right now i am reading this fiction novel about a grieving mother. the story has been powerful and intriguing and her grief sets in about one third of the way through the book; and let me just say that it is spot on. i have written about grief before. the swells it brings to your soul. the sheer weight of sobs that cover your shoulders, nearly drowning you. the light headed feeling that remains after you’ve cried for too long. the emptiness you feel when you stumble across a moment in your calendar or a ticket stub or a birthday card. the most powerful thing i can say about grief is that you never imagine having that moment in your life when all that you have to sum up a person’s impact on your life is the box in your closet. or the friendship bracelet you wear. or the last photo you took together. years sift the weight out of the memories. new people and places fill our albums and our feeds. but our hearts are still hollow. i know i have written about grief before. and this isn’t a repeat. this post is to simply introduce you to the person i grieve every single day. some would never know. others roll their eyes. some just wish i would shut up. but those who grieve their own, are applauding alongside me. because grief is simply grief. it will always be there. and it will always be hard. sometimes easier. sometimes ugly. but always there. and i think it’s time for you to meet the woman who changed my life.

if you know me well, then you know how lost i was for most of my teen years and college days. drifting in and out of college courses and switching my major from spanish to business to poli sci to spanish to business to english to creative writing. when i surfaced from my fifth year in undergrad, i was unpacking walmart clearance rack tank tops and rented textbooks into my childhood bedroom. no one was hiring writers. not for enough pay to cover my phone bill. the options that lay ahead were simple: work retail or apply for grad school. i did it, survived it and walked out two years later with a diploma and a license to teach. i never really planned on teaching in public school and i am a firm believer that my placement in my first teaching role was intentional.

i met agnes on my first day at my new job. we were inseparable after that. we taught the same grade and shared a wall between classrooms. we started a daily devotional book club. we walked together every day at nine twenty and we loved to hide from coworkers. we talked every morning on the way to work and talked every afternoon on the way home. we lesson planned together and were intentionally late to staff meetings together. but here’s the thing about our friendship, it was the most genuine thing i had ever experienced. there was no tagging each other in memes. no social media between us. no secrets. no drama. and honestly that is probably what made her death even harder. that our friendship had no online ‘proof’ and that people never knew us unless i shared it with you via conversation. the people who knew me well, knew the loss. but those who followed me on instagram couldn’t understand my sadness and devastation. couldn’t see that my best friend was taken from me and what remains is the box under my bed; filled with notes from her, rose petals from my twenty sixth birthday bouquet from her, vegan hairspray that she begged me to try, coins from her desk, reminders she left herself. all i have left three years later are the things she left behind.

i remember the day she died. vividly. but what i remember most were the moments that followed. i remember throwing up on my classroom floor six minutes before first period started. i remember the hand of my vice principal on my shoulder telling me it’s okay. i remember someone calling my name as i ran from the staff meeting in the library. i remember my students singing lean on me for days and days after she died. i remember the dying plants on her desk. and the child psychologist who sat in her room to talk to her students. i remember asking her to get the fuck out because i knew they needed me, not some stranger. i remember people not knowing i even lost a friend. because i never tagged her on facebook or posted photos on instagram. our friendship belonged to us. it was ours. not the worlds.

people don’t understand loss. it is never the same for anyone else. the loss is yours. it is your own. it is for you to go through and for you to understand. i lost my best friend one thousand two hundred and forty four days ago. that’s how long my heart has been broken. this was not written for your sympathy or your tears. it is here because when someone loses a person, it is not about how their relationship looked online or in statuses or in photos. it’s about how broken a person becomes after the loss. the last photo i have of her and i was taken one week before she died. the last time i saw her was one hour and eleven minutes before an audi crushed her driver’s seat against a telephone pole. the last words we said were ‘when i leave out this meeting, i will call you but you might already be at jaylen’s lacrosse game so call me after’. the last time i hugged her was the last time i spoke to her.

every single night she would end our call with ‘now go feed your soul’. in the moment, i never really understood it. but now, i live my life for it. and this blog is exactly how i plan to do that. if you know someone who has lost someone, instead of analyzing that loss; instead of picking apart what you think might be real; stop. and just help be the glue that holds some of the broken heart.

because sometimes all we feel is the crash. the crash of the grief wave. and we don’t always know how to swim.


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