Crystal Waters

It’s funny how life works. There’s a constant barrage of shit thrown your way at any given moment. Some we can handle and some we can’t. But how do we Know? How much can we take? What will we learn from it?

Recently much of what I’ve gone through in life and what I’ve felt, hidden, masked, and maybe suppressed has come full circle. Many things I’ve questioned and wondered about have been softly and kindly resolved. Explained. Understood. It’s not often in the blink of an eye so much of what was unclear becomes clearer than the crystal waters. But it happens.

My eyes have been opened to a new world. One that feels natural. One that is absolutely part of who I am. It is instinctive. It feels free. My life has been a series of boxes I’ve placed myself in yet none of which I fit into. Always breaking out of the box to be placed into the next one. Always wondering but never knowing…until now.

It’s funny how an innocent encounter can break down barriers and remove you from boxes you never should have been put in, in the first place. A chance encounter. An earth shattering realization. I don’t know when it happened or how it happened but it did. It shed light onto ideas and beliefs I had bury deep within. To feel like you’re at home is…undescribable. To finally understand what you’ve always questioned finally has an answer is weight lifting.

Life continues to shatter and rebuild and each time it becomes more amazing.


Vividly You

I don’t know where to begin when I wake in the mornings. I don’t know where to end when I fall asleep at night. Wherever I am there you are. The first thing on my mind when I wake and the last thing on my mind before I fall asleep. I’m sure you’re even in my dreams. It doesn’t matter what I do there you are vividly in my mind. Music, television, yard work. laundry, cleaning, getting ready, ironing there you are. For the last year and a half I have tried to get you out of my head; only because it was painful to think of where you might be. Now, I just let you reside there. I don’t try to get rid of you. You resonate in everything, in everyday. I have wanted to pick up the phone and call you so many times – especially over the last few days. I can’t. I guess it was a momentary lapse of insanity. You were on my mind and for a brief moment I thought…

I don’t know how to do this life without you. Over the last year and half knowing you were still in this world seemed like enough. I don’t know how to do it knowing you aren’t here. I don’t know how to deal with people anymore. I want to crawl into bed and never leave, but I know I can’t do that. I have no patience for the stupid drama going on around me. I used to at least be able to deal with it, but now…I don’t know how. I don’t know how to let it go. I am losing my cool. I am losing my compassion. I am losing the understanding I once had. I have prided myself on the growth as a human. I have prided myself on being authentic. I question all of that now. I question my purpose in this world.

I don’t know how to do this without you. I thought I had prepared myself for this, but there is no preparation in the world. 25 years…you were my best friend for 25 years and I feel like I failed you. Maybe I didn’t try hard enough. Maybe you just gave up. I was ready to be your anchor – but you refused and drifted further away. You were like sail in a storm – you could no longer direct your own path. You forgot you had someone that was willing to help direct you. I never stopped loving you. I never stopped caring. I just couldn’t watch you slowly kill yourself. I should have done more, Khel, and I’m sorry I didn’t. I should have protected you. I tried. Maybe I should have tried harder. I don’t know what else I could have done. I did everything I knew to do, but you weren’t ready. I just knew you would be one day and I was always going to be available, no matter what. You never got there.

I am so fucking mad at you. I am mad that you weren’t stronger. I am mad that you copped out. I am mad that you were too fucking stubborn to ask for help. I am mad that you allowed yourself to get so deep into the depths of hell and couldn’t find your way out. I am mad you left before we could make things right. I had so much hope and that is gone. I am sad that you never saw your potential in this world. I don’t understand why you didn’t just reach out. You knew I would always be here. Why didn’t you accept the help you were offered? I don’t know how to begin to process all of this. My heart breaks every time I think of you. I think of all the times we had and I am devastated I will not have anymore of them. I am devastated that you are gone.

