Today marks the 20th anniversary of one of the most changing moments of my life. And no, it wasn’t the day I met Boss Man…although, oddly enough, it would play into it. Eventually.
It was 10 days before my 16th birthday. I had big plans. I was “going out” with someone that was my other half, we had connected from the first moment we had met. Even though I couldn’t see him, (I had broke my glasses prior to a wrestling tournament. I was a cheerleader, he was a wrestler. I was blind as a bat, and needed help making sure I was where I was supposed to be. Who wouldn’t find that cute? Ha!) I knew that he was someone that I could easily fall for…and I did. Hard.
But it wasn’t meant to be, at least not for long. Derek was hit by a car while running on the highway for track practice. I never had the chance to say goodbye, to tell him how much he meant, how much he would always mean…but I don’t know what I would have said back then. I was only 15. I didn’t realize how important he was…and always has been.
It’s hard to explain it, but the days following Derek’s accident, I don’t really remember. I know that I went through the motions. I went to school. Went to the funeral. Had a TON of support from my friends and family. But it’s all kind of blank for me.
All I can tell you is that my life was changed. I knew that the person I wanted to be with for the rest of my life would be someone like him. Someone that I could be myself with, that I didn’t have to pretend with, that I wouldn’t even need to talk to communicate with…just be.
It’s been 20 years, but there are days when it seems like just yesterday.
Some days the road down memory lane just takes a little longer.
Sorry for the melancholy, but the tragedy that occurred in Boston yesterday triggered some familiar feelings. And for those dealing with pain and loss, I give you this advice: You can take that pain, and use it as a crutch. Blame the world for your problems and let it hold you back. Or you can take that pain, and use it as a tool to get through difficult situations. Remember the lessons that you’ve learned, use them to make yourself better…and know that there’s always an angel rooting you on.
Crutch or tool? The choice is yours, and yours only. Use it wisely.