The first step is to penetrate the clouds of deceit and distortion and learn the truth about the world,
then to organize and act to change it. That's never been impossible and never been easy. ~Noam Chomsky

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

For Alex

One year ago J's best friend died. In the way of things that are very sudden, it was totally unexpected and extremely painful.

We wrestle because it feels so unnecessary. One minute he was the very healthiest and fittest person we knew, the next minute his heart failed him.

I didn't blog about it at the time. It was incredibly overwhelming, shocking and it terrified me that a loved one could be gone in just the blink of an eye.

I will never forget the phone call. J went to the front porch and sat in silence, crying. I knew when he came to me that it must be some of the worst news a person could receive. We both cried all day. We dug through our shoeboxes of high school, college and wedding pictures to find old memories of Alex.

We started making immediate plans for J to fly home to California for the wake and funeral and came to the sad realization that Ariam and I just couldn't go along. We knew the schedule would be long nights and days filled with tears and at age 3 she just wasn't ready for that.

There is something very hard about being the one who stayed behind, who didn't go to the funeral. I lack a level of closure. Almost like I have spent this last year in disbelief that Alex is gone....

Dear Friend,

You were the first "important" person that J introduced me to after we started dating. You know he's an introvert. So meeting his very closest friend in the world was a big deal.

He brought me home to meet you a few months after we started dating.
Alex. My rival. Unexpected to J, the two most important extroverts in his life did not hit it off!

We both wanted his full attention, time and coveted his laughs at our antics. We hadn't learned how to team up yet you and I. You were full of inside jokes and memories shared, full of time playing hockey and locker room stories and nicknames. All. BOY.

I was a sheltered girly girl straight from my first year at Christian college. I was falling in love with J and wanted all of him. I felt like you were my competition. We clashed, we rolled our eyes at each other. We made some passive agressive attempts to avoid hanging out. I am surprised that J didn't ditch us both!

But we wormed our way into each other's hearts. Do you remember when? I don't. But it happened and I'm so thankful for that.

YOU were the only person who could help me navigate J's family. When I was on the brink of biting my tongue in half it was you who would kick me under the table and whisper jokes to me. Do you remember that ridiculous wedding shower? And the hilarious gifts we received?! You caught my eye behind the scenes in tense times and let me know I had an ally. You were like a brother to me. The brother that always made me do things that got me in trouble! But I loved you for it.

As the years passed I noticed how much you loved my boyfriend and then husband. You called him regularly. You were the only friend he shared everything with.

I remember you in your tuxedo at our wedding walking down the aisle with my best friend. She falling apart at the emotional day and you holding her steady and teasing her to crack a smile.

As the years passed you grew and matured. You became closer to God. You dreamed of a family. When J spent years not wanting kids you were the only friend he listened to when you told him he could do it and would be an amazing dad. You and I conspired to time our children together and raise them together.

Every time you called you said "Hey! Manda hug n' kiss!" You had a nickname for everyone you loved.

The last time we saw each other it was summer. You and J spent hours in the mall helping me pick a dress for a friend's wedding. Just like anything we did together we had fun. You had a way of making people feel good about themselves. You were doing personal training and I asked your advice. You told me not to eat that second piece of pizza and I laughed at you and did it anyway. But you never made me feel bad.

Alex, we never ever imagined a life without you. We should have come back to CA a lot sooner to spend time with you. You know why we didn't. And I know you understand. But we should have and we missed watching you grow to know Ariam.

We named our little guy after you. He has some big shoes to fill. But it was the only name J could even consider and I agreed, it only seemed right. Our little AJ is so much like you - a comedian, a love bug, and he lights up a room like you did with his smile. I hope you approve.

We miss you. Our hearts grieve tonight that you will never meet AJ. That you never got to be a father.
We know that you are watching over us and watching over little Alex.

Until we meet again.
Our love always,

~ A


Sunglasses lover


  1. Alex sounds like a wonderful man. I am sorry for your loss. One day soon, AJ will learn about and see the love his parents have for his namesake. Thank you for being so honest about competing for a mans heart...I feel like I'm in a similar position. It is encouraging to me.

  2. So sorry for your loss. The suddenness is particularly cruel. I know. How beautiful that you have named your son after such a wonderful friend.

  3. Oh dear. I'm crying. How did I not ever realize that's where the name Alex came from? Of course that's where 'Alex' came from. Of course.
    Big hugs, friend.

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  5. Yours is the only family I have known to have spoken out while they were in process. Your courage and your commitment to the truth astound me. I am so deeply sorry for the betrayal and the cruelty you have endured. I am even more sorry that the backlash has been aimed at you through your son. In many ways, you are standing in a lonely place just now. It must feel at times as though you are taking on the world. Take heart, for he has overcome the world. Praying for you from across the Atlantic.


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