Which is strange, because it is the only thing in the world that everyone has in common – that one day, you and everyone you love will die. But it’s still a taboo, and today that’s not okay with me.
Four years ago my friend died. It’s still not real.
I’m not in shock, or denial, but the reality, the finality, the unfairness of it all has hit me only a very few times, in moments like short bursts of light, flaring and breathtaking and all consuming. Those moments have taken my breath away. The enormity of that word – death – and all it encompasses are things that can only be felt, not spoken about, but it’s a very human thing to try to explain the inexplicable; this compulsive need to plumb the depths of life’s great mysteries.
She was here. She was a living, breathing part of this world. She was funny and pretty and smart and had so much hope. She was positive and sarcastic and biting and loyal. She didn’t take anyone’s bullshit. She was twenty. She was all those things.
She was here, she was alive. And then she wasn’t.
And then? The weirdest thing happened.
I got used to it.
I pushed all that enormous enormity aside and moved on. But – I’ve never forgotten. You never do forget the first thing which makes you realises that you have a soul and that it can hurt.
Annie will always be a part of me; she changed my life. How sad that it was only after she died that I could say that.
Annie I remember you. Your warmth, your light, your strength. Thank you for being my friend. What a privilege it was to have known you.
And so today I lay aside all other things. Tiny distractions, life goals, money troubles, DIY projects. Today is for you. Today is for you and all those who loved you. All those you loved.
But please don’t mistake me when I talk about today. Anniversaries are just our way of marking time, a way of coming together, an excuse for those who have trouble expressing themselves otherwise that you meant something to them. It doesn’t mean that I don’t think about you the other 364 days of the year. Not by a long shot.
Today is just the day where we get to say it out loud.