I talked to your momma tonight for almost 2 hours. She misses you, babe. She misses you so much. She loves you. She is breaking. She wants justice for her baby girl, just as I do. She wanted to much for you, but most of all she wanted you to be happy. She wanted you to see your potential. The one good thing about this is that it brought us closer. I am more determined now to make sure we keep in touch. No more losing touch. You always wanted us all back together and now that we are you are missing. Your momma said something tonight that helped. She said at least you are no longer in pain. She’s right you aren’t, but we are. I’m sorry your life was so painful that you needed something to help you escape that pain. I never dreamed this would be the end of your story. It doesn’t seem like you had enough chapters written. As I sit here and type all this a picture of you comes into my head. You are smiling – smirking really. You’re peaceful. Is that what it’s like wherever you are? Are you finally at peace?

Khel, I miss you. I have missed my friend for so long. I will never get her back and it’s tearing me apart. I have so much regret and guilt. I held myself to a high standard in being your friend and I failed. I don’t know how to fix that. There’s nothing you can do. I know you were on your path and I was on mine. This was your journey not mine, but it’s hurts all the same. You followed my lead so many other times I guess I had hoped you would this time. When you didn’t and when I realized that you wouldn’t I had to stop enabling you. I had to try something else because what I was doing was not working. I tried tough love and even that didn’t work. I want you to know my door was always open. My heart never closed. My love is unending. I wish you would have called, reached out, something. I miss you. I miss you more than you will ever know.

Wherever you are I have your 6.

I hope you never questioned my friendship, love, and devotion, Khel.

Here I Am Again

Here I am again, Khel. Writing – because I don’t know what else to do. You are constantly on my mind. Nothing I do comes without thoughts of you. Your presence is as overwhelming as your void. I skimmed through your facebook page today. I saved any post you wrote about me or to me – at least what I could see of them. Where did that Kheli go? Where did my best friend go? The person I saw in those posts are not the person I lost twice. That sweet, beautiful soul was gone. You became a shell of the person you once were. I don’t know how it happened or why it happened. It still doesn’t make sense to me and it is still so surreal.

The hardest part…I don’t know how to say goodbye to you. I don’t know where to begin or where it will end. You promised me. We had a deal. I don’t guess either of us kept our end of the bargain. The difference is you don’t have to deal with the aftermath. With the pain. You are free from your pain. You are free from your brokenness. I am not. I am left here with the pain and the brokenness. With the regret and guilt. With a heart that hurts, a soul that is shattered, a spirit that is crushed. I have to figure out this life without my best friend. All the hopes I had gone. It’s an abysmal path. A dark one. One I am not and was not ready for. I was not ready for you to leave this world. I was not ready for you to leave me. It was not supposed to end this way. You were supposed to overcome. You always did before.

I don’t know how to do this, Khel. I don’t. I’m trying. I’m keeping my head above water but I just want to sink. I don’t have it in me to sink, but I don’t know if I have it in me to say goodbye to you, either. You left me half of who I am. I am not me without you. Even when we weren’t speaking you were still part of me. You helped complete me. You made me a better person. Through all the trials and tribulations we always came out on top. We lost this one, Khel. Neither of us came out on top. You’re gone and I’m spiraling down into the abyss. You broke me this time, babe. I don’t know how to glue myself back together. I don’t know where to start in putting the pieces back together. I’m lost.

I have scoured through old phones and pictures trying to find all my pictures of you and, like you, they are gone. I don’t know where they are. I don’t know how to find them. I don’t know how to find you. I have pulled as many pictures off of facebook or anywhere else that I could find. Any reminder of your beautiful face. The real smiles. Gawd, I miss that girl. I know you struggled in life but at some point I know you were happy, I just don’t know what went wrong. Where it went wrong. I guess part of me knows the cause, but we will leave that between us. It doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things. Your beautiful life is gone. Your kids without their mom. Your mom without her daughter. You see, it’s not just about me Khel; however, I am so deep in my own grief that it’s hard to understand what each of them may be going through. One good thing…me and your momma reconnected. We are supporting each other. She misses you, babe. She misses you so damn much. We will avenge your death. Those who brought you so far down and used you and helped you get to where you were…karma will find them or we will ensure they don’t get to do that to another human being. They were never your friends. They have scattered like the cockroaches they are. It’s just not fair but no one told use life would be. We knew from an early age it wouldn’t be…but it was always me and you. Together we made it through many storms. One of the biggest storms of my life and you aren’t here to help me through it. You bailed.

