I really love the fact that I have so many awesome and beautiful people in my life.
The other night when I found out about Samantha, I was in shock. I was downtown when I got the call. I only live about 6 minutes or so from downtown, but I knew I wouldn’t make it home before the floodgates opened up. And I didn’t. I had that soul crushing, heart piercing, elephant standing on your chest kind of pain. The kind of pain that won’t allow you to inhale. It’s all sobbing. All exhales. All the darkest depths of sadness. I pulled up in front of my house. Drenched in loss. I couldn’t move. I couldn’t talk. I wouldn’t even attempt it. I searched my head for which one of my friends I could call or text. Who would be the person to help me? I never ask for help. It’s one of my many character flaws. And I hardly ever cry because I feel like it makes me too vulnerable, almost like telling a guy you love that you have feelings for him. It’s just more than I am capable of, really. So I text young Marley. He had recently suffered the loss of someone he loved too. I knew he would understand what I needed. So I messaged him and told him what happened and without hesitation, he told me to come by. Conveniently, he only lives five minutes from me.
When I got there, he came out to my car with a bottle of vodka and some Heineken in a backpack. I had actually never been more happy to be in the friendship zone as I was in that moment, because honestly, I looked a hot mess and I really just needed a friend who wouldn’t care that I had snot running down my face and eyes that wouldn’t stop leaking. I’m not much of a drinker and I usually make it a point to never, ever drink when I’m feeling bad, but I knew he would make sure I was ok and I needed to stop crying. When I pulled up, I was still crying. As we sat in my car (I never got out) and drank and talked, I was ok. I wasn’t crying. I was actually at peace. We laughed and joked. Shared stories and bared souls. When I got home, though, it started again. I can count on one hand the number of times I have heavingly cried in my life. And as I laid my head on my pillow, I started again. A steady stream of tears from my eyes, down my face, puddled into my ear and then overflowed onto my pillowcase. The pressure of a thousand stones rested in the center of my chest. I felt like I could physically feel my heart breaking. I didn’t sleep at all. I tossed and I turned. And I cried. I stopped in the morning long enough to get my kid to school. I didn’t shower. I didn’t even get dressed. I went straight back to bed and I cried some more. Then I set my alarm for noon and told myself that I would stop crying when the alarm went off. And I sobbed for a few more hours. I thought I might run out of tears, but I didn’t. They just kept coming like one of those bottomless cups of coffee. But when the alarm went off, I did, in fact stop crying. I got up, took some headache medicine and laid down to take a nap. I slept for two hours and woke up puffy eyed, like I had mistakenly used dill pickles instead of cucumbers to take away the swelling and it did the opposite. I showered, I finally got dressed, I ate. I was OK. I was still alive.
The ironic thing about death is that life still goes on. It’s hard to imagine the world not stopping when you lose someone so important to you, but it doesn’t. The buses still run on schedule, the sun still rises and sets, people still have to go to work and go to school, animals still need fed, dishes still need washed, lawns still need mowed. Everything just keeps going. So I knew I had to keep going to. And I knew my friend would not want me paused in the agony of missing her. I got on my Marco Polo app and I watched the videos she had sent me last week. I got on my facebook and read our messages from a few days ago. I got on my phone and read the texts she and I exchanged Sunday.
And it dawned on me. There is nothing for me to be sad about. There is nothing for me to keep crying over. Samantha and I were awesome. There were no words left unspoken. If she was standing in front of me right now for five more minutes, I would not have to waste it on telling her how much she meant to me and that I love her, because she already knew. And I know how she felt about me. We would have wasted every single second of those five minutes talking about Arya Stark being a bad ass and John Snow and the Dragon Queen doing the nasty. And so I smile. I smile because we were good.
I used to worry that I threw around the phrase, “I love you” too much. Because if I feel it, I say it. Now, I’m so very thankful I do, because I know for a fact, the last time we spoke on the phone, I told her I loved her. And just knowing that makes my heart happy. So I will continue to do what Samantha showed me and that is how to be a good friend and how to love people and more importantly, how to let them know you love them so if the day comes that I am gone without warning, there will be no questions in anyone’s mind about how I felt about them.