...today it's the latter.

Today was the third anniversary of the death of my best friend and frequent long term boyfriend, Colin. Opus to most others; Colin to me.

My very good and very insightful friend (who needs to move back home from Austin because I miss her too much) wrapped up how those of us who loved him deal with his death perfectly:

"sometimes it's easy and sometimes it's hard. ...today it's the latter."

He is the only person that I've ever been that close to that died young. Well, there are only a few people that I've been that close to, so that statement doesn't mean much, but you get the idea. Before his death I'd never really had to cope with the crippling, overwhelming feelings that come with the death of someone you really love. I spent a week in shock. I didn't even break down and cry until his funeral made it really real. I was sad, but I was really angry and guilty about being angry so I didn't really feel like I could talk to anyone about it. Everyone was sad, reminiscing about all of the good times they'd had with him, so many of which involved drugs. Those times just made me more upset. I also had such a different point of view on who he was. I'd lived with him for a year and a half. I'd been dating him or talking to him daily since I was seventeen. I knew the hope and dreams, the soft side, the Sunday morning pancakes side. So many people had been his friend, but so few of them even came close to knowing the Colin that I loved; how could I possibly relate to the stories that they told about him, the feelings that they had. I did, however, take comfort in the number of people regaling fond memories of him at the wake and the love for him that I saw all around me. Crying was good. Time was better.

Over the last three years I've spent a lot of time thinking about him and working through what I felt about him and what I feel about him. BF actually helped me figure out a lot of it, helped to make more of my days the easy ones rather than the hard.

But September eleventh will never be easy and it has nothing to do with airplanes or terrorists. It's a hard day, but it's a bittersweet day. It confirms for me that he will always be with me. I've had enough time to reflect on our entire relationship and see it for what it was. I can honestly say he was the first person I ever loved and that I never stopped and don't think I ever will. And I know that he loved me too...that it was really hard and really complicated, but he really saw me and really loved me. It feels good to be able to look back and see what was often hard to see from the inside. Today gives me an excuse to reflect on all of that again and even though it hurts, it's also an incredible release.

I think it's good to think about him - not just today, because I think of him often. I wish I could say it was still everyday, but I guess it's good that my life has gone on and given me enough to think about that he can take a healthy place in my mind. That I can still think of him often, but not be so conflicted about him that it's always there.

I'm so sorry that he had to go through so many things in his life and his death is, unfortunately, like a capstone for those feelings. I regret that he was unappreciated and misused by the people that were supposed to love him for so long that by the time we got to him there was just too much stacked against him for us to prove to him that he was better than what they mae him think he was, or wasn't. I regret that I wasn't enough to keep him from taking the path that he did.

I don't know if I'll ever be able to work through some of my feelings; the anger with him, with his mom and step dad, with myself for not being able to do anything, with him for being so damn stupid. Talking to him the week before he died about how badly he wanted to come home and get his shit straight, get school started, have a normal life and kick the coke addiction; it'll stay with me forever. Was it his way of asking for help? Was there anything I could have done? Then or anytime in those four years? I can deal with sad. I'm good at dealing with disappointment and all of those "I wish he was here" feelings. I've lost enough in my life so far to be able to accept loss pretty easily. Three years has given me plenty of time and opportunity to understand and deal with my sadness that he is gone. It's the other feelings that haunt me.

I miss him. I'm mad at him for not being here, for wasting such potential. But I love the memories that I have of him. I can still feel him and smell him and call up his face and his voice whenever I want to. It's that ability that makes so many days easy. It's also that ability that makes today bearable, not overcome with the regret, anger, and disappointment. But damn, it's still hard.

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