I am struggling, Khel. More than I ever thought imaginable. Who knew missing you could hurt this much. I wish I knew what to do. Some advice would be great right about now. A text. A phone call. You. Give me something. Please…

Every time 

Every time I say your name, write your name, think your name I fall apart. I see a picture of you and I fall apart. I think of you and I fall apart. I fall deeper and deeper into this abyss of you. All things you and I fall apart. 

It’s like the Universe pulled the rug out from under me and instead of falling on my ass I am falling down this dark hole that is never ending. Every now and again I get a rest and then the ground beneath me gives way and I start to fall again. 

I don’t know how different it would be if we had been on good terms when you died. I’ll never know. I do know that because we weren’t this is unbearable. There’s never a chance for reconciliation. I have gone over our last conversation a million times and each time it’s always the same ending. It’s like I try to imagine a way to reconcile it. A way to correct it knowing that no matter which way I play it in my head it happened the way it did. I can’t go back and change it.

I continued living my life but thought of you often. You never left my heart, mind, or soul. You were always there. I worried about. Like you, I was too stubborn and hard-headed to reach out. I tried to call a couple of times and your number wasn’t the same. I never tried to reach out again after that. I allowed my pride to get in the way. You allowed your pride to get in the way, too. That was always our problem. When we thought we were right there was no telling us different. It didn’t matter what the truth was. This time I was right and I wasn’t going to say otherwise. 

We had a battle of epic proportions and there was no winner. We both lost. I think I lost the most. You’re gone after all. My regret and guilt run deep. It’s too soon to wade through all of it. Too soon to forgive myself; so I sit in my shit and allow myself to spiral a little. I allow myself to be angry with you and with me. I allow myself to wallow in self-pity. Because why not?

There’s been a hollowness in my life where you once were. I always kept a spot for you. Now it’s permanent. It’s a hollowness that has taken over every part of my being where you once lived. I don’t know how to fill it with fond memories of you. I don’t really even know how to see past your death right now. I dont know how to think about the good times and all the love you brought into my life. Right now I can’t see past the black home I am in. I don’t know when I’ll see the light, the end of the dark hole. One day, I hope.

I hope one day a peace fills my being where you once were. A peace that only you can fill. Your beautiful soul floods my being. Until then, I will find a way to make it. I will find a way to get up each day and deal with the hand I was dealt. You promised me one time you’d never leave me, but you have. I know you’ll be back one day, but that day is not today…

Forever and always I’ve got your six…

Until I Did

I’m not much of a crier. I’ve always been pretty successful at holding back the tears. The last four days they have fallen freely. It’s like the floodgates have opened. When I think there’s not another tear to shed there they come. 

Every time I think of Kheli those pesky things fill my eyes. I think of her pretty much all day everyday. As I sit here with music on the t.v., my pup in my lap, my phone in my hand I think of her and my eyes fill with tears. Who ever imagined someone could fulfill so much of your heart and soul and you would never understand just how much of them filled you until they were gone. I always knew she was special to me but I guess I never realized just HOW special.

I miss her something fierce. I missed her before but I always had that hope that we would reconnect. Now that that hope is gone the missing has magnified by infinity. I try to conjure up memories of all of the amazing times we had but all I can see is her face and know I will never really see it again. It is soul shattering. Spirit crushing. I never in a million years thought she would die. I know I said it, but I never thought there was truth in it. I used it as a scare tactic. There was never meant to be any truth in it.

