Tag Archives: loss

The One That Got Away

Nothing this week went as expected. 

 It was supposed to be a week of parties and celebration. Yet somehow, everything went south so quickly. 

Being really sick, Arguments, a terrorist attack happening right near my job, and broken promises. 

My 22nd birthday was on Wednesday. I had planned to be taken out by my boyfriend and yesterday have a party. Wednesday itself was not a bad day. I went to work, then went out with my boyfriend. Except something blew out and now he is not my boyfriend anymore. 

I have experienced plenty of breakups and fallouts in my lifetime because I didn’t just lose a boyfriend, I lost a best friend too. Someone who knew more about me more than anyone else. Someone who I knew every side of. Or at least I thought I did, I didn’t expect that he would dump me on the day of my birthday party, just two days after my birthday and on one of the worst weeks I have had in a long time. 

I keep blaming myself. I keep thinking of what I could have done different so that he’d still be mine. I feel like I could have been a better girlfriend and that I overreacted too often to many things. I keep blaming myself for everything going wrong, simply because that’s what happens when you get left behind. 

Except I did change a lot for him. I did do everything I could for him. As cliche as it sounds, everything I did in the past year I did it for him. Everything I became and everything I did was all for him. 

And now he’s gone. 

Everyone always leaves me. I’ve lost most friends in 2017 than I can count on both hands, yet losing him stung the hardest because he was everything to me. I loved him harder than I had loved anyone else, and he taught me what being in love was really about. I still love him deeply. That’s why I can’t even trash talk him, because I care too much to do such. In just a year and four months we developed into a couple that overcame so much together. Things were far from perfect the past month, but I genuinely believed we could work through it. I knew things weren’t easy for him, so I kept doing my best to bear with him and stay by his side, knowing that he needed someone there. Even when we argued the other day, I stood by believing that he and I would get through it because that was us. We were always there for each other and always made it through the worst of times. I had considered leaving before, but put it aside because in my eyes he was always worth it. 

I’m still in love with him, and I still keep blaming myself. Even with my friends kind words when I went to my birthday party last night, which he dumped me before and I spent the whole night breaking into tears wishing he was there. It was supposed to be my night where everything finally came together

People may think I’m ridiculous for posting this, but I still am trying to figure out what happened and why it had to happen this way. I still keep trying to figure out how just a week ago he was at an Open Mic supporting me and now a week later he’s gone. I’m still mourning the loss of someone who meant more to me than any person I been with, someone who was there for me during my Worst, who supported me when I was hospitalized earlier this year, who would make his way to meet up with me the nights I get out of work late, who influenced me to change all my bad habits, who spent his last dollars on me and who saved up just to take me out just the other day, who would spend every weekend with me and take me to every party, who would hold me in the midst of breakdowns and talk me up whenever I put myself down, and who never judged me, who just two weeks ago promised he’d never leave me. 

He’s gone. He’s gone and even if he said it was goodbye I’m still doing my best to face the reality of it. Some would say he’s just a guy and not worth it, but he’s meant so much more to me. Dammit, he still does. 

But he’s gone. He’s gone and with every tear I shed and every pain in my chest I wish he was here, like he always was, to hold me and comfort me. 

I believed he was the one, but he’s the one that got away…

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To A Special Someone 

Dear XXXX,
Are you happy? 

You get to prance around with your girl, or whatever you have now if you realized she was a psycho, unaffected by the long-lasting impact what you did has caused me.

You were the first, and so far only guy I loved. The word “fuck buddies” used to leave a bad taste in my mouth when describing you to people because in my eyes you were so much more, and yet now it’s all I tell people we were because it’s easier than telling people how it felt to kiss you under the stars or how much I smiled whenever you texted me.

At one point or the other, the roles were switched and it was you that swore you had a thing for me. Maybe that was true, but my attention was elsewhere. All I know is that summer of 2014 I had suddenly took a liking for you. Was it the way you called me beautiful, or the way you kissed me in the rain by the Hudson River? Either way, I fell and fell hard for you. I would come to realize any old boy can call you beautiful or persuade you he want to be with you but I was eighteen and did not know any better. 

