29 and Living

A year ago I posted a blog about being 28 and dating. I talked on how I wanted to sit back and not go on meaningless dates just to date and throw my life on a social media app to try and find said dates. SO here is my update now:

In my 28th year of life, I spent the better part of the year doing exactly what I said I was going to do and it has been glorious! I went on a few dates throughout the year, and I did join a dating app for literally only 2 weeks, as it was mostly to appease others that I was “trying”, but it was exactly what I thought it would be. I went on several dates in a short amount of time and it was a waste. One guy had a serious girlfriend and a serious lying problem (per usual and sparked the blog called Someone Should Pay Me For This), another was “not sure he was ready for a relationship” and when I amicably agreed and bid him adieu, he has since messaged me several times to say “I sort of miss talking to you”… sort of? Nice. “I saw your NYE pic and damn girl, very nice. I just thought God damn I’m an idiot” Yes… yes you are and no, I do not want to grab a drink with you now that you realize you messed up. Sorry, but your window was small to begin with and you passed it up. I locked that window. And now that you have messaged me some bullshit, I went ahead and boarded it up too.

Aside from that, I have spent this year active, in a lot of ways! I have worked on my house, helped friends with theirs, made the gym a routine, sports, been to concerts and shows and events and trips! I have spent more time with my friends and family and people I truly care about. I have made MORE friends! I have added some truly wonderful people to my life and I am so glad for that more than anything. I went hunting again for the first time in years, I went fishing with my family, and I participated in two out of state weddings and attended a few more in Michigan which brought me more joy than I can explain.

This is exactly what I wanted. Life and to live it. I have had moments and experiences that I could have certainly blogged about, but let’s be honest… those are getting redundant. Dating mishaps. How about not dating positives instead? Everyone could use a little more positive anyways.

I am staring down the barrel of 29, a completely pointless age and number. My college idea of being married with kids by 30? Long gone! Someone asked me recently “what’s one thing right now that you’d tell your college self?”.  My reply:

Your time frame on life is bullshit. Stop planning and live.

29 Year Old Me

And I have done just that!

Someone Should Pay Me For This

Ok, now that I am no longer angry… Let me propose a new business concept.

We have all watched the movies where someone capitalizes on others misfortunes and turns it in to something positive and a cash flow… Hitch, The Wedding Ringer, My Best Friend’s Girl. I could go on I’m sure. But where are the movies about the other end? Finding the cheater? And not just the one person hiring a detective… because I think I could make a business out of this that would save people money on hiring a detective.

I have a knack for being attractive to the “taken” man. They like to hide their relationships when I’m around, they like to lie about how “they just broke up”, they like to lie and lie and lie. And I am really, REALLY good at pretending I believe them. All those years of theater I guess.

I have been irritated by this so many times, I think even an honest man would struggle to get me to truly believe them these days. But what I have begun to do in these situations is document… photographs of us together (nothing pornagraphic… come on people), screenshots of conversations with time stamps, all while keeping it classy (I said no porn). What is unfortunate is I do this with all new dates, whether I know they are full of shit or not… but so far… I have been OH SO RIGHT every time. What is astonishing to me is how EASY it is to find the truth. With social media and this lovely site called Google, everything I need to know about you is in a simple click. Your Facebook might be “private” but your girlfriends is not. You might not be super active on Instagram, but your fiance loves to post photos of your future family. Or you might be overall stupid and I can find it all by just looking at yours… idiots.

Who needs to pay top dollar for a detective when I could find everything you need for… what should I charge… $50 an hour? Does that sound reasonable? And now to think of a name for my LLC… Unhitch Inc? Uncork? Unbind Services? Sabotage Services? The Exterminator? Annul and Liberate Inc? Or how about something less obvious?  …. Varmint Removal?

I’m taking suggestions.

I Miss You, But I Don’t Know You

It’s an emptiness I can’t quite explain, I used to tell you everything. Spill out all my deepest darkest secrets. I called you to cry because you were the only one I was comfortable enough with to be completely uncased. Ribs cracked open wide, tears streaming from my little heart, that’s what I gave you. All of me in a friendship I can’t even describe. And I was under this impression of a mutual agreement, you and I were one in this fight of life, we had each others backs, we had each others secrets. But how did I get that so wrong?

I ran to you in every scary, new, uncomfortable scenario. I trusted your wisdom and words of advice when it came to relationships, work, friends, you name it! You were my go to. I had your name tattooed on my brain. How did I not see all the lies and deceits?

