I didn’t get to say goodbye. I’ll never really get to say goodbye. We have these rituals we’ve created as humans to help with death but none of them have eased the pain. 15 years ago today I didn’t know the damage a single moment could do and the scars it would cause I’m sure will never heal.
I was running out the door to go see Kiss and you were mad at me about something so stupid I don’t even remember. I’ve tried and tried but it’s gone. I didn’t realize how short life was even flirting with the idea of death as much as we did. I didn’t grasp how bad your mental illness had become either. I didn’t understand how worried you were about being left alone the following month when I moved away for college. Even if I knew I probably would have been able to change how any of that day’s events went. But it doesn’t change how much I miss you.
I got over the guilt of it a long time ago. I don’t know if that’s good or bad or just human nature. But I had to forgive myself to go on. Grief and guilt weighed me down and I was drowning. I’m still drowning some days as time edges closer to you being dead longer than you were alive. Longer than I’ve known you nearly. I still can’t write these words without losing it.
We walk around like we aren’t carrying this load of grief. It’s silent and invisible and yet so many of us live with it. You know I never dream about you. When my mind goes to the past dad is there and the rest of us, but never you. Like your soul was so lost when you died it vacated this plane entirely. I’m not sure if that’s good or bad. Or maybe it’s just my brains way of making sense of things. Or not torturing me with having to see you since the day fucks me up enough.
I’ve long forgotten what your voice sounded like and the only images of you I can recall are the photographs we took the week before your death. They are burned into my brain. I can’t even find the album I stored them all in.
You were my best friend since birth. My sidekick. Attached at the hip like we were twins. Actually everyone thought you were older than I was our whole lives, not that we were that far apart. I like to think about what it would be like now. Would we still be friends? I obviously can’t answer those questions.
I’d like to think you’d have been better. I got better once I got far enough away from it all. Once I got some perspective on how life can look. Or maybe I had no other choice after your death. Whatever helped it got better.
And some years are better than others. Last year the day was a passing glance at what could have been. But this year as it edges closer I’m a mess. I’m already plotting how many things I can avoid and if I can’t shut the world out for the day at least. I wish I could sleep through it. Not have to process and of the pain bubbling up in my throat. July is so fucking hard. Why doesn’t putting years between you and me make this easier? 15 years should be enough suffering.
I’ve still never seen Kiss live.