I think about your eyes, your little smirk, your soft lips and oh god do I wish to rewind to that lovely summer and fall nearly two years ago and relive it all. I don’t even regret a single moment with you despite all the despair it came with. 

“He’s just a dumb boy.” To me you were so much more. You were my reason to wake up every morning. You were the smile on my face and the beat of my heart. You were distinctive to any other guy I have met so far in my life. You were my friend, you were loyal and you would care enough to talk to me every day for months and months and get lowkey jealous when you saw me close with someone else. You did perhaps feel something too, or maybe it is just my perception that is blinded by love for you that is romanticizing even the littlest of things you did for me. 

You were always the tears I shed for you each night. You were the influence of the darkest days of my life and the reason why I felt my heart shatter for the first time. You were the dark cloud that stayed over my head as I attempted to down those pills. You were the bruises on my wrists as I subjected to my harmful desires for the first time in a long time. 

You were the first to present to me the cruelty of the real world. The people who betray you, who stomp all over your heart once they have it, those who see a vulnerable young person and use them to their advantage. 

I gave you my body, my time, my love. When you finished with me, you ran off to her arms and left me with nothing but dead hope of me ever being able to call myself yours and with memories I wanted to force out my mind. 

“My feelings are long gone.” Images of you and her. Facebook blocking. All of this while my mind lingered on you and only you and the wounds were still fresh. I briefly found comfort in the arms of another but you were still burned in the darkest depths of my mind. 

You still are or else I wouldn’t be writing of you on a Thursday night with tears in my eyes of every embrace, kiss and painful exchange of words we shared in my head. 

Not a day goes by where I don’t think of you. Even if I have given up hopes long ago of rekindling whatever it was we were and even if I have gained interest in other people since then, I will never forget you. Over a year has passed and I still remember your dark eyes, your cheeks I loved pinching so much, your soft body, the way you loved dark colors, your love for anime & gaming, your introverted nature, your dark sense of humor, how you seldom spoke with emotion, your perverted attitude equivalent to my own, your beautiful smile, how special you made me feel. 

My god, how I wish I could go back in time and do it all again. Be stupidly in love without saying it and have that perception of you again. It wasn’t you, but yet it made me happier than I have ever been in my life. 

But I can’t, it was not meant to be and as you said, your feelings are long gone. You refused me a chance because you were not seeking commitment yet you have a chance to someone else when you were done with whatever you wanted with me. 

For the earliest parts of 2015, and even now, I sometimes wonder if I cross your mind. If you think of my face or pass by a place where we made memories and miss me too. If it pains you to say my name and if you wish to run into my arms again. I wonder if you long to tell me all your troubles and hardships you face as I do with you. 

Have I impacted your life as you had mine? 

Probably not. Probably just some stupid little overly attached vulnerable girl you fucked and nothing more. You have someone now to call your own while I’m left with the scars of what you have done to me. It is easy for you to love again while I can barely let anyone in without pushing them away regardless of how I feel about them out of fear of history repeating itself. 

You don’t care about that because you got what you wanted from me. You don’t care about how I can no longer be with someone without questioning their every motive nor about how someone could grow attached easily than others and how every moment we shared was more intimate and romantic than any moment I shared with any other guy so far. 

I question how can I love again? Will I ever be able to or will I always be reminded of you whenever I do so much as even get close to a guy? Will I stop pushing people away and learn to trust again? Will these memories and your face forever haunt me? 

Will I ever stop caring so much about you even if you are no longer a part of my life? 

Clearly not, as I still write about you after so much time has passed since we last shared an intimate moment together and I still remember you so well and since you have impacted so much the scars still show whenever I have a new chance at happiness with someone else. 

And even if I was too full of shame to admit it and you don’t ever deserve to hear it, whenever someone talks of the first time I ever really loved I will think of you. 

Rico. 
-Lisa M. 

  

The Death of Melanie Valentine 

Her blonde hair reached her shoulders and her bangs always covered her face. She was faceless aside from her dark red lips and tear-stained cheeks. She was obsessed with light floral dresses. In the cold weather her knees would be red and covered in bumps, yet she was numb to it. She craved the pain. “Melanie deserves it.” Says her older sister, Lexie. Her only sibling. Her sister despised Melanie since she was always stealing away the attention in the household.

