A Letter to Myself

Dear Me,

It’s weird to write to myself, but here I am. Maybe someday I’ll look back at what I’ve posted onto Her Campus and take something from what this version of mehas to say. It’s been a rough few months of 2019—we’re hardly four months in—but I’m sure I can get through it. I’m sure you can too, whatever you’re doing now.

Right now, your 2019 has been filled with grief. In January, you had to put your Penny down. I still see her now, three months later, her black and white fur standing out against the couch dad always said she couldn’t be on. I still hear her nails against the hardwood floor, her basset ears dragging across the ground as she comes to say hello. I know she’s not there, not really, but I still see her. Her ashes are upstairs, and I know it’s not the same, but it’s proof that she was there, as if the couple hundred photos and videos saved to Snapchat weren’t enough.

In February you turned 22. Congrats! You also found out that you won’t be graduating in May with the rest of your friends, because you stalled on Spanish and your internship while everyone got theirs done. I’m still bitter when they talk about their graduation time, especially when Grad Fest came around and I saw caps and gowns everywhere, but I’m not sure it’s at everyone anymore. Rather, I’m bitter at myself for putting myself behind the curb. What’s one more semester in the long run? It’s more money, for one, and more stress while everyone else you grew close to is out in the “real world” and moving on from Kutztown. Bitterness toward myself is understandable, I think.

Two weeks ago in March, your grandmother died. I’m still not entirely sure how I feel about it. We were never really close, but I knew Nana loved me dearly, and I know that I loved her. I regret that the last time I talked to her was while she was laying in hospice and actively dying, and the last time I talked with her was on Christmas. Four months never seems like a long time until one of you is gone for good. I wish I’d been closer to her, and had known the talkative woman that everyone at her service had mentioned. Instead I knew the woman that I would sit outside in silence with even though it was cold, her smoking a cigarette and me playing fetch with Rudy. The silence was okay. It was comfortable. Hopefully she found it comfortable too.

Now it’s April, your younger brother has moved out, and your cousin Dori has a week to ten days to live. Kidney failure, mom said, and if anything, this has solidified your stance on not getting drunk. I’m not sure if it’s still that way in our future, but for now I’d rather drink water than alcohol if it means I won’t die (potentially) alone like Dori currently is. I’m not sure what’s worse: that she estranged herself so much from her family that she’s now alone in Florida, or that she’s become so estranged that I can’t bring myself to feel anything beyond pity for her.

Who knows what the rest of the year will bring. I’m sure you’ll know by the time you read this again. 2019 has been rough on us, but we’re strong. I know I’m strong. I have my friends at my side no matter how snippy this year has made me. There’s been good things, too: I was part of the feature panel at the Kutztown English Composition Conference for the second time. I’ve been published in Shoofly Literary Magazine for the second time. Our high school best friend made a surprise visit from Florida at work yesterday, and it was great to catch up. And no, I might not be graduating in May, but I’ll be graduating in 2019, so it’s something.

I won’t say that all this grief was for a reason, because I don’t believe that to be the case. Grief isn’t some act of God that’s supposed to make us stronger. That’s bullshit. I do know that things may seem hopeless now, but it will get better. That’s just how life is. There are ups and downs, but it’s how you deal with them that defines who you are.

I hope, for both of our sakes, that we continue to deal with the downs well. It’s going to be okay.