The Highs and Lows of Life
This has been the hardest year of my life thus far. It started when I was in Indonesia on January 24th, I got word from my mom that my grandma had a stroke. She was supposed to make a full recovery the doctor informed us, but within three weeks she lost her life. I was thousands of miles away and I hadn’t seen her in 14 months other than our monthly FaceTime calls. It was heart wrenching. On this same day, February 15th, I had to leave the country and the man I loved behind as I returned to the states to be with family.
A few short months later, on June 27th I received the most horrifying message of my life. Jesse, the man I had dated for the past 10 months and loved dearly had passed away by his own hand. I collapsed on the floor of the restaurant, I lost all feeling and sense of time. It was the worst agonizing pain I have ever experienced. I now know why they call it heart break because it felt as though there was a ten thousand pound elephant sitting on my chest splitting it open leaving all of my insides to spill out onto the ground. My grandma lived for 87 years, she lived a good full life with four children, many grandchildren, and so many stories to tell. Jesse was 32 years young, it wasn’t his time to go.
No one is supposed to endure a love lost by suicide. It is not humane when someone takes their own life, especially someone you love so deeply. It is not humane to leave the people you love without a goodbye or an I love you or an I’m sorry. Choosing death over life is something I will never understand.
Even in my lowest of lows I never thought about ending my life. I mean I was depressed. I cried everyday without anything triggering it and I didn’t understand why I was the one that had to struggle through the illnesses, doctor visits, and daily pain. I didn’t understand why I was chosen to suffer. I felt bad for myself in that moment. I felt lost and then the eating disorder caused me to lose myself completely, like tunnel vision down a dark alley way. I was still getting straight A’s in school, I was still acting like I was happy, but truly I was stuck in this tunnel vision of seeing how fat I was, obsessed with the food in front of me, and the toilet bowl. I felt alone even if I was surrounded by thousands of people. I felt disconnected because I wasn’t connected to my body.
Eventually, after jumping out of my comfort zone and doing something different, it all got better. I took it day by day and although I had my bad days, the good days outweighed the bad. I saw how fortunate I was to grow up in a developed country where we didn’t have to worry about there being toilet paper or brushing our teeth with the sink water. There was sanitary water, medical care and I happen to have the best family and friends support system I could ask for. The happiness I feel from being eating disorder free is the most liberating thing I’d ever felt until the day I fell in love. To be honest, I didn’t think I was worthy of love during or after my eating disorder. I didn’t think I was pretty or good person because of the people I had hurt along the way. I knew deep down I wasn't a terrible human, I knew I had a big personality, but I never knew what it felt like to fall in love until I met Jesse.
I feel lucky to have known him, but I feel like life is unfair. I feel like it is trying to teach me a lesson. I finally open my heart up to this man that I knew had his demons from the start, but we all have our demons. It would be extremely hypocritical of me not to date someone who has struggled with mental illness. I understood him, he understood me. We clicked. It was easy. We were happy.
I never once considered death over life and I don’t think I’ll ever understand Jesse’s decision to leave me, to leave all of us. I don’t think I will ever be able to grasp the fact that he left us here without a goodbye or explanation. I will never be able to level with him because he isn’t here to explain it to me. He isn’t here to have my back or support me through this and I am angry. I am angry at him, I am angry at the system that failed him, I am angry at myself, I am angry at life, but that won’t bring him back. I am going to have to learn to live with anger and I know with intention it will subside. That’s the thing with grief, it’s a rollercoaster full of highs and lows and I’m just trying to hold on. Some days I feel too much ranging from anger to depression to anxiety to even happiness and appreciation. Some days I feel nothing at all, a detachment from life, a numbness that takes over when I am too exhausted too feel. One of the only positives I've found from this tragic situation is the fact that since losing Jesse I still haven't had an urge to binge or purge, this in itself is a liberating feat. This shows me that that chapter of my life is finally over. This is what keeps me going right now.
What I have learned from all of this is we have to make choices everyday of our lives and those choices will affect what life you lead. Each choice makes a difference. Each choice matters. I will choose to remember the good times and cherish the moments we had together. I will choose to use my support system and resources around me to help comfort me in my times of need. I choose to wake up everyday with intention and try to view this world in a positive perspective. I choose to push through the hard days with the belief that this is just the beginning, there is more of a life to live and so many more places to see. As long as you are living with intention, everything will fall into place. To try to understand life and why things happen to you is exhausting, all you can do is keep your chin up and be the best person you can be.
As Kaleo puts it, “Life is anything but fair.”
“The worst part of all of this is I still wake up looking for you. I still think this is a big prank, like all of a sudden I will wake up and everything will be back to normal. I am still here trying to defend you, but it’s unfair because now you are free. What you did to us is unfair. I dream about you like you’re alive. We laugh and joke in my dreams, we have adventures in Frank the Tank, we sit on the sofa in our Melbourne apartment just happy to be in each others presence. You were the only person who made me feel worthy of love. You protected me and you cared so deeply, but in the end I couldn’t save you and for that I am sorry. Just know I am a better person for knowing you and I will continue to try to make you proud. Although I will never be the same, there is not one part of me that regrets knowing and loving you. I don’t think I will ever have the courage to tell you goodbye, but I will muster the strength to push through the bad days with the knowledge that one day we will see each other again. Thank you for making me stronger.”