“What tender days, we had no secrets hid away
Well, it seemed about a hundred years ago.”

–The Rolling Stones

Dear Steph,

It’s been a year now since you died, and I’m left wondering: did you wake up knowing that this day, February 9, 2008 would be the last day you lived and breathed on the planet? Did you know in your heart that your poor abused body wouldn’t be able to withstand even one more night? Or was this day simply one of many days, stretched out into weeks and yawning into years?

I guess I’ll never know.

I’m shocked, I suppose, that even a year later, my grief still feels so fresh and new. The loss of you as a soul on Earth reminds me very much of when I got my wisdom teeth out. I know you’d remember that if you were here. That day that you tried to bring me a card and flowers but ended up one street apart from my house, where, by some miracle, another Becky lived. I remember how that made us laugh over shared cigarettes and cups of endless coffee. Because, what are the chances of THAT happening?

Remember how long it took me to recover from having those four simple teeth out? Four malignant teeth that required breaking my jaw and ripping my cheeks to remove. For weeks afterwards, without thinking, I’d shove the tip of my tongue into those holes into my jaw where my teeth once were, and I was always so shocked by the sudden electric and metallic jolt that jumped through my head painfully.

It was as though my brain was painfully reminding me of something that days before had JUST BEEN THERE. Those four teeth had been there for so long that I’d come to take them for granted. Forgotten until removed. If I didn’t remember about the gaping holes in my jaw, they’d still throb dully, but to have my tongue dip in and out was sudden and exquisite pain, and it was something I couldn’t seem to stop doing.

My grief over your death reminds me of this. Dull and sharp pain that’s unable to be touched no matter how much time passes. It always hurts, but now and again something will remind me of you and it’s like chewing on tinfoil. Why NO, I can’t call you and tell you about, well, anything. I can’t call you to catch some coffee or a drink. I’ll never hear your voice again. Ever. And it hurts just as badly as it did one year ago.

I imagine that it always will. There will always be a gaping hole where you used to be.

For as guilty as I normally feel about things that I have no control over, I’m shocked that I don’t feel badly that I didn’t do more to prevent your death. It would have been pointless and I knew it then and I know it now. I’ve had enough experiences with addiction to know better than to assume that an addict will simply start to listen just because *I* said so.

What I do feel guilty about is that I never got the chance to tell you how much you meant to me. It would have been weird to try and talk to you about feelings and shit because we were SO not like that, but I wish like crazy that I’d tried. Now I can never tell you about how much I admired you. How much I wanted to be more like you. How your laugh still makes me smile and crinkle when I remember how it sounded, ringing out through the room. How proud you made me to be your friend.

Trust me when I tell you how sorry I am that I never told you any of this. It will probably be one of the biggest regrets I have in my life.

But I will remember you. Always. I’ll remember your kindness. Your ability to stick up for me when everyone else went the PC all-bullshit route, something I’ll never forget. I’ll remember celebrating good things with you while mourning the bad and laughing at everything in between. I’ll remember your fierce love of your two young sons, who will never live to know just how amazing their mother was.

Because how can you possibly capture who someone just was by words alone? It’s simple: you can’t. I can’t tell The Internet how amazing and awesome and sweet and funny you are without sounding like a trite cliche. My friend died, therefore I must sound like an ass trying to tell you why it still hurts so fucking much. I know I don’t need to justify it by telling other people what made you so special, what made you so unique, and yet I’m unable to stop myself.

If one person, if only ONE person can walk away and say “hey, now that must have been one hell of a chick,” maybe it won’t hurt so much. Maybe I can refract some of the pain.

But now I’m afraid that I’ve reached that ugly and nebulous area where I prattle on and on saying nothing while trying to say everything, a victim of too little sleep and too much stress, and I know I must wrap this up before it gets any uglier. Besides, I’ll talk to you in my dreams soon enough. I always do.

Dreams, though, don’t and never will replace having you here on Earth.

I miss you, Steph, perhaps more than I did back then, and probably less than I one day will. I imagine that you’re happier wherever you now are, and I try like crazy to take some comfort in this. Because the real me, the SELFISH me, wants you here. Where you belong.

I’ll be seeing you, my old friend.

Love always,
Becky

Comments = full of the awesome. Like gravy. I can haz an RSS RSS feed .

42 Responses to Now It Seems About 100 Years Ago

  • Andy says:

    What a beautiful tribute.

  • loribeth says:

    I haven’t been reading your blog long enough to know who Steph was, but it’s so obvious that you loved her & miss her enormously. (((hugs)))

  • Steph must have been one hell of a chick, and so are YOU, Becky. That was a lovely note to a lost friend.

