Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Journal Day! V.3


As much as I say I don't have regrets, that everything has gotten me to this point in my life, etc...there are still things in my past that I look back on and sometimes wish I could change or redo. Thinking like this really does me no good though, because let's be real- we can't change the past, we can't go back- all we can do is move forward. With that said though, at times I do find myself taking a trip down memory lane and thinking about a few different instances years ago that I would definitely go back and change if I had the opportunity AND if it wouldn't affect my present and future in a negative way, Back to the Future style.

*what I'm about to share is really hard to type out, and I found myself in tears multiple times while writing it. I've spoken about it a few times on this blog, but this time it was very hard to find the words to describe this time in my life. But as much as it hurts to write, it also is incredibly cathartic and I'm so thankful to be able to express my emotions about it here. I hesitated to share it, but for the sake of journaling and being honest, here you go.

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If you had a free pass to go back and change anything in your past, with the promise that it would only affect you positively, would you do it? And if so, what would you change?

I'll never forget that fall. It seemed to be colder than usual, the autumn chill in the air lingering later into the day and coming earlier in the evening. The leaves were bronze and rust, and orange and gold. We were making plans for Fall Break, deciding where to go and who to see, and most of my memories involve sitting on the white railing of our front porch, talking with friends and watching the cars go by. That was the Fall we lost you. That summer, seeing you every night had become commonplace. We'd spend weekends at shows together, eating vegan food, road trips to Phoenix and Tucson listening to Stay Gold and Shakira, midnight trips to Dennys where we'd eat too much pie and you guys would drink too much coffee. You were our little brother, and our nightly runs around the track, the long conversations about your girlfriends and crushes are still fresh in my mind.

When that fall arrived, you began to drift. The new school year for you brought new friends. Less hardcore shows, less band practice, more spending time with the party kids, and subsequently, more time spent around drugs and alcohol.  I should have seen it coming. I should have noticed the slow and eventual shift in personality, the shy, quiet, often awkward boy acting just a little different, a little off. Dinners and hangouts slowed down, you stopped joining us on the weekends. You'd pop by here and there, but it wasn't the same. Myspace messages unanswered, unreturned phone calls. More than once I tried to reach out and find out what was wrong, why you seemed so different. Unanswered, unreturned. And then October came. You passed through the library one day while I was in the non-fiction section. We had plans that night, for you to come over and hang out with Hank and me, to cook dinner, to catch up, to spend time together with one of our best friends, however far removed you were at the time. In that passing we confirmed our plans. You said I love you, I said the same, we hugged, and you walked away. In that moment something in my gut told me not to let you go, to call you back. To please, please, please stop him and say more, ask him, tell him, make him. Something way down deep inside knew something was not alright. But I let you go.

You never showed up that night. I called twice and got no answer. I didn't call again, but the next morning the phone did ring. It was Hank's Dad, calling to let us know that they had found you, not breathing. You had died early that morning.

I can never ever go back to that day, that month, that Autumn. But if I could change one thing in my past, this would be it. For a long time I blamed myself, I felt like I should have done something more, I should have found out what was going on. It hurts to know that you are gone and it hurts that Henry won't ever know his Uncle. But yet there are so many days I think of you and smile to myself- Hank and I find ourselves talking about you often, and sometimes when I walk around town with Adie we'll remember funny stories and reminisce about your blue eyes and shy smile. New Year's Eve will always remind me of you, not-so-vegan lasagna, Shakira, bandannas, In My Eyes, fancy olives.  All you. And whenever I think about something I would change if I could, you will always, always be the first thing that comes to mind.



45 comments:

  1. Wow, Danielle, this is such a moving post. Thank you for so vulnerably sharing it.

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  2. That was very moving, I agree. Thank you for revealing such a deep part of yourself here *hugs*

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  3. Danielle this is written so beautifully... I am really proud of you for putting it down in writing. Xo

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  4. Oh thank you for your comment Claire, I pressed "save as draft" a million times before I just decided to post it. It's hard to share something so personal.

    Thank you for reading <3

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  5. Thank you Amanda and Carynn, that means a lot!


    xoxo

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  6. Yes, that was incredibly moving. The last line will stay with me for a long time. Thank you for sharing this.

