Friday, December 29, 2006

A New Beginning

First of all, I would like to thank everyone of you bloggers that has in some way cared enough to leave me comments of encouragement and also the really thoughtful emails I've received. I never imagined that faceless, nameless strangers online would care that much, and you've all made me glad I joined KBW. Thanks for all the moral support.

So, it's that time of year again. The time when many people reflect back to the previous year and count their blessings (or lack of), time to make those useless resolutions you know you're gonna break by day two of the new year. I used to be the kind to make lots of resolutions. So many in fact, that I would write them down on a list and save that list until the end of the year. On New Year's Eve, I would take out that list and count how many resolutions I had kept. Not surprisingly, the figure was always none. To me, this was just another one of those stupid traditions I kept simply cuz they existed. And so when I went off to college, I abandoned the tradition altogether, seeing it as a waste of time.

Last year though, something changed. Lilly and I were having one of our usual "arguments" and she was accusing me of being too "set in my ways". I had no spontaneous bone in me back then and if something was not on my agenda, then I wasn't gonna do it. As a challenge, she made a bet with me and as a result of that bet, I made my one and only new year's resolution: to be a little more open-minded and try new things. This time, I had to actually try and keep the resolution or else I would cough $1000 at the end of the year. And so my year started with a skiing trip, a skill I still don't have, and one I'll probably never muster. Why in the world anyone would go freeze their butt for hours on a mountain is beyond me. But, I had lots of fun and kept up the spirit all year. As a result, I had the most wonderful year I have ever had in my entire life. I did not let the fear of the unknown stop me from accepting a challenge and I made it a point to go out of my way to try and do things that would ordinarily make me uncomfortable. This was the best new year's resolution I ever made, and it's the only one I've ever kept.

In the spirit of trying new things, I've decided to make another resolution for next year. One I'm tempted to say "no thanks" to, but I'll accept as a personal challenge. Steve (God bless this man. Maybe I should start taking his marriage talk seriously) asked me what my new year's resolutions were gonna be for next year. I hadn't really thought that far ahead and I really wasn't planning on making any. One of his resolutions is to read the entire Bible and he asked me to embark on the journey with him. It's been a couple of years since I last opened my Bible on my own outside of church. I thought back to the days in high school when I truly believed in God and put God first in everything I did. Back then, I used to read my Bible everyday and would even buy those small devotional books (remember "Daily Bread" anyone?) I'm not sure at what point in my life exactly I became disillusioned, but it happened all the same. And so with very little resistance, I accepted that as my one resolution for 2007. To read the Bible. I don't know where that's gonna lead, but I do know that a year is a very long time for your life to turn completely around. I only have to read my diary from a year ago and compare it with my diary entries from this week to know how true this is.

And so with the new year, I'm ready for a new beginning. I feel like I'm on the verge of something big happening in my life, and whatever direction my life takes, I hope I can look back a year from today and be grateful for the change. Happy New Year KBW!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

The Aftermath

It's been almost three weeks now since my best friend decided to end her life in a most tragic way. Seems like the longest three weeks of my life. I've been floating around, barely conscious of myself or anything else around me. Yesterday, the police officially closed her file. Conclusion? It was a suicide. Duh! Like we didn't already know that? They kept insisting that they wanted to make sure there was no foul play involved before they could definitely rule it as a suicide. This is not some CSI shit...that's all I wanted to scream so they could leave me the hell alone. I have never felt my privacy so violated, I have never in my life been so scrutinized before. After all, she was my best friend and I should have known if something was amiss, right? Goddamit! I didn't even know she was gonna kill herself! There was no note left behind, no explanation, no last words.

So many emotions and thoughts running amok in my mind. At first I was angry that she would be so selfish and leave her family and friends forever wondering "what if..." Then the guilt set in. How can I be angry at a dead person? Perhaps I should have seen it coming, paid attention to all the little clues she kept giving me. Like the time she asked the rhetorical question: "If you had a choice on how you die, what would choose?" I never thought anything of it, just her being silly as usual. So we discussed death that day, both of us deciding that being shot, drowning and burning to death had to be the most painful ways to die. I should have wondered why she brought up the topic, but I didn't.

And so I've spent the last three weeks crying, getting angry, feeling guilty, and eventually just accepting reality. She's gone. That simple fact struck me only yesterday when I reached for my phone. It had been ringing off the hook and by thanksgiving I was so irritated I switched it off. So I turned it on and I had 103 voicemails, none of which I intend to listen to. My fingers automatically went to speed dial my gal's number, and then I stopped myself. I will never again hear her voice. She was so full of energy and always brought a smile to my face when she said "hello". Even if she was bored to death or had just woken up, she somehow managed to sound like she was in the middle of a very exciting activity. Cheerfulness, the one self defense mechanism she taught me. "If people always think you're happy, they'll never have a reason to ask you what's wrong" is the logic she used. And she put it to practice. But never around me. I was perhaps the only person she ever gave the opportunity to ask her if something was wrong. And I always knew when she was lying and needed a little cajoling to come out with it.

Now, I have no one to talk to about the most mundane things. And the not so mundane things. My relationship with Steve is strained and I need advice on how to handle it. I need someone to go with me to the most boring baby shower that was ever had, and I know she's the only person that would have agreed, without whining even once. I keep remembering the first day we met in class 6. I was a new student at the school and I was shy as hell, going through that awkward stage where making new friends is an ordeal. But she walked up to me during break and offered me a Marie biscuit with the words "Stop looking so sad, you'll not be new forever". Somehow, she understood me before she even knew me. Ours wasn't a perfect relationship. No, we had quite a few fights over the years. But never a fight that was too big for us to work things out. But now she's gone. Forever.

And so to my friend Lilly, I say to you. Thank you for being the sister I never had. Thank you for making my life so full of joy and hope. When I was at the lowest point in my life, you somehow made me see that there was a reason to keep going. You saved my life. I wish you hadn't left the way you did, but now that you are gone, I'll try to understand why you did it. I will forever keep your memory alive. Remember that scholarship fund we often talked about starting at our alma mater and always thought it was corny to name it after ourselves since we would be alive? Well, it will be under your name, and for generations everyone at that campus will know what an awesome individual you were. Thank you for teaching me the meaning of love and true friendship. My life will never be the same without you, but I will try to live up to your favorite quote: "Life goes on regardless". R.I.P. my angel.
To all KBW members who left me a message, thanks for your thoughtfulness. It's only the web, but it still means a lot to me.