.

I had the inevitable weirdness about not crying. That lasted a day. It was followed by the equally inevitable weirdness about crying in public. I tried my best not to. I failed. At least I had a good reason. HFAs usually don’t. We cry anyway. I expect to shed many more tears.

I feel selfish too. I’m feeling this intense powerful emotion. But so are other people. Usually when I’m hurting like this, I’m alone in that hurt. But I’m not. I’m not even sure I have the right to feel as strongly as I do. I’m not family. Just friends. But I’m so deep in this. Is even writing this a violation of the norm? I don’t know and I wish I knew because I want to do right.

I know this: I’m not alone and that’s, in a sad way, great. I have a wife, friends, family, and all manner of people who care about me. I’m just at a loss. Grief is messy, complex, and weird. 

Next month I’m going to delve into my high school years. She will come up as she was a close friend then. I look forward to looking back. Until then I can only take heart that I’m trying to do right. Tomorrow isn’t going to stop.

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One thought on “Where I Am Today

  1. Right there with you. I felt extremely lucky to have been with her all weekend before the accident. We swam and hung out until we could hang out no more Saturday, and she slept over as was often needed with her adorable pseudo-narcolepsy, and Sunday she went home for the dogs and then came right back down for more. After another day of swimming we shared dinner together and watched a little tv, and that was the last time I saw her. I felt like I was given too much, and at the same time never enough, that I’d taken her away from her family during those last hundred hours (though there is no telling what she would have done actually with that weekend otherwise). Nonetheless, all I could say to her parents over and over was simply, “Thank you for sharing her with me” because I know over the last several years I’d taken up more and more of her time …When I started hyperventilating after I finally saw her at the visitation I felt extreme guilt. As if I don’t have the right to feel this much loss with her family standing right there, showing so much more strength than myself. But you know what, we loved her too. We are allowed to have our feelings and go through our grief in our own way. There is no right or wrong in loss. It is what it is, no matter if you want to accept it or how much pleading with the gods you do (I sure did, even after I knew there was no point). Its a beautiful thing how many people loved her, especially those like you. There were a lot of people Lauren wanted to be better friends with but they weren’t very kind to her in return. She talked about it a lot, not always, but it did weigh on her mind a great deal…but you, Austin (your wife included), she never had a cross thing to say about you, and she loved your dearly. Your friendship meant so much to her and she regarded you in the highest way possible. Of that I am sure. You may already know that, but it bears repeating.

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