Though I didn’t realize it til tonight, today is four weeks since Rachel passed away. I’ve been an emotional wreck all day and couldn’t figure out why.
At first, I thought it was because I was hormonal. Then I thought it was because I went to Chicago for work yesterday and didn’t get home til 1:30 a.m. … not exactly a hop, skip and a jump from Kalamazoo. And then I assumed my mood was due to my kids being insanely challenging this morning and evening.
But then I happened to glance at the calendar on my desk at work, and realized it’s Wednesday … which means it’s four Wednesdays now that have passed since I lost one of my best friends and that is why I’m moody, sad, drained.
Of course. And all of it compounded and added up to me being an emotional wreck.
In addition, today is Rachel’s husband’s birthday and so two of my girlfriends and I decided to bring him dinner and cupcakes before he left for work because, well, she would have … and while we can’t be her/would never try to replace her … we all felt he shouldn’t be alone on his special day.
On the way to meet the girls, OneRepublic’s hit song, “I Lived” came on the radio, and I just lost it. I thought I was all cried out … but apparently not. All the emotions just came flooding out and I could barely see through my tears as I was driving.
Every time I heard that song, I’ve loved the lyrics — but now even moreso. Because truly, Rachel lived. Every day.
To quote the song, she “owned every second that this world can give … I saw so many places the things that I did … with every broken bone, I swear I lived.”
Watching the video tonight and seeing how the video focuses on someone with a chronic illness … it hit even closer to home.
Here’s the beautiful Glee version, which is also super-touching.
Being inside her house was really hard. Way harder than I thought it would be, at least at first.
Seeing recently-filled photo frames on the wall — a stark contrast to sympathy cards on the charging station … noticing the yellow and gray chevron square fold-able basket in the corner and thinking “I remember when she got that!” … noticing details of her recently-painted cabinets with their new hardware I’d only seen in snaps/texts … and then, off to the side, there it was … her navy blue Longchamp bag on a chair in the dining room. Probably — knowing Rach — where she’d tossed it after work the Tuesday before everything happened. She loved purses and collected them like she collected shoes, jewelry and lulu.
Remnants of Rach are everywhere … and being in her home … without her … was — for lack of a better word — jarring. Her home is still full of love and light and all her touches are evident everywhere you look … but she isn’t there. And her absence was painfully obvious to us all. We’re all grieving still, in our own ways. And it’s hard.
But, in the spirit of the song and its profound meaning, I will live and live every moment like it’s my last because that is exactly what my friend did.
The mommy guilt? Waste of time. The petty argument? Not worth a lifetime of regret. The snarky comment you overheard? Simply worth your time or energy to contest it.
I wish more than anything she was still here. But, like our friend Meg said tonight … Rachel was inspirational in every way and we all feel inspired to live our best lives … as she did.
Love you, amiga. ❤