When I was younger, I was in a really serious relationship...we dated for almost 2 years and everyone (myself included) thought we were it for each other. We were best friends for years before that friendship blossomed into a relationship, and despite being a young hopeless romantic teenager, I knew I loved him. One day, after being caught up in how fantastic it was to be together, he asked me to marry him. There was no ring yet, but he was so sure he wanted to be with me forever that he couldn't wait to talk about it. He had a plan, he wanted to get married on March 14th because 14 was such a great day for his family. His sister's birthday is November 14th, his is January 14th, Valentine's day is February 14th, and he knew how much I hated winter so December 14th was not an option.
As happy as I was for his enthusiasm, I never really enjoyed that span of time during the year. First off, he was so right -- I hate winter, I absolutely hate being cold. Second off, it started with my step-dad's grandpa...we lost him in April several years ago now. For a few years after that something always seemed to go wrong in March and/or April. I remember because it always affected Jeff's Birthday on the 12th of April. A few years later, Valentine's day would be the beginning of the tragedy. February 14, 2008 is when I got the phone call that would crush my life as I knew it. "I know the word 'cancer' is scary, but I'm going to fight it..." daddy said that night. It was one long and tired month later when at 1:25 am March 14th Daddy went to be with the lord. His funeral fell on Easter Sunday that year...ever since, I never really looked at Easter the same, it just didn't seem right to share that day of rejoice with my father's death.
Two years later, I spent the anniversary of his death unpacking in my new apartment in Glendale (Denver). Ryan could tell I was upset I couldn't spend the day with my sister, so he suggested we go do something I loved in honor of my dad. Because of that day and that suggestion the world has some pretty amazing photographs of Ry's last month -- he always loved being my model. Easter came around and it was still a difficult holiday, as is every holiday when a girl misses her daddy. I came to Greeley to be with my family and Ry begged me to let him spend the day with Stan, the older gentleman from his apartment complex here, who was going to be spending it alone. The day was fine, we both had a good time where we were at, ended the day by stopping by his ex girlfriend's house for something of his which made me very uncomfortable and upset...but the drive home he spent reassuring me that she was nothing to him anymore, he moved with me & signed a lease with me for a reason.
If I could have even imagined the events that would take place that very next night, I would have done so many things differently. When he quit answering me, I knew I should have called police and had them go first. I thought about calling my neighbors and asking them to check our apartment, but I second guessed my gut feeling. There were so many times as I was about to dial 911 because he had quit talking for hours after seeming so sad that he finally woke up from his nap and text me, I knew it had been a rough morning for him...I guess I was hoping that he just went back to bed and was avoiding the world under the covers like I did so many times before.
However, the reality is still there. Despite the scenarios I wish could have happened instead, the ultimate scenario change would of course be to have been there in time to stop him from ending it all.
April 5, 2011 will mark an entire year without Ryan...I still most days can't wrap my mind around where that year went, some days it feels like just yesterday I was waking up on my parents couch, reaching tiredly for Ryan, trying to tell him about the awful dream I'd had. I've come a long way since that night, struggles still find me and I can feel the Devil's grip on both arms sometimes, fighting with all his might to drag me down and live in the darkest corners of my mind, but he won't win.
I'm far from perfect, but I'm deserving of the life I have -- no one will take that from me.
All my love,