I don’t know how to tuck away into my comfortable life anymore. I can’t hide any longer. I can’t pretend she’s on some adventure somewhere. I can’t pretend that life is just busy. None of those things exist anymore. I have to face the reality that she is gone. That no matter how hard I deny it in my heart my brain knows the truth. The person I trusted more than anyone in life is gone. One of the few that loved me for me is gone. That’s truth.

I don’t live with too many regrets. I have made mistakes and bad decisions and I have tried to learn from them; whatever they may be. Today my biggest regret is turning my back on her when she needed me the most. When I should have stepped up, regardless of how it would have affected me, and done more to help her. I was terrified to watch her slowly kill herself. I was terrified I would lose her. I lost her anyway. The person I knew no longer existed and now she’s dead. In the end the results were the same; however, I now live knowing one of the persons she trusted and depended on the most let her walk in her darkness alone.

I’ve been told not to blame myself. I don’t. Kheli made her decisions. This was her path, but the guilt is maddening. What if I had tried harder? What if I let her come here? What if I would have reached out? What if I had talked to her? What if I told her how amazing, valuable, worthy, and important she is? Would any of that made a difference? Would it have saved her? I don’t know. What I know is I will never know.

I didn’t see the signs before Matt killed himself until I did. He was an alcoholic. He struggled with alcoholism at the age of 28. I didn’t see how it controlled him until it was too late to help. I didn’t see the signs with Kheli until it was too late. I didn’t realize how severe her addiction was until I did. I didn’t realize how much it really controlled her until it was too late to help. I put my rose colored glasses on and believed they would beat their addictions. Even knowing, through my education, that’s not how it works. It’s not that easy. I still allowed myself to fall into a systematic faith that they would snap out of it. Having faith in someone doesn’t mean they can do it alone. I understand that but allowed myself to believe something other than the truth. And now part of my truth is I failed them miserably.

I wish you could have seen you through my eyes; maybe then you would have understood your importance and your value and worth. I wish just once you would have truly understood how loved you were. How life changing you were. You just couldn’t. Maybe I should have tried harder, Khel. 

Forever and always I’ve got your 6.

Longing for the Days of Old

I long for the days of old. You know those days. The days where you had no care in the world. Pain and sorrow were little. Laughs and jokes were abundant. All you had to do was get out of bed, smile, experience the joys of your day.

As a teenager I used to spend the majority of my summers in Louisiana. It was a trip I looked forward to every year. Looking back, I think I just looked forward to seeing my best friend. We would write letters and call each other (cell phones and email barely existed in those days) throughout the year, maybe see each other during the holidays, but those summer months were ours. They belonged to us and we belonged to them. Oh the fun we had. Mischief was never-ending. We tortured Nathan and Khodi as much as we could. Just to the point that we wouldn’t get into too much trouble for doing it. We went to the creek, shopping, running around base, the woods behind the house. I spent many hot, humid days at the basketball courts that were just down from the house. Kheli, who was less than skilled, would come sit and watch or goof off while I tried to “improve” my game. She would never let me get too serious about it. How could I when I had a shadow that wouldn’t allow me to?!

Kheli told me a few years ago that she used to copy me. When I asked what she meant she said that when I started my basketball shorts wearing phase (which hasn’t ended by the way) she started wearing basketball shorts. When I started wearing bandanas she started wearing bandanas. And so on. I never realized it. I suspect the reason for it is because all I saw was my best friend. I didn’t care what she wore or that she was a hot mess most days. I was spending time with some of the people I loved the most.

Tracie took over as a surrogate sister after my sister died in 1995. They were best friends and I had already spent much of my time with her and the kids before they moved. Kheli and I were a year and half apart and Nathan and Khodi a few years younger. I remember my sister used to take me over to Tracie’s and we’d order pizza and watch movies. At the time I only like the sauce and the crust of pizza and Nathan only like the toppings. I would take the toppings off of mine and give them to him and vice versa. Kheli would make so much fun of us. When I would visit Louisiana Khodi would follow Kheli and me wherever we went. She was still pretty young and we would get annoyed that she was tagging along because she was pretty sensitive and Kheli could not keep herself from annoying Khodi. Many times Kheli would do something and I would take the blame just so she would not get into trouble. What are friends for. But trust, Tracie had no problems laying down the law. Of course, two teenage girls only pretended to listen. We would giggle about it later on. There was no doubt we were two peas in a pod.

