Tuesday, September 18, 2012
When I was younger, the first artist whose music touched me was Carrie Underwood. To this day, she is one of my favorites and I still listen to everything from "Wasted" (the first track on her first album) to "Who Are You" (the last track on her latest album). One of the songs that I've listened to repetitively is "Starts With Goodbye" off of her first album, Some Hearts. I listened to this song when Jimmy died because it really hit home. Here's a lyric video for it, if you haven't heard it.
I've never liked the idea of saying "goodbye" to anyone. Even when someone passes away, I don't know that I've ever said "goodbye" because it's always just been "See you later" or maybe it's just because I don't believe they're truly GONE. That's a loaded statement, to say that someone is gone from your life - forever. I guess pretty much my whole life I've chosen not to think about it that way. But my point is, I don't say goodbye to people, not even when they die. I won't say it if I'm leaving someone's house; I won't say it if I'm on the phone; I won't say it under most circumstances. Because goodbyes? Those are final.
Last week, though, I did say goodbye to a friend. I've kind of hinted at this situation before on a number of blog posts, but haven't been sure how to address it. I'm still not sure. I do not believe that full details should be disclosed, and I'm writing this in the hopes that people will not ask me for those full details. I like some privacy, and I'm also afraid to talk about this because I'm afraid it will change my mind.
I've felt a little hypocritical to miss someone who is still alive and well when there are far too many people that I miss because they were taken from me. I didn't have a choice in that matter, but in the case of missing a friend who lives five minutes from me? I did have a choice in that. That was a constant struggle for me; trying to stay strong and not go crawling back to a bad friendship (which, arguably, could have been a great friendship had it not been built on lies). But these past few weeks (from about the 28th of August through the 9th of September) have been hard. Like, seriously, someone should probably take my phone during those weeks from now on. Last Saturday and Sunday were two of my worst days. With a Fallen Heroes memorial that Saturday and then Sunday being the anniversary of Jimmy's funeral. . . I was pretty low those days. Saturday I managed because I was with my family (most of the day, that night was a different story). Sunday, though? Sunday I felt completely alone. As I was writing my reflection (see previous blog post), I got to thinking again about my friend and how much I missed being able to turn to him without fear of judgement.; how I missed being able to lean on him, knowing he'd be there to listen and be a net when I fell. I decided that maybe I needed to talk to him.
I sat at the dark cemetery feeling my soul literally cave in on itself and my heart shatter into a million shards after having tried to repair themselves for two years. My heart broke all over again that night as I thought about Jimmy and how desperately I missed him. I decided that if my friend couldn't see how hurt I was and look past everything we had been through to just be there for me - which was always the most important thing to our friendship - then it wasn't worth fixing.
I wasn't sure what I wanted. But my friend wasn't there for me. He replied but our conversation went south very, very quickly and somehow? Somehow we ended up at the end. Which hurt. A lot more than I thought it would. Even though our end had been suspended by a very thin, fragile thread for months (about 7, actually) - and even more so the past month - it still hurt to realize he didn't miss our friendship the way I did; that he didn't miss me the way I sometimes missed him. It hurt to think that this was goodbye.
I don't think I've ever had to part ways with someone without having death be the reason. It's very strange for me because it's so final. My friend, whom I once shared everything with, will no longer be in my life. I've known that was a possibility for a good while, but knowing for certain? That hurt. It did. Neither of us actually said "goodbye", not in so many words, but it was still clear.
I woke up the next morning hurting. Whether from Jimmy, still, or my friend, I can't say for certain. Tuesday I woke up and still hurt - but it was also 9-11, so my heart hurt for a lot of reasons. But Wednesday I woke up and felt okay. Thursday I felt better (except for the fact that my friend deployed that morning). Friday? Friday I felt great (except for the fact that it would have been my mom's birthday). And I still do.
Maybe the reason I was in such pain over my friendship for those 7 months (which is astonishing now that I think about it) is because I didn't know what was going to happen. Not knowing is terrible. I think that I needed that closure - no matter how it went. I needed that weight lifted off of me and now when I think of him, I don't feel bitter. I don't feel angry. I don't feel nostalgic or desperate or longing or anything. I just feel. . . relieved.
Should my friend read this, I feel I should say some things: I will always care about you. I think that, in a way, I will always love you and miss you. I will always be grateful that you showed me that I could, indeed, be HAPPY again. I will always owe it to you for helping me find another piece of myself - a person who doesn't care what others think of her and a person who's not afraid to go after what she wants; a person who is blunt and honest and doesn't play games. You made me feel special and worthwhile, no matter how long that lasted. You also gave me a gift that no one else has been able to and that. . . well, we both know what that was (and for the rest of you, it wasn't anything inappropriate!). I hope that one day we'll run into each other and we can both smile and laugh about how hot fire is or how terrible movies are that include cowboys and aliens.
Monday I woke up feeling as though a new chapter in my life had been started. And I believe that, indeed, it has been. Scared? Yeah. Nervous? Yeah. But mostly? I'm just ready. I'm moving on with my life - I'm a junior in high school. These are the days I'm supposed to be enjoying and living to the fullest. And from now on? I'm going to do that. Because now? I'm ABLE to do that. I once said that moving on is not the same thing as letting go. When you decide to move forward, you can't let go; you have to move forward with your past experiences being a part of you. Letting go, though, is not moving forward, but starting over; when you let go, you release something that was once a part of you and therefore must start over and become someone else - a completely new person. And because of this, I will never let go.
My past does not define me. It composes me.
My friend, you will always be a part of me. Our time together will always be part of who I am because, however brief it was, it molded and shaped me the way anything else does. I do not regret it; nor do I regret our ending. I wish you nothing but happiness, success, and blessings.
Posted by Hanna at 5:22 PM