“Melanie just takes up space.” Says her mother. Her mother despised Melanie for always creating unnecessary problems. Maybe at one point she loved her daughter, but the moment her daughter began keeping everyone awake with her sobbing at night and robbing money from the family with her need for therapy, she despised her existence. She truly believed it was all in her head. 

“She needs reassurance 24/7. It is quite an inconvenience.” Says her boyfriend, Brian. Brian loved Melanie’s vulnerability. The moment he realized that getting under Melanie’s skirt meant dealing with her poor mental state, however, he began to find his satisfaction elsewhere.

“She is always doing things for attention. When she is not the main concern of anyone, she makes sure she is.” Says her best friend, Isabelle. Melanie was once Isabelle’s shoulder to cry on. When Isabelle was finally cheered up, she refused to let Melanie’s depression rub off on her. 

“She nearly passed away from blood loss last week after she slashed her wrists. It’s a damn shame she didn’t, it might save us the service of having to put up with her.” Says Justin, Melanie’s ex-boyfriend. He was a narcissist that dumped Melanie once he decided that he could not put up with Melanie constantly crying for help anymore.  

The sleeves of Melanie’s dress always covered her wrists and the skirt covered her thighs, both of which were covered in cuts. 

“She does it for attention.” Says Lexie.

“She just wants everyone to pity her as if she has any real problems.” Says her mother.

“Ugly.” Says Brian, his eyes not leaving his phone.

“I noticed the cuts on her wrist. I don’t ask where they are from though because I know that’s just why she does it. She wants people to pretend to care about her.” Says Isabelle.

“If she is really that miserable, she should just dig the knife deep and finish the job.” Says Justin.

The day came where Melanie did just that. 

There was no warning or note. Melanie had been hoping for someone to take her warnings seriously and yet no one did so. 

Melanie, exhausted with trying to reach out to people and fed up with feeling agony and selfish for seeking help from those she had helped out with for many years, allowed the knife to dig into her wrists until the handle touched her skin.

“I deserve it.” Her last thoughts were. “Everyone hates me. I deserve it.”

Melanie was found the next morning, her lifeless body near cold and her pale pink dress stained with blood. 

“My baby!” Cried out Melanie’s mother, the first one to spot her daughter’s corpse.

 Days passed and everyone discovered of Melanie’s passing.

“She did it for attention.” Muttered Lexie bitterly. When she attended the funeral, she was thrown out the church due to the commotion she caused while delivering a speech of how her sister deserved to die because she was a nuisance. Her breath reeked of alcohol. 

Justin did not attend the funeral. When he scrolled past the news on his Facebook, he just smirked and said, “Looks like she did us all a favor.” Then he moved on about his day.

Her mom did not leave her daughters side from the wake to the funeral. “My baby.” She kept crying out. “I should have been there for you.” She screamed through her sobs as she reminisced Melanie listening to her complain about the abuse she received from Lexie’s father. “I was so selfish. Why didn’t I listen? Why didn’t I help you?” Melanie’s aunts had to drag away her mother from the grave because she attempted to jump in with her daughter’s coffin.

Brian was at work when he heard of his girlfriend’s death. He dropped his phone, which was his best friend, the moment he saw “R.I.P. Melanie Valentine” on his News Feed. After work, he ran to the wake and barely missed it. He observed his girlfriend for the first time in a long time and took in her beauty. Her bangs were pushed out of her face and her face was no longer stained from tears. She laid in her coffin in her favorite pale blue floral dress, sleeves covering the gash from her stabbing herself. He remembered her wearing that dress the day he decided he wanted to be with her and they kissed for the first time. He grabbed her cold hand and cried. “I should have listened. I should have helped you. You tried to reach out to me, why didn’t I help you?”

Isabelle could not bear to go to her best friend’s funeral. Instead, she locked herself in her room and cried for days. Her family and friends tried to force her out, but nothing. She wallowed in her own guilt. “I’m sorry, Melanie. I should have listened when you told me you weren’t okay.”

The person that shocked everyone the most was Melanie’s father, Jonathan Valentine. No one, not even Melanie’s mother, had seen his face since months after Melanie was born. He flaked on them, forcing the mother to return to Lexi’s father’s abuse. 

