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And We Dance

for nicolas.  january the 13, 1990 – july the 25, 2011

moments of childlike joy
the children’s museum, the science museum
and we dance

 

those nights that we shared
with the little princess and scrubs
and we laugh

those moments you saved my life
hours and hours of prayer
and we weep

we had our disagreements and fade
but you always were my friend, nicolas,
and we care

as the waves of time come crashing
and stop crashing far too soon
and i mourn

i long for the day where we reunite
and we can catch up once more
and i wait

together, no longer in pain
together, with our creator
and we dance

oh, i thought about You the day that nick died, and you met between my breaking. i know that i still love You god, despite the agony. cuz people they want to tell me You’re cruel, but if nick could sing he’d say it’s not true ‘cuz you’re good. cuz he loves us, whoah, how he loves us, whoah how he loves us, whoah how he loves…

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What No One Tells You About: Grief

Image: Blue text on a white background states “Grief is like the ocean; it comes in waves, ebbing and flowing. Sometimes the water is calm, and sometimes it is overwhelming. All we can do is learn to swim.”

When you lose someone who means the world to you, when you lose someone who WAS your world, there is so much that happens. And there are the little things and even the BIG things you expect… and then the little and big things you DON’T expect.

No one tells you you never stop opening the chat window. No one tells you you never stop logging on, expecting to see a message. A post on your wall that will make you laugh. It’s gone.

No one tells you you never stop picking up your phone to send a text or a Facebook message.

No one tells you that the words “Let me know if you need anything” literally mean nothing. We don’t know what we need. Sometimes what we need is a message saying “Hey, can I come over?” And sometimes we want someone over. But  it doesn’t mean we necessarily want to talk. Maybe we just want someone so we’re not alone. So we’re not without people. We need people… but sometimes we need people while we’re alone. We need someone to just sit with us, who is there if we suddenly pipe up with something, but who is also just there in the silence.

We need someone who is okay if we sent a frantic text at whatever AM, or a Facebook message. It’s okay if you don’t read or respond, don’t feel you have to. But we need someone to share our pain with.

No one will replace the person we lost. Nothing can ease our pain. I don’t believe that grief ever goes away. Instead, I believe it changes. It grows with us and it becomes a part of us.

I truly believe that people mean the best, but no one tells you how much it fucking HURTS when people say “Oh, I know exactly how you feel.” NO. YOU. DO. NOT. You did NOT have the same relationship I did. You did NOT lose the same friendship I did. We lost the same person and we’ve both lost loved ones, but you have no idea how I feel. You can relate. You can feel similar. But you have no idea exactly how I feel, and those words hurt so much.

What no one tells you is how lonely grief is. That it’s the moments you least expect it is when you are  blindsided by it. That when you’re walking home alone from the grocery store at midnight, it’s when the tears fall. When you’re on the bus and you see something hysterical that you’d text them, it’s when the familiar salty feeling overwhelms you.

Grief is forever. It becomes a part of you. No one tells you that. You expect that in time, you will get better. I don’t believe you do. I believe as you approach your new normal, you change. But grief is the price of love – and it’s worth it, I think. I think that love is the greatest  gift you can give anyone. And in a way, I think the grief and pain is that final gift you can give them. For it means that your relationship meant something – to both you and to them. It means that their life meant something to someone – to MANY someones – to COUNTLESS someones. And that’s what matters. That’s what love is.

 

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Your heart will be heard through your unspoken word through generations to come

I woke from a dream last night; I dreamt that you were by my side. Reminding me I still had life in me. I remember you like yesterday, yesterday. I still can’t believe you’re gone. I remember you like yesterday, and until I’m with you, I’ll carry on. Every lament is a love song, yesterday, yesterday, I still can’t believe you’re gone, every lament is a love song, yesterday, yesterday, so long my friend, so long. – Switchfoot, Yesterdays.

It’s hard to believe it’s been four years since the guy who taught me there was a God outside the fundamentalist view of God existed. The guy who’s first profound question to me was “What is your favorite type of cheese?”. The guy who once peed in a cup for me. The guy who saved my life. One of the few who has physically seen me cry, and openly wept with me. Who motivated me to go into the ministry.

I forever regret the fight we had summer of 2010. If only I’d known then what I know now, but I can’t change the past, I guess. But I wish he could have seen the person I became. The girl who decided to become a hospital chaplain. Who had two back surgeries. Who struggled. Struggled. Struggled. But yet, still had her faith. The shaken faith stayed. And it’s thanks to him.

Jesus has overcome, and the grave is overwhelmed
Victory is won, he is risen from the dead

And I will rise, when he calls my name
No more sorrow, no more pain
I will rise, on Eagle’s wings
Before my God, fall on my knees
-Chris Tomlin, I Will Rise

How fitting now that the song we often had on repeat was I Will Rise by Chris Tomlin. It was even at his memorial service.

I admit the childish, immature side of me is jealous. Jealous that he is finally free of pain, at a younger age than me. Jealous that he gets to meet his saviour, his redeemer, his jesus while I am still here, longing and waiting.

It somehow gets easier, right?

It’s been a long day without you, my friend
And I’ll tell you all about it when I see you again
We’ve come a long way from where we began
Oh, I’ll tell you all about it when I see you again
When I see you again

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Wake me up when September ends

Late June to late July is an emotional clusterfuck.