I cut people out of my life who did you wrong, because in my mind, they did me wrong as well. I ruined relationships with your friendship, because your friendship was more important in the end. I prefaced new relationships with a warning about you, because I almost lost you once. How could I not have noticed that your intentions for me were stained with a selfishness that reeks.

I was able to love you fully because it wasn’t a love I ever had to run from. Your love made me feel endlessly beautiful, because I never had to believe that you would change your mind. There is never a “threat of another” in a friendship like ours. But how could I not realize that this love of ours was unrequited… Unrequited is the worst kind, in a friendship, just as much as in a lover.

Even more swift than your friendship came, you ripped it away. The choices and actions were yours alone. What we built for years was destroyed in a 20 minute phone call. How fitting.

So now I miss you, I miss my best friend. But I don’t even know who you are.

28.5 and Dating

In January I wrote about how shitty dating was in this era and how dating apps and “Netflix and Chill” were the norm. I brooded on about how I wanted genuine interactions and someone to really try for me. So here’s my update…

 

It’s all still shit.

 

But…

I kind of like it this way, so hear me out:

When I made the decision to not join any dating sites and not really allow for ever so many pointless dates, one really great thing happened… I started dating new guys less and started getting more “me” things accomplished! Since January, I have lost almost 12lbs and am in the best shape of my life, I’ve built a privacy fence for my house with my dad, I’ve enhanced my career, I’ve traveled, and I’ve spent a lot more quality time with my friends and family. All in all, I am much happier.

I have met a guy or two, and quickly realized, before I went on the date, that I would be wasting my time. I have met one who ultimately pushed me to be more productive in my own life. But, more importantly, I have met the unapologetically honest version of myself that I have been missing for a few years. I don’t waste nearly as much energy keeping unproductive relationships breathing, I suffocate them. I don’t waste my time with one way streets, I speed down the highway of my life, hair blowing in the breeze of no bullshit.

Those are some sadistic and corny statements for you. You’re welcome.

The only con that I could possibly find in all of this ME time and happiness, is the small dark thought that I might get used to doing this on my own. But then the bright light of ‘no fucks’ shines through and I move on.

Cheers to the next 6 months! Stay tuned 🙂

 

 

Not Your Chair, Not Your Problem

I kind of already talked about this, but with all of these blogs about the shitty era of modern dating, I figured I would take my own little stab at it… again… with a little spin.

It sucks!!

It is possibly the single most frustrating topic for me right now, what with Tinder, Bumble, Farmers Only and God knows how many other dating sites out there. But wait… Let me clarify, because I am not on a single dating website. I refuse. And here’s why:

I want real, genuine interaction. I want someone who has enough BALLS to come up and talk to me, because I have no problem going up to someone I find attractive. Ask my friends, I’ve done it. I want a man to ask me out on a date, not “hey do you want to hang out sometime” or “let’s chill”. WHAT DOES THAT EVEN MEAN? I hate being cold, no I don’t want to chill. I hang out with my friends, I don’t need more people to just hang out with. I don’t need an immediate “exclusive” relationship, but I at least want to know whether or not you are looking to add me in to that potential category or if you’re looking for nothing but a tryst. Cause hunny, that isn’t for me. But I covered this in my last entry, so I digress.

The other thing that sucks about dating:

EVERYONE EXPECTS YOU TO BE DATING!

Why? Why do I have to be dating? Why can’t I just be single ol’ me, happy as can be, being super productive and involved in a bunch of things? Why is being single almost frowned upon these days? “Your clock is ticking” “Everyone is getting married and settling down, don’t you want to?”

Here is the thing: 3 Reasons Why I Am Single

  1. This biological clock? I don’t hear it ticking, so you shouldn’t worry yourself with MY clock
  2. I love my friends, and love that they are happy, but no, this does not mean I wish I was them
  3. IT’S NONE OF YOUR DAMN BUSINESS

From friends, to parents, to cousins, to aunts, to coworkers, to strangers… everyone is concerned about my love life. Every one BUT me. If an opportunity presents itself, I will date, I am not anti dating. I am anti wasting my time in pointless relationshits. I don’t understand why we are in this justification dilemma where every person expects you to have a response to the dating questions. My love life, or lack thereof, is exactly that, MY love life.

28 and Dating

If you ask any of my friends, or hell, even read some of my past blog posts, you will quickly realize that I have shitty dating luck.

