And still.

Three weeks.

Life happens. Life evolves. You move forward. Still, it hurts.

The week started off well. I was doing better. I had things to distract me. I didn’t feel so alone. I still missed you, but I was going to survive.

Towards the end of the week, all of that crashed and burned. I felt so alone. I really did think that the people I cared about care about me. Who knows. Everyone forgot me. They forgot you, too. They treated both of us like nothing.

Stop posting the images I gifted to you all and to his family without knowing when they were taken or bothering to ask. Stop posting them if you can’t remember what day they were taken. Stop sharing them and forgetting WHO took them. I am not out here looking for credit, but I desperately need some support and I’m sadly not going to get it from you all. I thought so highly of everyone for so long…

Some of those photos were never supposed to see the light of day or were only originally shared between me and you. And suddenly, everyone flung them up everywhere. It was like a deep part of me had been ripped away from me and I had been cast aside. I didn’t make the folder to get credit. I made it for you. I made it for your family. I made it for your friends. I knew that this was a possibility when I created it, but I would do it over and over again. They always take, take, take, and no one wants to help give or make it happen. The usual.

I didn’t even feel this angry yesterday. It comes and goes in waves. Sometimes grief makes you irrationally angry. You have to feel it, as much as it hurts you have to dig in there and let it come out, reason with it, feel it out, and then come to terms with it. You have to take it over or it will take over you. I don’t want to sit here and suffer for months because I shoved all those feelings down in the beginning. I need to go through it now before it poisons me later.

I’m not going to ask for help from people who cannot give it. I desperately need a long hug from one of them, and I don’t even like hugs normally. I need to be with someone who knew him.

They cannot be there for me. I understand that it is a hard time. So, I was brave. I sought help on my own end. I found ways to heal alone. I try to forgive them. Grief can make you out to be someone you are not. I try to be there for others because that is what you do for them. Friendship is giving without expecting anything in return. Friendship means being there for your friends when they are hurting. I want to be kindness for the sake of being kind.

I dream about you. You sneak into many of them. I dream about them. I dream that they are there for me. Then, I wake up to a very sad reality.

You were one of the few people who meant a lot to me that I was still able to contact consistently. You kept up with me. I still had you, and I loved you for that. I loved that even though we were so far apart, you were still there. My last connection to an important part of my life. In seconds, you were gone.

I lost them when I left Chile. I was already missing them terribly and felt like I had no one who I could talk to. I’d send a message and receive no response. But, I still had you. I hadn’t lost you. And then I did, and my whole word came crashing around me. Now, it feels like I have no one.

It hurts now. It hurts so deeply. I am so hurt. I am so sad. I am so angry. But, those feelings will pass. I must FEEL them. My feelings are valid. Maybe some of those feelings are unfounded. They probably do care about me. But, that doesn’t invalidate how I feel now.

I remember that one day that you and I stayed in the water and freedove together. You kept pushing me to dive down correctly. “Nope, again.” And then, I did it. “Can I do another one?” “As many as you would like.” So I dove over and over again. I watched you rocket down to the bottom and glide over the swaying kelp. No photographs exist of that moment. I only keep it in my memory. As the sun hid below the surface and the colors faded to navy blue, you and I shared the sea together and dove. Thank you for that.

Another time there was a party at someone’s house. I was almost too tired to go and was at a point where I needed some time alone, but I went anyway. You were there with your new puppy. I stayed glued to you and Chai. He crawled from your lap to mine and collapsed into me. I was so happy. I felt like your baby had accepted me.

Sometimes I would get mad at you. Sometimes I needed space away from you. I sometimes feel bad about that now. I feel bad for the times I did not respond well to you. But, I cannot be angry at myself for that. That just means that we had a deeper relationship. No one is perfect, and if you feel like someone is, you don’t know them well enough.

When other people didn’t believe in me, you did. You remembered to contact me about parties others forgot to invite me to. You would text me sometimes to ask how everything was going. When I went to the doctor, YOU texted me multiple times just to make sure I was ok. You made sure I rested. You made sure I ate. You encouraged me to push for the things I needed. You said some things that really hurt me, but that happens in friendships. You said some things that saved me, too.

I wish others took the time to get to know you better. I wish you felt more loved. I wish people cared more. I wish they saw you as more than a stupid diver. You were SO MUCH MORE than that. That wasn’t even really a big part of who you were. It was to them because they chose to only know one very small side of you. They probably didn’t even know that your favorite color was purple.

Who am I to even be saying these things? In comparison to others, we weren’t that close. I’d like to think we were, but I cannot say anything about how deeply I am hurt in comparison to your family or girlfriend. The point is, we are all hurting. We are all grieving. We are all acting out of character. One day, we will converge together again and be able to feel some resemblance of ourselves again. That will take some time.

I feel so much loss now, but I am gaining so much. I am gaining a new group of friends at my new job. I am gaining new connections. I am doing something you encouraged me to do. I applied for a scholarship opportunity for STEM Outreach. I almost was too nervous that I wasn’t good enough, and then I remembered you. You would have pushed me to do it. So, I applied. Life will give me new joys, but I won’t forget you.

I write these to document my progression of grief, for me and for others. I want others to know that they are not alone and that their feelings are valid. I want to normalize grief. You have no right to judge others for how they must grieve. Grief does not excuse mistreatment of others, poor behavior, or poor decisions. It does explain them, though. Be kind to those who are hurting. Be kind to yourself if you are grieving.

And most importantly, give yourself time.