Today, ten years have passed since my best friend was killed, an event that quite obviously changed my life. I’ve written about it plenty here. Today doesn’t hurt like other anniversaries have, but you never stop wondering what might have been. As time passes and the closeness of many of my foundational mixed-gender friendships ebbs and flows, I wonder how ours would have grown or changed over the years.
I’m part of a morbidly gratifying group of amazing, successful, strong women here who collectively could accurately be called The Widowed Girl(space)friend Club, as we each have lost a husband, a boyfriend(s), a best friend(s). (Look for the stars…) These losses are somehow different (no better, no worse) than losing family, because you have this absurd sense that you chose this person and he still left you.
Ten years later, I still get fits of complete and utter madness at JB for leaving me. I don’t know if we would have fallen in love and how that might have played out—moving around, pursuing dreams, getting married?—or we might have remained platonic best friends for our whole lives. I will never know. And that’s not FAIR. It doesn’t matter that I’ve “replaced” him with more unconditional love than most people get in their lifetimes, that I get almost-daily facetimes from another cocky, womanizing, unconditionally-loving best friend, that I have friends so comfortable in our friendship that they will literally unlock my front door and come crawling into my bed at 2am without warning.
It doesn’t matter that plenty of things happened that might never have happened if I hadn’t taken seizing the day so hard to heart after his death, that I might not have dedicated myself to making friends, that I might not have moved to Aspen for love, that I might not have recaptured my sense of adventure. That’s not really fair either, because we’ll never know.
The not-knowing is sometimes hard. The longing for someone to carry me on his back is sometimes hard. But sometimes, I just miss JB. For who he was, for who we were, for who he made me.
And then I get sad and happy all at once because that’s how I know what unconditional love is.