I am counting down the days to the second anniversary of when you died, which, to put it bluntly, feels like shit most of the time. One of the many things I recently had, well, let’s just say used to have and no longer have, was the birthday candle you gave me on the last belated-birthday of mine I spent with you.
You promised me when you saw me I would get a candle to wish on, I think because I hadn’t had a cake or whatever that year, and you were a person who actually did things like that instead of just talking about them. You gave it to me to keep after I blew it out, and I held onto it for the birthdays we were apart.
That is it in the semi-grainy photo above.
I was looking at this picture of the candle I don’t have any more, and trying not to think about the reason I no longer have it and how painful it is to have lost some of the few small things I have left from you, and thinking about you insisting I get a birthday wish, and how we would push each other to find some way to be positive in the midst of pain, and I tried to make a list of things I wish for. And put it aside for a while. In part because what I wrote just seemed cheesy as shit. In part because at the time I wasn’t consciously thinking how soon your anniversary was, and shied away from the reminder.
And now, as I am heading into the week when two years ago you went into the hospital and then died, there is no forgetting. Just the hard reality that when you died, I felt like I lost the last meaningful piece of home and family I had left, and without you, the person who I always had to see me through grief, I am trying to get through your loss alone.
I am going to try to do this, because it seems like a thing you would want me to do, and your perspective tended to be better for me than my own. And I am going to do my best to be honest, since when I give other people advice, I tend to say to start with your ideal, even if your ideal is impossible, since falling short of your ideal is bound to be better than falling short of a compromise. So, you know, if you want to go to Hogwarts, own it. Maybe you will end up going to a Hogwarts-themed hotel. Or a non-magical boarding school.
Okay, no bullshit, no holding back, what do I wish?
First and foremost, I wish you were alive, Kath. I wish I had you to talk to. I wish I still had your voice. I wish I still had your strength to lean on. I wish that you had more happiness in your life. I wish you had known just how much better you deserved. I wish you had never suffered. I wish you really knew – that if you are, as you believed, still somewhere, that you know – I loved you, love you, more than I could ever express, more than my own life. I wish that you are still looking out for me like you promised you would. I wish that you are somewhere, anywhere, so long as that is what you want. I wish that I had gotten to say goodbye. I wish all of your last messages hasn’t been lost. I wish that I hadn’t been too sick to talk for the last weeks you were alive. I wish I had been in a better place in your last months. I wish you had been in a better place in your last months. I wish we’d had time to talk all that shit out. I wish I had finished your Christmas gift early. I wish I hadn’t thought you’d fallen asleep and I had texted “I love you” like we always did at the end of a conversation, instead of worrying I would wake you when you weren’t feeling well. I wish you had called me one last time. I wish I’d had anyone who gave a shit about me with me when I lost you. I wish someone would have had the decency to call to tell me, instead of finding out my sister was dead in a fucking text message. I wish you’d known what an unbelievably special person you were, I wish you had believed it, I wish you had loved yourself more. I wish every asshole who ever hurt you was felled by an epidemic of a virulent, mutated strain of super crabs that only strikes terrible people, with all of the embarassing details published in their obituaries. I wish someone will give me my fucking candle back. I wish I could have saved you somehow.
Besides missing you, and wishing better things for you, and wishing for your miraculous return, and wishing fatal crotch crabs on anyone who did you harm, what else do I wish for? This is the harder part for me, but the part I imagine you encouraging me to think about, so onward into the uncomfortable territory. What else do I really want for myself?
I wish this headache will go away. I wish my sinuses will get better. I wish my hands will fully heal. I wish my hard drive will be returned. I wish my anxiety will disappear. I wish my grief will be comforted. I wish for this to be the day I begin to see the reality rather than the possibility of people who have done harm making sincere and lasting change for the better. I wish for remorse, for sincere apology, for amends. I wish for justice. I wish the people I love who spent years causing me grief will turn it around and become kinder people, and for more benevolent motives than a fear of being struck by mythical doomsday crabs. I wish for my own safe home. I wish for the calm and strength to get through the things I need to do but really, really don’t want to. Hell, I wish for no need for strength because those things become irrelevant without me having to do a damn thing. I wish for the swift and easy end of every problem plaguing my days. I wish for that to happen immediately and continue indefinitely. I wish for my life to become full of people who share your kindness and loyalty and understanding and ability to truly love, who I love and who love me in return. I wish to rediscover my voice and never feel it lost again, in life and on the page. I wish for more time and energy and space and materials to make art. I wish for joy in all my days. I wish for luck, success, safety. I wish for more laughter. I wish to be able to travel again, soon. I wish for my next travels to take me to happier experiences than my last did. I wish, quite frankly, that a fuckload of money will rain on me, because it would make a lot of my life a hell of a lot easier and more pleasant.
I wish for all I wish to come true faster than I can hit “publish” on this thing – and if it doesn’t, for it to come true soon after. I wish to be done with waiting and worrying. I wish to go forward from this moment into as happy a life as I can have without you in it. I will always miss you, I will always love you, and I will always try to make the most of the life I have left because I get to live when you wanted to so badly…but I could use a lot of help, and for a lot of things to change for the better. I wish for this naming of the things I wish for to be the start of that.
And, since you always loved a good communal positivity exercise, I wish that if anyone reads this and is going through their own shit and thinks it might be useful, they will make a list for themselves. And if they are lucky enough to have someone in their life like you, someone loved and trustworthy, they share it with that person, and find some support in realizing as many wishes as they can.
I wish like hell you were here to share this with.