Just this morning I was thinking I was overdue in writing you another letter… but I was having trouble deciding what to write about. My answer came tonight.
There I was at home in my apartment, working out and watching a mini-marathon of “Sex & the City” and along came the episode where Miranda’s Mom passed away and I just lost it completely. Immediately all sorts of feelings and emotions and memories came flooding back as I watched the events of the funeral unfold. Miranda was trying to be so tough and push her friends away… some of her friends were supporting her but were concerned they weren’t doing a good enough job of it… and some friends didn’t know what to say to her at all… so they just didn’t. And then there were the long-lost friends who she never expected to see that showed up to support her in her time of need.
I was reminded of so many similarities in the days, months and now, even years, after your death. Like Miranda, I’m not always good about asking for help and have been known to push people away and I know I certainly did a great deal of that after you died. There were those friends who were there to support me but were so worried that they weren’t doing enough for me… there were those friends who avoided me altogether because they didn’t know what to do or say… and there was the beautiful surprise of seeing faces I’d not seen in many, many years that came to the funeral to show support to our family. And truthfully there were a few instances where I never exchanged more than a glance with someone at the funeral, and yet I could feel all the love and support I needed from them from all the way across the room. People can be so concerned with what the right things to do and say are at a time like that… when simply their presence is gift enough.
You remember our wonderful childhood friend, Sherilyn? Well, she was one of the beautiful surprises I spoke of earlier. I don’t think I had seen or talked to her in at least 12 years and she called me from New Mexico as soon as she heard the news of your suicide. I told her everything and she listened and cried right along with me for an hour. That alone was a wonderful gift. However, in the months that followed she would call me every single week and leave me a message (because I rarely answered the phone for a long time after you died) that said, “Laura, this is Sherilyn. I just want you to know that I love you and I think of you every single day. I know you’re having a really hard time right now so I don’t expect you to call me back, please just know that I’m here for you if you want to talk. Call me anytime you need it.” Those calls meant the world to me. I know there were others who were upset with me when I wouldn’t answer the phone… or respond to voicemails or emails or texts… but I honestly didn’t have the strength in me to reach back out at all and I am forever grateful that Sherilyn understood that. She is a true gift!
It was also such a blessing to have so many people share their stories and memories about you with me. It was so important to me to know that your memory would be alive not just in me, but in the hearts and minds of all the other people who were lucky enough to know you. To anyone who reads my letters to you, I would hope they would take away one thing from this particular letter– that if someone they love should lose someone close to them that the best thing they can do for that person is to just be there and listen and share their own memories.
It’s sad that you don’t really appreciate how many wonderful, amazing people are in your life until a time like that. But I experienced one of the most beautiful moments of my life at your funeral. We all sat there in silence as the song “If I Die Young” played overhead. I turned to look around at the sea of faces surrounding our family and I just felt this incredible, all-encompassing warmth come over me. It literally felt as if each and every person was energetically sending me a big hug with their eyes as they locked with mine. I just imagined them all in a circle around us sending us love and healing energy and honor for your memory. I really can think of no other way to describe it and I’m so grateful for each and every person that was there that day.
I hope from wherever you are now that you were able to see the incredible showing of love at your wake and your funeral. I don’t think you could have ever possibly imagined how very much you were loved, respected and admired, Brian. If you had even an ounce of the love that existed in that room that day for yourself, perhaps you’d still be with us today.
You are so loved and so very missed.