Life and Loss
I was 18 when I met you. You were this firecracker little cutesie thing, running across the crowded dance floor. You jumped into to the arms of one of the only guys you had ever trusted. He embraced you full heartedly wrapping his arms around you. He always had. And we now know, he always would. You giggled with such innocence cackling at his tickling fingers. He lifted you from the ground, swung your dangling feet around. And, he kissed your cheek while placing your little feet back on the ground. My heart pounded as he turned you to face me. You had such a sweet smile but, I was so nervous anyways. I knew you were so important to him. I knew you were so much more than special to him. And, because he was so important to me, I wanted you to know that there was also a place in my heart for you. As any loving older brother would do, he tugged your small hand within his and brought you in front of me. I waited, uncertain as to what exactly I was supposed to do. Unsure as to how this was going to play out. But, you didn’t even blink. You didn’t even hesitate. You threw your arms around me and pulled me against your chest. In that hug I knew, I’d found a friend.
So many things unfolded within the next thirteen years. So many joys. So many adventures. So many triumphant battles. So many experiences full of life, love and laughter. But, with every sweet story comes a thunderstorm. With every bit of happiness comes the rushing rapids of despair eager to take you under. Anxious to drown you.
We hoped that those rapids wouldn’t hold you. That the thunderstorm brewing within you would eventually subside and dissipate to a soft rain. We prayed that whatever had a hold on you from the inside, would lose its grip and fall to the pits of hell. We hoped and we prayed and we begged and we pleaded.
But, in the end … The struggle was too much. The cuts were too deep. The pain too torrential.
And, we watched you fade away, slowly inching into a place that was so hard for us to reach it was often unbearable to watch. It felt like rubberbands on our hearts, pulling and constricting against every single beat. It hurt to see you hurt. It seared our chests with a branding iron each time we watched you fall.
Knowing we were reaching, knowing we were screaming for you to take our hand … Seeing your desperation to catch your breath but not knowing how to help you.
You rode such an extreme roller coaster ride of a life. One that we couldn’t keep up with. One that we got tossed from on more than one occasion. Your twists and turns often giving us whiplash making every recovery that much harder to come back from. But, no matter what. No matter how bad it got.
We always loved you.
And, that love was fierce and remains strong to this day.
That love was always real and it will never go away.
I’m thankful for the good I always knew was in you even it often got buried by the heaviness of something you carried in your soul. I’m thankful you allowed me in your heart even if it was only for a fraction of time. Because you didn’t let many in. I don’t think there was enough room amongst whatever it was barricading your heart.
And, then I had a dream …
Your face was continually flashing in my minds’ eye. I tossed to the other side trying to rid the image from my system. But, it appeared again making me wide eyed at three am in the morning.
“What the heck? Why? Why now? Why am I seeing her face now?”
I silently closed my eyes hoping to have some semblance of peace. Hoping I could fall asleep for just a few more hours before my next workday began. But, once again … Your face flooded my dreams infiltrating any chance of going back to sleep.
I shot straight up from my slumber breathing heavily wondering why so much time had passed yet, your face was clearly lingering as visions within my dreams.
“Ok, God. I’ll pray. If you’re waking me up, then I’ll pray.”
So, I did. I prayed. I prayed peace over your spirit and protection over your soul. I spoke love and hope over the life of your daughter. I spoke truth even if you weren’t in a place to want to hear it directly.
Because, that’s what love does. It still has hope.
I finally rolled over releasing a breath of serenity. And within a few seconds my body relaxed and drifted into a quiet place of sleep.
Two days later … we got the phone call.
You were gone.
Just like that.
It was over.
Your life had come to an end.
I felt like I was choking on my own weak attempts at breathing. Your brothers’ face fell and lost every single bit of color. His naturally flushed cheeks hollowed as he struggled to sort through the veil of emotions falling over him. We knew the ghosts you had ran from for years finally got the best of you. We knew you finally let go. And, although we knew we did everything we could to help you, to save you from yourself, we grieved letting out cries so loud I swore we shook the windows.
Because we loved you.
Because we still love you.
How do we understand the depth of despair you suffered from? How do we judge your choices when no one, I mean no one, could understand the gravity of grave desperation you clutched within your heart.
And, how do we let you go. How do we walk away and say goodbye?
I’m so sorry your end had to come at such a tragic expense. I hope your mind body and soul have found peace in the afterlife. And, always know that our hearts are forever connected to yours. You will always be special to both of us.