The last time I wrote here, was about my father, on the day I lost him ten years ago. It was the start to a decade of pain, and it ended just the same, but with new grief, that of losing my best friend, Kaitlin. I have avoided writing anything too real and painful, and just allowed for a few pictures and memories on FB, because I knew it would hurt too much to write how I feel about losing her, and it reminds me of the pain I felt when I lost my father, and it’s a reminder of how loss in general is one thing I do not do well.
It took me at least a year to write something significant about the loss of my father, and most of which I kept private and unable to share with the world. Even now, ten years later, I have not written everything I have to give, because it brings me to a place that leaves me uneasy and scared and vulnerable, and vulnerability is one of my very least favorite things on earth. But, I loved Kaitlin in a very different way than I loved my father, and she loved my stories, and made so many with me, that it seems wrong not to write just because i’m not sure I’ll make it through. I owe her at least to try, and I know if I can’t, she would understand and wait.
What I can’t decide now is how to approach this. Do I start at the beginning, with us sitting on her front stairs, late into the night holding hands and me crying, or do I start when I publicly gave her eulogy, not coming up with enough words to express my love, and still crying. So. I guess I’ll work backwards, because there is no more forwards, and I should start with the enormity of my loss, to be able to reflect on the abundance of laughter and happiness she brought to my life.
The problem is, though, that I can’t find the eulogy I gave. I ripped it from my journal, and tucked it back somewhere not to lose, and I did just that, I have lost it, and the only reason I’m not going to light something on fucking fire out of anger, is because sadly I’m unable to forget most of the words I wrote about her. And, maybe it’s ok I lost it, because I didn’t say everything I wanted to say, and I didn’t get to have more than one chance to say it, but I do now, and so maybe this will be a better version anyway. And, it’s a better way to spend my time, than the last hour I spent scouring Facebook pages to find photos of us together, to remember the last time we spent together, saving every moronic and unattractive photo we ever took, and my god, did we not try to be attractive.
I met Kaitlin while living in DC, and we became the best of friends almost exactly ten years to the month I lost her, maybe 30 days difference. We had been acquaintances, buddies through other friends, but it was not until around 15 AUG 2007, that she became one of the most important people in my life. I had just come back from losing my father the week before, only in town in DC for a few days to gather more things and myself, only to go back to spend more time with my family in Maine. My friends were worried about me, and I had a dinner with her and a few others. The dinner that was to distract me from my grief included good news for another friend, and I felt devastated, because I didn’t selfishly, have the moment with my girlfriends, to be as rock bottom as I was. I made it through the dinner, and she offered to walk me home back to her place, for another drink, and it is one night that I have never forgotten, and will never, because she saved me from myself and my grief for a few hours, and I always told her that I could never repay her for what she did.
We went back to her house, and she asked if I wanted to sit on the stairs and talk, have another glass of wine, a few smokes, and for me to tell her how I really felt. I had never spoken to her before about anything bad, forget life changing, she knew only the details of my family life that I mocked, and I had never sat before her so ruined, so lost, and so willing to give in to every last bit of self destruction I could muster. I told her about the week before, about the phone call, about the long drive up 95 that ruined my life. I told her about having to tell my sister and how I would never forgive my father for that. I told her what it was like to go back to his house a day after he died, what it was like to feel everything and nothing in the same day, the things I regretted, the things I hated, the things I didn’t want to admit to myself but I had to tell someone who didn’t feel the same pain.
What she did for me that night, and through the entirety of our friendship, was she did not judge me. She did not interrupt, she did not tell me to feel less or feel something unrealistic as forgiveness or love. What she did is sat quietly to the left of me, on the same stoop, and she sat silently, and from time to time, she grabbed my shoulder or she ran her hand across my back. When my drink ran low, she filled it and kept listening. She lit cigarettes from me and nodded from time to time, but not once did she ever tell me she understood, and I was so grateful to have someone let me be angry and sad and destructive and hateful and lost and defeated and expect not one thing from me, and for when I paused, she sat in silence too, and smoked and stared into the same darkness I was staring into, and she just waited until I spoke again.
And when I was done raving and swearing and pleading and crying, she just asked if there was anything she could do. And for once, when I said no, nothing, she was the person who didn’t try beyond that. She put me on her couch, took my shoes off, and when I woke up the next morning, she asked me if I wanted to go to Cheesecake Factory, and she never mentioned what she sat through the night before. She never asked if I was ok, or told me to cheer up. She took me to our favorite place to eat buffalo blasters, and she ordered us both a white wine, and she told me about one of her horrific dating experiences of late. I laughed, and she laughed, and she never felt sorry for me, and it was that weekend, in AUG 2007, that she became my very best friend.
We spent a decade together, making very poor decisions, living life irresponsilbity, laughing so hard we cried, defending each other, fighting each other, loving each other, and having a better understanding of each other’s fears, best moments, and plenty of worsts, than so many other people in my life. She was a sister to me, and we made each other better, and we certainly brought each other down with mutual bad behavior and lack of self control.
We always said we’d end up together, rocking somewhere on a porch facing the ocean in Maine, drinking nips and smoking into the night, reminiscing about the life we lived hard in our 20s and 30s. We’d surely be alone, because no man could ever contain us or really want us for life, but we’d have each other, like so many times in our friendship, and it was something we looked forward to, and expected on some level, and were fine with, on all levels.
She was so many things I am not. She was endless laughter, and spontaneity, and selflessness and compassion that I have never felt. She was kind, and endearing, and mischievous, and clumsy, and sunshine after a hurricane of chaos, most of which she was directly involved in causing, with or without me. She was accepting, and forgiving, and patient, and optimistic. I can hear her laugh, because it’s what she did most, and there was a twinkle in her eyes that sparkled and made you happy, or worry, or both, depending on the day. I never met anyone who didn’t like Kaitlin, because her heart was truly good and never conflicted, and she was real and loyal, and she would do every last thing possible for someone she loved, and she loved me, and she always, always gave me the world.
This piece was actually not as hard to write as I imagined, and it made me smile. But my heart hurts, and I’m so very sad to live days where so much reminds me of her, and I instinctually go to message her still, screenshot things only she would understand, raise eyebrows at things we’d need no words to share and laugh about, and when she used to just be a moment away, she is now a lifetime away, and every time I am forced to remember that, it kills me, stabbing, aching, pain that drowns me. One day, hopefully, the pain will be less.
But not today.
She was the very best. She was my angel, my counterpart in creating chaos, my sounding board, the person who always forgave me for just being me. She was, all things unconditional, and she was a piece in my life that will remain empty until I see her again.
And when I do, when we are together again, we will raise hell, laugh until it hurts, and I will tell her, I was never scared or very alone, because I was always sure she stayed with me.