dear maggie, two years later

Oh my God, I miss you so much. I was going to try to start this eloquently, but I have no eloquence today.  

Mags, I’m so lonely. Maybe I don’t mean lonely, exactly. I have such a great tribe of people around me, supporting me, so I’m not alone. I’ve been having pretty bad emotional breakdowns. It happens now a lot more than it used to. I think as the days keep accumulating, everything makes less and less sense, you know?

The other night I was trying to call Marion, but I hit your name instead because you’re saved in my Favorites right above her. It went to a dead signal and that’s when I figured out what I’d done. It was so bad. Ruben took my phone away and called Colleen and Sarah. Colleen came over and I was sitting on the bed crying, I mean, CRYING, and I’d laid out all these pictures of you. I keep them in a box. They’re all our selfies and screenshots of our texts and all sorts of things. She and I played a game where she’d point to a picture and I’d tell her and Ruben the memory that went along with it. Like the time you and I were studying in the College of Education building and I got us coffee, but I accidentally switched them and gave you the one with four shots of espresso, which you drank right before you had a final. You aced it, of course. And aced it really quickly, I mean, you were back out in that lobby in like thirty minutes.

Or the night that we saw Jay-Z and Justin Timberlake and decided to drive back to Hickory right after the concert instead of staying in our hotel room because we just wanted to sing in the car. CJ slept in the backseat and you were my co-pilot and we got so lost so many times, but we stayed up for the whole 8 hours rapping and singing and talking and laughing, waking CJ up every twenty seconds.

I went into my study and I got our twinning running shoes and told them about the day that I “ran” that half marathon with everyone in your honor, except for the part where by “ran” I mean that I got in the back of a cop car at mile 10 and demanded that they get me out of there right now, thank you very much. So not my thing. I got the finisher medal that your sister Sarah asked the race coordinators if I could have, and I wore it around all night for them. It was like show and tell. It helped tremendously.


The breakdowns have been happening because I’ve been drinking a lot. A lot, a lot. Way too much and way too often. I’ve been too lame to be able to process all of this and deal with how I’m actually feeling, because remembering that you’re not here is a terrible feeling and drinking a lot of Prosecco is my way of making it less horrible than it really is. It’s lame, I know. I think a lot of people are worried about it. I mean, I’m worried about it.  

Ruben and I threw a barbeque last night and I just lost it in front of everyone. I don’t know what triggered it this time. I was on the porch with Colleen and Sarah, just wailing about how it isn’t fair, about how lost I feel without you, about how much I need you. They whisked me away to Ruben’s room and we snagged Tierney and just all piled up in the bed and just cried together. Colleen told us about her friend Miles, who she lost a few years ago on January 7th, and we agreed that y’all are up in Heaven together causing an absolute SCENE. We think it’s the reason why she and I were brought together as friends in the first place, to support each other through days like today and January 7th.

I kept apologizing to everyone, over and over and over, and finally Tierney told me to stop, and that it was okay to cry, and that I would get through this because of my strength.

So, naturally, I started crying pretty violently again and Sarah grabbed my head and asked me who we served, and I said, “God. We serve God.” And she said that we serve a just God. She said that the person who took Maggie from us would get what they deserved, because God is a God of justice. It was what I needed to hear. I needed to be reminded about God, who I’ve been avoiding lately because I’m not quite sure how to deal with Him, either.  I’ve been thinking about it this morning, I spent some time alone and sober with my thoughts, and it’s time for me to stop all the self-medicating and all the avoidance and everything else, and just go back to what I know.

We serve a just God. We serve a God who sees every act of injustice, and insists that vengeance is His. He saw what happened. I don’t know how long it’s going to drag out this side of Heaven, but trying to find solace from the judicial system is not the answer to this. I’m sure they’re doing the best they can, at least that’s what I have to tell myself to get any sleep at night, and there’s a lot that I don’t understand, but the pain is not going to subside from a jury’s ruling. We have to figure out how to keep living without you this side of Heaven.

We serve a God who loves us. He has every single one of my tears in a bottle, that’s what He says. Every single one! I have filled up a lot of bottles recently, so I apologize if I am using up more than my share. I don’t know where that is in the Bible, but I don’t think it says a whole lot about the bottles. I think there is a room in Heaven with all the bottles, and that there are special angels who pray for us through our tear bottles, like how you can volunteer to rock the newborn babies at the hospital. I think the extracurricular activities in Heaven are really beautiful and I know that’s one of yours.

I have to remember the part where you are watching over me, and also the part where you were so vivacious and alive. You squeezed every drop out of every day. You loved God and He loved you right back. You were so secure and free in that, and that’s what I want to get back to. I don’t want to numb the pain; I want to feel it, and I want to let Tierney and Sarah and Colleen hold me and rally around me while I cry, and I want to remember that I am loved by people here just like you loved me. I might feel lonely sometimes, but I am not alone. I am surrounded. And I want to love people the way you did, and I can’t do that chasing a high to forget about what happened. I want to show off my race medal and our shoes and tell our stories. I want to help Colleen deal with the loss of Miles.

More than anything, I want to show people what it’s like to be brave and trust God and live through loss. So. My Maggie. That is my new commitment to you. To live life sober. To feel it all. To miss you, to send you light and love whenever I think of you, as Elizabeth Gilbert put it. To radiate light and love to everyone. It is so hard here, but I promise, I promise, I promise.

I love you thirteen million pink Starburts.