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Yesterday would have been your 21st birthday. It would have been a day filled with firsts (well, legal firsts). It would have been filled with laughter and warm feelings and too loud talking and probably some bad video games and even worse pizza.

Instead, it was a rainy Sunday spent at home. It was wishing you a happy birthday to an unchanged Facebook profile. It was staring at the screen, expecting to feel something deep inside shift, and still feeling nothing.

It’s been a while since you left us. And yet, it still doesn’t feel real. I still completely expect you to text us one day, to come out of hiding and claim the world’s least funny practical joke on us. It hasn’t hit me that you’ll never tell me a bad joke again, doesn’t seem possible that you won’t be asking for (completely unheeded) girl advice again. I don’t know why I can’t accept that this happened, that it is fact and real and true and unchanging.

I didn’t go to your memorial. I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I didn’t accept it as something real.

If I didn’t go, it didn’t happen.

But it did happen, I never said goodbye, and now my brain is stuck on a repeating loop of waiting for you to waltz back into our lives. Of course, that isn’t going to happen.  I don’t even feel sadness (for which, I am sorry. If I could feel sadness, I would. I would welcome the pain of loss with open arms, embrace the agony, hold the ache within my body happily), because I am so deeply entrenched in my denial that I don’t feel a sense of loss. Because I didn’t lose you, you’re still here.

But you’re not here.

I’m sure it’s like a raincloud ready to burst. I’m sure it’ll happen eventually, be it weeks or months or years. But for now, I’ll cling to the emptiness where pain should be. Where I wish pain was. Because I do miss you. I miss you and will for a while yet.

Happy birthday.


EDIT 2/23/2016 I am not a counselor, I am a 20-something year old girl. The suicide hotline’s number is 1-800-273-8255.I have disallowed comments on this article. Life gets better, and you are not alone. Please, seek help if you are feeling suicidal or depressed.