Sometimes you meet those people, don’t you? The ones who leave an imprint of themselves on your heart. And when they’re missing, for whatever reason, it’s – well, it’s almost a physical pain, Some part of you is missing…
I hate November. With the fiery passion of a thousand suns, which, ironically, is the one of the many things missing from this disgrace of a month. I particularly hate it due to the anniversary that occurs on November 1st (or 2nd, if you’re going by British time). This is the anniversary of the death of a very dear friend of mine, D. D died on November 1st, 2006. He was executed on Texas death row. Whilst we never met, he was one of the best friends I’ve ever had.
I’m really struggling with it this year, and so I wrote this letter. Hopefully, it expresses some of my feelings a little better than I can write today…
Hey you. Feels like a long time since I’ve written to you. You know what? I still miss getting your letters. I still miss writing to you. In fact, dude, I miss you so very much. I don’t know how much you ever realised, but you meant – and still mean – so much to me. I remember you once telling me that you’d never meant much or done much for anyone before. I wish you could know how wrong you were.
I’ve got to be honest. When I first started writing to you, I thought I was doing you a favour. You know, nice Christian girl, writing to a prisoner on death row. I don’t think I ever really thought about how much you would influence my life. So soon after writing to you, I left university with crippling depression after trying to commit suicide. Not a fun time in my life. I want you to know that your letters were a Godsend – and I mean that literally. Despite being locked up in a tiny cell for 23 hours a day, you made me laugh, you made me cry, and you opened a window on the world that depression had firmly locked.
People have asked m before what I felt about your crime, and whether that bothered me. To be honest, I’m not sure I really processed it. Of course, I knew theoretically what happened. But I couldn’t link you as my friend to someone who had murdered. In some ways I still can’t. But maybe more than all those who hated you, I got some of it. I got just how sorry you were. And as you told me on several occasions, sorry doesn’t change it. But. It makes you more than you thought you were.
D, thank you. Thanks for making me giggle with your incredibly stupid jokes. Thanks for all those times you’d go without cigarettes so you could buy the paper and stamps to keep writing. I loved those times where we’d get so involved in a conversation that one of us would eventually have to post a ltter, but then we’d keep writing, so eventually I got a massive flurry and had to work out which conversation it was that we were continuing! Thanks for being strong for me, when I couldn’t do it for myself. Thanks for showing me the light in the darkest of situations. Thanks for teaching me about baseball (though I’ll admit I haven’t seen a game for a while – they’re hard to find here!) and forgiving me when I described it as “cricket for wimps”.
Things have changed a lot since we first knew each other, eh? I’m not sure I could ever have envisaged being married, or having a toddler, or doing so many of the things I’ve done. I want you to know you were part of that. It’s not a miracle story – in many ways, I’m still as messy and screwed up as I was before. But you showed me that it wasn’t the end of the story. And you know what? In the darkest times, that helps me keep going. And there aren’t words enough to thank you for that.
D, today isn’t too easy for me, I’ll be honest. I really miss you. But I want you to know I’d do it all again – all the pain and heartache of watching and waiting for the execution, as well as all the joy of being your friend. I love you dude. Rest well.
All my love,