At the wake, a strange man arrived in all black and a hat. At first, everyone whispered and questioned who he was. 

Until the mother said, “Jon?”

Jonathan took off his hat, causing everyone to gasp. Jonathan ignored them all and instead got on his knees near the casket. Despite barely knowing his daughter, tears streamed down his face and he kissed her cold cheek.

“Melanie.” He pushed out through his sobbing. “I’m sorry I didn’t get to know you better. You were such a beautiful young woman and you did not deserve to go like this. You did not deserve to believe that no one loves or cared about you. Not a day went by where I didn’t desire to meet you and be there for you. Daddy loves you very much, sweetheart. And I am here now.”

A figure arose from the casket at that moment. The figure was not visible to anyone yet it was huge and stood over everyone in the room. The figure had long blonde hair with the bangs down to the nose, red lips curled into a frown, and pale skin. The figure had on a pale pink dress with red stains. 

Though not audible, the figure uttered a few words before it disappeared:

“Where were you all when I was alive?”

  

My Reasons Why-Part 2

Part 2-“Ashley”

 

So you made it to part 2. Congratulations. I know that getting through part 1 wasn’t easy. Neither will the next fifteen. But you won’t regret it, trust me.

We all remember our first best friend. The one we’ve known since before we could even remember. The one who we always played with, slept over at each other’s house, and called when we wanted to talk about something that happened. You grew up together and watched each other change a child who threw tantrums and thought the opposite sex had cooties to talking about crushes and gossiping. Some of us are lucky enough to still have this friend and still get along with each other fine.

Some of us, however, aren’t so fortunate.

You may have this best friend burned in the back of your mind right now, but you may not have spoken to them in years. At one point they knew all your deep dark secrets. You knew theirs too. You know who they had a crush on, the time they did something they weren’t supposed to, and the time they lost their virginity. Despite having this information, you wouldn’t be able to tell me how they are now. Maybe there was a fallout, maybe the other person forgot about you or you with them, or maybe you guys just don’t talk anymore. Regardless, you both grew apart and now whenever you are in a crisis or need a helping hand, they aren’t they aren’t the first one you call anymore.

This one is about a girl I will call Ashley. When I think of my first best friend, I think of Ashley. Ashley felt more like a sister to me. My little sister wasn’t born until I was nine so until then Ashley was like the little sister I never had. My earliest memories were with Ashley. When we were kids, we would always talk to each other and play games. Whenever I went to visit my grandma, Ashley was always there. Spending time with Ashley was a reward for me. I had no friends since I was a loner and bullied all the time. Ashley was the only person I felt comfortable talking to and liked playing with. Ashley introduced me to so many games and movies. Ashley was the only person to really tolerate my awkwardness and obsessions I had. Whenever my family went somewhere, I would ask for Ashley to tag along too. We would pay extra just to have Ashley come along with us. Ashley slept over at my house very often. Once we started getting older these sleepovers turned into having heart- to hearts at one in the morning. We would share fears, insecurities, and things that bother us. Sometimes it got emotional and Ashley and I would start crying for each other. When I was thirteen, I started sleeping over at her house. We would spend a week together in her house. We would play games and have our heart-to-hearts. We would watch “adult” movies like Superbad or Bad Teacher. Ashley was probably the closest friend I have ever had in my life. Ashley and I had a bond I didn’t share with anyone else. We were inseparable.

Or so I thought.

Ashley herself went through a lot. Even as a child I knew she went through more than I even want to speak of. That’s what I loved about Ashley; we seemed to have a lot in common. We both had a lot of troubles to face.

Still, I would sometimes take the heat for her own troubles, and this is where my fallout with Ashley started.

A fact about me that will become essential, especially in this story, I am really bad at confrontation. This must be surprising considering that I am putting out my stories of what people have done to me and how I feel about them in full detail, but it’s true. I am terrified of facing people and telling them off because I am scared of what they will think. It’s a bad thing because it leads to people feeling comfortable with walking all over me and not caring about my feelings.

This was the case with Ashley.