(I apologize now for the vulgarity)

Is it shitty dating luck or am I really just that bad at picking out people from a crowd? You need to have an attraction to someone, if slight, to even want to start a conversation. So, does that mean that I am blind? I look for the wedding ring, that ends up not being worn, because we all know how many married men that have vied for my affection throughout the last few years. But then again let’s be real… if they are not married when I meet them, they will be married soon enough! That’s my luck! You wanna get married? Date me, I am a modern day Good Luck Chuck in the sense that you can end up married WHILE DATING ME! How lucky are you?

Prick.

But let’s get back to the point… I am going to be 28 next month and I am still in the world of dating. Now don’t get me wrong here, I am not trying to find some magic cure that allows me to find the right man and shoot me in to marriage before I’m 30. I am not in a rush, I am quite happy. I am comfortable and confident in myself to not feel like “my clock is ticking” or “why hasn’t it happened for me yet?” these are not thoughts that I am troubled with thankfully. I don’t want to NEED anyone. I want to WANT whomever that perfect for me man is. But let’s be real… dating now a days is not as fun as it used to sound.

Welcome to 2016 and the world of Tinder, and Bumble, and Plenty of Fish, and who knows what other number of dating/hook up apps that exist these days. Book stores are closing as more bars pop up. Technology has given the “men” of our day the ease of hiding behind their iPhone or Android screens.

I remember my mom and other women from her ‘dating era’ telling me stories about meeting a guy and then having flowers show up at their work asking for the first date. This shit doesn’t happen anymore. I am not saying I have never received flowers, because I have had a boyfriend or two be great in that regard. I am not saying I necessarily want flowers to be the avenue someone asks me out. But what I am saying is, I certainly have NOT had the effort put in to getting the first date from me. This is also partially my fault, for exchanging numbers and saying yes to a date via text. I am as guilty of allowing it as men are for taking the easy way. I don’t make men find me, pursue me, put in the effort. But then again, and maybe this isn’t such a bad thing, if I put up the wall of this idea and gave out my number less… I would date less.

Holy shit… THAT’S IT! If I was more strict on who and when I gave out my number I would siphon out the guys who are looking for the quick in, the tinder swipe type if you will, the guys who have a multitude of “application options”. I don’t want them anyways! I want the guy who comes after me, and gives me the reason to go after him. (I am not trying to make dating a one way street, let’s focus though)

For the year of 28, I want to really WANT to go on a date. I want to feel like that guy is as excited as I am, and not just tallying in his 3rd date for the week. I am a severely competitive woman… but I will not compete with other women for a man’s attention. I want to be so anxious to see someone I show up 15 minutes early and sit in the parking lot incessantly checking my makeup and watching the time. I want organic ‘meet cutes’ not one prompted by cycling through pictures and a small paragraph of your life. I want the fear of never seeing you again because googling your life story isn’t possible.

Dating in 2016 is hopefully going to be very interesting for me. And with the idea of being more guarded over my phone number (not my heart, I already have a wall around that sucker), I might not have to write about my “woes” as often. I apologize now to everyone who enjoys my debacles, but I am personally over the bullshit.

Let’s be real… My luck will still draw in the dicks and the pricks. And don’t you worry… you’ll be the first to know. (ok the second… my friends always hear about it first).

 

I Should Be Engaged

Original Post by Duly Noted.
January 8, 2016 by Corinne Rogero

I want to be engaged this year. As of yesterday I’ve been on this earth for more than twenty-three years, and I think it’s about time for me to be engaged.

I’ve been asking people on my Home Team what one word they want to hold true for 2016, and when the question was finally reciprocated by my friend Sanford, I couldn’t come up with anything. I hadn’t found one that quite fit just yet.

I would say seemingly meaningful words aloud to see if their meanings would hold any significance for what I want this next year to be.

I rustled up words like depth or rest or value and announced them to myself in the car or in the shower or on my walk to work. Nothing was clicking.

Until I drove to Joshua Tree yesterday morning, and that’s when a word so unexpected was whispered into the silence around me: engaged.

And I know it’s the right word for this next year because it scares me to say it aloud. I knew as soon as I heard it that it wasn’t my idea- I’d never ask for something so radical.

But as I sit in this snow-covered coffee shop on the side of Bear Mountain, that word keeps repeating itself in my mind to the point that I can feel it making itself at home and warming everything in me like the flat white in my coffee mug.

