This week’s topic has been the hardest so far on this journey.

Tears sprang to my eye just from reading the title, and I knew this week was going to take time and consideration to continue forward. It even became a full month instead of one week. But Samhain is 3 days away, and it seems fitting to go having this topic as the veil is thinner.

The questions bring up so much stuff that I’ve become a pro at not thinking about that I don’t always understand why my body feels the blues. For example, every January – shortly after my birthday, I get lethargic and depressed; it took a dear friend pointing that it aligned with the anniversary of the passing of my best friend when I was 21.

That was not the first experience losing someone I loved, but it was maybe the second hardest one. The first experience, I didn’t realize until I was much older, but I had this longing for an older sister – I was 12-13 when I found out that I did have an older sister, and she was alive. It felt weird that I always craved something to find out that she did exist changed so much for me. I still haven’t met her in person, but we talk online. She seems more like one of my siblings than the siblings I grew up with as a child. It’s strange, but I very much hope to have a good relationship with her.

Two people have left this world that will always rest on my heart. One of them was my best friend, mentioned above, and the other was my Grandmother. Both took their mark. My best friend reminded me that you are never promised more time, and it all happened in the blink of an eye. The other showed me how to love others so deeply and taught me so much growing up – they were both my people and not the only two people I have lost. It’s when I think about them that I get this heavy weight on my heart that I can’t explain to others even though it’s been over a decade they still remind me to be the best person I can be.

My best friend, Amanda, left this word merely days after I turned 21. She was the type of person out the outside that I always tried to be. Kind, free-spirited, nonjudgemental, loving, still had amazing boundaries, and was sexy as all get out. We met when I was in 8th grade, and some kids were bullying her about her saucy writing after school. I stepped in. I was too tall for my age but a too-skinny redhead girl with a sassy mouth – just enough not to get in trouble with teachers but enough to keep the bullies from sticking. I started sitting with her after school, and we would share our saucy stories, all fiction. Soon that became sleepovers and hundreds of creative projects, magic, and tears – we both shredded so many tears, and I knew that she would always be there to hug them out of me. She brought together people, and she helped others find each other. There has been no one like her, and I don’t think I will ever friend someone like her. We matched, and with no judgment supported each other. I miss her every day, and it still hurts that someone took her away from me too early in life.

My grandmother was my person within the family. She helped me feel safe, even in my grandparent’s ghetto neighborhood. Her name was Jackie, and she taught me how to clean, cook, and about the plants she loved. Especially her roses. It was when I was 11ish that my grandmother and my mother had a falling out. The result from it was I wouldn’t see her until I was 23 to introduce my eldest child, and then I wouldn’t see her until she was in the hospital for the last time.

I drove from Gilbert, Arizona to Kansas City, Missouri in less than 24 hours. She had a breathing tube, and she was overwhelmed. I held her hands and showed her pictures of her great-grandchild and she held my cheek. And when everyone went home for the night, I stayed and held her hand. I didn’t sleep, I didn’t move, I just stayed there… holding her hand like she had done for me so many times. She woke up one last time in the early morning, squeezing my hand. I remember saying “It’s ok, grandma, I’m not going anywhere… it’s okay.” And then I felt the spirit/energy slip from her physical body, and she moved on.

The funeral was crazy, and my family was struggling. I didn’t cry unless I was alone and had several family members pull me aside to try to talk me into grieving. Later, I would acknowledge it was mostly because my mom needed me. I have a hard time crying with her around anyways, but I consoled her and hugged her. I made booklets for the funeral and I made a mix CD of grandma’s favorite songs. I still couldn’t cry for a long time after that. She was my familial person. And I still set up an altar and roses at every house I live in her name.

We lose people in a variety of ways, and I think it is essential to acknowledge that. I moved a lot as a kid, and I never got super close to friends. I believe that this contributes to why I have always been an independent sort. And as an adult, I mimic a lot of that behavior. I don’t get close because I don’t know how long I will be here. Losing people is hard, and I have only mentioned a couple that meant the most to me above. I have lost so many that some parts of me learn to turn off to keep moving forward, and it’s taking some unlearning to start feeling again.

<3 Faelyn Fox