I sent two email replies I shouldn’t have sent yesterday. Even while writing them, I knew it was a bad idea. The tone was wrong — off, somehow. It didn’t sound like, well, like me. I didn’t even know why I was choosing to write the words I was writing, and I knew I shouldn’t have sent either one. And then when I re-read them, hours later, I realized it:
I was miserable yesterday, and I wanted everyone I communicated with to be miserable too.
And that’s not the kind of person I want to be, even though I know sometimes it’s inevitable. The past few weeks have been a terrifying roller coaster ride of highs and lows. Elation at having friends around me for four days of Birthday/Bumbershoot awesomeness, coupled by the truth that it’s supremely fucking unfair that I get to celebrate another year alive when someone I love so much can’t.
Some days I wake up and I feel great, and I’m remembering a million amazing things about Candice, and I get up ready to spread SO MUCH love everywhere, and other days I just want to stay in bed and cry for all the lost moments. And then I think of how everyone else who loves her and misses her is feeling the same way, and I just crumble.
And then there all the lasts. The last time I went shopping with her, the last time I got a text from her, the last time I hugged her, the last time she was at my house. The last, the last, the last. The lasts are the hardest, because, depending on what side of the coaster I’m on, I can think of them as these great memories, a celebration of the time I got to spend with her (such as, the last time she made me laugh so hard I blew beer out my nose – true story), or I can think of them as final, knowing there won’t be any more.
And this is grief, right? This is how it goes. I’m not wholly unfamiliar with it, it’s just been a bit buffered for me before, so this time feels even more raw.
I’ve started writing about Candice so many times, and I’ve put it off and off and off. Because writing about her makes it more real, somehow. But tomorrow is her memorial, and writing is how I work things out, and boy howdy do I need to work some things out. The hows and whys of her leaving us are all jumbled up in my heart and some days I still wake up thinking it was a dream and that she’s still here.
Candice Bailey, I still cannot believe you are gone. Every day without you hurts. But I’m so fucking grateful I knew you and loved you, and so fucking grateful I love and know Joe. And I promise you I will try really, really hard to be happy, and share that happiness, and help people whenever they need it, and hold my friends close, and tell them I love them, and value every single second of every single day. Just like you did.
And when I feel myself going down that roller coaster again on the wrong, terrifying side, I will smile. I will put on a fabulous retro dress, call someone, and make fun all-day plans involving French macaroons and St. Germaine.
Love you forever, girl.