So for my twenty-fourth year of life I want to be engaged, but it’s probably not what you think.

I’m as single as a slice of American cheese right now, which is perfect for me and I prefer it that way.

But when I say I want to be engaged, I don’t mean I’m looking for a fiance.

I mean I want to be engaged in the sense that I’m mindful of the people and surroundings and culture and the spiritual warfare around me.

I want to establish meaningful connections with the person on the other side of my coffee mug or in the booth across from me at dinner or in the passenger seat of my car.

I want to lean in and connect with the stories being told. I want to actively console the sorrows being shared. I don’t want to go through conversations absentmindedly anymore.

Because after two decades of being distracted by tomorrow and by my phone and by what’s happening in my peripheral, it’s about time I was engaged fully in these moments.

I just finished A Hobbit A Wardrobe and A Great War by Joseph Loconte. It’s a book about J.R.R. Tolkien’s friendship with C.S. Lewis and how the events of WWI shaped their views on life, transformed their writing, and grew them together as best friends.

I came across a quote in one of the last chapters from Lewis about what true friendship is and he says,

You will not find the warrior, the poet, the philosopher or the Christian by staring into his eyes as if he were your mistress: better to fight beside him, read with him, argue with him, pray with him.

I don’t think we’ll ever be fully engaged in the lives of others by staring at them through Instagram or Snapchat or by stalking their musical tastes on Spotify (all of which I’m fully guilty).

I think engagement happens when we turn off our phones and laptops and TVs and fight beside the people we love and want to know more.

It happens when we sit together in the silence of reading or doing a puzzle together or in the gentle murmur of prayer for one another.

I want to be engaged with this planet in my next year of life. I’ve already explored some of the most incredible landscapes in the past few months of living in California, but it’s only one state and I have the world at my fingertips.

So do you.

But if we never take the time to stick up for ourselves, to ask our employers for time away to rest and leave our cubicles and occupy our bodies and minds with the waterfalls and mountains and deserts and cobblestone streets of this planet, are we really living?

I want to engage in other cultures and environments and languages in this next year. I want to encounter more new places and faces than sticking to the social norms would allow.

More than that, I want to engage in the invisible war that’s taking place over the souls of the people around me.

I want to be locked and loaded with an arsenal of grace and truth and boldness to bring the good news of hope into the lives that intersect mine.

I want to be fully aware of God’s presence in every moment and not as much like Jacob who woke from his sleep and said, “Surely the Lord is in this place and I didn’t know it!”

John 1:10-11 says, “[Jesus] was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him.”

I don’t want to be one of His own who is too busy or distracted or preoccupied to recognize his presence in every moment.

I heard a pastor once say, “The holiest moment in life is the one happening right now,” and I think he’s absolutely correct.

Because the enemy has quietly and viciously crept into this world and distracted us with empty connections and excuses of worrying about tomorrow.

C.S. Lewis portrays this in The Screwtape Letters. The antagonist Screwtape maliciously states,

The present is the point at which time touches eternity…It is far better to make [humans] live in the Future. Biological necessity makes all their passions point in that direction already, so that thought about the Future inflames hope and fear. Also, it is unknown to them, so that in making them think about it we make them think of unrealities.

If I want to be engaged in the holiest of moments, if I want to live fully aware of the battle taking place for the weary, helpless souls around me, tomorrow can (responsibly) worry about itself.

It’s a new year, I’m another year older, and I want nothing more than to be engaged.

Will you be engaged with me? Will you spend more time being present in the present and interacting with the current landscape and giving the enemy a good dose of his own fear as your heart and mind sync up with these points in time that touch eternity?

I think life looks better engaged, regardless of whether there’s a ring involved or not.

Because we have a God who’s engaged and none of us did anything to deserve his fullness in every moment.

Stop for just a second and hear Him gently whisper,

Wake up to the life around you, my child. Awaken your senses to the people and places and my presence in this life, and I will wrap you up in light.

The Real Family Feud

Death is hard.  But death within your family can be even more difficult.

I lost my mom young, many people know this about me. Strangers that inquire about the tattoo on my shoulder quickly get the story and all of the love pours out of me. I don’t mind talking about my mom anymore, although I used to. Now, it’s more of a blessing to be able to fill the ears of anyone who will listen. I loved her so much, but in a very odd way I feel like I love her even more now.