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  7. Danielle-
    You are so strong for sharing this heartbreaking story. I know how hard it can be to share something like this that has had such an impact on you. May we all be as strong and honest.
    :)

    katie

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  8. This really touched my heart, more than you could know. I'm sitting in my college library, and I was so choked up I thought about finishing this post for later, but I kept reading anyways. Thank you so much, this was incredible.
    Even though it never gets easier, I hope that you and Hank and anyone else effected by your dear friend's passing is well on the road to healing.

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  9. You have such a beautiful way with words, Danielle. I hope writing this out brought some peace to you, because I know exactly how relieving that can be. Thanks for sharing such a touching story and reminding us all that life is so short and so precious.

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  10. This is such a beautiful, moving post. It really hit home with me, and made me cry too. Thank you for sharing this, and for this prompt. Your honesty encouraged me to type my feelings on a similar issue, and that really, really helped. I'm sure that through your efforts to reach out to him, your friend could see the love that you and Hank had - and still have - for him.

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  11. this made me cry.. there was pain in those words.
    such sweet memories though..

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  12. I have been here. My mom overdosed. We had not seen each other in years, but we spoke infrequently. The week she died. I called. I could tell something was wrong. She sounded worn. When I asked if she was coming to my college graduation, she said she would try and come. It was the weirdest response because I knew how much it meant. My brother knew though. He left town to see her. He found her dead two days after he got to town. I should have told her how much she meant to me and she would always be my mama no matter what her issues were...I was her mini-me. She said I was the best parts of her and my dad. I was the one who didn't do drugs...but we were always simpatico...I always got feelings and hunches. I had always knew when things were getting getting really bad. I let my stress from school and life drown out the sound of her sighing her life away. I wish I could have one more phone call to get out a lifetime of unsaid things...mostly forgiveness and love. I wish I had the chance to let her know I wasn't mad at her for leaving or for being an addict. Thank her for being selfless enough to let us go with dad when she realized that was best for us...even though it hurt her so bad.

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    1. your comment made me cry more than the original post. I have a difficult past with my mother, and we don't talk very often. your comment made me realizeI have things that need to be said to her before I lose my chance. with tears in my eyes, and shaking voice, I say thank you.

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    2. your comment made me cry more than the original post. I have a difficult past with my mother, and we don't talk very often. your comment made me realizeI have things that need to be said to her before I lose my chance. with tears in my eyes, and shaking voice, I say thank you.

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  13. This was written so beautifully, it's never easy to write about loss. It took me a good while to accept the loss of my mother and write about it. Thank you for sharing something so personal and dear to you, sending love.

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  14. Very moving! Thank you for sharing such a personal time. <3 I think I might join this journaling exercise :)

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  15. Oh Danielle, this was so moving and emotional that I just want to reach through my computer screen and give you a giant hug. Your honesty and heartfelt words are beautiful and genuine. Thank you for sharing this, friend. <3

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  16. I love you to the moon, sweet Danielle. It helped me to read this and I know it helped you to write it. Love love love love love you <3

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  17. Wow, Danielle, what a truly moving post this was. I have so much admiration for you reading this. It isn't easy to confront the pain in our past but I think it's great that you felt you could be so honest about it. Though I haven't really experienced anything similar to this you have so well described the many feelings and struggles that come along with loss.

    Just wanted you to know that I'm reading, and that I think you're an awesome person and an amazing writer. <3

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  18. It's interesting how we can say we have no regrets in life, but also long for a few things to have gone different. Thanks for sharing this story. I remember you mentioning this friend before. So it's Hank's brother? Does Hank have any other siblings?

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  19. I just wanted to thank you for sharing this, extremely personal, part of your life. It takes a strong person to share this journal entry. I do hope you know how much it touched me. Your writing is beautiful, and I really don't know what else to say, but thank you.

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  20. I didn't know that this tragedy was a part of your past. And many people don't know something similar about mine. It just goes to show that we can go on about life and be very positive happy people, but it's still always a part of us. I suppose that sometimes I don't want everyone to know about my loss, but other times I just want to SHARE SHARE SHARE it with everyone! Share how wonderful my brother was! I really commend you for sharing so beautifully.

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  21. This was a very beautiful moving post, Danielle. Thank you so much for sharing something so close to you. It couldn't have been easy to write but it was beautiful.

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  22. Absolutely beautiful, well written and touching. Thank you for sharing this with us. You're boldness is inspiring.

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  23. this is beautiful. was this your brother in law?

    http://breatheandhush.blogspot.com/

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  24. Wow, that was beautiful. Thank you for sharing.

