Laughing. Singing. Winter road trips. New kinds of Beer. Awesome food. Friendship. Love. Smiles. Terrible off color jokes. Stupid pranks.  Singing the weirdest songs. 

There were so many words that described you guys. There were so many words that described us all. Our little silly crew of friends. We were always up to some kind of shenanigans. Until one day. 

Once you said, “That’s the thing about the day before your life changes, it feels like any other day.” 

And it did. It felt like any other day. That morning too, felt like any other day until the news reports started rolling in. We sent texts and Facebook messages. Why aren’t you answering? Why won’t you pick up? Answer me!

Slowly as sun rose higher into the sky it became clear why you weren’t answering. You would never answer again. Not a call. Not a text. Not returning a smile.

That chapter in all our lives was over. The WE and the US that we were all  so familiar with would never be again. You were gone. All that was left was for us to pick up the pieces that were left behind. 

To sweep up the pieces of our broken hearts and go on through life, without you. And what beautiful souls you were. Always laughing. Always smiling…until you weren’t.

That somehow we missed that hurt you had so deep in your soul. That you were wounded, so deeply and we all missed it. 

That you hurt, and we couldn’t stop it from hurting. That it hurt so badly, that death was  a relief; and none of us had known just how badly. We didn’t know, Cory. 

That I would be left with so much anger. How much I wanted to hate you. How I wanted to hate you for being selfish and taking your brother with you. He should have stayed here with us on earth! How I wanted to write you off…but I couldn’t. You were my friend. You still are my friend. That forgiving you was a balm to my own hurting soul. That we all make terrible decisions, terrible mistakes…we all do, in one form or another. 

Forgiving you helped to heal my heart. There are still going to be moments when I am angry with you. When I am incensed at you. When I am livid…but in those moments I will chose to remember all of the good. The smiles, the laughter, the back handed compliments and off key singing. I will remember how many lives you touched in your life. How many people loved you. And so do I, my friend. So do I. I can be angry, and I can be hurt, but hatred is a poison, and I will not let hate poison how we all felt for you. We loved you. 

I promised you, that somehow-someway, I would teach, I would help and that you would not have passed in vain. Either one of you. And I will.

If you are hurting out there, if the pain is so very deep please talk to someone. If you feel have no one else to talk to, you can contact me. I will listen. I will understand. It’s ok to feel that way. How you feel is uniquely you, and no one can take that away from you. It is also up to you to fix that. No one else can fix it for you, but you can find those who will listen, who can help. Use them for support. Ask them for help. Talk to them. Cry with them. I promise you, that there are so many people out there that will help if they only know how. Let them.

One of the last things your brother ever posted on Facebook is now tattooed on the inside of my left forearm, the arm closest to my heart. “Everything is Good Forever.” 

It is, you know. It is.

Somehow, someway, things actually do find a way of working out. Life can be hard, and it can be cruel too. Just know that it doesn’t stay that way.

Help yourself to find your passions and nurture them. Use your pain to help others. Learn as you grow, and teach others as you go. Life is not meant to simply be endured but to be enjoyed every single moment you can. Be the person you are meant to truly be, don’t fall victim to believing that others should dictate WHO you should be, HOW you should act and WHAT you should say. You be that unique person you really are, and let that shine!

Perhaps, you have found yourself with a broken heart. You will hear placates of “it’s for the best” and “everything happens for a reason” or simply “they just weren’t meant for you.” That doesn’t really help, but sometimes people just don’t know what to say, but they want to try.

What I want you to remember is that EVERY single person that comes into your life, has come into your life for a reason. They have come to teach you. They have come to push you to be even better than you were before. Every thing that happens is there to be a stepping stone to the YOU that you are meant to be.

If you are contemplating suicide, please call a hotline and ask for help. It is anonymous. Call 1-800-273-8255.  If you are suffering from depression, please talk to your doctor. There are tons of people who are standing by to help you, perhaps you just don’t know it yet. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Life is a beautiful and wondrous thing, don’t miss out. There are so many people out there that love you and care. If you are feeling down, let us help.

If you have lost a friend or loved one to suicide, please talk to someone. Know that it was not and is not about you or your fault. That you can learn and grow from it, slowly in your own time. Know that it is going to hurt, it will always hurt, but that you will be ok. It is perfectly ok to grieve in your own way. Don’t let others tell you when enough is enough, you must process and grieve your way, on your time for how it feels in your heart.

A wise old man once said, “As for grief, you’ll find it comes in waves. When the ship is first wrecked, you’re drowning, with wreckage all around you. Everything floating around you reminds you of the beauty and the magnificence of the ship that was, and is no more. And all you can do is float. You find some piece of the wreckage and you hang on for a while. Maybe it’s some physical thing. Maybe it’s a happy memory or a photograph. Maybe it’s a person who is also floating. For a while, all you can do is float. Stay alive.”

Grief IS like a shipwreck, and it hurts like hell. Here is the link to read the entire posting on grief penned by a self professed “old man”.

Life is beautiful and meant to be lived. Live it wildly, lovingly and happily. Learn to smile through the tears and go on living even when it hurts. To know that you can learn and help others heal. That you can live happily. You deserve a life well lived, and I can’t wait to see the places you go. Everything is good forever. Somehow, it will all work out.