At the age of 16 I got my first tattoo courtesy of us lying and saying Tracie was my legal guardian. It was easy to do. The next summer I got my second one. Once again, an easy feat for us. Tracie always promised me she would be the first to get me a tattoo and she did. Of course, the hearts I got, that were to look like the ones her and my sister got togther, turned out to look more like cherries. Now they look like cherries that just continue to grow. Kheli was so pissed I was getting a tattoo and she wasn’t. I think she pouted for a good two or three days. Then got pissed because I could not get in the pool.

One summer we all went to New Orleans. We had a blast. It’s the only time I’ve been. We were cramped in a small hotel room, but it just meant we were united closer together. Kheli and I talked about returning to New Orleans as adults – reliving the joys of days past. We never made it. We never relived those days.

I vividly remember my time in Louisiana. More so than many other things in my life. It was hard to leave each time, but I knew I would be back. I knew no matter where in this world I was Kheli would be there. When I turned 18 and prepared for college, life got busy and I lost touch with her. A few years later we were back in touch and it was like no time passed at all. Kheli and I travelled down two very different paths at that time in our lives. I continued with my education and she started having children. We were not far in distance at that time but life got in the way. We still talked multiple times a day but something always thwarted our plans to see each other. Once again life got busy, and our paths went in very different directions. We lost touch for several years and then one day there she was again. I still remember the first thing she said. “Hey Holls, missed you. Whatcha been up to?” Like no time passed at all. It was then we reconnected and our bond and our connection was deeper than it had ever been. We talked about life and all the great and horrible things that happened over the years. We reminisced about all of the fun we had. She was back. We were back. We stayed in constant contact. We talked about trying to plan time to see each other. It would take a few more years for that to happen. We lost contact briefly do to some things she had to take care of.

It had been more than 10 years, maybe closer to 15, by the time we saw each other again. July 2015 I finally saw my best friend again. I got to hug her, hold her, lean on her. We talked for hours. I scolded her, lectured her, praised her. She promised to enroll in school, stay clean, make something of her life. No more drugs. No more association with certain groups of people. Not long after she told me she was enrolling in school. I don’t know if she ever did or not. She told me she wanted to be a LCDC. I was proud of her and made sure she knew it. A few months after that, we had a huge blow up. An argument of epic proportions. The one thing I never did was lie to her. I told her like it was whether she wanted to hear it or not. It was that truth and honesty that led to her dramatic response and actions. I kept my promises to her. She may not have seen that herself but I did and do.

I long for the days when Kheli and I were naive to the harsh realities of life. Where the only care in the world was how much trouble we could cause Tracie. I long for the days when I looked forward to seeing her. I long for the days when we would giggle about all the mischief we got into. I long for my best friend. It doesn’t matter that I didn’t speak to her for a year and a half. I thought about her all the time. I wished for peace in her life. We were still connected. Our lives on different paths but our hearts still linked together by our bond.

I miss her now more than I ever have. I guess it’s because I know I will never hear her voice again. I will never see her face again. We will never get the opportunity to reconcile. She is on my mind every second of every day. I wake up thinking about her and fall asleep thinking about her. 25 years…my longest real friendship. No matter where we were in life or how different our paths we always found our way back to each other, but once. This time we never found our way back. We were never given the opportunity. The only hope I have is that she knew how immensely I loved and cared about her. There are many things I would do over if I could but I can’t. I hope she knew her friendship and love were enough. I never wanted perfection from her just her own happiness.

I miss you, Khel. I’ve got your 6. Forever and always.

