Monday, February 13, 2012

A Better Place

"I appreciate everything you do for me, and the way you love me makes me feel like the world is just a better place than I know it really is. I hope knowing that I love you makes the world a better place for you too. :) I never realized that loving someone could do that" -- JHS

I found the above in an email Jonathan had sent me awhile ago. It makes me smile . . . and cry. Jon was going through something so awful when we met, when we fell in love. He could have been in such a dark, pessimistic, angry place and anyone would have understood. But instead, our love made him see good in this world. A world that had been unkind and now seems so heartless at times. It made me believe, too. In my profession, I was no stranger to sadness and heartache. I've seen it too many times -- the best kids, the best families, the best people, endure the worst. I could have met Jon, realized he was sick and ran the other way. Experience should have told me to do that. But instead, it was the opposite, and that's something I will never be able to adequately explain in words.

Our love made me believe in magic, and I'm so angry at myself in these particular moments where I feel like I won't ever recover. These moments where the tears won't stop and the world seems so vast and lonely. Where I feel like the best part of me, might have left with him. The truth of the matter is, I experienced something amazing first-hand. I actually have proof that true love exists, that good things do happen, that magic is real, and being drawn to someone is a real thing. But then I also know first-hand that pain exists, that people we love die, that fairy tales don't always end happily. I remember finding Jon, and feeling our connection . . . and then I remember losing him. Both moments seem to fight for space in my mind with equal detail. I wish I could forget the latter. I was honored to share his last moments with him, but now he's gone. And no one will ever know what it was like. No one else shares the burden of that memory that replays itself in my mind, over and over. It's a weight on me; something I will have to carry with me the rest of my life. I feel like it's changed my DNA.

I guess I never really felt like everyone else. I always felt like I had to explain myself more than other people. And then I met Jon. And suddenly I didn't have to explain at all. We could have a conversation with a few words and understood each other with one look. It was just easy to be. And I guess besides being sad and simply missing him, I just feel like things are hard. It's ironic that a relationship where we faced so many more challenges than your average couple could have actually been easy; How something so complex made sense of the world.

Now nothing really makes sense. There's no handbook or guidelines here. How I feel changes from moment to moment. I feel blessed for knowing him. I feel honored that he picked me to share his life with. I feel angry that he's gone. I feel empty for losing a part of me. I feel guilty for thinking of my future.

It's been almost 10 days. The longest, most exhausting days of my existence. And I feel guilty for wanting to get my life on track. Starting with exercising again, seeing friends, going back to work in a few weeks . . . and then there's the questions: How long do I wear this engagement ring for? It's beautiful and meant so much to Jon and means so much to me, but it's also a promise that's no longer happening. I'm not thinking of falling in love with someone else tomorrow, but what if somewhere, down the line, I feel a connection to someone? When is that "ok"? Everyone will have their own views on this, but the only opinion that matters to me and the only truth I can find is closing my eyes and thinking of Jonathan and what his answers would be. I think of Jon watching over me. I think of the conversations we had before he died, and I know what he wants. He'd be pissed I'm sitting here feeling sorry for myself. He wants me to live my life, and I don't think he left this world with any doubts about that. He wants me to be happy, and I feel like he's going to show me how to do that. Somehow I don't think something mediocre is going to be how my next relationship happens. I think Jon will show me the way, in a way that allows me to believe in magic again. Because he loved me that much, and I do not believe you feel jealous or resentful in heaven. And because I know our connection is not severed by death. I know there isn't another Jonathan out there, he was truly one of a kind. and I'm not looking for a replacement. But I honestly don't think my angel would spend two years with me, show me true love and then leave me to mediocrity. I believe that someday there will be something just as wonderful . . .

Despite the range of emotions I feel every day, there are a few unwavering beliefs that I have taken from this experience. I hate to be cliche, but life is short. Sometimes, ridiculously short. Because of Jon, because of this experience, I will never settle for anything less than extraordinary in any aspect of my life, because I know it exists. I know this because Jon existed. I will do everything in my power to make sure the people he cared about and surrounded himself with, as well as all of my friends and the people I love take a lesson from him...from us. So I guess I'll have a big mouth for awhile. I might say things that piss you off, or make you feel challenged or uncomfortable. Just know it's out of pure love. I don't presume to be wise or know what's best for anyone, but if I love you, I will push you to be your very best self. Take chances, love with all your heart, and don't settle. Jon used to say in the beginning of our relationship that I made him feel uncomfortable "in a good way". My love, our connection, shook up his existence...changed life as he knew it. It turned my life upside down, which was pretty comfortable at the time, and it was scary and risky and beautiful and profound and as I write this I wouldn't change a thing.

I am who I am because of knowing someone so incredible . . . because of going through something so amazing and terrible at the same time. And I can honestly say that as I finish this blog, the tears have stopped and I realize how lucky I've been. I've been focusing lately on the fact that Jon really lived in his 25 years, but I'm starting to realize, so have I. So maybe the best part of me isn't gone. Maybe it's yet to come.

Jon's love did make my world a better place. And that carries on.


  1. Lace - you don't know me and I didn't know Jon but I just wanted you to know how much i admire you! You are such an amazing person and the way you write brings me to tears. You have a way of putting life into perspective! I frequently have prayed for you since I have heard about whats going on. I know how hard it is to truly believe that everything happens for a reason. Eventually the tears will stop and the sun will shine again. Maybe you have gone through this for a reason and now you are able to spread Jon's awesome personality and beliefs to more and more people. Without you, you never know how he would have lived on. You are truly an inspiration -and make me believe in life more and more everyday - and for that I thank you. You will continually be in my thoughts and prayers!

  2. Lace: I was in shock when I seen Jon passed away. I haven't checked his blogs for awhile. I never knew him, but would read his blogs. What a remarkable person he was. My mother passed away in Oct 2010. I started following him when she was fisrt diagnosed with cancer and it helped me alot. I am in awe of the strength and courage you have. You truly are an angel. You will be in my thoughts and prayers.