Sunday, May 9, 2010

A Love Story

Since I am starting a new chapter of my life with this new job tomorrow and since my ex is now dating a 19 year old, I've been thinking a lot about the past. It started with thoughts like "what was I like when I was 19" and I seriously could not remember. All I could remember was that all my emotions back then seem so heightened. Everything felt like the end of the world if it didn't work out. But that could be because I had just experienced my life changing moment 2 years before that.

My life changing moment was when Josh was killed in a car accident. It is still the one thing I will never forget. So far he was the love of my life. I had butterflies from the moment I met him. It was a week before prom. I had just scored my first goal on the varsity soccer team that week. We were all over at a friends house. Some of my friends had told me about Josh before that night and they thought he would be perfect for me so I think they arranged for him to be there.

I remember the first time I saw him. We were at a friend's house that was out in the country so whoever he had rode with had a hard time finding it. My friend Jill offered to go meet them at the gas station up the road so they could follow us back. I jumped at the chance to ride with her so I could scope him out before I had to actually talk to him. I remember seeing him standing beside the car waiting on us and I thought he was sooooo cute! The whole way back to the house I was so giddy and wondering if he would like me too.

I remember he congratulated me on my first goal on Varsity. He played soccer too...but he was MUCH better at it. He made Varsity as a freshman and later that year he would be unanimously voted to be the Varsity Captain as a junior. I was smitten.

Like I said it was a week before prom and I already had agreed to go with a friend who asked me. That friend was also there that night. But now I wanted to go with Josh. I HAD to go with Josh. So I got Jill to go ask the friend if he would mind terribly if I asked Josh to go with me instead. To this day it is one of the most selfish, meanest things I have ever done, but I wouldn't have changed it for the world. The friend could see how much I liked Josh and agreed. So a week later Josh and I went to prom together.

A month later we were in love. I have saved every card and love letter he ever sent me and I still have the ones I sent him (his mom gave them to me after he died. He had saved every one too.) I still re-read this poem he wrote for me when I feel Un-lovely or un-loveable. He gave this to me before school was even out, so less than a month in to our relationship:

I can't describe my feelings well
But I must share some of them.

You have filled my mind full of luscious thoughts;
You are like no other.

You sting like a bee,
but your poison mesmerizes me like the arrow of Cupid.

You are like a lingering kiss
that is as sweet as Strawberry Wine.

Your appearance is more glorious than beauty itself,
but I have a feeling you have a secret garden inside that is unthinkable.

You are my knock out punch

You are the ticket into my heart

You have everything I will ever need or want.

You are my Juliet.


From there it was many more love notes and cards between the two of us. We spent as much time as possible together that summer. He went on a 2 week trip out west and I thought I was going to die. He sent me 2 postcards while he was gone that I still have. I got him a little gift each day he was gone and gave them to him when he got back. He brought me back lots of gifts too and a dream of starting a sheep farm together when we were old and married.

Right before school started that year Josh's best friend's girlfriend was killed in a car accident. It was a shock to all of us. We had been on double dates together and Josh's friend was one of my closest guy friends. We both didn't know what to say to him. We were all so in shock. I remember seeing him crying outside in the parking lot at the wake and Josh went and gave him a hug. I had never seen someone that sad.

After the funeral Josh and I talked about what we would do if one of us died. I told him I couldn't live without him. I would probably have to kill myself. He said "No, don't do that." I said "well, what would you do?" He said he would build a monument in my honor. He would get my soccer number tattooed on himself and he would never ever forget me for as long as he lived. Never ever in a million years did I think this conversation would haunt me for the rest of my life.

October 31st was a Friday. We had an away game that night and as a cheerleader I had to go to that. Josh had sent me a "secret admirer" Halloween treat bag to my last class. We were walking out to our cars together. As we were walking I was holding on to his arm and putting a spider ring I found in the treat bag on his finger. We were laughing and joking and sharing the candy together.

I had a few hours before the bus left for the game and I was begging Josh to come over to hang out with me before I had to go. Josh was stressed. He was taking all the honors level classes and it was soccer season. His mom had also just had a cancer scare and she also had a crazy stalker ex-boyfriend situation going on. He told me he had to get home. I asked what he was going to do that night for Halloween and he said he might go out with his friends. I was so hurt that he could hang out with his friends later but couldn't hang out with me then. He said he was sorry and that he would call me later. I looked at him and said "You'll call me?!?" and gave my best angry/pouty face and got in my car and left. I hate that I left in anger and didn't resolve the situation better before driving away because that would be that last time I ever saw him.

He got in a head on collision with a transfer truck on his way home. I didn't find out about it until hours later after the game. Another cheerleader who I wasn't really friends with came up to me and said "Do you remember those ambulances we heard when we first got to the game?" I said yes. She said "Well, that was Josh. He got in a wreck and died." I said "Josh who?" I never in a million years thought it was my Josh. The syllables of his last name seemed to come out of her mouth in slow motion and suddenly it felt like the ground had been ripped from underneath me. I dropped my bag and pom poms and anything else I was holding and just melted to the ground screaming and sobbing.

