My little sister passed away when I was eight. Back then, I promised to play and have as much fun as I could for her. I'd honor her life through joy. And I did. I swung and rode and swam and ran and slipped and slid every day that I could.
When my grandmother passed away, I promised to follow my personal dreams. She hadn't. She had been blessed with family and friends, but she would sometimes tell me stories of the things she had always wanted to do but didn't. She had so many regrets. I would try to live my life without any, in her honor.
Now, with Larry's passing, I'm looking for the lesson... the reason... the best way to honor his life. He was such a huge part of my life, for better and for worse. I don't know how to take this tragedy and turn it into anything beautiful yet.
He died of an ugly disease. His was a hard way to go. I blamed myself at first, and that guilt overwhelmed me to the point that I would lay on the couch at night and pray that it and the darkness would swallow me up so that I could just stop feeling the anguish of the loss.
Sometimes, I wonder if it would have been any easier if he had died after a long battle with cancer. Even then, I might still be plagued with doubts, wondering if there was anything more I could have done... if I could have somehow prevented this.
"Did he drink himself to death?"
That was the question that one of his longtime friends asked at his memorial. I was stunned at first, but I nodded my head, silently admitting what I couldn't say out loud. This has been the hardest thing to accept... that everyone knows now. And I find myself falling back into codependency, wanting to cover for him and, at the same time, cover my shame.
Maybe there is no lesson. Maybe this was just all a waste. The thought of that is all too much to process some days.