The fabric of our family was torn when my oldest nephew lost his battle with mental illness, depression and alcoholism and took his life as the days of January came to a close. Our loss is fresh – our hearts are laid open and overshadowed with grief on a daily basis. I trust that it will ease as the days pass, but in the meantime I’m searching for a silver lining in a very dark cloud. I’m unwilling to believe that Andrew’s death will leave us with nothing more than a heavy heart and a profound guilt that we might have done something to change his path.
I know if I linger in my sadness, I will be swallowed up in the darkness, but I also know he would be devastated for any of us to get lost in the awful place that took the light from his eyes and left him hopeless. So, I’m asking myself what he would want me to take away from this loss in these days following his death. He and I spent a lot of our time together pondering the essence of life and happiness.
Lately I feel moved to connect and reconnect with the people I care about. Somehow I feel he’s urging me to have no regrets as I move forward. He’s inviting me to get real and share thoughts and feelings with the important people in my life before it’s too late.
And so, I have something to tell you…you know who you are, I hope.
I’m sorry that I’ve let the busyness of life overtake me for so long. I never meant to get lost in it and lose my ties with you. Nor did I mean to make you feel like you were less important to me. I am beginning to understand that commitment to the things of this world has limits, and relationship priorities should trump all else.
I love you with all my heart and soul. You are my family. You are my friend. I wish I’d told you more often. I promise I will say it more in the days to come.
You give my life texture, richness and meaning. Without you, I am less me. We are interwoven as intricately as any tapestry through our relationship and our experiences.
You challenge me to be a better person even when you don’t know it or I’m not willing to admit it.
I’m so proud of you for all of your accomplishments and the person you are.
I forgive you and myself for the things we’ve said or done that have come between us. I no longer wish to hold on to the petty things that divide us. I relinquish my need to be right for my need to have you in my life.
There is more to be said – more than I can cover in the text of this post. I promise you I will say it as we move forward.
Andrew, if you can hear me or see this, I love you. I have always loved you, and I am grateful that we connected so deeply over the past few years. I wish I could have helped you more and told you one last time just how precious you are to me. You have made my life deeper, wider, more colorful, fun, understanding, and loving by being in it.
If there are guardian angels out there, I trust that you are watching over your flock of family and friends and guiding us through the pain of living life without your smile and your goofy laugh. It’s the picture I hold and the sound I hear when I think of you…our beautiful, blonde-haired, blue-eyed boy. We miss you.
In memory of our lunches, our yoga sessions and the hours of philosophical discussions, I leave with the words of one of our favorite authors:
“Your time on this earth is a gift to be used wisely. Don’t squander your words or your thoughts. Consider that even the simplest actions you take for your lives matter beyond measure…and they matter forever.” ~ Andy Andrews