It was the longest bus ride I had ever had in my life to get back to the school. I was crying but I just kept thinking there had to be a mistake. If only I could get to him!

When we got to school my parents were waiting on me. I barely said hello to them and rushed to where people were getting off the band bus. I found one of his friends and asked him if he had heard. He said he hadn't and that it had to be some kind of mistake.

But when I got back to my parents they told me Josh's mom had called and wanted me to call her. They told me it was true. I still didn't believe them. But when I called his mom, she told me "He's gone". She told me the boys would come pick me up if I wanted and they were all at her house.

They came and got me but when I got there, I saw his truck. He had driven his dad's truck to school that day and I knew that, but seeing his truck in the driveway, I thought he's here. Everything has to be okay.

But it wasn't. He was gone.

That night I asked his mom if I could sit in his truck for a few minutes. I sat in my seat on the passenger side and laid my head on the seat of the drivers side. Often I would do this when riding with Josh on our way home. He would run his hand along my head and it was the most safe, secure feeling in the world. (Even though it total wasn't...imagine if we would have gotten in a wreck together like that!?) I laid there and all my safety and security was gone. I cried my eyes out until someone finally came and got me.

I cried for days, weeks, months, years...It was the deepest sadness I have ever felt in my life. I was suicidal. I stopped wearing my seat belt and drove recklessly. I envisioned getting a gun and going to his grave and just ending all right there.

Since this was the second death in my group of friends in less than 3 months, I thought someone was bound to be next and I wanted it to be me.

But it wasn't. It was Josh's mom.

After the funeral she seemed fine for the first few weeks. I would go over to see her and go through his things. But one day, she wasn't ok. She was in bed and I remember standing in her room and she asked me how I could go on without him. Inside I wanted to scream "I can't! Everyday I just wish it would be over!" but I knew she was asking for herself not for me. I told her "You just have to. Just keep going. You still have 2 other kids that are depending on you. Think about them!" Eventually she started drinking and less than a month after Josh's death I was at cheerleading practice one afternoon when a friend came and pulled me out. She told me Josh's mom had been in a car wreck and died just a few hours ago. She had been drinking and driving.

For some reason this didn't shock me. I told you I expected someone to be next and I think part of me was jealous that it wasn't me.

It was very eerie though. She died on the same road as him around the same time of day as him. There was even a newspaper article written about the similarities.

I remember going to her friends house to grieve and find out what happened. I told her all of the things I wanted to tell Josh's mom about him but never got the chance to. I remember Josh's little brother looking at me almost as if he was tired and saying "How come everyone you get close to dies?"

Those words haunted me for years too. I now thought it was me. I was just expecting everyone I ever got close to was going to die.

When I was 17, Halloween night changed my life.

But I kept going.

Over the next week I'll share with you how the next 2 years panned out as I take a look back at who I was 10 years ago approaching entering a new decade of my life. For some reason entering a new decade is such a milestone and I always think it is good to take a look back so you can see how far you've come!


Carrie said...

Wow, that was an incredibly haunting love story. Any one of those happenings could completely wreck a person, I'm so glad you made it through.

Erica said...

I had no idea this happened to you! I too have had multiple friends die in tragic car accidents, but nothing like this. You're a strong person to survive something like that.

Heather said...

Wow, Suz. You have been through a lot. I'm so sorry to learn all of this.

You have such an incredible story to tell and you wrote it beautifully. Thank you for sharing it with us.

woodlandsblonde said...

That all sounds very tragic, it was hard not to cry reading this! I can't imagine what you would have been going through at that time and how that pain sticks with you.

I played soccer in high school too. My friend, a senior varsity soccer player passed away when I was a sophomore. It was a fluke/freak accident and left us all stunned/shocked/saddened. It was 1 game in to our season. Losing a friend, and especially your lover...can't be easy.

I'm not sure if you are spiritual or not... I've heard people say "God is doing this for you, not to you."

I hope you find peace someday and realize your purpose on this earth. I think you and Josh will be reunited someday when your time comes.

Anonymous said...

tears streamed down my face as i read this. thank you for sharing and being able to overcome such a horrible accident. your strength is incredible. i know that nothing that can be said will ease the pain, but thank you for sharing.

Carly said...

Wow. You are so strong and brave for having lived through such a tragic event. Death has a way of changing peoples lives. It sucks and isn't fair. I am so sorry for your loss. Your retelling of the events leading up to and past his death was beautiful. I, too, believe you will be reunited one day.

Maureen said...

Wow, thank you for sharing this story.

Shoshanah said...

I can't even imagine going through that. And I'm impressed at the courage it must have taken you to write that, even if it happened almost 10 years ago.

Amber @ A Little Pink in the Cornfields said...

Wow... I cannot imagine what you have gone through. What a sad, sad story! Thank you for sharing!

Celebrate the Malleable Reality said...

That story is so sad! Yet you wrote it so beautifully!

It's because of your great writing that I just gave your blog an award!

Check it out!

Jennjilla said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. I, too, lost friends along the way (none that were boyfriends) and can understand your pain. Events like that can haunt you forever and pop in your head when you least expect it.

Thank you for sharing and for making your blog public again! I don't know you, but I enjoy reading!