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 My Boyfriend's Mom

He loves you more than you could ever imagine...
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Without you, there would not be a him, so first things first, thank you.

1. Thank you for teaching him to love a woman the right way, to put God first, and YOU before me always, the respect he shows you is so attractive, and you deserve it.

He talks about you like you hung the moon, I don't doubt for a second that he will be an amazing father one day, I owe all of that to you.

2. Thank you for giving me a chance, learning to love me when you knew your son was doing the same.

I can't speak for my own first impressions, but hopefully mine was not THAT bad...when we both slapped him on the arms for his rude remark at the same time, I knew our relationship was already blossoming.

SEE ALSO: Finding A Husband In College

3. Thank you for every meal you have ever purchased me.

And chocolate, and candy...you know just as well as your son does that food is the way to my heart. Especially Taco Bell and cheesecake ;)

4. Thank you for your advice, suggestions, and opinions...and asking for mine

Whether it's telling me to slap him for being a smart a$$, or you're asking me about color swabs for your kitchen makeover, you come to me as if I am your own, and I am so honored to give you my own input.

5. Thank you for including me

You never fail to leave a spot for me, and I love family dinners/outings with you guys just as much as I love my own!

6. Thank you for teaching your son to never give up, and that if he does it is only to better himself, or it's the only choice he has left.

He is so focused on his future, he wants the best for himself, and he is constantly reminding me that these are things that YOU taught him, you deserve to be so proud.

7. Thank you for letting him love my family, and allowing me to love yours.

He is so loyal and loving to my family, and I don't even have to ask myself why because I see him with you and yours. Thank you for letting us double up on holidays when we can, and making sure we get the most out of our time with you!

8. Thank you for being his best friend.

I think of him as mine too, but I couldn't think of a better person to also hold that title, you know him better than anyone else and you always will.

9. Thank you for teaching him how to treat a woman

He is constantly telling me "You sound like my mother." Thankfully earlier in our relationship, he told me that the woman he wants to be with, should do just that. He always tells people who try, "No, no one calls me by my full name except my mom and my girlfriend."

10. Thank you for your honesty

We all know that he and I can drive you crazy sometimes, thank you for telling us like it is, and making sure we know you still love us anyways.

SEE ALSO: 8 Tiny Lies Every Young Woman Has Told Their Best Friend

11. Thank you for teaching him to work as hard as possible in anything and everything he does.

I have never met anyone with such a desire for success, he and I are constantly discussing how we can better our futures, and I know exactly where his drive comes from.

12. Thank you for teaching him to clean up after himself

Even though sometimes, it takes him a minute to do so.

13. Thank you for teaching him how to love, and letting him love me.

I have never felt so loved by a man, probably because anyone else who came into my life was just a boy. Thank you for your unconditional love for him, he is your entire heart and that is so easy to see, I am happy to share his with you.

You and I both know that even years from now we will both occasionally probably be closing the fridge that he left open, cleaning the crumbs he dropped, demanding he take a shower after playing soccer, or reminding him 20 times about plans we made weeks ago, we both share such a great love for such an amazing man. I could never be more thankful that you brought forth into this world such a comforting, supportive, protective, steadfast, driven, handsome, and hilarious guy. Thank you for everything you do for him, for me, and for us, I love you a lot!

Cover Image Credit: casey

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When Everyone Around You Is In a Relationship And You're Still Single

You might feel pressure to start a relationship, but reconsider...

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I'm not sure how or when exactly it happened, but it suddenly seems like everyone I know is in a relationship. While I'm happy for them, it can be kinda...depressing. Nauseating. Exhausting.

It builds slowly at first: the subtle side-eye you give your friend as they're on the phone with their S.O., the little pang of jealousy you get when your cousin posts their engagement pictures on Facebook, the way you feel when your Snapchat Stories are full of people on cute dinner dates.

Suddenly, it's a Thursday afternoon and you just snapped over an Instagram post of your friend and his boyfriend on their anniversary. We've all been there. I may or may not be there currently.

The worst advice you can get when you're feeling down about not having an S.O. is "Don't worry! You'll find someone!"(Especially when it's coming from someone in a happy relationship).

I'm here to give you the actual advice that you (and I) need to hear. You do not need a relationship to be happy, satisfied, or whole.

Here's the truth: you're gonna be just fine without a relationship. You are young. You are educated. You are ambitious and have your whole future ahead of you.

You are a complete person on your own who does not need another person to validate you or make your life worth enjoying. I'm not saying a relationship can't be satisfying and fun. I am saying that being in a relationship is not the end all, be all of happiness.

If you are spending your time waiting for a relationship and looking for it in every person you meet, you can end up missing out on so much of your life. Instead of being jealous of every couple around you and being bitter that you can't seem to find the "right person," try figuring out how to enjoy spending time as an individual.

You will have more time to devote to exploring new interests, developing new skills, and meeting new people. Your social, emotional, and mental wellbeing will become priorities.

Plus, just because you aren't in a relationship or looking for a relationship, that doesn't mean you won't have romantic/sexual experiences. You can still go on dates and develop relationships with people you are attracted to without the pressure to turn it into a serious relationship. Once you remove that expectation from your mind, you might even find it easier to meet, talk to, and connect with people.

When you stop focusing all your energy and hopes onto being in a romantic relationship, you open the door to new experiences, opportunities, and people. Most importantly, you are able to refocus and recenter your life around growth as an individual, which will lead to a healthier and more solid basis for any future relationships.

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