If You Would Have Stayed 1 More Year: A Letter To My Boyfriend

If You Would Have Stayed 1 More Year: A Letter To My Boyfriend

An open letter to my boyfriend, whose story closed without a goodbye, but will encourage others to keep writing their own.
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On October 6, 2016 my best friend, my perspective of a perfect person, the brightest light in my life, my first love, my boyfriend, made the only choice he thought he had...

to take his own life at 16 years old.

For me, losing a loved one to suicide has made me wish I could stop time, or better yet, reverse it. But time does not stop for anyone or anything in this world, and looking back on a year with Austin vacant from my life, I realized that I have lived. Now, if you are thinking, “wow that’s great, she is living her life, she is getting better!”— not even close.

The guilt that surrounds a suicide survivor when they find themselves able to live and experience life without their loved one is like a sticky, dark cloud that latches to your back and does not let go.

How can you let yourself enjoy something that your loved one may have enjoyed if they would have just simply stayed?

Bystanders, the people who just want to help you, or even friends and family members commonly don’t understand the process of grieving a death by suicide. They might remind you that “God doesn’t give you anything that you can’t handle” or the biggest lie that “this will get better in time.”

Well, let me be the one to voice that while drowning in the loss of a loved one to suicide, with the most innocent mindset, you question why someone would even believe that God would do something so vicious as to take away your light, you ask why he would even let your loved one feel the demons inside of their head over and over and over again, and “better in time?” – I wish it were that simple.

Anyone who has suffered a loss knows that time does not heal a broken heart, it changes it.

With time approaching the one-year anniversary of his tragic death, I have been thinking a lot about how much one person can really accomplish in a year. Think about how many new people you may meet, how many pictures you might take, and the ways you could physically change in a year.

Though he and I were together for quite some time before my senior year and his junior year, this particular school year was the year that I had lived for less than a month and a half with him living, and over nine months without.

At 17 years old, I lost someone who I thought I would cheer on for two more years from the bleachers of the soccer field, watch graduate in red and white, find a career, buy (a few) more cars, get married, and start a family.

No matter what was to have become of our relationship, I still would be watching him live his life. His family would be there while he goes through all of life’s precious moments, but those moments that “would”, will never.

I will never watch him live his life again, and his family will never have the opportunity to watch him experience some of greatest gifts that life had to offer him.

Since I haven’t gotten to see, or speak to him in a year, I decided to write him a letter.

To anyone who is suffering from a mental illness, has thoughts of suicide, or has attempted suicide, please remember that you are never alone, and you are loved. Taking away your pain may only seem realistic by ending your life, but remember those that love you will carry the pain you leave behind forever.

You have so much more to live for, just think about what you can accomplish in one year.


To the loved one that left by choice,

This may seem like a silly exercise that a counselor might be encouraging me to try out, but it’s not. This is my choice to share the ending of your story, though I wish I could say "our" story. In this letter, my story starts the day that you were freed of your pain but passed much of it on to me.

I know that this was not your intention, you are the most selfless person I have ever met. Six days after you left, you would have turned 17 years old, but there was no cake and no party, just an empty room, and your scent.

Twenty-five days after you left, I tried to go out on Halloween, it was in the middle of a crowded room when I realized none of the faces at the party would be yours. Sometime after October, our volleyball team made it to state, something you said we would do, and my response was just a laugh.

Everyone was cheering and hugging their friends, but I didn’t have your arms to run to and admit that “you were right, again.”

Before Thanksgiving, I was accepted into both colleges that I applied for, but instead of running to your house to tell you the good news, I was running to your mom in hopes of putting smile on her face– none of us have seen it in a while. Thanksgiving was a blur, but you and I are both picky eaters so that's OK.

Eighty days after you left, I celebrated Christmas, my favorite holiday, but for some reason, it didn’t have the same cheer and spark as when I was a little kid. One-hundred and thirty-nine days after you left, I turned 18 years old. My friends and family threw me a giant surprise party, but it wasn’t really a surprise; it would have been if you were there.

