Waking up yesterday was already a challenge, but knowing it was January 16th, that oh-so-haunting date, added an extra forty-seven pounds onto my eyelids. I didn't want to open them. Didn't really want to face the day...even though the nightmare occurred 8 years ago.
Even though it occurred 8 years ago, the scene is still as vivid as the TV show I watched last night.
Even though it occurred 8 years ago, I still think maybe I'll wake up and it will have never happened.
Even though it occurred 8 years ago, I still get angry sometimes.
Even though it occurred 8 years ago, I curse myself for not doing more.
Even though it occurred 8 years ago, I try to forgive myself daily.
Even though it occurred 8 years ago, she has aged right alongside me. She's 33 and she wears middle-aged lady trouser pants instead of low-rise jeans. She is not a kid. She is not 25.
Even though it occurred eight years ago, she never. leaves. my. mind.
I finally got out of bed and sat in front of the computer. I had to write a status update about Shelly on facebook. I knew I did. That kind of thing is expected these days. I knew it had to be profound. And happy. But also a bit sad. I tried a few different things, but everything felt forced. I didn't feel it in my heart. I needed her help.
It occurred to me that there was one picture I'd never taken out of the frame Shelly gave to me back in 1995. There had been many times I'd considered using it for various things. On the blog...in the book...during photo week, but my focus always shifted to something else. Her deathiversary seemed like a good day to free it and share the photo Shelly treasured enough to frame.
My energy level boosted a bit as I ran downstairs to find the frame. This feels right. I dug it out of my chaotic little corner of Shelly paraphernalia. I read the poem on the front of the frame as tears began to water my dry, sluggish eyes. It says:
If there's someone you can talk to,
someone no one can replace;
If there's someone you can laugh with,
till tears run down your face;
If there's someone to depend on,
when you need a helping hand;
If there's someone you can count on,
to advise and understand;
If there's someone to be true to you,
and trusted to the end;
You're a very lucky person,
for you've found a very special friend.
The words "the end" laughed in my face.
I quickly flipped the frame over and unscrewed the back. As I lifted the cardboard backing, something fluttered to the ground. Something small and red. At first I thought it was the photo, but the photo was still stuck to the frame. I looked down and saw a paper heart.
Just one tiny heart.
This one tiny heart made 8 years ago not seem so sad.
Thanks, Shelly. You had no idea how much this hidden treasure would mean to me.
And thank you all for celebrating with me.
How's that January resolution treating you? This is the week to ignore those silly insecurities. Be someone's Shelly. Be that person who walks up to a stranger and smiles and says "hello" like she's known him/her for years. And then, yes, pull the camera out and capture the moment. Seriously, how do you think I was able to post all those pictures on facebook? The girl always had that camera nearby.
I do have one success story from a pretty lady named Kate that I'll be posting soon!