Today is the third anniversary of the passing of a dear friend and co-worker. I have written about him before; how he would not give up on me and helped me to realize that no matter how damaged I was, I was not a total loss. He gave me the insight to realize how I was cheating myself out of a good life, an honest life without deceit, half-truths and outright lies. He helped me to see that I had the power to change my life, to take back my power and redefine who I was, where my moral compass was pointing.
He believed that I was more than just an addict, though; I was a special person who was blessed with talent, intelligence and empathy. These gifts were gathering dust and instead I was using my intelligence to think of a hundred different ways to cover up my drinking, allowing my addict brain to be the driving force on my journey of self-destruction. JJ saw through all of that to the heart of who I really was meant to be, without all the shame and self-loathing that had become like a heavy fur coat that I could not take off, no matter how hot and tired I was. He pulled me out of my denial, spoke some hard truths and called me on my shit. It was like the sky opened, angels sang and I had finally found the strength to take off that damned coat of shame and cast it aside; I found someone who believed in me more than I believed in myself; someone who was so in your face about the hard truths, calling me out on my lies, my deceptions to my friends and to myself, most of all. I don’t know if he realized how much of an effect he had on me; I hope so. I don’t think I told him enough how much I loved him, but I have to believe that if he did not know it then, he does now. Three years after losing him, my heart still feels a bit tender, but I know it will heal. I have moments when I regret things but then I remember I can’t change the past; only take that lesson into the present.
So, to all my friends and family – I love you. I appreciate and value you. You make my life better for being in it and I will do my best to be as good a friend to you as he was to me. If nothing else, I will take his belief in me to heart, live my life fearlessly and not settle for less than what I deserve, which is to be happy, live an honest life and know that I am worthy of love, and to love myself, no matter what.
“Love of mine, some day you will die
But I’ll be close behind
I’ll follow you into the dark
No blinding light or tunnels to gates of white
Just our hands clasped so tight
Waiting for the hint of a spark
If Heaven and Hell decide
That they both are satisfied
Illuminate the No’s on their vacancy signs
If there’s no one beside you
When your soul embarks
Then I’ll follow you into the dark”
-I Will Follow You Into the Dark
Deathcab for Cutie