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  25. I read this this morning before work and had to pull myself together before I could leave the house. I cried a little.

    I wish I could be so honest in my posts. It's terrifying.
    x

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  26. I have been there too, especially wishing I had done more. But I had to just let it go, and it's still hard. I still miss her every dya.

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  27. It's so wonderful to read all these supportive comments; your past is such a piece of who you are and who you will always be. Sometimes I want to hide away all of what has occurred in my life, but other times I wish to shout on mountain tops that I too have been hurt and have had hardships. It's good to hear that we all suffer and if we didn't suffer, we could never recognize the beauty that lies in joy.

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  28. Danielle, I'm so sorry. Sorry doesn't even cut it. You are my hero for sharing that. He definitely lives on in you.

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  29. That's such a moving post! I almost had to deal with that with my sister, but luckily it never came to it, and she's slowing becoming herself again. But it breaks my heart that you had to actually go through that. Thanks for sharing!

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  30. Danielle, I am so sorry for your loss. It's not easy letting go of the ones we love, but they'll always be in our hearts. You have a gift for writing and you expressed such beautiful vulnerability in this post. I commend you for sharing your heart!
    ~Andrea

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  31. Thank you for sharing this, Danielle. It's really inspiring to see people willing to be vulnerable in front of the world and do it so beautifully.

    Lauren @ See Parrot

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  32. Wow. What a terrible thing to go through. I realized last night, while desperately missing my grandmother, that when we lose someone there is always, always, always going to be a hole in our lives. I haven't talked to my brother in a couple of weeks and I'm going to give him a call this morning. Thanks for sharing this.

    Kacie
    A Collection of Passions

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  33. Danielle...just beautiful and heart wrenching. Thank you, I cried like a baby reading this but only because I have a similar regret (that I try to tell myself is not a regret). You have such a light about you and have such a wonderful way to spreading it. I adore your blog more and more everytime I visit.
    XO

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  34. This is such a beautiful post.
    It means so much to me that you can lay your whole heart out here for the whole world to see. Your honesty is endearing & inspiring.

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  35. This hurt my heart reading this, I had no idea you went through something like this. Thank you for sharing such a vulnerable time of your life. <3

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  36. your style of writing is so beautiful Danielle. Thanks for being vulnerable with us, and letting us in on that time of your life. So sorry for your loss. <3

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  37. Thank you for sharing. My brother just got out of a detox facility and moved home with us. He got caught stealing from his fiance's parents, was confronted, and ended up admitting to having an "out of control" drug habit. Stories like this scare me (if I'm being honest) because the thought has crossed my mind more times than I can explain. I found myself in his bedroom smelling his cologne during the week he was in detox, as if he was already gone. He has committed to attending 90 meetings in 90 days, but has only been home for a little over a week. I hope and pray he has the determination and strength to change his life. I fear that he does not understand the fact that he has a long road ahead of him. He has a fiance, and 5 month old baby girl - both whom he does not want to lose. I have so many fears for him, and about him, that it is overwhelming to even write about. I love my brother so much, and (like you) I hope I don't take any time for granted and that he knows I am always here for him. Hold on to those memories of your brother, you will always have them and he will live on through them. I never met my uncle (my mom's brother) but I love hearing stories about him and have my own image of what he may be like. Share stories with Henry when he gets older... I'm sure he will have his own images of his uncle. Thank you for sharing this post, I know it must have been a hard thing for you to do.

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  38. Oh, Danielle. This brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for sharing this story. You are an amazingly beautiful writer. <3

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  39. how moving! how hard it must have been.. thank you for sharing!

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  40. You are a strong woman and I really admire you. Big long, across the country hug. Love Leigh-Ann

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  41. This is written so beautiful. I am so sorry for the loss of your brother.

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  42. I'm so sorry for your loss, but I'm more sorry that more people aren't as open as you are. THIS is what makes a great writer. Trust me. My writings are completely transparent. I often wonder if I'm doing the right thing in telling my personal stories, but you can see from these comments that being open like this sparks a response to live in others.

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  43. This is a beautiful, revealing piece that exposes your vulnerability to readers and allows us to empathize (and for some of us, relate to) your experience. I followed your prompt and also wrote about a revealing piece, but am reluctant to post on my blog because it makes me very vulnerable and may cause family strife. Writing it, however, was somewhat cathartic; if only it could completely erase the experience.

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