  • quietgirl says:

    My god I’m pushing back the tears. That was beautiful. I’m a witness to her loss now too, and her awesomeness.

    This is my greatest consolation in life. My grandmother died when I was like 8. My crazy family raised me to believe in all sorts of new-age transcendental shit, so it seemed logical when she came to me (i.e. visited me) three times in my dreams. I didn’t block it at the time, because I didn’t know I wasn’t supposed to believe in those things. And now, as far as what those “dreams” were, I can never feel otherwise.

    My grandmother looked me in the eyes, and her hair, her face, her smile was radiant. Color with her was like a color that is not on earth. She was radient. It was like she was glowing with joy, with wellness, with love, over where she was now. It was in her eyes, who looked so joyfully into mine. I will always believe in the world she showed me whether or not it is rational. I don’t care.

    We cannot fake these experiences. But I bet, and this is me- just me musing, that somewhere she is trying to smile at you. Free of the pain of her life. Missing you and her children deeply with a true and vast sorrow. But with a peace she never knew in life. A joy, shining from her eyes to yours. Telling you it is okay. And you would be able to heal from your loss knowing that that loss was her healing.

    I wish you whatever will help. I wish you infinite compassion. The kind of infinite that doesn’t have a word. :)

  • deb says:

    Becky that was a very moving tribute to one who seems to have been more than just a friend, but a part of you.
    Thanks for sharing this with us.

  • Sandy says:

    God, I have no idea how you feel. I’ve only had one friend that I truly loved that intensely and though she moved away and I lost her, she is still alive and will eventually reply to an email if I need her.

    I’m so sorry for that loss that you’ve had and being filled with fresh post pregnancy emotions must be making it even harder.

    I won’t say it’ll get easier, because I don’t know – but I know that if I ever have a friend love me that deeply…god, I don’t even know what I would do.

  • Betts says:

    Oh Becky, how poignant. I only hope that someone will think so highly and miss me that much after I’m gone.

  • Heather P. says:

    Honey, you know any time you think of her she is with you.
    She knows how much you love and admire her, just thinking it told her so. She is with you everytime you think of her.
    (((HUGS)))

  • Amy says:

    I miss her for you. Indeed she must have been one hell of a chick!
    I’m sure she’s with you and Amelia, going through your personal hell with you. Go outside and look at the stars, talk to her a bit…she knows you need her now!

    Big hugs!

  • Nanny Garcia says:

    Beautiful. I’ve been reading your blog and crying a lot lately. You get my cathartic award.

  • nissa says:

    Becky,
    That was a beautiful tribute to your friend. She does sound like on Hell of a Chick.

  • Lola says:

    What an unbelievable post, Becky! I’ve lost so many people: two fathers, tons of relatives, friends and one great friend. He wasn’t my best friend, so I can’t even imagine how hard that is, because it was a nightmare to lose him.

    Steph sounds like a great person, despite her flaws, and you were lucky to have her even if it wasn’t anywhere near long enough. I’m not a tell your friends you love them all the time type, but I’m sure she knew, just like mine do.

  • Mrs.spit says:

    I read that, and I could see all the ways that Steph was wrapped up and in and around your life,

    Hugs.

    So long as we live they too shall live, for they are part of us as we remember them

  • heather says:

    I remember the posts from last year; the profound loss of a beautiful, beautiful person. To have earned your fierce love and devotion, she *must* have been one awesome person — and I have no doubt she knew your feelings because they were hers. Thinking of you, as always, and especially now. (((((Becky)))))

  • Danielle says:

    I get it, I totally get it! I get the wanting to stop writing or talking but can’t because you just have to get someone, ANYONE to see why you loved her so much. Why you two did the things you did and how you laughed and laughed and cried because you were laughing so hard. You two have a special bond that can’t be broken. She knows that just as you know that.
    (((HUGS)))

  • I think that she had to have been a pretty awesome chick in order to garner such a tribute.

    and I have a friend such as you had..(have! she is still there…)
    The bond we have is unique, just as yours was w/ Steph…
    we have been thru hell and back thru the years..since we were in grade school…
    I have been there w/ her thru 2 of her 3 pregnancies, the first and the last ended in an adoption…which ripped her heart out..and mine alike..

    To lose her would be unimaginable, tho it is a distinct possibility as she has serious heart disease at the age of 34..

    Sometimes we have a friend who touches us beyond words..
    and sometimes we lose them too soon…

    You got your point across Becky..I get it.
    I’m so so so sorry you had to lose her

  • Emily R says:

    has it really been a year? jewish people after a year unveil the gravestone. i wish for you some type of ceremony to help cap that first year of mourning.

