Um. I miss you. A lot.
Today was a great day. I went to the the Artful Blogger's and Daisy's ceremony where they, along with 1,700 other people were admitted to the Illinois Bar. I was really proud.
Today, after the swearing in ceremony, Artful and his sister-in-law and I went to a little restaurant over by his condo. They had burgers. I had chili with lots of tabasco sauce. I truly don't know what food tabasco sauce wouldn't taste good on. We spent a bit of time telling the Sister-in-law little details of how we met. She either was really interested, or is the most gracious person in the history of life. I suspect a bit of both.
You died face down on a bed of a heroin overdose.
After lunch, we walked home in the rain, because none of us brought umbrellas. Truth be told, I don't really care about getting wet from the rain. I always end up looking the same. Sis-in-law left, and then Artful and I grabbed a cab back to our respective lawyerly jobs. Artful, for the first time, as a real attorney.
I remember two years ago. It was early in the morning and I was running off to class. And J called me. It was 7:00 am for me, so it was 5:00 am for her. Therefore, I knew something was wrong when I answered the phone, but for some reason, I played dumb anyway.
J: Hey sweetie. What are you doing?
Grace: Um... trying to get out the door and get to class.
J: Can you stop... for a second. And sit down and talk to me?
Grace: Yes. OK. I'm sitting down and talking to you. What?
J: He's dead. They found him today.
Grace: Of course he's dead. He's a junkie. That's what junkies do, they DIE. How many senior citizen junkies do you know? None, right? Why? Because JUNKIES. DIE. YOUNG. That's just the way it is. Junkies die. Um. How did he die?
J: Sweetie. No one knows. It was heroin. He was at his place in the desert. Some guy called and reported it. Can you skip class today? Do you want to come to L.A.? We'll buy you a ticket, ok?
Grace: No, thanks. I have a presentation due on abuse of subpoenas. I'm not going.
When I got to work this afternoon after the swearing-in ceremony, I walked into my office and there was this huge box on my chair. It was clearly a flower box. Apparently, it had caused quite some speculation in the office.
I opened the box, and there were two dozen of the most beautiful light purple long stemmed roses I had ever seen that Artful had delivered. OK. I actually had never seen light purple roses ever before. But, I'm certain the ones I got today were the most beautiful in the world. And also a bottle of the most perfect perfume ever tucked into the box. He was the one who was sworn in today. He was the one who deserved the lavish praise. Yet, he sends ME flowers. Awesome, right?
You were always so direct with your words. The one time I asked you why, you told me. You told me that heroin filled a hole in your heart that no person has ever been able to fill. I often have to remind myself not to take that too personally.
I was giddy all afternoon. Thinking of the way my life had changed since my fateful last year of law school, when every event that defines who I am today occurred. The good: J and E's wedding where I was the maid of honor and you were a groomsman, my last year of law school, final exams, traveling with Lilly and Kori, graduation, getting the only job I ever wanted, studying for the bar, passing the bar, traveling with Lilly and Kori more, starting my job. The bad: That one night in July, and, of course, your death.
"Phone died. Good night...talk to you tomorrow." That was the last I ever heard from you.
For the most part, life in Chicago is good now. Even though I've been ridiculously sick for the last week, and apparently I am still not better, things are good. I miss my Los Angeles life and my Los Angeles friends, but I am embracing and loving the life I'm making here.
Tonight I went out with VCU Girl, Squid, and the Dirty Hippie- three people who are fairly new in my life but who I now don't think I could live without. We had fun. We were saying goodbye to VCU Girl who is heading back to Virginia after volunteering on the Obama campaign. Oh, yeah. Senator Obama from Illinois is going to be president. I totally told you! Anyway, it was fun. We took a ton of pictures. Then, Dirty Hippie and I split a cab home. After I changed my clothes and walked the dog, I flipped open my computer to check my email. And there was your name, in the subject line.
"It is two years today since I got the dreadful news about ***. I can't bear to say the actual words. Two years of missing him and of trying to make sense of it. Time does not heal all wounds - at least not a parent's loss of a child. I know I have to turn this around somehow and make some sense of it all or do something positive in my son's memory. I just don't know what that is right now..."
I admit it. I forgot the anniversary of your death. I'm sorry. I'm really sorry. If it's any consolation to you, I spent the entire night puking. Don't get overly flattered, though, if dead people can even feel flattered. I don't think it was a result of my feelings of guilt. I think I'm just still sick. But I really do feel bad. And everyone in LA is gathering to celebrate your life and to party in your honor. I can't be there, because... well, I'm broke, and, as previously mentioned, sick.
Your poor parents. This must be so hard for them. I can't even imagine. How dark did your world get that you didn't think of them? Of your sister? Of any of us...
Whatever. That's not important anymore. You're dead now. You died face down on a bed of a heroin overdose in the middle of that sucky ass desert that you loved so much. Your dogs were adopted, and your condo was sold. The candy jar I gave you was certainly thrown into the trash, or perhaps given to Goodwill. Maybe it holds someone's loose change.
"Grace...you are so very...Grace. That's a good thing. By the way, you look sort of like a pretty alien." Thanks, I think. For that.
Maybe my forgetting the anniversary of your death isn't really that bad of a thing. I certainly would not nor could not ever forget you, so does it really matter that I didn't remember that one little thing, when I have everything else memorized? Or is this a sign? Is it just a prelude, to slowly and after many years, eventually forgetting the color of your eyes, or the sound of your laugh, or your sense of humor, or maybe even your name? I hope not.
But, who knows? I would have bet money that I would NEVER forget the significance of this day. But I did.
So, I guess all I can say is that today I remember the color of your eyes, the sound of your laugh, your awesome sense of humor, and of course, your name. I remember your kindness, and your strength, and your intelligence.
I also remember your dark side. Your sad side. Your weak side. Your tormented side. I hope you are at peace now. Wherever you are.
Sorry I forgot your death anniversary, but I could never forget your death. Or your life.
I wish I could have saved you.