A letter to my best friend

Grief Diaries

Dear Kaite,

I miss you. You passed so unexpectedly, so without warning. We were texting the day before about nonsense: about friends and about your classroom and I had sent you pictures of my wedding dress. You were supposed to be standing next to me while I wore it, you know. And that’s been hard. Actually, just about everything’s been hard.

It’s hard because I can’t talk to you about the things I want to talk to you about. I want to tell you I started watching Glee like you recommended and I want to tell you that in fact, I was right and I do hate it. I want to tell you that I kept watching it, though, because it was one of the last things you said to me and that I cry a lot when something really stupid happens, just because I know I can’t talk to you about it.

It’s hard because I started saying no to extra tasks at work and sometimes to friends. I’ve always been a “Yes, of course, whatever you need,” kind of person, but I’m the one who needs help now. It’s hard to admit that and it’s hard to ask for it and it’s hard to accept it. It’s hard to be frustrated when people do bring you up or don’t bring you up. It’s hard because I know I wouldn’t really know what to say either. It’s hard to know I’m suddenly the needy friend, experiencing a loss I never imagined happening.

It’s hard because I think about you every day, but I know I can’t talk about you every day, because I don’t want to be that person: the one people don’t want to be around because they’re always bringing up sad things. I also know, without a shadow of a doubt, you’d be squinting your eyes at me, shaking your head, wondering why I’m being so dramatic. It makes me smile to remember that face. You’d make it as we sat in your basement, underneath a shared blanket, with me coaxing Opus to cuddle with me instead of you. You’d be chewing on your ice (still don’t know how you found that pleasant), and when I’d tell a story that deserved it, you’d just give me a side-eye and raise your shoulders, with a soft chuckle of incredulity.

It’s hard because I want to talk about how sad I am, but the people you were really close to aren’t people I’m close to. And even though I know I can reach out to those who miss you as much as I miss you, I don’t want to. Because there are some moments when I’m fine and some moments that I’m so unbearably not and I don’t want to send a sad text and snap them out of a moment when they are okay.

It’s hard because I feel guilty that I’m not able to skip over the sadness and just celebrate you. I try, though, I promise. I try to tell stories about the joy you brought to everyone around you. I talk about when you embarrassed me during Never Have I Ever at my New Years’ Eve party and how I was momentarily mad, but in the end, grateful because you brought all my friends from different groups together. I talk about how you made us buy black and blue shirts and decorated them with glitter for the Backstreet Boys’ concert. I talk about the Jersey Shore party we threw in my basement and how we poofed our hair as high as it could go. I talk about going out in White Plains and how, for a while, we thought it was the magical place to be and just no one else understood. I talk about blasting Miley Cyrus in the dead of night in the Chase drive-through in Raleigh for God knows what reason. I talk about the potato I sent you in the mail and the Galentine’s Day presents we gave to each other. I talk about your old man neighbor I befriended when you let me stay with you in NC over my February break. I talk about our races over the Triboro Bridge after a day at the beach.

But, then, I try to remember the day that I visited your classroom in North Carolina and you compared our friendship to some celebrities’ friendship and for the life of me, I can’t remember who. Was it Beyonce and Lady Gaga? Or Rihanna and someone else? Your kids laughed and wondered how we were friends if we were so different: if you were more like Ke$ha and I was more like someone who’d wear pearls. And then I feel so sad because that’s something only you and I know…and I took for granted you’d always be able to help me finish the story and find the laughter.

I want to remember you happily and I try every day. I want to stop getting filled up every time I think of you. And when I successfully talk about you with a smile or get through a few days without crying, I want to stop feeling immediately guilty afterwards. I want to be okay and I want to remember you with joy. But really, what I want is not to have to remember you at all… and just to have you back here with me.

Missing you always,

Author: Amanda Urban