I know that I’ve written about this multiple times throughout the years and I bring it up often, but this year marks a very big milestone. This year marked exactly 5 years since my friend Jimmy passed. I’ve noticed that as time has gone by, I stop thinking about him more and more. His presence is no longer felt on a regular basis and things don’t necessarily remind me of him as often. But the one consistent thing is that every year around the end of February, it is like my brain knows I’ve tried to spend the last 363 days trying to avoid thinking about how long it’s been and all of the sudden I realize just what date it is.
This year, I conveniently booked a trip to LA for the weekend of March 2nd to be with two of my best friends. The thing about these two girls is that one of them was with me when I got the news that Jimmy had passed. I still remember jumping back into her car after dropping off a Redbox video in West Seattle and her quietness as she stared at me. I remember her asking “is this a joke” as she handed me her phone. I remember feeling like the world around me had disappeared and I was falling. She was with me for the remainder of that day and became one of my biggest supporters through everything. She dealt with my bad moods, my mood swings, my sadness and really helped me pull through. The second girl wasn’t there when I found out but she was key in helping me survive. I could text her any time and she was there for me. She listened to me cry, she listened to me struggle and she never left my side and she never grew tired of being there for me while I struggled. So, while unintentional, it was basically perfect that I booked a trip to spend a weekend with two of my best friends.
I honestly didn’t realize the date until I got on a plane to Washington D.C. on February 28th and was staring at the calendar and realized that the next day would mark 5 years. On March 2nd, I was almost stranded in D.C. due to winds and cancelled flights and I realized just how important that weekend trip was for me. Just how much I needed it.
Five years is a lot of years. Five years of not having Jimmy around is hard. Knowing that by now he would have been doing something great, probably in his residency. But it’s also been five years of realizing just how far I’ve come since March 1, 2013.
I was at a wedding recently and a ‘I’m Yours’ by Jason Mraz started playing. The first time I heard this song at a wedding was Jimmy’s wedding. The second time I heard that song was his funeral. The third time was a wedding three months later where I had to walk out because I was crying so hard. Since then, I’ve left multiple receptions during that song to cry in a bathroom, collect myself or just wait out the song. I had a friend recently tell me that they purposely didn’t add that song to their wedding so I didn’t have to deal with it. While that song is so perfect and fitting for a wedding, it now triggers a memory of mine where I am standing in a church in Boise hugging my friend while she breaks down in my arms. This friend I’ve known since I was 11 and had seen her cry maybe twice in her entire life. And that moment, one of the strongest people I knew was needing me for support and not the other way around. The song also triggers the first dance where I saw Jimmy singing the song to his new wife. And because of that, everything in me breaks down. But this time, I sat at my dinner table and I took the song in. Not on purpose but because it was the middle of dinner and because I was the table furthest from the door so a quick escape didn’t exist. And you know what? I didn’t cry. I was sad, I was quiet, but I didn’t cry.
I didn’t cry because it’s been five years. I didn’t cry because it’s time I realize that there’s nothing that will change the past and all I can do is move forward. I don’t think I’ll ever get to a place where that song will bring me full happiness and won’t damper my mood for a minute but I will get better about hearing it.
I can proudly say that in the past five years, I have done more than I thought was ever possible and to be honest, I don’t think I would be in the same place I am today if he hadn’t passed. His passing reminded me that life is too short and I don’t know what tomorrow brings so I need to embrace every moment, every person and every experience.