  • swirl girl says:

    That Steph must have been one hell of a chick.

    may I use this letter to show a friend in need of intervention??

  • mandy says:

    I am so sorry you are hurting. I am sure she admired you just as much. Two amazing women.

  • Badass Geek says:

    You owe me a box of tissues, my friend.

  • Amanda says:

    She must have been one amazing woman. Thanks for sharing her with us.

  • Candid Engineer says:

    Aunt Becky, I am sorry for your loss, last year, and today. Your memories of her are beautiful.

  • That was beautifully written. Thank you for sharing. We should all be so lucky to always have a Steph in our lives.

  • Kristine says:

    Beautifully written. She must have been one hell of a chick.

  • tash says:

    Steph, you must have been one helluva chick.

    Becky, I bet she knew all that. I don’t know how she couldn’t have.

    Remembering her, and thinking of you both.

  • Kendra says:

    Oh, Becky, what a time you’re having. When I saw the title of your post, I prayed that it meant little Amelia was doing beautifully, that all your worries were starting to fade away. I’m so sorry that instead you’re marking an anniversary of mourning.

    You are so lucky to have had her in your life; to have someone who understands and loves you that much is truly special. And to have it taken away is unconscionable. Steph was clearly an amazing person whose influence is still being felt well beyond the people she actually knew. I hope to meet her eventually.

  • michelle says:

    That got me. It really got me, Becky. We had a family friend, I called her my other mom. She died from cancer about 14 years ago now, but still, when something big happens, I can’t believe she isn’t here to tell. She was my mom’s best friend from like2nd grade and a part of every event in my life. I remember sitting at her funeral and my mom leaning over and saying to me, “I can’t believe Linda isn’t here to talk about this with. She woud have loved dishing about what everyone is wearing and how they are messing up the service.” It was Linda’s funeral we were sitting through. You never get to a point where someone that important isn’t missed. She belongs still at all those things in our lives, but she isn’t here. And it sucks. I am so sorry you lost your friend. I hope all the awesomeness that was her helps you get through the things you need her for in your life. I bet you could really use her right now.

  • Coco says:

    She sounds like a kick-ass girl and your perfect match, babe. I think this was a beautiful tribute to her.

    It doesn’t seem trite or silly at all to me that you miss her and it still hurts this much. Loss doesn’t operate on a timetable; you’re going to miss her forever, and it never just “goes away”. We just learn how to live with it. One minute, one day, one week, one year at a time.

    Big sloppy wet kisses to you at this sad time.

  • Ames says:

    This was a beautiful post Becky. Thinking of you. (((hugs)))

  • Hey now, that must have been one hell of a chick.

    Missing people that *should* still be here, dammit, blows.

    Thinking of you.

  • Oh thank you for sharing this . . . I DO NOT get sentimental over blogs, but it indeed brought a tear to my eye. Gave me the idea of writing to my own sister, who I lost 9 years ago to addiction. BTW, somehow I think you won’t miss her any less 10 years from now. Thank you, thank you.

  • Heather says:

    {{Hugs}} I think it is so important for people to understand that just because an addict is addicted does not make them a bad person and people still miss them even though they could do nothing to “save them.”

  • Amanda says:

    So sorry hon. I never have the right words to say. I know it is so, so hard.

    Steph does sound like one hell of a chick though. But so are you.

  • jerseygirl89 says:

    I am so sorry – it sounds like you had an amazing friendship with one cool chick. That was a great tribute.

  • giggleblue says:

    steph? that was one hell of a chick.

    sending you plenty of hugs on an anniversary you shouldn’t even after to celebrate anyway…

  • CLC says:

    Thinking of you Becky! Steph sounded like a true friend.

  • honeywine says:

    Has it really been a year? It doesn’t seem so long ago. :(

  • shay says:

    thanks for sharing Steph with those of us who will never know her. She does sound like one cool chick.

  • kbrients says:

    Very well written. I bet it felt good to get that all out huh?

    She is keeping tabs on you– be sure of that.

  • mumma boo says:

    A beautiful tribute, indeed. Big, big, hugs to you today and always, my friend.

  • Fancy says:

    Tears streaming down my face, knowing exactly what you are talking about, feeling the same pain for my brother almost 15 years later. What a crappy time for you to be mourning her anniversary, when you need a friend supporting you the most. I’m sorry for your loss.

  • lady lemon says:

    This made me tear up. It’s so hard to miss someone like that and know that you won’t ever get to see them again. I am so sorry for your loss. Sounds like she was an awesome friend.

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