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Monday, February 9, 2009

Dear Andrew,

This morning when my phone rang, I knew who it was without looking at it. It was Chris, saying, can you believe it's been ten years? I knew it was him, before he even considered calling me. Ten years ago, he used to call me every day and ask if it was real. After the first month of that, I had to make him stop. I couldn't say the words aloud to him and listen to him cry any longer. After that it was every month, at least until it had been a year. Now I get the call on this day, every single year. Chris, out of all of us, took your loss the hardest.

Even though it's still early today, I've talked to them all. Just for a minute, to say hi. To remember you. Later today, I'll call Thomas and your mom as well, so they know I'm thinking about them too.

Ten years today and some days I still wonder if it's real. I wonder if we were wrong, if you are still out there somewhere, walking around. Drinking in a bar, having the last laugh. I know it's true, that you are dead, there is no doubt about it. But some days, I wish more than anything that is wasn't.

A lots happened in the past ten years. Logan and I are three weeks away from our tenth anniversary. We've got two little girls and an infant son. Part of me wanted to name him after you, but I decided to leave that to your brother. James and Kate have been married almost eight years and they have two kids, a girl and a boy. Chris is still with Stephanie and they have two little boys. I don't remember if you met Steph. Possibly not, but I think Chris met her before you died. I know we'd all heard him talk about her. Emmy is living the crazy life of a New York prosecutor. We are still just as close, closer if that's possible. We don't see each other all the time, well except Kate and James and I, because we live so close together. When we are together though, it's like no time has passed. Somehow you always come up in conversation. It's our way of keeping your memory alive, to bring you up during important moments.

Your brother is doing great. He's in the Navy....just like your dad, I know...but he's so different than your dad. He's still that kind, sweet, generous kid you knew, he's just somehow become a great man. He's been married for only a year, but they just had a little girl last month. Drew Isabelle is her name and she's just beautiful. She has your moms eyes, just like you did. Thomas is a good man. He's young, but he's very mature. He'll make a great dad and husband. When you died, we all promised to watch out for Tommy and we've kept our promise. He promised us he'd make you proud and I swear to you Andrew, he will. He takes care of your mom; she's lived with him for the last two years since your dad died. The last time I talked to her, she seemed to be doing great, thrilled to have a little granddaughter, that's for sure.

Emmy was here for a vacation a month or so ago. One night we were all playing some silly drinking question game. Questions like, if there was a fire and everyone was out, but you could save one thing out of your fridge, what would it be? Kate pulled a question about if you could go back in time and change one thing, what would it be. She didn't even need to answer it, we all knew the answer. You. All of us, if given the chance to go back in time, would save you. We just sort of sat there for a minute in thought and then we had a drink for you.

Andrew, the thing is though, none of us know how exactly we'd save you. We don't know how we could have saved you back then. We didn't know you needed to be saved. We've analyzed it for ten years and we still don't know what we missed. Nineteen year olds are a bit dense, but I think you hid whatever was going on, pretty freaking well. That made it so much worse for us. Don't worry though, even though we all went through a phase of being pissed at you, we've long since moved passed it. Now when we think about you, we remember the crazy things we did as kids.

I wish you'd told us what we could have done to help. We'd have done it in a heartbeat. Until the day we die, we will all wonder what we could have done to help. Maybe one day, we'll get the chance to ask you.

Andrew, I still miss you. We all do. I have very few childhood memories that don't include you. As an adult, I've found that people don't stay close like we all have. Most people don't even stay friends throughout school, with the people they met as tiny kids. It's not normal, people tend to not believe that we are as close as we are. We were so blessed to have had you in our lives for the time we did. But every day, we still miss you. Our lives are way less entertaining now. If your nineteen year old self saw us all today, you'd probably tell us we'd gotten dam boring. We are very unlikely to wind up in prison though. So that's possibly a plus.

I hope where ever you are, that you are at peace.

We will always love and miss you.

Melissa


Just so the rest of you know, Andrew was one of my best friends. We met in first grade. 10 years ago today he killed himself. Left his dorm room one day to go to class (he had even said to Chris, after class, we need to go surfing, as he left) and instead drove home. He shot himself in his old bedroom with his dad's gun. He left no note and although we knew something was up with him, we never knew what. He'd not confided in any of us. We'll never know why he did it. What we do know, is it changed the rest of us forever. Any innocence we still had at the time was lost that day.

For Andrew Kevin McConnell.

17 comments:

Insta-mom said...

Two weeks before high school graduation, Memorial Day weekend, a friend of mine was hit by a drunk driver. We went to school Tuesday morning and got the news. We spent the rest of the day at the hospital. She died that evening.

Something like that changes everything. My heart is with you today.

Christy said...

Oh what a touching post...I don't know you, but I'm thinking of you today.

Jaden Paige said...

I hope he is at peace, too. Thank you for sharing such a private letter with us all... I can only imagine how hard it must have been for you all, being so close, to go through that, and to try and come to terms with something that will never be understood fully.

My thoughts are with you, Issa.

flybunny said...

I remember when you blogged about this the first time and how I had tears in my eyes for you and your friends. How tough it is to lose someone like that.

Thinking of you today!

MarvelousMOM said...

It breaks my heart to hear stories like this. So sad that kids and adults even feel there is no other way. My heart goes out to all affected. What a beautiful post.

Kirsten said...

That is a lot to deal with for a 19 year old. I'm sure it has affected who you are today.

My thoughts are with you!

wheelsonthebus said...

sending you warm thoughts on this day

Sonya said...

There are no "right" words...know that you touched me today

SUEB0B said...

I'm glad you took time to remember your friend.

I wonder if he was on any meds. My BIL talked about taking a new prescription (it was for blood pressure, NOT psych meds) and developing strong suicidal thoughts - and my BIL is NOT the type to consider suicide.

alissasanderson said...

((hugs)) for you today, and every day.

You are right, friendships like that are rare. In that instance you are very, very lucky.

katy (aka funny girl) said...

I lost my brother Andrew 17 years ago; he was 15 and I was 19. And yes, what innocence I had was gone that day.

Maura said...

I didn't go through anything like that kind of loss at that age, so I can only imagine how unbelievably difficult, painful and horrific it was.

But I admire that you and your friends have learned to forgive and have honored him, really, by remaining good friends and not forgetting him.

I'm certain this is a really hard day for you each year, but I'm glad you shared it with us.

Mrs. Really Long Last Name said...

beautiful.

Just beautiful.

Hugs my friend.

And this is the best way to remember him.

heartatpreschool said...

Wow. I feel like I want to say so much, but the words aren't coming.

What a beautiful letter. I know Andrew is reading it.

I'm thinking about you. Also, thank you so much for your supportive comments on my last post.

Becky said...

this was totally sweet and thoughtful.

iMommy said...

This breaks my heart.

A beautiful letter. I hope he can read it, from wherever he is right now.

Childsplayx2 said...

Okay, here I am crying for all of you. This post hit a little close to home and I'm so thankful that my wife chose another route.

I'm so sorry for the loss you feel to this day. I'm glad you remember the good times.