One hundred and eighty-one days after you left, I had a minor surgery; you would have laughed and thought I was dying in pain, but I knew you weren’t going to be bringing me a get well gift.

Two hundred and fourteen days after you left, I went to my senior prom. I felt beautiful, and I know you would have thought so too. Two hundred and forty-eight days after you left, I graduated high school; I know you would have been jealous knowing you had one more year left.

Three hundred and eleven days after you left, I moved away to college, a place where there are no reminders of you on every block in town, 6 hours away from your gravestone, and 397.3 miles away from the last place I saw you.

Today has been 365 days since you left. Please don’t think I have forgotten about you. I won’t ever stop counting the days since you left. You are loved.

Always,

Elle

Cover Image Credit: Elle Sehorn

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To The Boy Who Will Love Me Next

If you can't understand these few things, leave before things get too involved
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To the boy that will love me next, I need you to know and understand things about me and my past. The things I have been though not only have shaped the person I’ve become, but also sometimes controls my life. In the past I’ve been used, abused, and taken for granted, and I want something real this time. The guys before you were just boys; they didn’t know how to treat me until it was too late. They didn’t understand how to love me, until I broke my own heart. Before you truly decide to love me I want you to understand these things.

When I tell you something, please listen.

I’m my own person, I want to be loved a certain way. If I ask you to come over and watch movies with me please do it, if I ask for you to leave me alone for a few hours because it’s a girl’s night please do it. I don’t just say things to hear my own voice, I say things to you because it’s important to my life and the way I want to be loved. I’m not a needy person when it comes to being loved and cared for, but I do ask for you to do the small things that I am say.

Forgive my past.

My past is not a pretty brick road, it is a highway that has a bunch of potholes and cracks in it. I have a lot of baggage, and most of it you won’t understand. But don’t let my past decided whether you want to love me or not. My past has helped form who I am today, but it does not define who I am. My past experiences might try and make an appearance every once in a while, but I will not go back to that person I once was, I will not return to all that hurt I once went though. When I say those things, I’m telling the complete and honest truth. I relive my past every day, somethings haunt me and somethings are good reminds. But for you to love me, I need you to accept my past, present and future.

I’m just another bro to the other guys.

I have always hung out with boys, I don’t fit in with the girl groups. I have 10 close girlfriends, but the majority of my friends are guy, but don’t let this scare you. If I wanted to be with one of my guy friends I would already be with him, and if you haven’t noticed I don’t want them because I’m with you. I will not lose my friendships with all my guy friends to be able to stay with you. I will not cut off ties because you don’t like my guy friends. I have lost too many buddies because of my ex-boyfriends and I promised myself I wouldn’t do that again. If you don’t like how many guy friends I have you can leave now. Don’t bother trying to date me if you can accept the fact I’m just another bro.

I might be a badass, but I actually have a big heart.

To a lot of people I come off to be a very crazy and wild girl. I will agree I can be crazy and wild, but I’m more than that. I’m independent, caring, responsible, understanding, forgiving, and so such more type of woman. Many people think that I’m a badass because I don’t take any negatively from anyone. Just like we learned when we were younger, “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all.” Most people can’t do that in today’s world, so I stick up for myself and my friends. I don’t care what anyone thinks about me, or their option on how I live my life. The only thing I care about is being able to make myself happy. Even though I’m an independent woman, understand that I do have a big heart. Honesty when I truly care for someone I will do just about anything they ask, but don’t take advantage of this. Once you take advantage of this part of me, all respect will be lost for you.

I’m hard to love.

Sometimes I want to be cuddle and get attention, and sometimes I don’t want you to talk to me for a couple hours. Sometimes I want you to take me out for a nice meal, but sometimes I want a home cooked meal. Every day is different for me, sometimes I change my mind every hour. My mood swings are terrible on certain days, and on those days you should probably just ignore me. I’m not easy to love, so you’ll either be willing to find a way to love me, or you’ll walk out like so many others have.

