I lost a friend last week. As do most of us, I get a little weird when death comes walking by. I feel as if I don’t have the right to grieve when the person who died was no longer close to me. Is it really “my loss” when they weren’t exactly around in my everyday life? Isn’t that selfish? I begin over-analyzing every cliché and thought that comes with the idea of losing someone. But I know that’s silly and futile, and I move my thoughts on to the celebration of who they were and why I will always remember them, in the most graceful way I can. At least I try.
Honestly, I don’t know if I’m writing this to be a blog, a piece of my personal journey, or where it will go if anywhere. But I feel compelled to write and see where this train of thought takes me.
I lost a friend who hadn’t been close to me for many years. It was someone who was crucial in giving me the confidence and inspiration to be who I really was in a difficult time in my life. Someone who meant a lot to me for the short time we were close, who I hope remembered me fondly every so often, as I did them. I think she was important to me in high school because I was struggling with my identity a bit as a girl who was dating other girls- and she gave me the confidence to not only feel okay doing it but to know that it was okay. That was a part of who I was, and it wasn’t wrong. It was just me. She gave me the strength to be unapologetically myself, as she was herself. My life was better in that time because she was in it. We went to class together, we hung out together, and we went to a crazy party or two together.
I also think she was so important to who I was because it was the last year I was ‘just Malorie’. The following year, I started dating my then-boyfriend who later became my husband. I have a new identity with Damian. I have grown and evolved as we became a team and moved throughout life that way. But this friend, she was one of my closest friends throughout that last year that I was ‘just Malorie’. Before I became the Malorie I am with Damian. Perhaps, that’s the other reason she was so important.
Then, we grew apart as she went to another school. Though, I did watch from afar as we re-connected on social media years later. I watched her struggle through hard times. And then I watched as this person transitioned into who they really were all along. He became who he was finally meant to be. He got the job he always wanted, and he began succeeding. It’s such a wonderful feeling watching someone who you have known struggle for years finding themselves and living their best life. And it’s such a hard fall when they lose their life in the prime of it. I don’t think it’s my place to feel angry for him. But I do wish he could have continued to succeed and live his best life- for a lot longer. The person I knew deserved that chance.
But I guess what I can do is allow him to live on in my memory and honor who he was and who he had been. To think of him every so often. To smile when I do. And to know that I am a better person from having known him. That he was influential in giving me the confidence to be myself in a crucial time in my life. Back when I was ‘just Malorie’ and before I became who I am today.