Posted: Tuesday, February 12, 2013 7:11:08 PM
"You are probably wondering why I’m not writing this on your wall or telling it to anyone else I know. I guess I am just not ready for the rest of the world to know how I feel now that you’re gone. I miss you, there is no denying that, but I’ve been missing you for a good 3 years now. I know that I can never make this rift right. I was too late. Our relationship can never be fixed and it kills me.
I remember when we were still close, do you? We used to tell each other everything- hopes, dreams, fears- we told each other countless secrets and seemed to know everything about each other. When you decided to take our relationship to the next level, I was unprepared. I wanted you and, deep down, I think I knew that you would be an amazing boyfriend, that you would be amazing for me. Let’s be real, though, I was afraid of losing our friendship, which I had come to depend on in so many different ways. I figured that if I went along with what you wanted, I would get to keep what I wanted.
I think that when the rumors started about our relationship, and your problems, I felt betrayed, though my anger covered up my hurt pretty well. I felt as if, now that we were together, the trust was gone and, with it, the understanding that had once flowed freely between us. Of course, who doesn’t have problems? Who doesn’t have things they don’t want to talk about. How could I have been so negligent to have tossed you aside simply because you were scared to tell me things that would change the nature of our relationship? One of my biggest regrets is never taking the time to understand, to process, to help you move forward. Instead, I chose not to listen, and it’s a choice I will never be able to turn around and make right.
I pulled away. I thought I had lost the best part of our relationship. I believed that I was no longer good enough and so I was done. I am so sorry for not talking to you, for not figuring it out on my own. I am sorry that my solution caused you pain. Mostly, I am sorry because my solution ended our friendship. Selfish, isn’t it, to want the friendship back? I always considered you one of my closest friends. I still do, and probably always will. I love you, friend. I am sorry my apology will never be read."
This was the first of many facebook messages to my friend, Robert. He was killed in a hit and run during our sophomore year in college. We had not spoken or had an actual conversation since “the debacle” 3 years prior. His death sucked me back into the world I thought I had left behind for good. I looked at my past actions, and found them wanting. I looked at my relationships differently moving forward. Robert probably saved my life in his death, and prompted me to change my cynical behavior into something more productive.
But along that road to self discovery and awareness of my actions, came boat loads of pain and suffering and sadness that I couldn’t wish on anyone if I tried. The fact that I still have Robert’s number in my cell phone, even though it is disconnected and has been for over 4 years now. I still can’t bring myself to delete his number. His number, like his Facebook, allows me to remember his face in happier times, to never let go of the memory. Social networking in death seems morbid and I think I may look back on this one day and be freaked out, but for now, even years after the fact, the physical page, the phone number, and the memory all allow me to remain, superficially, close to him. I need that; we all need that, in order to get by in the day to day humdrum. Every time I accidently butt dial his phone or drunkenly select it by accident, I am reminded, I am chastised, and I am renewed in my effort to make my days worth it. I remember to listen, to understand others, and to try to evolve beyond who I was when Robert knew me.
I had never been spiritual, never had this sense of an afterlife, until the Robert’s funeral. You sit there, with everyone you grew up with and people from his life that you never met or cared about, and hope fruitlessly that something better after exists, because without it, this happenstance is just too painful. I still don’t believe in god, I still am not convinced there is an afterlife, but I force myself to believe that, in some respect, Robert knew the love that existed for him in that moment and still does. You grasp at straws to make yourself feel better, to pretend like this isn’t happening. 3 years after his death, I was still partying and drinking heavily, yet I had also learned to let people into my world that I had normally kept at bay. I tried hard to include and invite. To discuss and change my opinions and not run away from things (and people) that scared me. Now, almost 5 years later, I am on the way to mending. I am changing every day, but I never forget the catalyst that brought forth that change.
In my last Facebook message to Robert, I tried to sum up how his passing has changed my life over the years since.
"So, maybe you understand my predicament. I look at this situation and think, my god, this is so WRONG. This should not be happening; this cannot have happened. Over three years ago I got that phone called that changed my whole view on the world and I still find what happened wrong. I was in Spain during the anniversary this year and I spent the entire day thinking of you and how much life can change in just a few short years. I am still with John (my boyfriend at the time), which seems to be my saving grace. I drink too much. I party too much. I don’t feel worth it, and yet, he is still there. Impressive? Terrifying? I can’t even decipher how I feel anymore. I try not to let myself close off. I am attempting to open up and explain my fears, instead of holding them in. I keep wondering, if I had stuck out our friendship, where would we be now?
In the end, you changed my life and your passing taught me a hard, but necessary lesson. I love you, Robert, for everything you are to me and for everything you represent. I still think of you as one of the most important people in my life. I can only imagine how you are scoffing and laughing at me now, as I write this. Anyways, I love you and I hope you are safe."
Losing losing a friend, especially at such a young age, can’t be described accurately. It hurts and feels like there is a gaping hole in your heart that you just can’t get rid of. I lost Robert long before he passed away, due to silly feuds and useless pride, yet the permanency of his death makes me wonder if all relationships, once they meet their bitter end, are really done and gone for good. I would like to think not. I choose to believe that, had Robert lived, we would have had our second chance at friendship, but maybe not. In his absence, I have made peace with him via Facebook message. I keep a picture of him in my room where ever I go, and I look to change the mistakes of my past in hopes that, each time, I will grow a little bit stronger, better, wiser.