With love and loss comes a very intense sense of possession. They don’t prepare you for this. (who are “they”? I certainly don’t know them, cause they didn’t prepare me for shit.)

I clung to her life through her stuff; her drivers license, her purses, rings, clothes… and yes even her socks. (Don’t ask… I was 14)

Several very momentous items were left to me. A gift from the grave I call them.

Her wedding dress, which to much dismay does not fit me and never will. I am 4+ inches taller than my mom and in a result also wider (thanks for the hips Mom). I can use the fabric, re-tailor it, completely remake it, but in the end I can’t actually wear her dress (assuming someone marries me someday).

Her rings and jewelry, several pieces I have to have resized, which is a New Years gift to myself… not a cheap one might I add, but I really want to wear her rings. She was a very decorative lady and all of her pieces meant something to her, specifically my grandmothers ring. I have always felt a connection to my grandma, although I never met her (she passed away before I could), but I remember seeing her presence in my dreams the day my mother died. She has always been with me, she was a huge part of my mother, and I want to carry them both with me.

Her Snowbabies collection, a curio cabinet full of snow covered babies in scenarios that are perpetually in winter. I have this in my living room… I hate winter, but I love those weird little figurines. There are plenty of other random little nick knacks in there as well. I don’t when, where, or why she had them, but I put them up as they stood for years (cue the creepy doll in the dark feeling).

I have a multitude of photos, albums, old coats, scarves and random little things that belong to her. Every piece means such an incredible amount to me. It might seem cryptic, but I feel her near me when I touch these things.

With all of these things comes tension between the family though. When mom died my dad had his sisters go through and clean out her closets, almost all of her clothes and shoes were removed and donated while I was gone one day. The few things I have left therefore are quite precious. You can imagine how furious 14 year old hormones can get when things change, let alone when things are gone. I screamed at him for what felt like an hour, hysterical that mom was gone, enraged that he would just “throw her away”… at least that’s how I saw it (I was a moody teen, so sue me).

Years passed, more of her things were purged, all us kids had moved out and started our lives. We figured it all out, right? Wrong… very wrong.

I posted a Facebook status (I get it, I’m a millennial… yada yada) yesterday about my tears at the jewelry store when I dropped off my mothers rings to be sized, it went like this:

“I’m pretty sure the guy that owns the jewelry store thinks I’m insane… I handed him a ring, said I wanted it sized and then started crying. Dropping off moms jewelry to size it to fit me was incredibly and unexpectedly emotional. #crazyringlady‬”

It garnered a multitude of likes and lovely, supportive comments like, “She would be so proud that you want to wear her ring lady”, “Hugs to you, your mom would have cried too”, and “What a complement to your Mom! She would love you to wear her jewels!”. I love what my mom can still do to people, even ones who never met her, she was such a loving lady.

But on the other hand, from my own brother, I received a nasty, hurtful message. “Thanks for reminding me this morning that I have nothing of moms and never will.” When I asked him, what of hers he would like, I get “It’s obvious you are already acting like you always do when this subject comes up about her or Grandpa”. (I have a couple dead animals and a ceramic cheetah from my grandpa… that’s it. I had a car for awhile from his will, but it broke down.)

I get where he is coming from to an extent, I am possessive of these things and I am never willing to part with them. They were left to me, they only make sense to be with me as I am the girl. But I didn’t realize he had “nothing”.

Bring on the real Family Feud!

I can argue till I am blue in the face how much each thing means to me and why I may have it instead of him, but at the end of the day he is still furious at me that he doesn’t have them. How do you battle that? How do you explain to your brother, someone you love dearly, that you will not give him these things. I would give him anything else of moms that I have, but not those things. It is not out of spite, it is not out of selfishness (ok.. maybe a little, but it’s from a good place), it is purely the connection these pieces give me to my mother. She has been gone for 13 years and we are still arguing about her “stuff”.

With a distance from here to Japan, I struggle to find ways to stay close to my brother and his little boy. I try to stay in touch, give him inside information to my life first, update him when family is in the hospital, anything to make him feel closer to us. But, in reality I have always had a feeling that he has tried to run from us since mom passed.

He joined the Marine Corps, an incredibly “holy shit I am proud of my brother!” moment. He lived in California during that time, so I flew to Cali my senior year of High school, Junior year college Spring Break (where he spent the week hitting on my roommate), Senior year Thanksgiving and after I graduated for a job interview (got the job, turned it down). Then he moved to Kentucky for awhile and after he broke his back, off to Japan he went. I sadly have not sprung for my passport, so for the last few years I have been held to seeing him when he comes home. All of this distance, I feel like I have tried, but to my middle brother it is never enough. Maybe I am not realizing that I need to do more. All of it possible.

