Today is a weird day. Today is a sad day. Today is a confusing day.
One year ago my best friend called me 5 times while I was in the middle of play rehearsal, I couldn’t fathom what was so important. Until she texted me.
"My dad died."
The next few moments were a blur. I threw off the headset that connected me to my stage manager, managed to blurt out what had happened and that I needed to go, and ran out.
I remember standing in the parking lot, calling her. She was sobbing, obviously, all I got out of her was that I should come over.
I snuck into the quiet theater to grab the car keys from my dad, silently explaining why I so desperately need to leave. He wanted me to wait, so he could drive me. In hind sight, I probably should have let him.
I barely remember driving to her house. I think I was just focusing on not sobbing.
By the time I got there, Lindsey and her family had left to head to her dads house.
I waited inside the house with her neighbor. I called my mom to let her know what was up. I texted a few friends. Processed a little more.
When Lindsey was home, her neighbor let her know I was there and I went into the garage to greet her.
We held each other and cried together until someone with more sense led us into the house.
There was more crying, mostly from Lindsey, her mother and myself. The men, just her brother and then boyfriend were there at the time, remained quiet and comforted us.
Slowly people began to arrive. Mostly high school friends of Lindsey and I. Her brother’s girlfriend. Her mother’s friends.
A lot of those memories were blurry. We sat. We cried. At some point we bucked up enough to tell stories about Bryan, Lindsey’s dad.
But when the police arrived to ask a few question, the mood dropped again. You could see everyone’s mind churning as they remembered why we were all there.
It wasn’t just to have a good time. A tragedy had occurred.
Everyone was there well into the early morning. By 1 or 2 a.m. everyone was heading to bed or leaving.
Andrew, Lindsey’s boyfriend at the time, and myself were the only ones to stay the night.
We all went through the motions and crawled into bed. It might normally seem weird to share a bed with your best friend and her boyfriend, but there were bigger things than worrying about that.
We watched some stupid show “50 stupidest accidents” or “25 biggest goofs.” All I remember is laughing. Just trying to feel light instead of feeling the horrible events of the day.
At one point, Lindsey was in the bathroom and Andrew and I were in her room. Something he did made her phone drop. He put it back together, except for the battery. He couldn’t find it.
Lindsey laughed so hard at him for thinking she wouldn’t notice her phone battery missing.
Seeing her smile, at a time such at that, was so beautiful.
It was early in the morning, at least 3. But we remained awake, chatting, reminiscing, just laughing. The three of us barely got four hours of sleep that night.
By the time it was 8 a.m. we were awake. Remembering the mess yesterday had made.
The rest of the day was filled with more visits from people, calls informing people what had happened.
I’m devastated now just thinking of the call Lindsey and her mom made to her dads best friend.
I stayed with Lindsey as long as I could. But I had to be back at the theater that night for opening night. I returned after the show and stayed the night with her again.
Over the next week there was a celebration of his life at Lindsey’s house, a funeral, many shopping trips to distract Lindsey.
I don’t know why I wrote that. It’s probably not some of the best work I’ve done. But it’s some of the most necessary.
A while after this happened, a teacher of ours from high school messaged me. She reminded me that while its important to be there for Lindsey, I have to remember to mourn for myself.
It was strange to think that I needed to mourn too. He wasn’t my dad.
But as time passed, I would think of Bryan’s death and become increasingly sad. Or be outrageously angry at him for leaving too soon.
And then it made sense to me. He was a part of my life too. A part that just disappeared.
I think writing this and sharing my perspective was just my way of finally mourning the loss of such a genuinely wonderful human being.
Someone who always had a smile on his face. Someone who made great tacos. Who cheered up five high school seniors when every single one of their Homecoming dates bailed. Who took my prom photos. Someone who was supposed to be there to see my best friend graduate college. To walk her down the aisle. To be there.
Today I will be there for Lindsey. I’ll bring her something if she needs it, I’ll give her space, I’ll text her words of encouragement whenever necessary.
But this post is for me. For all the things I can’t say out loud. For all the memories that constantly circle my head.
We miss you, Bryan.