When we are growing up, to prepare us for the first person to have a hold on our heart, people say, “Your first love never really dies.” On June 14, 2007, mine did.
I remember being disappointed you didn’t text me “happy birthday” the day before. When I got the call, something in my heart knew before I even heard the words. So many things became monumentally insignificant in that moment. I didn’t know what real heartbreak felt like until it settled in. I had no idea how many ways it would continue to affect my life after.
There are so many moments I wish I could package and relive again. A big part of me always thought there would be a time after high school, when life would smooth out and things would make a lot more sense. Our small, middle-of-nowhere bubble would burst and our teenage angst would diminish. The reason death strikes the living so strongly is because we have to move on knowing we can’t change anything. We have to choose to live in a loop or continue forward, leaving something we loved in a non-existent plane of the past.
I’ve spent the last ten years missing you. But, I never took the time to thank you. I want to thank you for being my first boyfriend. I want to thank you for my first kiss. Thank you for making me feel beautiful, courageous, and smart. Thank you for being patient when I was confused, for making me confused, making me angry, happy, sad, and everything in between. Thank you for leaving me with the phrase “everything happens for some reason or another,” while I’ve simplified it along the way, I still think it holds true. I’ve turned my love for you into a poem, and another poems, and so many words that sometimes I stumble over them. Thank you for being the ladder of language that inspires me every day.
Every June 13th I get another year older and you stay another year beautiful. I hope whatever happens after this life is nothing short of an adventure. Ten years seems like a long time, but in the big picture, it’s just a small piece. When something bad happens, it teaches you to let go of fear, what holds you down, and take that existential leap into living your life to the fullest. Every day. Until we meet again. Life will continue to throw curve balls and test our patience, positivity, and love of living. I’ve been thinking a lot about how ten years has changed so many things, but sometimes it feels like the world stood still. I’ve had a hard time breaking out of this parallel universe. You left a piece of yourself to live on in so many people. Sometimes it’s easy to get so caught up in something that we forget what’s going on around us. Life is infinitely beautiful with more possibilities than we can ever imagine.
Ten years later, I think we all miss you just as much as we did that day. We’re still searching for some meaning to the madness. We all hold onto what you left with us. You taught us all to open up to those possibilities offered to us in this crazy world with an open heart.