The Struggle is Real

Struggle is real. We all struggle with something in life. The struggles make us stronger, right?! I’m currently facing some of those struggles. The one thing I thought I knew how to do was grief. Hell, I’ve done it so many times before. I’m pretty logical and rational when it comes to death. I view it with logic and reason. It’s a coping mechanism I have developed, I suppose. This time is so different.

When my brother completed suicide last July I was able to reason through it. I was able to look at it logically. I understood. Life was painful and despair and darkness took over. I have never been mad at him for that. I have never questioned why. I have accepted his decision. I am sad that’s the decision he made. I miss him. I accepted his death quickly. I grieve and mourn for him. I am learning to live life without him.

My friend…her death…it is breaking me. I have known and loved her for 25 years. She was the ying to my yang. She got me. She accepted me, no matter what. She did not judge me. She has been my best friend since the day I met her. Even over the years when we ventured apart we always found each other. Our link and bond never broken. This last time…our bond did not break but our links separated. I have always supported her and loved her. No matter what. That never stopped. This time…I could not support her. I could not support her addiction and that is what separated our links.

The last time I spoke to her she told me she hated me. She was done. I was just like her mother. I know that was not her talking but the drugs. It was not her sassy soul telling me all of this. It was her addiction. Either way, it broke my heart. I had to let her go and hope that she would come back to me ready to get clean. I had to have enough faith in her that she would find her way back. That she would find her way. That never happened. Her addiction won.

She struggled so much in life. I don’t think she ever knew peace. She had many demons. She was a follower. She wanted to be loved and accepted. That was her downfall. Her desire to be loved and accepted led her to a group of people that made her believe they loved and accepted her when in reality they used her. They helped her dive further into her addiction. They accepted her as long as she could give them something. And she did. She has struggled with addiction before but has been able to clean herself up. This time was different. She went further into her addiction than any of us have ever seen. She went to the depths of hell for her addiction. She never returned from there.

Khel was an amazing being. She had so much love in her heart. She had so much potential. She was just unable to get past her demons. The hardest part…the way our last conversation ended a year and a half ago. I never got the chance to tell her how proud I was of her in life. I never got to tell her how much I loved her. I never got to tell her that the storm would end eventually. All I could tell her was when she was ready to get clean to let me know. I had to protect myself and my life. I couldn’t let her leave my life in her destruction. I didn’t know how bad it got until last night. People talked about the lengths she went to to support her addiction. Things that happened due to her addiction. Where was I? I was tucked away in my comfortable life. I wasn’t there to try to direct her down a different path. I wasn’t there to remind her how amazing she was. I was nowhere to be found. I left her to walk down her dark path alone. For that, I will never forgive myself.

Her death is a reminder that I have failed two people in my life. My brother and now her. I failed my best friend. I failed one of the few people in my life that loved me for who I am. I could not save her. I could not protect her from this cruel world. I threw her a life preserver but it wasn’t thrown far enough. She could never reach it. My Khel was NOT supposed to lose her battle with addiction. They were NOT supposed to win. She was supposed to fight harder. She was supposed to come back to me. She was not supposed to leave me. She did.

I have lost many people in my life. I know grief. This is so much different. This is breaking me. This has broken my heart and shattered my soul. I did not think it would be this hard. I thought basically having lost her a year and a half ago it would be easier. I was “prepared” for this. I “prepared” myself for this day. I just didn’t think it would be so soon. I struggle when I think of the details of the day she died. It happened so quickly. It wasn’t supposed to happen, not to her. It was supposed to happen to all those bad souls out there. Not to one of the good ones. She was no angel but her soul was good. I don’t know how to say goodbye. I don’t know how to process that I will never get another phone call. I will never get the phone call with her saying, “Hey biff, I’m ready. Can you help me?” I will never hear her country-ass voice again. Drugs took ALL of that from me. The fucking doctor prescribing medication to addicts took that from me. More than anything they took all of it from her. They took her life. I don’t even know how to start the healing process this time. I am lost. I don’t think I’ve been this lost in a long time…