I’m scared.

I’m scared to love someone again. I’ve been hurt, heartbroken, and beat to the ground in my past relationships. I want to believe you are different, I want to hope things will truly work out, but every relationship has always ended up the same way. I’m scared to trust someone, put my whole heart into them, just to be left and heartbroken again. I sick and tired of putting my whole body and soul into someone for them to just leave when it is convenient for them. If you want to love me, understand it won’t be easy for me to love you back.

When “I’m done.”

When I say “I’m done” I honestly don’t mean that I’m done. When I say that it means I need and want you to fight for me, show me why you want to be with me. I need you to prove that I’m worth it and there’s no one else but me. If I was truly done, I would just walk away, and not come back. So if I ever tell you, “I’m done,” tell me all the reasons why I’m truly not done.

For the boy who will love me next, the work is cut out for you, you just have to be willing to do it. I’m not like other girls, I am my own person, and I will need to be treated as such. For the boy that will love me next, don’t bother with me unless you really want to be with me. I don’t have time to waste on you if you aren’t going to try and make something out of us. To the boy who will love me next, the last thing I would like to say is good luck, I have faith in you.

Cover Image Credit: Danielle Balint

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The 7 Stages Of A Breakup, As Told By Netflix's 'Someone Great'

Alexa play "Truth Hurts" by Lizzo, and max volume, please.

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We all know how it feels to get your heart broken by a guy. Whether it be in your teens or in your 30s, everyone experiences it, or already has. After watching the movie “Someone Great" on Netflix, it hit me deep in my feels. If you haven't seen it yet, check it out. It made me realize all of the stages of going through a rough breakup, and I could not relate to a movie more.

1. When you first breakup and will cry about it to just about anyone

We all know that we do this almost immediately after a break-up. You are just trying to get out of the house so you go to the store, something reminds you of our ex, and next thing you know, you're talking the stranger's ear off in the grocery store for the next 2 hours.

2. When your friends call you and you say you're fine but you really haven't moved from your couch in two days and all you have done is eat two gallons of ice cream and watch "The Notebook" on repeat

"Just come do something with us, or let us come there."

"Nah, I'm okay, I actually have a super busy day today."

Yeah, if you mean busy as in binge-watching every episode of "Pretty Little Liars," then yeah, count me out of all plans so I can rewatch every episode for the next 3 weeks. We all know that feeling of not wanting to move out of bed for as long as you can after a break-up.

3. When that ONE song comes on at the mall, and you suddenly realize it was "your" song

This one hits differently. You're literally just minding your own business, trying to treat yourself to a little bit of a wardrobe change because of how sad you have been all week and BAM, it hits you like a train. Next thing you know you're crying in the dressing room of Forever 21 wondering where it all went wrong.

4. Finally caving in and hanging with your friends, realizing that this is what you needed all along

You never want to leave your bed after a breakup, you seem to cancel or bail out on every plan you try to make, then finally, after you have run out of tears, you actually follow through with a girl's night, and then you suddenly realize that all along, just time spent with the gals is what you needed. Trust me, been there, done that. In most cases, a dance party is also well needed.

5. The morning after your girl’s night, you realize that having these gals is better than the boy 

Having your girls there for you in such a tough time actually helps so much. It helps save the tears, the constant replaying of memories in your head, and saves you the time you could be wasting if you're sinking into a deep sadness over something so dumb. That support system is vital for post-breakup, and even I know that.

6. You let him go one last time

Whether it be writing a letter, throwing away all your old memories with him, or by finally getting all your clothes back from his place that have piled up over the past few months or years. It is a truly bittersweet feeling and might even hurt a little, but it's time. You're going to thrive without him.

7. You truly know how much better you’re doing without him

You have reached the point of no return. You’re finally thriving without him. You’re never going back, and you know how much potential your life has and how much better you are without him. Your heart is whole again.

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