By 9:06 AM

I haven't posted for a while and that's because I've been doing a lot of reflective meditation. Recently, a close friend passed away. This would make it the 5th friend within a year span. This one though, was a very close one, like a little sister... And about 2 weeks before that, a college friend passed away as well. Granted she was sick, it doesn't make it easier to process. For the first few weeks, I found myself digging through the archives to find all my photos of and with her, going through our old conversations, so desperately trying to relive the good times and not to forget her. And of course, the knowledge of the growing list of "Never again" realizations made me incredibly teary eyed when I wasn't bawling down the place.

When the first death happened last year, with Tony, I asked myself why. It was one of those deaths that didn't have to happen - likewise all that consequently followed. But they did pass away regardless whether it was preventable or not.

I've found myself looking within a lot more and having more conversations with God and taking a closer look at everything happening around me. The last year has had many deaths, not all literal, but each coming with their blow to the stomach, knock the air out of your lungs affect nonetheless. Each one surprising and shocking - like I said, because you can feel something coming doesn't mean it doesn't hurt and shock you when it happens. 

This last death though happened in such a funny way that I couldn't help but laugh a little looking back at it. I just left my "dream job" to pursue my heart's desire of being an artist in February. Filed my 2 weeks' notice and by midmonth I started my life's dream of being an artist - a real one, registered business and everything. My friend passed away roughly 2 weeks after her birthday, 2 weeks into March. I remember praying to God actively to give her health and strength to make it to her birthday, but I never envisioned she would pass away after. 2 weeks into the first real month of my new career, I found myself blindly booking a ticket and hopping a plane to Guyana to bid a final farewell in body because deep down, I know it's what she would've done. That was my motivating thought throughout this whole thing, "I have to do it, it's what she would do." 

While we had our fall outs as all friendships do, she was always there for me when I needed her and vice versa. Most of our conversations started with "I love you" so that if nothing else, regardless of vexation or not, know that the love is there when heated emotions subside. She was one of the most loyal friends I've ever had, in that I knew in all certainty, once she was able, she was willing to help me out in any situation. And I too, with her. Everyone has a crazy wild friend and while I'm that person to most of my friends, she's that person for me. She always had a bold, matter of fact approach to life. She did exactly what she wanted, said exactly how she felt and, even if she had any self doubt, approached school and work 150% energy... despite being sick for most of her life. I remember her telling me when she was 16 that would die young because of it but I didn't want to accept it. Now that it's happened, looking at her life story, at the path she's left behind for others, the lives she impacted upon from professors to the student body at the University, to past workmates, to people who've just interacted with her... She didn't go too soon - she served her purpose. She lived full, and taught everyone around her to be full of life and go hard at everything you do because you don't know when that day will come when you don't get that chance anymore. 

After she passed away, I was surprised at those I heard from and those I didn't. Over the last year I've learned the hard way that most times in a crisis, you're alone, and the person you find sitting next to you most likely is not the person you'd think.

Now that she's passed away, I'm sad. However, after looking back and going through everything, she told me everything that I needed to remember. In fact, there's things that only now, I understand. 

This past year of deaths has taught me...

  • Love everyone but don't give everyone all of you.
    I found myself emotionally exhausted - a lot - due to this. Often times, especially if we're kind hearted, we find ourselves giving more than we should to others who don't appreciate it. We operate as fillers for the time they need to pass, or lesson to learn or whatever. I've learned that if I'm emotionally exhausted, that I won't even have the energy to love myself to do the things I have to do. And not everyone has to know everything about you.
  • Give your energy where it grows. People who love you back, give some of their energy to you as well. Therefore the bond leaves you feeling good and happy, not insecure and feeling like you have to try harder. If in any relationship, platonic or romantic, you feel like you're fighting for the attention or to be appreciated or competing then... that is not a healthy situation. 
  • I've learned that it being unhealthy doesn't mean the person is bad, it could simply mean, I'm doing too much. Sometimes you simply have to match the energy you've been hit with. If it's 10%, then 10%, especially if it's been happening a while because... What's the point of investing more than that? The other person is giving 10% of themselves regardless of how much you put in.
  • Don't overinvest. Time is your most expensive resource. Who you choose to spend it with is your most expensive gift. It's important to examine your company and determine how much energy is to be given into the relationship. Relationships change at times, over time, sometimes. Other times, it could simply be we did a lot more than was asked for, more than the other person is willing to do. The latter is a personal decision of choice on spending. I still believe in acts of kindness regardless of returns, but I also believe in spending my time with those who show up without me having to ask, beg, persuade them to. If they can end up in other places without being begged or persuaded, then most likely I'm not their first choice of time investment and... that's ok.
  • Take note of who shows up in your down times and up times. I saw a meme circulating on Instagram and Facebook that says "Be mindful of 3 people: Who helped you in difficult times, who put you in difficult times, who left you in difficult times." So far, I've learned this to simply mean, expect the unexpected. The people who knew most intimately about my relationship with my friend, how I felt about her being sick, how I feel about death, I haven't heard from them at all. Who I have heard from are from people who remember seeing us around, giving us a ride here and there, hung out with us once or twice, etc. Most of these people are not even people that I speak to very often or regular... and they've checked in multiple times since. This period of quiet in my life has given me a chance to regroup and refocus and reexamine my direction, my purpose and my energies.
Or simply as from this list I found by Suresh

  • 1) People who are always with you no matter what happens to you
  • 2) People who are with you only when you are happy (or celebration time)
  • 3) People who are always with you when you are in need. These people give you emotional help. They are there with you days and nights when in need.
  • 4) People who are always with you and want to see you regress (or downfall)
  • 5) People who are praying for your downfall from behind you; You don’t see them. But they are watching you.
  • 6) People who puts you in trouble. They are smarts who always know how to escape a situation to put you in the hot seat.
  • 7) People who brings you out of trouble. These people differ from #3. They suggest you what to do and may also work with you to bring you out of trouble.
  • 8) People who praise before you and bitch about you from behind. These are dual personality people who you would not even think tal bad about you. But shit happens.
  • 9) People who always hates you no matter how nice you are to them. Dont know why but they are there.
  • 10) People who think you are good and want to see you grow personally and professionally. They believe in you and they stand by you.
  • 11) People who are role models for you in some categories of life.
  • 12) People who use your relationship (with them) to get their work done. They neither like you nor hate you but you are a means to their end :)

Because someone doesn't call or check in though, doesn't mean that they don't love you. But it does mean that there's a fair chance that you're both approaching the friendship with different energies or perhaps they have major things going on in their life that they haven't shared with you. Whichever the case is, tell those you love that you love them often, see them or speak to them as often as you can with our busy adult lives, and show up if you can regardless because you never know who is feeling overwhelmed, alone or unloved...

...And always pay attention.

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  1. Death is so final, but life is so dynamic. I miss every friend and hope I never lose another. But there are two realities to that wish. Everyone dies, reality one. Reality two, if you never lose a friend again before you die, then your probably the person who is going to die first in your group. Never forget those gone, but always celebrate those that are here.