Saturday, January 15, 2011

Post 22- Day 3 Something to Forgive Yourself For

Dear Journal,

This post was extremely hard to write for me. I have several things that I need to forgive myself for but one of the things is the most difficult. As I sit to write this I can't see through the tears. I cant see past the past tonight and Ive been dwelling on it for the past week. My friend Heather had to hear story after story about Brian as we drove to Ohio. Ever since I started this challenge, ever since I read the third question, I knew, absolutely, what I would be writing about. And my heart is tight. And my eyes are swollen. And I suddenly cant breath. I didn't realize I was holding my breath. Letting go. Can I? Can I forgive myself? I know that this is something I have to forgive myself for. But knowing I have to and actually doing it are two very different things. The weight of the guilt and the pain drove me to such a grief that I was hospitalized for a week after it happened. I failed to live. I didn't eat. I didn't drink. I didn't sleep. I didn't live. I just was. And I was. And I was. Until I was hospitalized. Extreme grief. Not attempted suicide, was my diagnosis and the reason I was kept in the hospital. I didn't attempt suicide because, quite frankly, I didn't have the energy or the capability to do anything but be after this event took place.

I cant put into words the anguish I feel as I write this.

Day 3. Something to forgive yourself for.

Forgive yourself.



Can you?

Dear Rebekah,

It is not your fault. It is not your fault and you need to let it go. It is not your fault Brian is dead. It is not your fault. It is not your fault. It is not your fault…Forgive yourself and move on.


On that October 8th my life changed forever.

When I started college I felt like I was on top of the world. I felt normal. My past, my abuse, foster care, none of that mattered. I was normal. I was a normal kid, living in a normal dorm, doing normal things.

But I am not normal.

I am extraordinary. By every definition of the word.

And so I ran and was elected to student government. My first semester of college. I wrote for the college paper, I rushed and received a bid for my first choice sorority. I excelled in academics and was awarded a full scholarship. I joined ROTC. I was the most active a person could possibly be.

Because… I was loved. Instead of being told I was a failure and yelled at, I was uplifted, encouraged and hugged. Daily. By my best friend.

I rushed the sorority that was the most social with his fraternity. He was a student senator. He was a Christian. He volunteered his time with the Red Cross. His belief in God was all encompassing. He didn't get drunk, he didn't have sex, yet he was a fraternity boy.

His adorable smile, his sparkling eyes, made my day. He and I would sit on the hill and talk until the night was gone and morning had come. We would discuss philosophy, we would discuss God, we would discuss superficial things. We spoke about our love lives. We spoke about our families. He was one of the only people on campus that knew my secrets, and I trusted him completely.

"I will never leave you." He said the words over and over. "I won't disappoint you." He told me, "I love you." Over and over. Daily. Promises that we would forever be friends, I found a family in him. I had security. I had it all.

He lied.

We spent so much time together our significant others began to hate the other, resent us for being together. We laughed over inside jokes that no one else could even possibly understand. We slept together, but never had sex. We just cuddled in our small dorm room beds. He brushed my hair. I held his hand. We whispered our dreams to the stars together. And looking back, how naïve I was, to believe that we were just friends, we were never just friends, we could never be just friends, because we were soul mates.

I knew we were soul mates the night he kissed me. A kiss that would be our first and our last. That kiss, no one knows about, I have never told anyone about, until now.

That night we went to dinner at a friend's house. It was a typical Friday night. My boyfriend, Mike was there and Brian's ex girlfriend, Jana was also there. I spilled food all over Brian's pants. He ended up changing into our friends pj bottoms. White with large pink lips. It was all pretty comical, and typical, my friends can tell you that I spilled a lot. There were a lot of hard conversations that took place that night. I know, Brian and Jana argued. I know, Mike and I argued. I know that as I sat in front of Shrek, and Mike was in a bedroom comforting Jana, that I felt enraged.

Brian brought me a bowl of ice cream. A huge ice cream sundae he had made. Told me to smile. I guess I always knew Brian loved me.

He showed me with music.

He used to sing and be so silly with songs. Brian Adams, Summer of 69. Garth Brooks, She's Every Woman. Good Morning Beautiful. We passed notes at senate meetings. No kidding. College Student Senate meetings and we were passing notes like little kids in elementary school.

That night… he decided on Mr. Big. "To Be With You." I cant hear that song without crying. I cant hear that song without getting sick to my stomach, without feeling punched.

Because, it was our last first kiss.

We went for a walk. We walked around the block. In November. In Illinois. He was in pajama pants. But we walked. We talked about Jana and Mike. We talked about his dad, the amount of pressure Brian was feeling. We talked about Greek rush. We talked about a Christian retreat we had gone on and how we felt that Greek life was trashed at it. We talked about the future. We talked about the past. Then we talked about us.

"What's wrong Brian?" I asked him. I remember clearly where we were. I stopped and stared at him. I felt the elephant in the room. I felt the pause. I felt the hurt. I knew, something wasn't right.