I remember Ashley sleeping over at my house one time when we were kids. Ashley and I were doing something that I can’t quite remember. All I know is that at some point Ashley lost her temper and smacked me. Now this took me by surprise as Ashley never gotten violent with me before. As I filled with tears Ashley quickly apologized and pleaded for me to keep quiet about what she had done. Out of love for Ashley, I kept my mouth shut. Ashley never put her hands on me again, but it was this temper and this dominance she had over me that led to our fallout.

Ashley would always insert rude little comments that hurt me but I ignored it as much as possible because of that ugly fear of confrontation. I enjoyed spending time with her, but it would at times become unpleasant because of her mean-spirited comments toward me. When we played games she would mock me for being bad at it or place the blame on me when we lost. Ashley would tell me to shut up in a loud voice or mock my taste in shows.

What really was a red flag though was Ashley’s rudeness toward my mom and little sister. Now Ashley was from my father’s side of the family. She seemed to really love and idolize my dad and it was understandable. My mom would also welcome Ashley into our home and take us out. Ashley and I developed a tradition of seeing every Twilight movie together in theatres when it came out. It started because my mom took us to see the first one back in 2008. Despite my mom’s caring and welcoming attitude toward Ashley, she still openly despised her. She would make comments about her and accuse her of things she never did. When I asked her why, she never gave me a valid reason. Mind you, my mom had not did anything to harm or disrespect her, so why she disliked her I’ll never understand.

Ashley openly disliked my little sister as well. At this time, my sister was about five or six years old, so basically Ashley disliked a child. My sister loved Ashley and would hug her and attempt to play with her as well. I noticed Ashley would avoid her a lot so I was confused. Then one day, Ashley and I were playing a card game. Ashley had slept over for a few days and was about to leave so we decided to play cards before she left. My little sister, we’ll call her Alexis, wanted to be included too as little kids do. We politely told her that this was only a two-player game. Alexis threw a tantrum until my mom got her out of there. So while this just annoyed me, it seemed to infuriate Ashley. I couldn’t understand why, I mean Alexis was still a kid and Ashley has nephews Alexis’s age. Ashley claimed that Alexis wasn’t well-behaved, yet she was no different from Ashley’s nephews at all. Despite her clear lack of respect for my mother and sister really bothering me, I kept my mouth shut.

Everything blew up months after this visit.

In early 2012, I went to go spend the week at Ashley’s. I began to sleep over at her house more often now. For a long while I couldn’t help but notice a change between Ashley and I. In addition to her rude comments, she didn’t seem so stellar about spending time together. I went to see her for her fifteenth birthday the year before and she played on the computer while I just sat on the bed remaining ignored. When I texted her excited that I finally had a cell phone that could text and we could talk more, she just responded with, “Oh cool.” A huge awkwardness developed between us but neither of us addressed it. I was still sixteen and naïve to the concept of best friends growing apart so I thought that maybe it was just because she was going through something she hadn’t told me about yet. We were due to have a heart-to-heart during one of our sleepover nights, so maybe there we would address the elephant in the room.

For days, of course, the issue wasn’t addressed. With me being bad at confrontation and expressing how I feel, I never asked her why there was such hostility between us. It’s like I was invisible. Gone were the days of games and movies. We watched movies but we didn’t share our little commentary on how we felt about subject matters in the movies or claim hot guys we saw as we always did. When I or her brother would suggest games, she would rather be on the computer or her phone than talk to me when I was right there. I spent my days there bored for the first time ever and was far too polite to admit it. This is where I was at fault. I let my fear of confrontation take over and instead messaged my mom asking her to help me come up with an excuse so I can come home. I also told my best friend at the time, we’ll call her Robyn, saying that Ashley was ignoring me and that I was depressingly bored. Keep in mind, Ashley and I hadn’t spoken about the awkwardness so as far as she knew, there was nothing wrong.

I trusted Ashley with everything, so I let her have the password to my iPod Touch. On my iPod Touch I had Facebook Messenger where I was talking to Robyn about Ashley. My phone where I was texting my mom had no passcode. These facts are going to become very important soon.

One night Ashley and I watched a movie. After the movie, Ashley and I had our heart-to-heart conversation, the last one we ever had. Afterwards, I fell asleep in Ashley’s living room and thought everything was okay now. For once we had a normal night and I didn’t have to face my fear of confrontation.

