You weren’t a perfect human. You didn’t always make the right play. You often did things first and thought about them later, and sometimes it landed you in quite a bit of trouble. You were impulsive, and did a lot of things that I know you ended up regretting (but not for long!). I hope this doesn’t come off like I’m speaking ill of you, that’s not the case. We loved all of your imperfections just as much as the rest of you, and I think maybe you forgot that somewhere along the way. I think maybe you forgot that nobody expected you to be perfect. Maybe you forgot that we loved each and every scar on your arms and we loved each and every bruise on your heart – and we still do. They helped to shape you into the beautiful, amazing friend that we were lucky enough to know. Although, I guess even we missed a few things. Everyone has secrets that they’ll never share with another soul, and you were no exception. You were always so open and honest but you still kept some things hidden. When you were set on something, you were set on it. If you didn’t want anyone to know, no one ever would.
What gets to me the most, dragging itself through the molasses in my skull, is that you didn’t tell anyone. I’ve found myself asking “why” over and over and over again, as if the answer to that question will bring me solace. Why didn’t you tell anyone? I think I know the answer, and that’s what worries me the most. I keep telling myself what we’d all like to believe: you didn’t mean for this to happen. It was a mistake, an accident, a momentary horrible lapse in judgement that you’d instantly regretted. But you’ve made mistakes before and you knew most mistakes could be fixed. You knew how they could be fixed. You knew each and every one of us had our phones in our hands and would have done anything and everything we could to help you fix that mistake, just like you’ve done for so many of us so many times. Yet, you didn’t call. You didn’t send us an “SOS” text. We didn’t receive a single cry for help. So I start to wonder if maybe this wasn’t a mistake. Maybe this is what you really wanted, and if it was, I think maybe I can almost accept that. If you thought that’s the only thing that’d make you happy then I understand why you had to. I wish you hadn’t, and I wish you’d let us help you find other ways, but I understand why you did. I hope you’ve finally found the happiness you spent your whole life searching for.
A lot of people turn to religion to help them cope through times like these, and many of our friends have. I envy them. I’m grateful that religion exists because it brings so much comfort to friends and family in times of need. The idea of you smiling down on us as an angel in heaven is truly a beautiful one, however not one that I can bring myself to believe. I’m too hardwired to need solid answers and too impatient to look for them. I don’t have the same warm core that all our friends have and that you always had which helped you rely on faith and love and trust. You know me, I’d rather find my answers in a bottle than in a book. So who do I have to turn to? Well, I always had you. I’m sure in some ways, I still do. The messages turned green days ago but that hasn’t stopped me from sending them. I have no idea if you can hear me but that hasn’t stopped me from whispering “I miss you” every time the thought has creeped into my mind. I may not have a God to guide me through this loss but I have myself, and I have all the answers I’ve made up in my head to explain why you’d choose this, and I have you.
There are a million heartbreaking or hilarious stories I could tell of your strength and tremendous generosity, but it’s hard to go back to some of those memories. All I can say is that there were times where I was in the same place you often found yourself, and you saved me every time. You drove twenty-five minutes to the middle of nowhere to find me on the side of the road and put me in your car and drove me another thirty-five minutes to Emerson to get me help. You left parties to answer the phone in the middle of the night to talk me off the ledge. You and your wonderful family took me in more than once when conditions at home made it impossible for me to live there. You stood by my side while I faced all the people that made me feel like I would never make it out of high school, and you helped me know when to befriend them and when to let them go. You were truly one of the few I’ve ever known that did things for my own good, with no intention other than to help me. You did more than just hold my hand while I fought my demons, you were right next to me swinging your own sword.
“Thank you” is a powerful concept hidden beneath a common phrase, and it’s often said out of politeness rather than pure gratitude. I wish I could invent a phrase stronger to describe how truly grateful I am to have known you, and to have been lucky enough to call you my friend. I know wherever the universe brings you next, you’ll take it by storm. I don’t see you as weak or as having given up. I don’t see what you did as selfish or cruel. You were just ready for whatever was next, and I hope you’re loving every second of it, as we all did with the time we spent with you.
Sleep well, my friend. I’ll always love you, and you’ll forever be my rock.