dear maggie, again



It's been a while since I've written you something. Sometimes I talk to you, though. You know that. Late at night, when I can’t sleep, I just lay in my bed and I talk to you. I don’t know if you can hear me. I don’t know how that works, but I like to think that you can. You’re still in my Favorites in my phone, even though I’m sure your phone has been disconnected. Sometimes I think about calling the number to see if your voicemail is still there. I still remember what your voice sounded like and I’m really thankful for that. Your accent, and the way you said “Manda” and how you just absolutely could not sing. At all. You thought you could, or maybe you didn’t, but you loved to sing anyway. I have that video of you singing “When I Was Your Man” and I send it to Rachael when she gets sad. She really misses you too. We talk on our “missing Maggie days” and it helps, and I hate that we live so far from each other, really.

Everyone says that you’re one of my guardian angels and I think they’re right about that because sometimes when I’m driving to work and the sun starts coming up, the sky will be pink. And I like to think that you put in a special request to God for the sunrise to be pink that day. Because that’s a total you move.

I really feel like I’m becoming more of myself again. I feel like I’m having fun and enjoying things more, and I’m not afraid to make new friends. I didn’t really invest in relationships after you died because I didn’t want to get close to anyone, and I felt like no one would ever replace you, you know? I didn’t want to find a new “person” after I lost you because I didn’t want anyone to fill that hole. I wanted to leave space in your honor. G filled that space for a while and he helped me get back on my feet, and I know you really liked him, but things changed and I was really sad and we weren’t really able to be fully alive together. But I’m making new friends, and they’re good people, and I think you’d like them. There’s this one, Sarah, and she and I talk about you sometimes and we go to Yard House like 19 days a week and it reminds me of all our Mellow Mushroom visits in Blowing Rock. We’ve made friends with the bartender and give him all kinds of good special requests. A total you move.

All the running is killing me. Like, Mags, I cannot even with the running, I’m sorry. That half marathon last year was brutal. Like, my feet were bleeding. I say I’m gonna train for the one this year but I might just bring snacks for everyone else or something because man, I am not a runner. I tried to be for you. Kind of like how you tried spin class for me even though you hate group fitness classes, so we are officially even. This year at your memorial 5K I ran with a Diet Coke and Prada sunglasses. And I guess this is our secret until now, but I turned around at the one mile mark and ran back toward the finish and everyone thought I ran it super fast. I mean, I didn’t want to waste the Diet Coke. Our drink of choice. I knew you were dying laughing. It made your brother and everyone laugh, too, so I felt okay about it. We all needed a good laugh. I mean, I would have said something if they tried to give me a trophy or something, but Cayla got it, so we’re all good.

You know what I decided? I think I’m going to save a space for you in my bridal party. Like in the line-up and in the photos. We’ll just leave a space for you. I’m sure that’s against all kinds of etiquette, but people can get over it, really. And I’m incorporating hot pink into the color scheme, just for you. And I have a playlist of all our favorite songs that I listen to when I miss you, so I’ll work some of that in, too. You’re going to love it.

I can tell your family is still having a really hard time with everything. I wish I talked to them more, but I get afraid, I guess. I saw Colleen this summer when I went to NYC with G and I saw Sarah at the 5K. Your mom is trying to be strong for everyone else, but I just want to wrap her up in a hug and tell her she doesn’t need to do that. She sent me a Panera gift card, like she always used to send you. That made me cry. I took my mama out to dinner with it.

I’ve just been missing you so hard lately. I’ve started dating again, which is hard for me because I haven’t dated anyone new since I had you there to go over every single thing that anyone said or do, since I had you to send screenshots to. And I know you really liked G, and he was really good for me after you died, and like I said, he treated me well until he didn’t, and I just had to get out of that. I’m moving on to better things. I think you’d be proud of me.

I think you’d be proud of a lot of the things I’m doing. I started writing my manuscript for the book, which I know you always wanted. I’m going to write it, and I’m going to get it published if it’s the last thing I do, and I don’t know if anyone will even read it, but it’ll be dedicated to you and it’ll have lots of our stories. And I hope it’ll help other people. You always said my stories were good at that, and that I needed to keep writing. I have a meeting with a publisher next month, too! It’s happening! You always said it would. You should be here for this. You always made me believe in myself, so I’m trying to hang on to that. And I’m applying to a program at Clemson that will mean I can finally go into private practice! That was your dream for me! You always used to say you wished I had my own practice so you could send everyone you knew to talk to me, and now I’m making it happen. It’s my new dream, and it’s dedicated to you, and it’s making me feel so alive and excited again. I know one of our dreams was to be moms and dress our kids in J. Crew Crewcuts, but I’m not making a ton of progress on that one (so if you want to go have a word with God about that, I wouldn’t be mad…total you move), so I’ve decided to shoot for the private practice goal. I have a lot of ambition now, I have a lot of goals and dreams and a lot of them have to do with you and your legacy and how you’ve inspired me to make the world better, to make people feel loved and celebrated. I think if I start there, everything will fall into place.

I really, really, really miss you. It doesn’t really come and go in waves like I thought it would. I'm not like, totally falling apart, but I miss you all the time. We all do. You were so important to us, and you still are, you know? It’s just different, and I guess different is okay. We’re learning. Mostly, it sucks, because man, you should be here for this. You should be here for everything. I don’t cry as much anymore, but sometimes it just hits me and I call my mom and she reminds me of really good things, like all the things you taught me about loving people well and being radiant and singing at the top of your lungs in the car and only buying grind-your-own peanut butter.

I love you forever and ever and ever and ever, a million pink starbursts. Holy moly, it is hard doing things without you, but I’m doin’ it big, all for you.

Keep sending the pink sunsets. They help tremendously.