On grief and finding the light.

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I lost my best friend from junior high at the end of September this past year. I can’t describe the pain of losing her, nor the guilt and anger at myself that accompanied because we lost touch. There was so much joy, camaraderie, and growth in our relationship, but a lot of hurt and pain as well. I shouldn’t, but I hate myself every day for giving up on our relationship, allowing the frustration of being blown off and the focus on my own life get in the way of our incredible bond.

She was taken from us suddenly. I had seen her just in May, but I let my anxiety and panic cut the visit short. I was still trying to figure out how to live with my new mental illness friends and I left her sister’s wedding early because I didn’t know how to be okay. I would have never left had I known it was the last time that I would see her.

So why am I sharing all of this? I am about to take a road trip on the very highway that claimed her. I am about to travel to the place that I last saw her healthy and the embodiment of everything that was my best friend. The thought of being in the same places is so very haunting. Setting aside all of the anxiety I have of travelling in a car on the same highway (which, let me tell you, is almost consuming me if not for my grief), I needed to find a way to be okay with this.

I’m excited for the trip. It is the yearly trip I take to the coast with my boyfriend and his father for Free Comic Book Day, the newest Marvel movie, and quality time with his little sister. I look forward to it every year, except this year. Not because I don’t like comics, not because I don’t like Marvel movies, or spending time with the other half’s family – because each one of those things are activities that make me very happy.

I am so grateful for my boyfriend’s father, who brought up the idea of taking a moment on our trip to set flowers down. He was right and ignoring it was not the way to feel okay with everything that had happened. I’ve been trying to let go and be grateful for the chance to know her, but even after all these months, she still has such a strong grip on me. I plan to write a note to stay with the flowers. I plan to tell her everything that I’ve needed to say since before she was gone; to tell her how much I love her and how much I cherish our moments growing up together.

This post has been a little sad for me. It doesn’t involve any suggestions or advice for how to deal with what may be going on in your mind… but it lets you in on mine. I have my tattoo of my Goose to remind me that I’m okay, so I will be. I’ll always have our shared nickname to make me feel connected to her and I am so very grateful. I’ve been stuck in this sad place, finding more light as time goes on, but still slipping when the waves of grief hit without warning. I’ve struggled with feeling wrong for still grieving 7 months later, but there isn’t a set timeline for this. I loved her deeply and that is going to take a while to be okay with what happened.

In the words of Winnie the Pooh – how lucky am I to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.

Thank you to Yvonne @ Ascending Koi Tattoo & Apparel for the beautiful artwork for my tattoo.

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