Ghosts don’t haunt us. That’s not how it works. They’re present among us because we won’t let go of them.
One year ago today I found out that one of my best friends (soul friend, really) passed away unexpectedly. While my logical, rational brain knows that he’s no longer with me, my heart and soul feel as though he’s never left. I hear his voice in my head when I’m thinking about doing something I’ll more than likely regret; I feel his presence when I’m thinking I’m alone in the world and I remember his words of encouragement and tough love when I’m feeling weak and scared. I loved the reflection that JJ showed me of myself; he was the mirror that didn’t have the flaws and distortions like mine did. He shared with me who he saw me to be, what incredible potential I had to become My True Self, to shed the skin of addiction, self-doubt and depression. He believed in me completely, trusted me with his secrets and loved me even when I exasperated him and irritated him with my stubbornness and unwillingness to change. He celebrated my victories, gave me a shoulder to cry on when I felt hopeless and always encouraged me to not sell myself short. He helped me to draw upon a wealth of courage and faith that I didn’t know I had; he challenged me to go outside my comfort zone and to stand tall, love myself first and foremost and believe that I am worthy. Worthy of love, success, happiness and living an honest life, free of deceit, untruth and outright lies. You see, I had lived this way for so long that I had forgotten the joy that life can bring. I had forgotten to notice the beauty of everyday life. The brilliant sunsets, the heavenly scent of freshly laundered linens, the symphony of nature, once you get away from the traffic, sirens and chaotic sounds of the city. He celebrated and treasured the simplest things; a warm bed on a cold day, a faithful dog, a hot bowl of soup on a winter’s day and leftover pizza for breakfast. He would not let anything go to waste and would regularly eat whatever I couldn’t finish when we would go out to lunch. He was the hardest working man I’ve known since my father and a prouder father I’ve yet to meet. He left me too soon and I’ve faltered repeatedly since he’s left, but only because I feel as though I’ve lost my anchor. I agree completely with the quote from Sue Grafton; I can’t let him go just yet. Today, I choose to celebrate his life and the legacy of love he’s left behind. JJ, you are still with us; you will never be forgotten and you will always be loved. I miss you.