How Death Ends a Life, Not a Relationship

In the past 23 years I have attended funerals at young ages, mostly of grandparents and relatives. And while each was heartbreaking, even then I could grasp death was a part of the cycle of life.

As I grew up, I began to see across social media friends losing people very close to them. I didn’t quite understand, why they felt the need to constantly share it across social media or talk about it. I naively thought they were seeking attention and sympathy.

Then one day. I got a phone call in July from my volleyball coach. She spoke with tears in her eyes, asking I sit down before we continue this conversation. Then said:

There has been an accident. Carly didn’t make it.

I couldn’t have heard her correctly. A million questions ran through my head, and just as quickly came out of my mouth, trying to understand how this could have happened?

Death is difficult because it comes bearing acceptance without logic or understanding.

And even to this day, I wonder why my friend/teammate/family, was taken from all of us. And I went though the motions, of days that blended together, in a whirlwind of tears and confusion. Next thing I knew, as quickly as she came and went, blazing a trail never to be forgotten within our hearts, suddenly the funeral was over. Suddenly I was sitting in my room alone. And the question came up, what am I able to do? Is there anything I am able to do?

I knew the only thing I was capable of doing, was keeping her memory alive. Because while people may get robbed of a full life, they stay alive in the hearts of those they touched, as we continue to walk this earth without them.

Contrary to my prior beliefs, when someone loses a loved one, I realize it isn’t for attention or sympathy.

We are keeping that person alive, in the only way we know how, by memorializing them, valuing them and talking about them.

When someone passes away, it isn’t our duty to move on with our life, as if they weren’t a vital component to it. It is our duty to take them with us for every step along the way.

Through the process of mourning, gaining acceptance, without understanding and living my life with her apart of it, I developed relationships with the people who were equally as touched by her.

Death has a way of bringing unlikely people together, and through that bond, we form relationships we never have would have. While I would give that all up, for one more day with my friend, I find comfort in her family becoming my own, her friends becoming my own, and walking along this journey knowing she is smiling and watching over us all.

While there is no way to understand what has happened, and we probably never will, we’ll find a peace of mind in knowing, for as long as we are alive they will be, in some way too.

They come into our lives and inexplicitly exit without goodbyes uttered. They acted as comets lighting up, everything about our world, before disappearing into darkness. They left us with memories that consume our pasts, and pull at our heartstrings. But the thing we must remember isn’t that they are gone but they are with us in every moment we want to take them along. Missing someone isn’t about how long it is since you saw he or she, but in the moments we do something and we wish they were right there with us.

For our lost loved ones, who weren’t privileged to live a whole life, something greater is bestowed upon them. Unlike the rest of us, they last an eternity.

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How Toxic Relationships Compare to Addictions

I think without ever actually realizing, he was breaking me under the surface.That’s what they say an addiction is, not actually knowing how bad the situation has come to. It’s not having any ability to see the effect.

But everyone around you does. “It’s not healthy,” I’d hear in a repetitive chorus.

It’s only when you admit you have a problem, can you get the help you need. But you have to want to change your habits in order to do that.

I don’t think I was addicted to him. I was addicted to the idea of what we could be.He painted these ideas in my head of a future. I believed every word.

But, this addiction wasn’t one that you can see with rotting teeth or marks on your arm. This addiction was invisibly destroying me from the inside out.

But, like every addict there comes a point where you see the affect of the destructive choices you make.

I stood realizing I welcomed loneliness more than I did company. I looked at a phone full of texts, I didn’t answer. I canceled more dates, than I’d go on. I dropped people without a single word, moments it was about to go right. I welcomed one-night stands, just so I could be the one to leave. I hurt people, just because I could and didn’t really feel bad about it.

And the only arms I ran to, were the same one’s that caused me to become this person I no longer recognized in the first place.

That’s what an addiction is, trying to find comfort in the same thing that destroys you.

Trying to put yourself back together becomes difficult, when do it with the thing that broke you.

Like every addict they go through withdraw at first. You miss it. You get consumed, by what you no longer have. You convince yourself you need it, yearning for just one more hit.

But, with time you learn to live without it or it’ll kill you.

Addictions aren’t always toxic substances. Sometimes toxic people can kill you in the same way.

While toxic people may not be what puts you six feet under, they kill something more about you. They kill a spirit within you.

The road to recovery is never an easy one. It’s never simply cutting them out. It’s never simply just getting better. It’s never a simple task to go back to the person you were, before you met.

Because, like any recovering addict, they know that person you were before will never be able to exist again.

There is a beauty, when you rise from the ashes of self-destruction. It’s only then you have the potential to be someone you never thought you could be.

The first step is wanting to become clean. It’s remembering that high you got off of them, didn’t even compare to the depths of the abyss you fell into when it wore off.

It’s making the decision you’d rather live, than live a life half alive. It’s realizing you deserve more.

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Dear Replacement: Featuring Alex Hobbs

This was one of the coolest things I think has happened to me in my career, this guy from California was so inspired by something I wrote, he wrote a song about it. It’s quite catchy!


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