Five years ago today you left this world, I found out two days later on my phone when a Facebook message from a mutual friend came in, it had been two months since we’d spoken but I always thought of you and knew that if anything happened I could call you… I’m writing a book about you and I and everything that followed our relationship but you don’t know that because you’re not here any more. It’s been five years and in that time everything has changed or mostly everything.
When we met I was 17, I was young and in love and I would have done anything for you I travelled far from home not once but twice so that we could be together. Did you know that you were the first person I ever said, “I love you.” to? Did you know that when I moved to Lake Louise a small part of me knew that we would be together again? Did you know that that night on the bridge when you told me that you had never loved anyone as much as me I cried for two days because even then I knew that our lives would take different paths? You don’t know any of that. Because you’ve been gone for five years now.
There are two days every year that I take to myself, that I know will bring back feelings that I can’t really handle, today is one of them. Five years ago today on June 13, 2008 my ex boyfriend passed away; we met on a school trip to Italy in 2005 and we fell in love, it was my first taste of love and the first time I’d ever felt like I could get away from my abusive father for a reason when I ran to Thunder Bay I wasn’t running away I was running to something and my sweet slightly naive 17-year-old mind thought that I was running to my future… little did I know that it was only a taste of freedom, it was the first but it wasn’t the last, I will love him until the day that I die but first loves are like that they leave a mark on your heart that never goes away.
Two years after we broke up we met again in Lake Louise where we had both taken summer jobs, me to avoid the possibility of living at home with a father I hated and him to learn more about cooking and food in a place where tourists and foodies were abundant. One night after we’d both rediscovered each other we stood on a bridge over a literal babbling brook and he told me that he had ended things because he was afraid, he loved me now and always had but he was afraid at the time and things fell apart because of that. But at that moment as tears fell down my face and I told him that it wasn’t fair to tell me any of this I loved him and I love him today because he will always be the first… not the first man I had sex with, not the first man I wanted but the first man I loved.
There are many things I remember but I don’t think anything stands out quite as much as dancing in his parent’s basement to Aerosmith’s ‘I don’t Want to Miss a Thing’ because in his words, “When you hear that song and you miss someone, tears darlin tears.”
I’m lucky that in my short 25 years I’ve known more than one great love, I’m lucky that the man I choose to be with now cares about me in ways that I didn’t even really believe were possible but most of all today I remember that I’m lucky to be alive because life is so incredibly short and tomorrow isn’t a guarantee; so I do things I’m afraid of, I fall in love, I dance for no reason at all and I’m never afraid to live.
If the death of my first love can teach you anything please let it be this, live your life without regret and don’t be afraid because tomorrow is always a possibility and never a promise.