Yesterday was the one-year anniversary of the day Chance came into my life. Today is the one-year anniversary of the day my friend Shain Alexander took his own.
Last year, I never got to tell Shain that my then-boyfriend had started talking engagement rings and weddings, and for the first time in my life I seriously started taking stock of who I would want at my wedding. Shain was the first person I thought of.
My college boyfriend introduced me to Shain, and even before that relationship ended Shain had determined I and any attempt I made at love was to be mercilessly mocked.
He wasn't wrong about this. I didn't seem to be doing it right. The next relationship I got myself in was with an older man who straight-up told me he didn't love me and the only reason he called me "girlfriend" was to simplify the situation to his friends.
There was something about the way Shain talked to me about that relationship that got me through it. It wasn't just teasing. It was brutal and mean and had no tolerance for the excuses I was making. He didn't take it seriously, and blurted "FINALLY" when I said I had stopped talking to the guy.
He would never have said this out loud to me, but there was something in his ceaselessly caustic belittling that suggested I could do better.
And I treasured that. Because I didn't really believe it yet. But I loved him for believing that for me.
And when I got into my most recent relationship, I had the longest conversation I'd ever had with Shain about how he couldn't mock me anymore, because I was finally in a real relationship with a guy who really loved me. He was surprisingly kind. And he shared with me, too, about an intense crush he had and whether it would be creepy if he moved to his town. Shain NEVER talked romance with me. I felt privileged, like I'd made it to the big leagues.
But when he met this boyfriend I was so proud of, during a Los Angeles stopover on his move to San Francisco, Shain was approving, not enthusiastic, more like in a pat-my-head, "you did fine" sort of way. It felt weird.
And when that relationship dissolved faster than I ever would have thought possible, I only wanted to talk to Shain. To hear him say "FINALLY" when I deleted the guy's number from my phone.
But Shain isn't here anymore. And yeah it's totally selfish to wish he didn't kill himself just so he could talk me through a break-up. But if you're thinking about killing yourself, please remember...you're probably more loved and more needed by others than you even know.
And you might have been the only name that ever made it onto a fantasy wedding guest list.
I love you, Shain. And I really really miss you.