This post is dedicated to a long time friend of mine who passed away recently. May you be at peace Winni. <3
Current song: Be Still by The Fray
Not actually my most favorite jam right now, but seemingly the most appropriate.
I can honestly say I’ve lived a blessed life so far. With parents and family that have always provided me with love and support as best they could, with fortunes of good health and few to zero accidents, and with a community and groups of friends who have helped shaped me into who I am today. It’s not to say I’ve never had any difficulties nor come across them in my life, but my life, partly by my choice and by circumstance, has been a lucky one. It’s been one I’ve managed to positively hold on to even during its darkest moments. And there have definitely been moments.
But one thing I’ve fortunately not had to deal with very often is death of someone close to me. The first and last funeral I attended was for a family friend with my parents back in elementary school. I can’t even tell you who the person was anymore, but I do recall bits of the venue and how my parents were back then. I’ve dealt with death of others I’ve known since then, such as a friend’s father passing away or one of my brother’s childhood/neighborhood friend passing away. And even in college and high school, there were students who passed whom I actually did know at some point, but never someone I truly knew and was close to at a point in my life.
This past Saturday I had to attend the death of a friend I had only seen last month, had shared secrets and made plentiful memories with during years of my high school. We shared endless hours of band practicing for our competitions, took (band) trips together, and of course spent time outside of school being silly high school girls together. This was a girl I hadn’t been close to since high school, but someone I once knew dearly. Someone I still randomly saw at music festivals and concerts. Someone I still expected to see at the next concert I attended or when one of our mutual friends had something big happen in their lives or something. This is a girl I still would call a friend.
I’ve had this conversation before, but I’m often told I don’t express my inner emotions (at least the negative ones) all that much. It provides myself the image of being fairly positive and mostly laid-back and unperturbed by most things. While I won’t say that isn’t true to who I am, I think people sometimes find it surprising how emotional I can get about things. As I’ve been told, usually I’m just so chill about everything. And I am, and then when I’m not, I’m really not in that moment. It could be a fleeting moment that passes quickly and wrecks havoc instantaneously, or it could linger on for a bit before, like everything else, time manages to let it wither away as well.
Emotions guide me a lot more than people realize — it just isn’t as often that I am set with such strong emotions that they overtake my other mental capacities. But they’ve happened before, both when I was younger and less capable of managing them, and even now when I’m older and things seem all the more serious. And I take those moments and learn from them. Sometimes they break me down but ultimately they make me stronger. That’s what it means to be alive, that’s what it means to survive.
Sometimes it feels like nothing is going the right way though. Life gives you lemons, you make lemonade. Life gives you more lemons, no sugar, and throws them at you until your all bruised up. It gets tough sometimes. And time never seems to be on your side, like it takes too long to recover or the good times passed too quickly. Sometimes it feels like the hits just keep coming, and no matter what you try to do or how many times you’ve tried to fight it, it’s never what you hoped it would be and the pain… The pain hurts so much that all you can do is cry and try to not think about it.
It’s hard in those moments. Bad things will happen, and sometimes in continuous succession to one another. But in those moments, when it feels like the struggle is not worth fighting, when your heart and your head is tired and all you want to do is not feel anything, find someone. Find me. Find a friend or a family member. Find a professional or find even just a person on the phone. Find someone that can help you carry the burden. Because there is always someone there who will never walk away from helping you carry it if you need it. You are never alone.
Find anyone. No walk is too painful when you’re not walking alone. And two can create good memories, even when they’re surrounded by bad ones. Those moments of happiness, the positivity that you get, those will help you survive. I’ll walk with you in any moment of life if it means you can keep walking. I’ll walk with you even when you don’t need me to as well.
I couldn’t say anything at the funeral, because that would require somehow managing to not cry while actually looking at something besides the floor or ceiling, and even now I don’t know if I have the right words still. Funerals suck. Seeing someone you’ve known so dearly once in your life lay there in the best possible “natural” make up is the most surreal experience. I didn’t even have to see you closely to start to cry. Death may be inevitable, but it doesn’t make it easier to deal with. Especially when it comes unexpectedly. I can only hope that peace is found on whatever other side you believe in. And that those of us still struggling to survive look at one another and do better for each other.
I don’t have any recent pictures of us, but something from when we were closest probably is the most fitting, even if I had to take it from someone else. I miss you. I’m glad to have known you for the years I got. I hope your head and your heart has found peace, even if this was the cost. You lived on your own terms and in the end that rang even more true. Dear Winni, you are missed, you are loved, and you’ll always be one of the fiercest people I know. May you rest in peace.
This post is dedicated to the friend I lost and all those struggling to survive. Please find someone to talk to if you ever feel you need help. You are not alone. You are not a burden.