$%&#. It’s been two freaking years. It’s so trite, but I can’t believe it. I really cannot. Somehow, I managed to get by the last two years knowing that you were not breathing in the same world as me. I spent the last few days reading different parts of the Bible. I also spent some time reading articles on grieving, or what they call the “grieving process.” One quote I read summed it up pretty well: Step 1: Grieve. Step 2: Remake yourself. What that quote does not reveal is how much energy and effort it took to get from Step 1 to Step 2. It really should look like this:
Step 1: Grieve.
Step 2: Remake yourself.
I wouldn’t say I’ve completely done a 180 and “remade” myself, per se, but I do think that I’ve made some hard choices about people, life, and my perspective that now, life feels much different, and not just because of your absence.
I get self-conscious about it, though, and I think that maybe in some way, because of how much I’ve pushed myself in terms of accomplishment and thought process, that along the way it’s almost made me even more judgmental than I was before. It’s like that quote that Steve Jobs loved: “If you aren’t busy being reborn, you are busy dying.” It really stayed with me since I read his book in 2012. If I am not accomplishing anything now and trying to achieve something, then what the hell am I even doing here? What is my purpose? I’m still searching, but maybe I am a little optimistic when I say now that I feel better about life now than I did this time last year.
I guess that’s something you struggled with: purpose. For a good 12 years, you were a devout Christian. You felt your purpose was to serve God, study the Bible, do good work, volunteer to help those less fortunate than you. Then in the 13th year of the 2000s, you broke. You were already breaking in late 2011, but you hid it from me that Christmas. You didn’t tell me you were hallucinating. You hid it so well that I had no idea until you told me in March 2012 when you quit your Macy’s job that anything was really wrong. And even then, you described everything so vividly that I believed what you told me. How could I not believe you? I believed what you said was real and really was happening to you. It took me a full year to realize it was all hallucination. And at that point, it was too late. Your purpose was lost, and your will to live was gone. And then you left us. It escalated way too fast for me to digest it and figure out how to help. But I was too slow and too late. This is what happens when you have a little sister who is slow to process things.
You did a lot of good things with your final years, Ed. I’m sure not many people have said that to you, but I thought you tried really hard, even when I was pushing you to try harder. I only said it because I loved you. I wanted to help you, to make you realize that you were capable of doing more. I hated everyone who tried to make you think otherwise, whether it was explicitly said to you (and we both know it was) or implied. Some of that hate is still in me and will continue to live on in me as long as I breathe.
It’s hard to have faith in life sometimes, though, when I know you are gone, and when insane acts of violence and racism happen like in Charleston and Ferguson and now Hempstead, Texas. I can’t wrap my head around it sometimes, and all the violence and racism and apathy and laziness of the world starts getting to me, and I feel flushed and angry that I am just this one, single, powerless person who can do absolutely nothing to help. I couldn’t even help you. Our mom reminds me indirectly that no one has reached out to ask me how I am doing today in light of your two-year-passing mark. It’s another reminder that I try not to take too personally — that no one really cares — or cares enough. But it’s comforting and brings tears to my eyes to know that Chris’s parents and brother reach out to me to say something. No one else does. But they do. They do because they are my family now. They’re your family, even if you’re not here anymore, and even they think of you. See? There is some hope in the world. I have to take what I can get. I guess having low expectations isn’t so bad after all, is it? Our own blood family — our cousins, our aunts, our uncle — they don’t even reach out to say or ask anything to me. I can’t stand our family. But you already know that, and you gave up on them a long time ago and realized how screwed up they all are.
I really wanted you to come by and surprise me today, in some way. It’s what I anticipate this time of the year, that you will pop out and say hello. I’d throw my arms around you the way I do in pretty much all the dreams I have when you appear, and I’d squeeze you until you get mad at me for cutting off your circulation. Today, as last year, my senses are heightened because I know you suffered immensely and ended your life so tragically two years ago. I felt my whole body go numb this morning thinking about it. But I forced myself to wake up in time for gym class so that I’d have no choice but to push myself in group fitness or look like a complete idiot. And you know how competitive I can get in these classes. I have to have better stamina than all those others in the class. This is how I deal with losing you — I guess I just push myself even harder. At least my muscles are benefiting from it.
I miss you a lot, Ed. I don’t know if you realize how much. Before you died, I worried about you and thought about you every single day. I even watched as you slept when I was in San Francisco sometimes, especially that last time I saw you for two weeks in March 2013. What am I going to do, Ed? I wondered. What are we going to do to get you better? I failed. I don’t think I will ever get over this failure. I literally lost a life — your life. It makes me feel sick literally to the bone. I can seriously feel it right this second.
I’ll be selfish when I say this. I don’t care if no one else thinks about you, if no one else misses you, if no one else ever visits your niche at the Columbarium. All I want to say is that all that matters is that I care and love you, and I’m never going to forget you or the importance you still have in my life. Everyone else can burn in hell. You’ll always have me even if you left me. I can’t wait to see you again — in my dreams hopefully very soon (tonight maybe? Please?), and when I’m ready to join you wherever you are. You’ll be waiting, right? Right at the door for me?
I love you. Don’t forget to stop by in my dreams. It’s the only place I’ll ever fully be at peace with you. Since you left this world, I’ve never looked forward to sleep more because it means I have a chance at seeing you again. So, consider coming tonight?