I will never stop.

Today marks the four-year anniversary of the day I lost my best friend, Alan, to cancer.

July has been hard for me since he’s been gone. The long Fourth of July weekend has become less about day drinking and fireworks than it is a reminder of the day I spent getting drunk with a friend at the Seaport blissfully ignorant to the fact that Alan was on his death bed and I’d never see or speak to him again. During this month, the anger returns (why him?), the memories are more vivid, the sadness deeper.

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There are people I can talk to freely about this—others who loved Alan, folks who have also lost someone they truly loved and “get” it, and people who simply love me and hurt when I hurt.

Still, there are others who probably don’t get it. People who change the subject each time I bring up his name, as if the fact that I still miss the man after four years means something is wrong with me. Maybe they think there is a timeline for grieving and I’ve surpassed it; that our friendship had its time and should be put to rest like he was.

I don’t think these people mean me any harm, but it’s something I simply cannot do. I will always remember Alan as someone who truly made my life better. I will recall the day he died as one of the worst days of my life. (THE worst so far, if I’m being honest.) I will forever wonder what he’d say/do/think about the things I say/do/think. I’ll never stop laughing when I think of an inside joke we shared. I’ll never stop thinking of him whenever the clock says 10:27 (his birthday).  I will forever include him in the acknowledgements of my books. I will keep changing my profile picture on his birthday and the anniversary of his death. I will cry every July 8th and October 27th and whenever I watch The Long Island Medium or the subject of Leukemia comes up. I will never EVER forget him, stop cherishing the role he had in my life, or cease finding reasons to mention him in conversation. It’s my way of keeping him alive.

If you don’t like it, my advice to you: get ear plugs.

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