It’s been over a month and I still can’t figure out how to put this down in writing. On March 17, I found out that my first love, G, who I’ve written about several times, had died. His body couldn’t withstand the years of alcohol abuse. Words to describe how I feel about this are jumbled in my head. Devastated. sad, guilty, heartbroken, empty, angry, disappointed…I’ve run the gauntlet of emotions. Apparently this is normal when you lose someone you love.
This is my first up close and personal experience with loss. Two of my grandparents have passed away, and I miss them greatly, but we are usually prepared for that loss. The sudden loss of someone young and with so much life ahead of him is not something I know how to deal with. I get to a point where I think I’ve accepted it and then it comes out of nowhere and hits me like a ton of bricks. The grief, all over again. The disbelief. The feeling that I’m having a nightmare that I can’t wake up from. Because, G can’t be gone. He just…can’t. There are things I still needed to say and words I needed to hear. Forgiveness to give and apologies to offer. Love. Anger. Laughter. Tears. There is just so much left. I’m not ready to say goodbye.
After I got the news, I went up to the lake. I needed to walk in the sand. It was March 17, and the first semi-nice spring day we’d had. The sand was wet. And cold. But, there were things I needed to say, and that was the only way I could of think to do it. To try to find a way that maybe he could hear me.
I told him how sorry I am. Sorry for not being a better friend. Sorry for not being there when he needed me. Sorry for not being more patient. Sorry for treating his alcoholism as something he could control. Sorry for not trying harder to get him help. Because I am just so sorry. For everything.
I also told him I forgive him. For being an alcoholic. For not being strong enough to get help. For all the times he hurt me, or disappointed me. I forgave him for everything.
I told him I love him. That I will always love him. That he was my first and only true love. I told him that I know he loved me. And that I know he would have been a better boyfriend, if he could have been.
These are things we should have said while he was still alive but I waited too long. At the time of his death, we hadn’t spoken in about 6 months. After my last visit, his behavior became more and more erratic. His texts began to resemble the ones he used to send after we broke up, ten years ago. Back then, I was still reeling from the hurt and pain of our relationship, and he wouldn’t let me move on. I finally resorted to having my phone # changed. Back then, and now, he just couldn’t seem to understand how inappropriate his behavior was. So, finally, I blocked him. He couldn’t call or write me. I thought about him a lot, and considered unblocking him several times. I wondered if enough time had passed that he would be able to handle our friendship. Each time I considered it, I decided I wasn’t ready to go there quite yet.
So, I’ll never know how many times he might have tried to reach out to me. Near the end of his life, he was mostly alone. He alienated or pushed away most of his friends. His mom was the only person he remained close with (and he lived with her.) She tells me he called a rehab facility twice in the last year of his life. He never followed through though. I can’t help but wonder if I had been there, to support and encourage him, maybe he could have found the strength to try. These are burdens I will carry for the rest of my life.
Our romantic relationship ended a long time ago, but I never stopped loving G. I never stopped hoping he would find a way to get better, and to find peace within himself. At his memorial service, his mom and I talked. She said she believes that he is finally at peace. That in death he is able to find the peace he couldn’t while alive. At the time, I didn’t agree. The idea of him dying, alone, and thinking that I hated him, couldn’t possibly have brought him peace. But, she told me that he knew I didn’t hate him. He knew how much I loved him. And that he loved me very much. As I keep replaying that conversation in my head, I think about the line from the movie, ‘The Notebook’ that says,
I’ve loved another with all my heart and soul, and to me, this has always been enough.
I don’t think any love can ever really duplicate your first love but I hope that someday, I find someone who who I can love fully, and who can love me fully. But if I don’t, I will be comforted in knowing that I have loved someone with all my heart and soul, and I have been loved by another’s heart and soul. And that will have to be enough.