I have written ad nauseum about losing a good friend (ex-boyfriend) of mine. I probably wrote five or six (or more) different posts on different blogs about it over the years, and much, much more than that in various diaries and such.
Here is an excerpt from one of my favorite posts:
My favorite song to listen to when I am depressed is "Smoke" by Ben Folds Five. You can feel the despair in the way he bangs the piano keys and in the catch of his voice.
But, the lyrics...therein lies the magic.
"Here's a secret...no one will ever know the reasons for the tears"
That line says it all.
It's hard to lose someone that you love, but I have found that it's the sadness that no one understands that is the hardest to deal with.
For example: if your cat/dog/significant other dies, everyone knows why you are sad. If your high school boyfriend that you hadn't seen in three years dies, people are sympathetic, but only to a point. When it's been a year and you are still talking about it, people wonder what's wrong with you. When it's been almost twenty, they just think you are crazy.
"They were broken up!" they say to themselves. They think they know the whole story. But they don't.
This year marked twenty two years since he passed. It also marked the fact that he has now spent more time dead than he ever did alive.
I've spent many hours contemplating his death. Even so many years later, I still find myself reaching for him telepathically. I know that this will sound weird, but of all those that I have loved and lost, he has kept in touch the best. It's complicated; just like it was when he was here.
I imagine that it's hard for my husband to understand this relationship. I say I imagine because we haven't talked about it much. Mostly, I am afraid to bring it up, for fear of sounding like a crazy person. Of course, I am much more prone to jealousy than he is, so maybe I am just that: crazy.
The dead have a way of only showing their good side, though. I forget how angry he made me and remember how much he made me laugh. I forget that his skin was not always flawless; in the beyond, he glows with color and health. Dying before your twenty first birthday helps, too. I mean, it's pretty much downhill for your looks somewhere around twenty eight, so he had the privilege(?) of dying before he started balding or developing a beer belly.
I'm not saying any of this is logical. What I am saying is that it's a tough act to follow.
The guy I was with when it happened understood this and was, in turn, totally jealous of a corpse and actually angered by my grief. Those were fun conversations. Seriously? I need to explain why I am crying? Or worse, hide the fact that I am sad? Geez.
I'm pretty sure that was the beginning of the end for us, even though we stayed together for another eighteen months. I was lost in wishing I had done things differently; regretting that I hadn't called my friend after what would be our last fight. Too much grief and too many unresolved and un-resolvable feelings messed me up.
I can barely remember the girl I was when I met my husband in 1992. I was still grieving KD and I had just lost my maternal grandfather, whom I adored. I was lost. I remember arming myself with sarcasm and hiding my vulnerability behind a thin wall of bravado. "You are dating someone else? Who cares?!?" (ha). I'm not sure how quickly he realized that I was mostly bluster. I'm really not sure what there was of substance for him to be attracted to, but there must have been something. I think in my sadness I had become something of a ghost, myself. Maybe he was a bit lost,too. Maybe we rescued each other.
In any case, this year marks twenty years that my husband and I have been together. Twenty years! In that time, both of our lives have been touched by plenty of grief. We've lost five grandparents and three parents. We've worried and struggled and have become a family of five along the way.
Somehow, midst all the pain, we've managed to become more, rather than less. The sorrow has colored us in, rather than diminishing us. We've become stronger as a couple and grateful for what is, rather than wishing for what isn't. It hasn't been an easy lesson, but I am grateful for it.
I am glad that I have learned that there is more to life than "counting my abs and lovers", something I used to say about my hypothetical single life.
As for my long gone friend, I will always miss him. I just will. There is not much I can do about that. But as I have grown in wisdom, I have learned to feel lucky for what was and what still is. Life is a gift. It may be poorly wrapped at times. It may be smaller than what we were hoping for, but if we hold it up to the light, we will see its beauty and it will be a joy to behold.