Or so I thought. I have a faint memory of Ashley waking me up at some point in the night to tell me that I could stay in the living room for the night. Usually, we’d sleep in her bed. Thinking back to it now, her tone of voice was off and hinted that something was wrong. In my half asleep state, I just nodded and went back to sleep.

The next morning, I woke up with a letter next to me. The letter was written on loose-leaf paper and written on it said, “I am sorry.” The letter is still on my bookshelf in my room and for a long while after this I would read the letter over and over and each time would be as equally painful as the first time. I won’t read the exact letter, but basically Ashley wrote that she had read my messages to my mom and Robyn when I was sleeping. She apologized for boring me by “being herself.” Ashley said she just wanted to spend time with me because she loved me and thought I wouldn’t mind whatever we did. She suggested I learn to speak for myself instead of depending on my mother and if I don’t like being around her so much, I should just leave.

After reading this letter, I felt a mix of emotions. I was furious that she invaded my privacy, pained at some of her cruel words, and guilty because I had not approached her about what was wrong. Now that I think back to it, I realize it wasn’t all my fault. Yes, I should have approached Ashley, but she should have approached me too instead of reading my messages while I was sleeping. That was just some sneaky shit that proved to me that I couldn’t trust her either.

What was even more hypocritical was that afterward she took to Tumblr and made passive-aggressive blog posts cursing me out and insulting my mom and little sister. What was really sneaky of her was that I never had Tumblr before so she could assume that I would never see it. I only saw it because one of our friends who followed her on Tumblr told me about it and sent me a link to the posts. It was then I decided to forget her and move on with my life.

She was rather cold anyway. When I left she did not even look me in the eyes or speak to me. The first and only sentence that slipped out of my mouth was a nervous, “I’m sorry for what I said.” Ashley shrugged at me and no more words were shared. The most we exchanged after that was an awkward forced hug. I have not seen Ashley in person since then.

For a long while, I despised Ashley. I hated that she invaded my privacy and I hated that she made that post about my mom and my sister on Tumblr. She would also post obvious subliminal statuses on Facebook about how our grandma favored her over any of her other grandchildren. I never posted anything rude about Ashley and her mom or siblings. Even after this, I still didn’t. The fact that she stooped that low instead of just keeping the tension between us made me despise her even more.

I question why she is the one to hold the grudge. I honestly accept my part of the blame. I honestly understand why I should have spoken to her about how I felt and I accept it. If I could go back to four years ago, stop myself from sending those texts, and confront her about it instead, I would, but I can’t. If she is going to hold a grudge she should at least stop acting like she wasn’t in the wrong for reading my messages without permission and for crossing lines she never should have crossed by talking about family.

That next summer when my dad was in the hospital, her brother spoke to my mom on the phone and pushed Ashley to talk to me. The conversation had an awkward pause and I whispered something to my mom since she was right there. After this conversation, Ashley took to Tumblr to write that we had an argument because I depend on my mom to fight my battles for me and yet when we finally speak for the first time in months I get off the phone for five minutes asking what to say. So basically, she once again contradicted herself and did the exact thing that caused our fallout on both of our ends; lack of confrontation.

Since then, Ashley and I have hardly spoke. There has been Facebook conversation from time to time but they were short and felt awkward. We still write to each other on our birthdays every year but it has gone from sweet little messages to short, forced ones. The grudge is still there clearly on her part because her  birthday message for me included that I was the person she “used” to want to be like. Why she felt it was necessary to put that, I don’t know. All I know is that it’s pretty clear Ashley and I will never be close again.

For a long while, I blamed myself. Even though deep down I knew it wasn’t entirely my fault, I felt like I did something to deserve Ashley not wanting to forgive me like I did her. Ashley was the first person that I lost that I was close with.
Over time, I came to accept that some friendships weren’t meant to last a lifetime no matter how close you are. Even if Ashley and I were as close as sisters at some point, and I’m glad we were, we still grew apart.

I still miss Ashley sometimes. It’s gotten a lot easier now, but there have been times where, despite everything, I just wish we can relive the innocent days where we believed friendship could last forever. The days of our games, heart-to-hearts, and caring about each other. I used to wonder if she ever missed it too or if she had moved on for good. Ashley seems happy, and I would be lying if I said I wasn’t happy for her. I just sometimes question if she’s happier without me in her life.

