This post is mostly to explain a week long absence (at least) on this blog and other social media for me. Right now, when I see this blog, all I can think of are questions:
Was there a turning point, or was this another planned attempt because everything was the same? Was it peaceful? Was it what he expected? Why was he looking at my blog beforehand? Did he want me to know?
On August 24th, one of my best friends committed suicide. I found out last Friday, so knowing this--thinking about this--is very raw for me. He had been suffering from depression for years, confessed to having considered suicide on multiple occasions, but he had also been seeing a therapist, had tried drugs (though they apparently made him "bat-shit crazy"), and had told me about his struggles. Depression is depression and sometimes support/drugs/therapy isn't enough. He needed to find his own peace.
I know all of that. I know that this was the relief from his pain; that he's at peace now. None of that is a secret, but goddamn if it doesn't still hurt. Our last really long conversation (we had a small one in June) was in April on the Queen's Thief series by Megan Whalen Turner. I sent him the books as a late birthday present (though he hated his birthday, so it was more like me dubbing them as a "congratulations" gift for completing the LSAT!). In turn he told me what he thought; they weren't as high in his esteem as Brandon Sanderson's books, but he liked them well enough. We could talk about any book, even if he didn't read as much as I did, including young adult books, which my current colleagues disdain -- he even knew of Sarah J. Maas from her FictionPress days (and Queen of Glass vs. Throne of Glass now). What had often brought us together time and time again was our love of both books and writing. And now I'm staring at pages feeling like I just can't do it, I can't. Definitely not sad books, that's for sure. I was considering watching If I Stay, but I think that's off the table now too.
You may also wonder besides reviews/reading being altered, what about this blog? What did you mean by all those questions? Well, the way I found out about his death suggests that he didn't want me to know. My blog was also in his internet history. He was one of the few people from my personal life who knew about this blog, and he might have been looking at my blog the day he killed himself. The selfish part of me wants to say, why didn't you reach out? You told me before about other attempts; why did you go through with this one? The other part of me of course would never ask him to continue living a half-lived life that he could not enjoy... but the whole of me can't stand looking at this blog right now and thinking about the what-might-have-beens and how much I want to hug him for even reading this blog because he was one of the best friends I could ever have, so supportive and...
Over a month ago I scheduled a trip to Chicago to see some other friends this past weekend. I considered canceling, but I didn't want to be alone with my grief and the friends who I saw helped a lot. The friend I'd stayed with had heard of Stephanie Perkins books through both me and our mutual friend, so I brought Isla and the Happily Ever After along with me. We have a long-standing tradition of reading books out loud to each other and we did that again here. It reminded me of good things. Love and friendship and color. My friend had once said that I made the world less grey for him; Isla is all caps and saturation in its pages.
Books were one of our connecting factors, and books will also help me face the grief. He got me the Mistborn trilogy by Brandon Sanderson as a graduation gift last year. I anticipate crying at some point while reading the books, or maybe not being able to finish them in one go, having to force myself to read them, or feeling empty and sad afterwards because I will never get to discuss them with him, find out why exactly he loved them so much. Why he got them for me for graduation. And yet they will be precious for all of those reasons; I will see him in those books. I will see him again in various iterations, a character who loves red velvet cake but chooses pie for life; who sends care packages out of generosity than true need; who hates social functions with a vengeance and who critiques his friend's writing with all the support that anyone could ever want. Reading, writing, books. God I miss him.
But right now I'm not entirely ready for the books and reading and this blog. I might return after a week with an extended bookish rounds just because I'll go stir-crazy without doing something, but some changes might be coming. I don't know.
Thanks for reading, friends. Thanks for your love and support.