It’s why I initially scheduled my Aussie trip there so I’d have good memories in the time frame of a hellish month.

But Beth died.
But it’s the one year mark of my father dying.
The two year mark of the back surgery that screwed up my life.
The four year mark of Nick dying.

It’s such a hard month.
It’s such a hard time frame.

Now I have happy and amazing memories from the time frame (which I will blog about and post pictures and stuff about soon, promise!).

But it’s hard.

I’ve cried more recently than I’ve done in the past year. So many tears. So much pain. So much heartache.

So much loss.

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He’s the only friend who ever peed in a cup for me

Nick was my friend. I was an idiot for letting petty disagreements get in the way of our friendship, and completely lost contact with him – even being childish and deleting him from my Facebook friends. Which, in retrospect, was stupid and pathetic, considering that he was one of the people who was there for me in one of my darkest phases, when I just needed a friend the most. He’d stay up with me when I was sick. He once skipped Streetlight to watch A Little Princess with me after taking all my sharp objects from me, so that I not only couldn’t cut myself but so that I would have a friend. He helped me lobby for the back surgery I so badly needed and he was there (along with other friends, but this post is about Nick :P) when I was having medical drama. He helped me process some things, and showed me God in a way I hadn’t seen him until that point. We enjoyed watching Scrubs on random nights for no reason other than, well, we felt like it! Thanks, buddy, for introducing me to the awesomeness that is Scrubs.

I’m bitter and angry about myself for the way things played out, and  I suppose I need to let that go. I’m sorry, Nick, for being a stubborn idiot. I don’t think that you were right in that series of three slightly heated convos, but Lord knows I wasn’t fully right either. I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry for being such a buttmuffin.

But all and all – Nick was the only friend who ever peed in a cup for me. Out of context, that’s a really awkward quote. It was June of 2010, and I was living in the hotel-turned-dorm at Northwestern. It was previous to my gluten intolerance being diagnosed, and I was incredibly sick. Nick gave me a ride to the University of Minnesota Medical Center ER and stayed with me (well, on my computer. I later hijacked his Facebook status *grin*. Buddy, you never did learn to log out on my computer :P) during it. Problem: they demanded a urine sample and wouldn’t leave until I gave them one. Problem 2: I don’t pee on demand. Solution: Nick takes the cup out my hand, goes into the bathroom, and PEES IN THE FRICK-FRAKING CUP FOR ME. Me: “O.O NICK YOU CAN’T DO THAT!” Nick: “I just did.” He then goes and hands the cup to the nurse. “Here, she went.” Me: “NICOLAS!” After the nurse left, he turns to me and asked me if they could tell he was a boy from his urine and if they’d find me. Me: “Um, not sure?” We were very relieved, let me tell you, when the nurse came back and announced I wasn’t with child. Naw, really?

The funny part? The next day I got a phone call from the hospital, telling me that my urine sample showed a kidney infection and to see my primary doctor. Me: “Um…”. That was an awkward text to Nick, let me tell you.

I don’t think that Nick peeing in the cup was the right thing, and I do feel kind of bad about it. But, how many people can say someone would pee in a cup for them?

I’m sorry I was an idiot, Nick. I’m sorry that I let our friendship fall due to my stubbornness and slightly idiotic streak. I’m sorry that I wasn’t there for you the way you were there for me. You were one of the few people who truly understand my medical stuff as while not all our disorders were the same, we had many similar ones. I wish I could have shared with you stories of my surgery recovery. I wish you could have seen my morphine-ridden poetry that I wrote post op. I wish we could have traded spinal fusion/back rod stories. I’m sure we will one day in Heaven. I’m sure it’ll happen one day – on that glorious day when we ALL are without our bodily pain and we can celebrate in that freedom together at last.

I love you.

Every lament is a love song,
yesterday, yesterday,
I still can’t believe you’re gone
Every lament is a love song,
yesterday, yesterday,
So long, my friend, so long. 
-Switchfoot

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Every lament is a love song.

“I close my eyes, and I see your face. If home’s where my heart is, then I’m out of place. Lord, won’t you give me strength to make it through somehow? I’ve never been more homesick than now. “

“Memories surround me but sadness has found me, I’d give anything for more time. Never before has someone meant more, and I can’t get you out of my mind.”

Grief is a funny thing. When we lose a loved one, a family member or a friend or even a beloved pet, it’s like a suckerpunch to the stomach. Loss hurts when we expect it, but it also throbs when it blindsides us. It aches deep within when it’s a young life, when you’re left with the “Why him? He was so young and held so much promise. Why her? She had such a passion for Christ!” It throbs when it’s an older person, as you look at all they’ve accomplished in life and you’re left with just your memories, treasuring each one but yet longing for more.

It’s funny, because from the moment you get the phone call that they’re gone, from the moment you get the email, the text, the Facebook message, your heart stops. Everything, for that moment, end. And you’re plagued with regret. For one friendship you regret falling out of touch even though many times you felt the tug to get back in contact. For another one, you’re plagued by the text message and Facebook argument that was never resolved and you completely fell out. It doesn’t change the pain and anger from a life loss, and the flood of memories from the good times.

The different types of grief are difficult. The fresh, raw grief that is like a sudden sharp knife, and the dull, aching grief that remains once the initial wave has worn off. No matter how you slice it, it sucks and it hurts.