An important person in your life dies, there’s a discomfort in their absence. Depending on how you deal with personal loss, it’s probably hard for you to imagine how you’ll function without them, like spending a weekend with someone – after they leave and you’re in your house by yourself and everything goes quiet.
But what happens when you experience the death of someone who was once a large part of your life?
I’m having conflicting emotions.
This weekend I found out someone who was once a very important part of my life passed away. He’s still important by way of forging the path of my dating life, a distinct honor I like the recognize for those who so bravely venture, but one that was brief and a very long time ago.
He was my very first “boyfriend”. First kiss. First crouched in the corner sobbing into my knees heartache.
We “dated” in middle school and transitioned into high school. We broke up at a school dance and I couldn’t listen to O-Town’s “All or Nothing” for a year. We remained friendly but over the years it dwindled as we grew up and went our separate ways.
I had always known he was sick, but just due to a pubescent child’s naiveté, I didn’t understand the severity of it. Even nearly a decade later though, when asked “did you hear about…” I instinctively knew what had happened. So many things I had forgotten suddenly resurfaced as I read his obituary. Names of family members and pets, dates, details of his personality.
The conflicting emotions come from partly realizing that I don’t really know that person anymore, that maybe I don’t have the right to be sad. But I think that’s bullshit too. There’s an awkward space in me that is mourning an important figure in my timeline.
I’m down but the memories of trying to sabotage each other’s history projects or the time I was convinced to be an accomplice in killing our friend’s pet caterpillar brings the sweetest chuckle.
One of my favorite lines from queen mother Alanis, “I’m sad but I’m laughing.”
Rest in peace.