My oldest brother and I do not have this same issue, he never yells at me about moms things, never brings me down, and we mutually visit each other as often as time permits. He also has a youngin so I try to visit as much as I can considering the closer proximity (couple cities away instead of a couple countries). We argue about scenarios that happened when we were kids and where we should meet for dinner, things that usually end up with us laughing more than actually fighting.

Death is weird in this way… I don’t know if my relationship with my middle brother will always be a fight or if we will someday just simply support each other (cause when he is supportive, he is my biggest fan, hands down). Maybe this is our relationship, hate you today, love you tomorrow, and round and round. Maybe it will get worse, maybe it will get better. I would be surprised if he read this even, cause then maybe we would be one step closer.

If he does read this, as you just have, I hope you all gather the same feeling about me. I love my mother, I love my father. Even when I am burning mad, I will always love my brothers. But at the end of it all, it’s not just stuff to me.

 

 

 

I am sorry bro if what I do hurts you, if what I have pains you to miss, I really do not mean to cause you this. If I could bring her back I would, if I could fill the hole I would. If I could duplicate what remains or detach myself from it, I would. I wish I could be there, I wish you were here.

I’ll Be Seeing You

It’s crazy how one moment you can feel so alive and awestruck by the world. Then in another moment realize how harsh and cruel the reality of life can be. While I have been relishing in my day to day adventure filled life, I have been selfishly unaware of things that are far more important than myself. I have been self-seeking in my happiness, not fulfilling a promise I gave to a dear friend awhile back.

Back in late August of 2014 I went to Nashville for work and had the opportunity to use my night off to catch up with an old friend from back in my early High School days. He was coaching soccer down the road from my hotel, so I walked to go watch. We caught up over dinner and drinks and laughed at each other over how much we had changed over the years. We had always kept in touch, but we hadn’t seen each other in so long, so much was different now. Nevertheless I felt like I was hanging out with a close friend, teasing each other about work, giving out relationship advice… basically him giving me advice ha! It was awesome! Only briefly did he mention this weird pain in his jaw that he was having his dentist look at soon. No big deal, we barely talked about it.

Middle of September I was heckling him on the soccer pictures he was posting to Facebook. As a goalie myself we have always been supportive and critical of each others performances. It was lighthearted and fun, typical soccer banter. This was our friendship.

In October everything changed… He had a biopsy, surgery, and was ultimately diagnosed with Alveolar Rhabdomyosarcoma (ARMS) or cancer of the muscle. Dr. said that this cancer is very curable and responds well to chemo and radiation. She was very wrong.

Early November the Dr. said that the PET scan showed some spots in his bones (left hip, shoulder blade, mid-back) where the cancer had spread. Team Caleb shirts were made a few days later to raise awareness and money for Caleb’s fight. I bought one immediately. The end of November was the beginning of a long trek through Chemo and Radiation. Words I am all too familiar with. I donated more money to help with the bills. I wore his shirt often.

December 17th was his birthday, he is now only 28 years old. I wish I was there for your birthday… I’m so sorry I wasn’t.

January 5th thru 9th, was pretty brutal. He became weak, feverish and his blood counts dropped a great deal. While at an appointment with his oncologist it was decided he needed to be admitted to the hospital, on January 13th.

On February 11th he had an appointment, follow up with Renal docs from the long stay in the hospital, and  Caleb’s kidneys had fully recovered!  The appointment with the oncologist showed that the spots in Caleb’s hip/shoulder had started to die and scar over. Also, the jaw tumor showed dead tissue within. All of this, positive news.

On March 10th, Caleb and his girlfriend Bethany headed to Vanderbilt university, more chemo.

May 27th, Caleb’s jaw tumor has grown. It’s bigger and closer to the opening of his mouth. It has grown up towards the skull. This means that at some point, the chemo regimen had stopped working. Then his Dr. said she no longer thinks she can cure Caleb’s cancer.

I text Caleb that day. Told him I was praying harder than ever, told him I was there if he needed anything, told him “If my boyfriend and I get a chance we will come visit”. Why didn’t I book a plane ticket then?

