It’s a Saturday morning. Tonight the Olympics end. Long two weeks for sure, full of joy and heartbreak. It’s the first Olympics I’ve “worked” without actually being there. It’s possible I might be thinking “if I’m going do that much work and not be able to host Olympic watch parties, I should be there.”
But the Olympics aren’t on my mind right now.
You know what is? My friend, Charlie. (that’s her in the back right at a silent disco, of course)
She’s on my mind for no particular reason. I mean, our last text exchange was yesterday when I sent her a TikTok about dicks and she responded “Hahahaha.” “Yes.”
Earlier, she had texted “I’m in the Springs and I so wanna see you…but I’m probs super contagious still.” No, it’s not Covid. Look, she loves me AND respects my health.
But the last seven months have been one of the greatest periods of change and growth post-loss, and it’s because of her.
It’s because she tells me I’m beautiful all the time. That she reminds me I’m amazing and worthy of anything I want. She has her own struggles and trauma, and she spends a lot of time being my cheerleader.
You know what’s weird? Charlie didn’t even know me very much pre-loss. She was in our nerd circle, but we weren’t close at all. I wasn’t sure what I thought about her. Looking back, I should have known better because Adam liked her a lot, and Steve liked her a lot, and their judgment was always important to me.
She went out of her way to help Adam and me with finding help in the last year of his life … and at that EXACT same time she was experiencing trauma I can’t fathom. She looked out for Adam. He really appreciated your time and friendship that summer, Charlie.
After he died, she moved in for awhile, and our shared trauma and grief was a key component of how I survived. I’ll never forget this one moment when I had a bunch of people over. Something in what we were watching triggered me and I left the room quietly. Somehow she knew, and she followed me upstairs. She just put her hand on my back. Didn’t have to say anything.
Charlie is the one person in my life who knows everything. Like everything. I can tell her anything, the most personal shit. And she doesn’t judge; she laughs and sympathizes. Ok, sometimes she judges because she wants to protect me. And she’s usually right. She’s much better at boundaries than I am.
You see, Charlie knows my tendencies. She knows I have this deep desire to “help” people. She knows I’m gullible and naive sometimes, and that shit is going to bite me in the ass. She knows I take in strays out of some weird desire to save someone because I couldn’t save Adam. But as we know, I’ve been taken advantage of a couple of times. She stands in front of me to say “stop that bullshit.”
She’s the one who tells me all the time “you deserve better. Don’t waste your time.” I’m dumb and I don’t listen. But she waits me out because she knows I’ll get over it. She knows I want to do everything and see everything and feel everything, knows I can be fragile and strong.
Sometimes I don’t listen because I don’t want to waste time. Not waste “my time.” Those of us who have experienced loss and come out the other side better sometimes just want to “do, do, do” and we don’t stop and think about the consequences.
2021 has been hilarious and fun and sad, and so much of it is because of her encouragement. So, I just wanted to say “thank you.” I have so many great stories to share because of you. You’re a compass who keeps me on track to take care of me. No one makes me feel as beautiful as you do. It’s just so sad we like men so much.
And because of her, and her support to be braver, I’m ready to do some things.
So, I’m going to end this with a request for help. I’m ready to really clear out stuff in the house. You know the stuff. There’s still so much here that I need to let go of. But I feel so overwhelmed and I don’t want to do it alone.
So if you are a local friend and read this, text or message and say you will help. Because I will cry a lot. But I gotta do it. I’ll provide the food. The drink. The music. Also, the drunker you get me, the more likely I’ll be able to throw away stupid stuff.
Oh, and I’m really ready to travel. I’m going to use my PTO and my vacation like you wouldn’t believe, so get ready. I’m gonna go to Michigan to see the Harvaths; Seattle to see Christie; Amy and Carolyn in Atlanta, the Currys in Texas, Jana in Minnesota, Elizabeth and Lisa in San Diego, Annie and Kelly in San Francisco, Karen in D.C., J.R. in Mexico when he’s settled for awhile. I’m sorry if I didn’t mention you. But I’ll come there, too. And I really need to go somewhere I’ve never been just by myself.
And, who wants a weekend in Vegas with me? CHARLIE!!!!! Let’s go to Vegas!