I just deleted 1,000 words that were aimed at you, but had nothing to do with anyone but myself. Seems like such a cheat. I’ll never forget that phone call the day you died. It was the most devastating event of my life. While it’s so far away, I think this is the first time that I’ve been mature enough to understand the true weight that I had to learn to carry the day you left.

From the day we met you carried me. I could never, alone, bear the weight of my own woes. I could never, alone, accept myself. I could never, alone, find a cause or purpose worth fighting for. I just wasn’t capable. Before I met you I had a one track mind and was on a one way track towards self-destruction and death. You have this amazing ability to bring the best out in people, and you brought things out in me that I never knew existed. You helped draw out a strong individual. you helped to draw out a smile. You taught me how to love, you taught me how to laugh, and you taught me how to live.

When I got the call I couldn’t accept it. I immediately went into denial and my mind found all sorts of unlikely scenarios that caused more confusion. I told myself that you would resurface, but I only ever saw you again in dreams when I needed you most. I was alone. I had to take all the love you had shown me, and I had to learn to aim it at myself.

When you were in jail that last time you wrote me a letter with a handmade card in it–I still have the card–congratulating me on my first year of sobriety. I wrote and spoke of it at your memorial service. Remember the one? It’s the one that you wrote about your Grandma coming to visit.

The letter was dated June 5th 2010. You wrote, “I had this crazy dream where my Grandma is walking me home from school (Alice Berny), but I’m 21, so I tell her, “Grandma, I’m not in Kindergarten.” and she says, “I know.” Then one where we are in Ralphs and I’m sitting in the cart, but I’m 21, so I say “Grandma, I’m too big for this,” and she says “I know.” Then shes lifting me up on the counter while cooking French Toast and she’s straining to lift me and I look down and realize I’m 21. So I tell her, “Grandma, you don’t have to lift me up, I’m grown up and can get up there myself. And she says, “I know. I’ve been telling you this all along.” Then we are in the backyard, I’m going down these steps in the canyon. They are steep and decaying with leaves all over them. Then I slip and as I’m falling she catches me, and I look up and she says, “Don’t worry, I’ve got you.” Her face was so vivid, beautiful with all it’s age, her huge ears. She kissed me on the forehead and held me. I could feel her, it was incredible, I felt like she was with me, really with me.”

Your Grandma had passed on, and I don’t think that there was anybody more suited to catch you when you fell. Something about the whole thing just felt… magical. I’m so glad that it was your Grandma, someone you loved and trusted so much,  that was there waiting for you at the end of the path, and I can only hope when my time comes that you will be the one to greet me when I arrive.

The night you died I swore an oath that my life would be a dedication to you, and since that day I’ve found the strength to become somebody that I never had to courage to be. I have found the strength to smile and trudge on when I feel like crying and quitting. And like you taught me, I’ve learned to listen to my heart. I owe everything to you, because without you I was nothing.

Come back and visit me, it’s been too long since the last, and I have so much to tell you–even if you already know.

4 thoughts on “Cassandra

  1. Reblogged this on Safty Third and commented:

    Going back through these posts, through all the years, has taught more more about myself and the process of life than anything else. It’s also taught me quite a lot about the limitless potential we all have to do great things, and to persevere in the face of great odds, someoften considered hopeless causes. Thank you, Cass, for teaching me to hold on and never let go of those desperate hopes.


  2. Nine years, but it feels like yesterday. The pain of the loss of our girl is still overwhelming to me. It still takes my breath away like it did the day I called you with the news. You are no longer holding on my son, you are forging a new way, fearless and with grace.


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