Sometimes I get tired of learning life lessons. Especially the kind that make you realize no matter how long someone has been gone you will still miss them just as much, still wish you had a chance to say goodbye and tell them how much they mean to you. That never goes away.
The summer of 2008 someone I dated for three years was killed in a terrible car accident. The court case is coming to an end and although I do not know all of the details of the case I do know that the judge has allowed people to write victim impact statements.
I've never heard of people writing victim impact statements as part of a court case to try to influence sentencing. I keep thinking about it, and I can easily tell you what everyone will write about Gary. All wonderful things, all true. But I'm just not sure I feel like a victim. I feel like I was lucky enough to spend three years as his girlfriend and many years as his friend. He always picked up the phone for me, even when we hadn't seen each other in more than a year. How does that make me a victim? I don't know if I could put onto paper what he meant to me, or how he affected my life.
The only time I felt victimized is when I went to the wake and the funeral and his circle of friends pretended they didn't know who I was. These people that never knew the first thing about me or our relationship but felt the need to pass judgment. That was an awful day. I got the sense that I was somehow not welcome to grieve for this person I was very much in love with for a long time, and who had always been there for me. He was my first real love. He allowed me to be myself and was the most loving person I ever met who wore his heart on his sleeve even more than I do. We had the most unbelievable fights and the best time laughing about them afterwords. Even when we stopped seeing each other and we both moved on to new stages of our lives, he always picked up the phone for me, always showed that he cared, always had some good advice for me when I was struggling.
The world is definitely worse off for not having him in it, and it still makes me angry and sad and gives me an overall feeling that the world is not a fair place. But I still don't feel like a victim. He made my life better, and taught me how to be forgiving, loving, comfortable in my own skin. Of course I miss him, but for me he will always be there in the things I learned from him, the changes he made in me.