If Happy Little Blue·birds Fly….

Dear Van,

Today is Monday, December 31,

2018 is mercifully coming to an end, and as I sit here and reflect on what has been a miserable year, I remain anxious and afraid of a life without you in it.
I mourned your death as privately as I could after updating our friends on social media and then I went into limbo.

I didn’t want to speak to anyone about you at all. I had already tried to discuss you aloud and every time I did, I would rupture into tears. I was surrounded by the many personal items that I had inherited from you and all of these things would force me to draw a mis-remembered thought of us and lay it in my reality, and I would have to force myself to resist it. I wasn’t ready to reclaim them. I am still hesitant.

“The two hardest things to say in life is hello for the first time and goodbye for the last.” Moira Rogers

Facebook was no help at all. It kept reminding me every day what you and I did on a specific day last year, three years ago, five years ago, etc.

I started to text you a cute photo of Dixie the other day with the usual enthusiasm that I had when sending you photos of the babies before realizing you would never get that text. I paid your Metro PCS mobile service to stay on this past month; I don’t know why I did that.

Concerned and caring friends called, texted and messaged me with their condolences and what words of solace they could afford.
I haven’t returned a call to any of them and a couple of people keep asking if I am ever going to answer them. I assumed they knew to leave me alone in my misery.

I wish you were here to read the comments on your Facebook page from past acquaintances, co-workers, and intimate friends expressing their grief while honoring your perseverance, your dedication, and your openness.

I doubt you were aware of the sound impact you made here. You affected us and transformed our lives. You were a spring of hope for some while being a fount of laughter and joy for others. You meant a great deal to so many people.

You meant so much to me, too.

I know you needed me. Friends and strangers alike have showered me with regard telling me how fortunate you were to have me as your friend, but I don’t know how many recognized that I considered myself blessed to have you as a friend. We always watched out for each other.

I needed you. I still need you.

It was glorious to have a confidante in my life that knew me so well. You knew I didn’t like fruit in my desserts, and you were very aware of how bad of a cook I was, enough to not even ask me to boil up any water. We had that funny way of repeating the word”debris” when we heard someone say it and only we know where that came from.

“Yesterday brought the beginning, tomorrow brings the end, though somewhere in the middle we became the best of friends.”

A very young Van

We could go to any Tex Mex restaurant in the world, and you would know what to order for me if I wasn’t at the table. You knew me well.

You knew how to make me laugh and cry. You’re the only person to really know me. You trusted me as a best friend even though I am full of imperfections. You made me believe I was worthy of good and I don’t have that anymore.

I’ve experienced the most laughter with you. I miss that the most.

“How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.” -A.A. Milne (Winnie-the-Pooh)

Together we shared, grew and boy did we live.

My relationship with Michael ended for many reasons, but one factor was that I would always put your needs before his. I don’t know if you knew that.

Van and our friend Mark

I do not have anything unpleasant to say about the break-up. We tried. We failed. I have fond memories to cherish for the rest of my life. I would do it all over again, I don’t know that I would do anything different. You came first, and right or wrong, that’s the way it was.

I think about your mother often. I can’t even begin to imagine what Wanda is suffering? It wouldn’t matter how much I tried I would not be able to embrace the anguish that a mother must have to endure after the loss of a child. She loves you so much.

I was so happy to see how excited you were when she came for a visit in September. We knew she wanted to see you for quite some time, but as you are aware, her doctor advised her not to do any traveling at all.
I have a feeling that she was not cleared for travel this visit, but a mothers love and devotion will invent a way to get to her child.

Your brother, John, impressed me the most by offering to deal with funeral home and other details. I am so glad that he was also there for you.

Van, these people that you and I proudly call friends rallied behind you as you know and I am so grateful to them for helping in alleviating some strain from my already stressful existence at that time.

How can we ever repay Stacie, Jeana, Kim, Lisa, Ginger and Kimberly for the rides and the errands and the comfort they provided in spending time with you?

My mom cries every time she thinks of you. I fixed up the photo she says is her favorite of the two of you that was taken at one of her birthday celebrations. She misses you very much, and this past Thanksgiving and Christmas were tough on her not seeing you here.

Go see Dexter. He was the best pet ever. He loved you so much.

Dixie, Bowie, and Bailey miss you. They are the only ones that I was able to discuss you with. I told them that if it weren’t for you, I wouldn’t have them in my life right now and I would be utterly isolated.

I am aware that at times the perception was that I was uniquely the most important person in your life. I don’t believe that was the case, although we were forever tethered to one another.

We savored twenty-two years unitedly; raising dogs and cats, taking road trips and disco dancing on Saturday nights. I genuinely believe that we do not meet people by accident. I said it before. You saved me. I will spend my life looking for you in others. I will never forget you.

Say hello to Montgomery, Avery and Shelby. Tell them Daddy misses them very much.
I was by your side the night you died. I hope you were able to hear my last words to you.

I’ll be looking for you when it is my time to go. Thank you again for being my friend, my best friend.

I will see you in time.

“You and I will meet again, When we’re least expecting it, One day in some far off place, I will recognize your face, I won’t say goodbye my friend, For you and I will meet again.” -Tom Petty

The link to my story about my dying friend, in case you missed it, is below.
Thank you for Being a Friend.

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