I saw my cousin today. Growing up with her and her sisters was like having sisters of my own; before my own sister came along. My sweet thing. But my cousins and I, we grew together. I miss them. The eldest of "the girls" from "the mountains" messaged me tonight after our visit. I responded to her message just now, and in rereading it I decided I'd like to share it here. My response to her is nothing new, not to me anyway. And I'm sure I've said these things in other posts. But it gives you an idea of where my head is tonight. Where these tears are coming from tonight.
"I am really getting a lot out of writing. It helps me get what little I can out of the many thousands of things swirling around in my head. If I can get one thing out into the blog, that's one less thing clouding me. I'm so overwhelmed with loneliness. It's so strange to be so immensely sad, and yet eternally grateful at the same time. I'm so upset that he's gone. Forever. But what would life had been like if he never was? If we never were? I loved him fiercely, and he loved me too. He used his last few breaths to tell me. I'm balling now, too. It's just getting harder and harder. The numbness has worn off. Now there is just pain. But, TJ loved life. Loved learning. Loved looking towards the future. He said to me this past new years day "Courtney, this is our fucking year!". He was so excited to be on this path we'd worked towards for ourselves. Trying to make a baby, getting debt under control, looking for a new place to live; entering a new phase of life to share. And it's all gone. All of it. TJ was my future; he was my life as I knew it. And it died with him that day. It's fucking horrible. Yet, I know the greatest disservice I could do to TJ, to our love, would be to remain stagnant. So, TJ was the reason I got out of bed everyday before. And TJ is still the reason I get out of bed every day. It hurts, and it sucks, and a lot of days I don't want to move at all. But I do. I have to make little steps forward. I know I will make it out of this. I have to make a new path. It's going to be hard as hell, but not impossible. I'm clinging to that. And trying to imagine TJ as my cheerleader, just like he always was."
TJ was always encouraging me to be better. Not to change me, but to help me grow. He was always reading something. How to books. Self help books. He was always, always trying to become a better man. I admired him for that. Admiration isn't even the right word. It was so much more than admiration. It gave me hope. Hope for the world. I know that sounds dramatic and broad, but it's true. Life IS beautiful. Life IS worth living to the fullest. Life CAN be happy, joyful, and all of the other wonderful things out there to be had. TJ wrote a song in college just before we started dating. It talked about being cool with yourself when you died. His fellow bandmate (who gave me the only copy of the recording two days after TJ died) told me that I inspired that song. That TJ had just gotten out of a dysfunctional relationship with another girl, and that I was the person who showed him that it didn't have to be like that. This friend said to me that when TJ was writing this song that he said "Courtney, she's different. She doesn't play games. She likes me for me." It makes me happy to hear that. That just being a good friend, I could show him that other possibility. And who knew we'd fall so in love and end up having the life that we had together. TJ is my inspiration. He always will be. I want to be cool with myself when I die. I want to know that I did everything I could to learn, to grow, and to make a happy life for myself. It seems so far away right now; a happy life. But it will come. Because TJ showed me how.