What hurts the most about Ashley was that she was family. If you can’t trust family, then who can you trust?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Part 2-Ashley Update

So when I wrote Part 2-Ashley, it was the beginning of February and an unexpected event occurred shortly after that that changed everything. I said I had not seen her in years, well that’s changed now. There is a bit more to the story now.

It was February 13th, 2016. I just got back from a party with friends and it was close to midnight. I threw off my coat and hopped into bed. No one was going to bother me. It had already been a long night.

The day before, I found out my grandma was ill. I was close with my grandma growing up, so imagine how I felt watching her lay on a bed in her nursing home, oxygen tank connected to her nose and words unable to leave her mouth. I was full of pain for her and regretted not visiting her enough the past year. Not even on her eighty-eighth birthday because I was too busy working. I prayed and prayed for a recovery. My grandma was always a fighter. She could pull through this and I could spend more time with her.

Unfortunately, this was wishful thinking. Minutes before Valentine’s Day, my grandma passed away.

My grandmother was a loving, family-oriented woman. She always brought the family together on holidays like Easter and Christmas. She attempted to keep everyone together and cool tensions. She was loved by all of her children, grandchildren, and greatgrandchildren.

That meant everyone would be there.

When I entered the room with my parents and sister, the first thing we saw was my grandma’s body surrounded by family.

Naturally, Ashley was there. The same girl I was friends with for nearly fourteen or so years and I were finally brought together again by the death of the woman who was the reason why we were brought together in the first place. We hugged, shed tears, and joked about this being a shitty way to reunite for the first time in years.

That’s how it was for the next week with Ashley and I. For our grandmother’s sake, we put aside our tensions and past issues. We comforted each other at the wake and funeral. We talked as much as we possibly could for those two days. Without Ashley we would not have made it to the burial because she gave us directions to the cemetery and walked us through getting there when we got lost. Ashley heard about my panic attack when we got lost and understood it. When we went to a restaurant after we talked and laughed like the old times. There was a promise of returning to our old sleepover traditions. Though I would love to have our old friendship back, I wondered if it’s possible to go back to the way things were after our fallout.

Part of me wants it. The same level of trust has not been achieved but she’s nice and caring once again and she has more respect toward my mom. We also both understand depression and anxiety.

But is that enough to put the past behind us? Or was this all just connecting with each other based on mutual grief for a woman we equally loved so dearly?

The Wolf

Lisa Marie Wolf 

Her face remains implanted in my head. The oxygen mask, her gasps for air, her constant moans of pain. I remember the feel of her bony, wrinkly fingers in mine. I still recall the haunting look in her sleep-deprived eyes. This face, I think in the deep dark parts of my mind, is not how I want to remember her.
She was never a fragile woman. In her life, which spanned to nearly nine decades, she accomplished many things. She came from the Philippines and gave birth to five beautiful children. She overcame many hardships and developed into a strong and beautiful woman. Despite living a difficult life, she managed to be a selfless mother and grandmother. If you asked her for the world, she would give it to you. That was just the kind of woman she was. She helped everyone whenever they needed it. She was the glue that kept the family together by putting together family parties on the holidays as much as she could.
This is the woman I want to remember.
The woman who started it all. The woman who created and kept together a family of wolves. She was a leader. A strong, courageous woman who put everyone else before herself. The woman who would tear apart the whole house looking for a blanket until she found one just because you told her you were cold. The woman who would keep feeding you even if you weren’t hungry anymore. The woman who gave and gave because she genuinely wanted to and not because she had to. The woman who stayed strong for so many years.
She is a fighter. She is a wolf.
She loves her whole family with all her heart. She wants every one of her siblings, children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren to be happy. She is just generous like that. She always made sure everyone was enjoying themselves and will forever continue to make sure everyone is well-fed and taking care of themselves.
She is the splitting image of what everyone should be like. Kind, strong, dedicated, and hard-working.
No matter how frail or vulnerable she becomes, that is the woman we will remember her as.
The woman who is smiling that beautiful smile in her photos? That’s her.
She is a fighter. She is the leader in our family of wolves.
-LISA MARIE L.