June 15th, Caleb’s jaw tumor has gotten bigger still, just in the last week, and he was very uncomfortable. His oncologist was concerned with the growth and they were scheduled for a “debulking” surgery the next afternoon.

July 3rd, Caleb and Bethany head to NYC to visit Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center which resulted in being referred to Provision Proton Therapy Center for treatment on July 23rd.

August 3rd, Caleb proposed. He was going to get married November 1st, 2015! I texted him the next day, congratulating him on the proposal, the ring, and for being a hopeless romantic. I said how excited I was and  how “you deserve all the happiness this life can bring”. I really meant that.

August 18th, almost exactly a year after seeing him and things were looking up!

Then September 24th came. I woke up from a dream of being at his wedding to Bethany, it was beautiful. A very calm, warming feeling to wake up to. Then I saw a post about them needing prayers… it felt urgent and scary. I texted him immediately, “I wish I was around to help, but I want to visit soon and help you and the lady any way I can. Let me know if you’re free the weekend of Nov.6-8th, would love to fly down.”  There was silence. The buzz of a thank you never came. An open armed invitation to visit never arrived. Then I read about it…

Bethany wrote- “Caleb had a bad night last night that led to a 3am trip to the ER. He collapsed after using the bathroom and we had trouble getting his breathing under control. He’s got fluid build up in his abdomen that is just related to the cancer in his body. They are running other tests for now and trying to decide the best way to keep Caleb comfortable and allow him to rest. His body is fighting hard but it’s really getting knocked down over and over again. We were moved from the ER to ICU and he’s stable right now. We don’t know what the future holds for us over the next few days. We do know that becoming a married couple is one thing we wanted. So our beautiful family, friends, and nursing staff set up a sweet and perfect wedding for us. We are now Mr. & Mrs. Hanby!”

I messaged his mother on Facebook. I needed to get down there. I would go this weekend, cancel all my plans, I’m going.

“We would love to have you visit, but truthfully, we don’t think he’ll make it through the night.”

I didn’t know what to say… “I’m so so sorry. Thank you for welcoming me down during such a hard time. I don’t even know what to say, and I’m sorry for that. Caleb is a dear friend, my first real high school boyfriend, I’ll always have a special type of love for him. I hate that I didn’t visit sooner… Please tell him I’m sorry for that.”

Caleb died on Oct.1st 2015. I would not see him alive. I didn’t make it. I would not get to tell him all the things I still needed to say.

Immense feelings of sadness and guilt overcame me. Why didn’t I make the time for you? The time I promised I would make. Why did my excuses make sense when I made them, but now seem so pathetic of me?

Why didn’t I just go…

I only have the option to pray and hope you can hear me now. I don’t get the reassurance of your voice, I don’t get the response of your shy smile. I will always admire that smile though, the way it shot across your face when my brazen honesty made you uncomfortable. The way it stretched through your cheeks every time we saw each other. Your honest grin made everyone feel so welcome in your presence. Making you smile is my first memory of you and it will be my last.

So my prayer to you now is to say I’m sorry. I’m sorry I broke your heart in high school… twice. If I’m honest, I never felt good enough for you. Being your first kiss is something I will never forget, and I will hold it dear, but you were deserving of someone who loved you unbridled, open, on fire. I loved you then, but it was so quiet. At the end of it all, I am glad we stayed friends. I cherish that friendship.

I’m sorry I wasn’t a better friend through the other years. I remember our summer ice cream dates to catch up during college and the chats when you were heartbroken. I can’t tell you now how honored I am to have been a voice of strength for you when your heart was hurting. I should have been around for more every days, and not just the hard moments.

I’m sorry I didn’t come see you when I said I would… I know you wanted me to get to know Bethany . I know you wanted me to see your family. You wanted these things to happen, and sadly they came to be at your funeral. I was able to catch up with Cory, we tried for years to hang out with him, all together again. Although it’s been 8 or so years since I saw him, we were able to comfort each other.

I pray today for your memory to live on and for the comfort of your family when times get hard, because they will. I pray for Bethany and her peace, her heart and her soul moving forward. Her love will be a huge part of your legacy. I pray for the healing and acceptance of every single friend you touched, all of your new and old friends, Cory and even my own.

I beg today for forgiveness, from you and from myself, for letting little things come between me being the friend that I should have been to you. For not being there when I said I would. I know you never held that against me, but I will be a while working on the forgiveness of myself.

Thank you for teaching me so many things that I needed to learn. I’ll be seeing you.