You can’t just shake it off. The grief of losing your best friend. The anger at the fact that mental illness pushed her to her limit and she gave up fighting. The memory of my last look at her lifeless body and the smell of such a large amount of blood that has permanently stained my nostrils. It doesn’t ever really leave. It just changes. And it changes you. It shapes you. The way you stand, how you walk, your ways of loving and being and moving and merely existing in the world. The things you do and don’t care about anymore. Grief changes it all.
And here I am, a few years later. Sitting in the car outside of Walmart, and all at once my mind and body become paralyzed; I can’t go in because a song just came on the radio that reminds you of Ashley. The grief that I thought I had already felt and worked through just rises up inside me and I cannot speak.
So I let it be.
I cry. I sob. My body trembles. The words on the radio wash over me and I feel like I am caught in some sort of lightening storm. I remember everything. How we had both struggled in the grip of depression and bulimia and addiction together, until she decided to call it quits. Her smile. The sound of her laughter. The countless times she held me while I sobbed myself lifeless out of sheer frustration with life in general. The one particular tshirt that we so often would argue about who gets to wear it. Late night card game marathons. Movie nights at our apt with many of our friends. Bike rides. Camp fire parties. Junk food Fridays.
All this time and I still feel this grief? And my body is saying “Yes. Yes, you do.“
It means that I am here. It means I`m alive, even though it makes me feel like I wish I wasn`t alive sometimes. It means I`ve risked. It means I’ve loved and lost and risen and fallen. It means I’ve experienced friendship and all it has to offer. This moment of grief has once again reminded me what it truly means to be live.