what i carry.

un-being dead isn’t being alive. – e. e. cummings

Greg,

today is your birthday… the first one where you aren’t here to celebrate. it’s strange and it’s wrong and it’s heartbreaking and it doesn’t make any sense.

i’ve thought a lot about your 18th birthday and the memories we all made. there was so much laughter, so much silliness, so much sharing. it was a sweet time, it was so simple. we were seniors in high school, with promising new opportunities on the horizon and the itch of “senioritis” plaguing our thoughts and minds. we were all bound for different places, different states, different adventures. that day, nothing hurt and everything felt like it always had… or maybe that’s my nostalgia speaking.

three years later and so much has changed. some of us buckled at the weight of college, others have experienced heartbreaks, others have found success, but we all have experienced the pain and the weight of your loss.

it’s strange not being able to call you to wish you a happy day or posting on your facebook wall about one of our silly inside jokes. i know that these are small things, but oh… how i miss them.

(i’m remembering to be gentle with myself today. to give myself the time to cry and grieve and feel everything i am feeling.)

i am doing fine, i think. life is spinning madly for me and i am caught up in everything that entails. but i am okay. i have good people around me, good folk who are fighting for me. friends who are being patient with me and listening.

last night i woke up after a much needed nap and looked outside to see an incredible sunset. it was like the sky was on fire, with oranges and reds and purples brushed against the skyline. i would like to think it was a message from you… reminding me to look up, to remember that there is more than the pain i am feeling right now. there is still so much i’ve yet to experience, things i’ve yet to see, people i’ve yet to meet, people i’ve yet to become.

i really wonder what you would think about the results of this election. i’m sure you’d have some good words for all of us struggling with how to react to the new president. (though i know you’re in a place where you couldn’t care less who the USA’s president is)

oh, i am engaged now! the last time i got to spend with you i had only been dating kevin for a few months. i told you i felt good about this relationship (because we know how disastrous some of my previous ones have been) and you agreed with me. it always felt nice knowing i had your approval. it always meant so much to me. you always looked out for me and kept me from making a lot of stupid mistakes. i catch myself wondering things like, “what would Greg do?” or “i wonder what Greg would say about this situation?” and “i wish i could talk to Greg about this…” and i know i’m not the only one who thinks these things. there were so many people that sought your words of wisdom and your opinion on things. there are so many that had the chance to call you their best friend, their brother.

wedding planning is stressful and crazy and i often think about our conversations about how ridiculously extravagant weddings are these days. you didn’t buy into the hype or the fuss. it seems like just yesterday we were wondering if either of us would get married anytime soon. i wish you could be my man of honor. you would have done a great job, and you certainly would have enjoyed your title.

believe it or not, the indians and the cubs went to the world series. and the cavs now hold a national title. i know you weren’t that into baseball or basketball, but it seemed important enough to let you know that Ohio sports haven’t been doing too terribly.

i (and most of our friends) am one and a half years from graduation. and it’s equally terrifying and exciting. there is so much ahead, but it is hard to not be afraid of what the future holds. i could be anything, go anywhere, do everything! that’s an absolutely thrilling thought, but it is also daunting. i can’t help but wonder who you would be right now or what dreams you would have or what direction you were heading in.

it’s been a crazy year. we have lost and we have gained. we have mourned and we have celebrated. we have seen failures and we have seen victories. we have experienced the highest highs and the lowest lows.

today i will cry, i will remember, i will laugh, i will mourn. i will be thankful, i will be thoughtful. maybe i will climb a tree or light a cigar to remember you. (i would smoke one… but you know, asthma kinda discourages that. i wish i could remember what kind you smoked) maybe i will watch one of your favorite movies. or maybe i will go on a long walk and think about our long drives and road trips. whatever i end up doing, it won’t be staying in bed all day like i’m tempted to… that would be very un-Greg of me to do. if you were here, you’d be telling me to go out and enjoy life. to live and to love and to laugh and to look ahead. you’d tell me to celebrate. so i will celebrate all that you were and still are to me and so many others who were blessed to know you and your beautiful heart.

it’s hard not to wonder what you and Haley are doing in eternity. i wonder that often. the only thing i am sure of is that you are enjoying being in the presence of the One who called you home.

and until He calls me home, i promise to live, not just exist. I promise to live without fear. i promise to press on and look ahead.

i think i am doing better than just fine, Greg. I think i am doing well. and i think that i will continue to get better as time goes on. but i sure as hell miss you, my dear McGregor.

all my love,
Erin

 

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