"How long?" He asked me, "How long are we going to play this damn game with everyone?" I didn't understand. I pretended not to understand. He never spoke like that. He never used that language... and I understood. I asked. And he started singing. I got angry. I didn't want him to sing. I wanted to know. What was he talking about?

"I'm the one that wants to be with you. Deep inside I hope you feel it too."

He kissed me. Tilted my head back and kissed me. It was so soft at first but then got angry, hurt, violent almost in the intensity. It was amazing. It rocked me to my core. I started crying. I pushed him back. I told him to stop, so he did.

I didn't want to lose what we had. I didn't want to lose our friendship. I didn't want to lose him.

And I lost. Everything.

Brian didn't understand. It wasn't that I didn't love him. It wasn't that I didn't want to be with him. It was the fear of losing him. Of not being able to go back. Go back to what we had. Go back to the connection, the fun, the trust we had in each other. Relationships didn't work. I didn't think it would work. I didn't want him as a boyfriend. I wanted him as my everything. I wanted things to stay the same.

And they didn't. They shattered.

We walked back silently. He got into the car. He said, "Im sorry." I figured… I figured it was for kissing me. He said it again. He said goodbye. He drove away.

Mike demanded I tell him what Brian was sorry for. I did. We went back to Mike's dorm room and fought. And fought. And fought some more. Over Brian. Mike wanted to punch him. I wanted to go to Brian, something was calling to me. It felt unnatural, it felt wrong, it felt off. I knew something was very wrong. I knew it. I knew deep inside and I wanted to go check on him.

I told Mike that. But I stayed for a few more minutes, to argue with him, I was stupid. I choose a man who meant nothing to me, over the man who meant everything to me. I wanted to go and Mike told me if I left him, if I went to Brian it was over. I tried convincing him when Brian didn't answer his phone, I tried pleading with him. My heart said something was wrong. I choose my boyfriend over my best friend. I rolled the dice and I lost everything.

While we were fighting Brian took his life. He hung himself.

"Get over yourself Rebekah." Let me be very very clear here. I don't believe he killed himself because of me, or me not kissing him back. I don't believe for one second his death was about me as much as it was about a billion other things going on. Jana. His parents. School. Fraternity. Church. Senate. Volunteering. Friendships. Life. Soccer. Temptations.

I knew Brian. I believe I knew him better than most people did. I believe our connection was strong, very strong, strong enough to deal with all the pressures and stressors. I don't believe he planned it, although hindsight is twenty twenty and we all sat there and tried to analyze the signs after the fact. We all tried to find a reason for his death.

Brian and I had spoken about suicide. Both of us had spoken about times we had thought about it, contemplated it, wished for it in our lives. Both of us said we would never leave the other one. We had a pact. We would stay alive because of and in spite of our pasts and the pain. After all, with the support of each other our futures were bright.

And he lied.

He was selfish.

He broke my heart.

He killed himself.

It was Brian who made the ultimate decision to commit suicide. It was Brian's actions, not mine, not anyone else's that ultimately caused him to say goodbye to this world.

I understand that.

Rationally, I know. It was NOT my fault. I did not put the rope around his neck. I did not.

But… I KNEW. I knew something was wrong. I knew that he wasn't ok. I knew something was going on. And my heart broke and I wanted to go to him. I needed to go to him.

I went to him.

Too late.

I made a bad choice.

I didn't follow my heart.

I could have saved him.

I could have gone to him sooner.

I could have been there before his last breath was taken.

But instead I decided to fight with a boyfriend. A boyfriend, who I would date on and off for years, I would eventually be engaged to and then write off. A boyfriend, who at my best friends funeral, broke up with me and hit on Jana. A boyfriend who had hit me and cheated on me and lied to me countless times in our relationship. A boyfriend Brian hated. For good reasons. I made the choice to stay and fight for him instead of going to the loving, amazing, supportive, and good man that was my best friend.

I let him die.

I let him hang.

I let him suffer.

I left him alone.

What if? What if I had gone to him. What if I had stayed with him? What if I had told him I loved him back? What if? What if doesn't do a damn bit of good.

There is nothing of Brian left for me but photos and memories.

And songs.

And regrets.

And blame.

I blame myself.

Day three: Something to Forgive Yourself For

Answer: Brian.

The lyrics to this song are very very different now than they were back when Brian sang them to me.

To Be With You Lyrics

Hold on little girl
Show me what he's done to you
Stand up little girl
A broken heart can't be that bad
When it's through, it's through
Fate will twist the both of you
So come on baby come on over
Let me be the one to show you

I'm the one who wants to be with you
Deep inside I hope you feel it too
Waited on a line of greens and blues
Just to be the next to be with you

Build up your confidence
So you can be on top for once
wake up who cares about
Little boys that talk too much
I've seen it all go down
Your game of love was all rained out
So come on baby, come on over
Let me be the one to hold you


Why be alone when we can be together baby
You can make my life worthwhile
And I can make you start to smile

When it's through, it's through
Fate will twist the both of you
So come on baby come on over
Let me be the one to show you

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