Today was the day of your memorial service. It was a really rough day for me. I am so emotionally exhausted and my gas tank is empty. I felt like I was healing a week out from the news, but today just ripped up all the stitches I created.
It felt wrong stepping into church without you around. I always looked forward to seeing you on Sundays when we were kids. It just feels so different without you there. If it weren’t for all the visual reminders of why we were there, it would have felt like a normal Sunday morning 10 years ago.
I thought I was going to be fine, but I cried when they showed all the old photos of you. All the photos from our childhood together. I cried when I went to greet your sister, and I told her that in August when we met, you had told me that she was moving home from Boston, and that you were happy to have her back, and that I’m so sorry that this happened. We both cried and hugged each other.
I cried when I went to greet your mom, and it was even worse than seeing your sister. I held onto her, tears streaming down my face, and told her about how you told me how much you enjoyed Edmonton, and wanted to stay there after graduating. And how happy you were. And how sorry I was. And how positive our friendship was. She ended up asking ME if I was okay, which was baffling to me – how could she still be mothering me when she is in so much more pain than me?
I’m still at a loss and I don’t think it’s actually sunken in that you’re not here anymore. I see those photos of your smiling face, doing all the activities you love – running, track and field, hiking, rowing – and my mind can’t quite grasp the fact that we will never see each other again.
Despite this, I think you would be proud to know that I’m doing my best to press on. I went home, weary and tired, and forced myself to get off the couch and cook an actual dinner/meal prep when all I wanted to do was bake a frozen pizza and go to bed. Sometimes self-care looks like eating junk food on the couch, but other times it looks like nourishing your body and taking care of your health.
I’m here now, at my desk, catching up on some work and life so tomorrow doesn’t absolutely overwhelm me. In my sadness, it’s a huge effort for me to try and care about all these now seemingly insignificant things, but I’m doing what’s best for me, even if it’s the last thing I want to do right now.
You don’t have to worry about me, J. I have an amazing support system, and people to confide in. I am a strong person. I know that you never really “get over” the loss of a loved one – you just learn how to live with it, and accept it as reality. What’s helped me so much is remembering all the good memories we’ve shared together, all the hilarious moments that make me laugh at the worst possible times, and how uplifting our friendship was.
Oh, and I want you to know that you were nominated for a post humous Master of Science degree in Physical Therapy. You made it, my friend. The very thing you worked so hard for, you achieved it. I am so proud of you.
I miss you so much. I hope you are the happiest wherever you are now.