First off, I want to thank my friend Korey Berg for creating Doyoucarenow.life. Also, for making this blog so beautiful. I am beyond grateful for your generosity.
Secondly, this blog is going to jump around a bit. It makes sense to me because it happened to me. But, if you have any questions or need clarification, don’t hesitate to ask. It also may feel very long, but stay with me, I promise its worth it.
I wrote most of this weeks blog at the end of last week. I spent Saturday evening up until 2:00am mentally finishing it while laying in bed. I had planned on the blog being about grief and how I was coping. What people write about grief as opposed to how it feels to me. Primarily, grief associated with suicide. However, plans changed after my day on Sunday. It was so incredible, I HAD TO SHARE. When I say Bug ” talks” to me everyday, this story, is what I mean by that.
Sunday morning, I woke up and headed to church. I had missed it 3 weeks in a row and was in desperate need of some spiritual uplifting. On my way to church, ” I Need You Tonight” by The Backstreet Boys came on my Apple Music shuffle playlist. It wouldn’t typically catch my attention, but I noticed already that week that song had played almost 15x. I have over 5,000 songs on my playlist. I said, out loud in the car ” What the hell is it about this song this week?” I turned it up to see if there were any lyrics I had missed. But, no, nothing. It has been the same song for the last 20 years and might I say, the ONLY Backstreet Boy song on my playlist. #Nsync for life.
As I walk into church the worship team is singing. I place my purse down and stand up to start singing with them. I look up to the monitor and there in big bold letters is “I need you, I need you, I need you.” I started to laugh out loud. I’m sure people thought I was nuts. I said, “Ok Lord, I’m listening.” That day they were honoring 30 years of service of one of their pastors. The pastor who my mom called right after Aria passed. She was over at our house within an hour. She sat with us, prayed with us, and extended her love, support and compassion during the hardest event of our life. No coincidence there either, I think to myself, “I’m still listening.”
When it was time for the sermon, the Pastor prefaced that this sermon was going to be for the people in transition. I don’t know if you guys know, but, I am deep in transition. Not only am I trying to learn how to navigate life without Aria, I’m trying to figure out what my purpose is. I told my job that I will be leaving at the beginning of July. I want something part-time so that I can work on advocacy for suicide prevention. However, I have yet to find a part-time job, and I’m starting to get nervous about finances. The advocate side of me is starting to get weary, I have emailed legislators, representatives, DHS, people with influence in the community, and have not heard anything back. I’m struggling to get people to listen (except SHOUT OUT LOUD, check it out)
The sermon was John 14:23-29. There were two parts of this sermon that brought me to my knees. The first, “ 26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
I felt like the Pastor was speaking to me. His words burning into my heart, TRUST. I was crying like baby. I do trust, but still selfishly, I don’t want transition. I don’t want to know what my purpose in life is without Aria. I don’t want to work suicide prevention. I wish it never fucking happened. But, now I must in honor of Bug. I have always been an advocate, that’s why I am a social worker. Its part of our job description. But when it comes to suicide prevention in her honor, I am working so hard and I’m not getting very far………. This sermon gave me peace that what’s meant to be will be.
Then, the final part of that verse that blew me away, “You heard me say, ‘I am going away, and I am coming back to you.’ If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I.”
Now, I know that is Jesus speaking to his disciples. But I read it as Aria saying, she is going away but we will be together again soon. Because I love her I should be glad that she is in heaven with God, for he is greater than anyone. I hear you Bugs, I hear you. I just miss you.
I came home and Nick, my boyfriend was there. It was a beautiful day and I was excited to tell him about church. As I was explaining, I got a text from my mother. She was in D.C. for a wedding. My mom, Gary, Uncle Jay and Aunt Cheryl went to the National Museum of African American History and Culture. It is a place we always wanted to take bug to. Whether we took her or the Burch’s took her, it was something we always wanted her to experience. In the text, my mom sent two pictures. Each picture was taken seconds apart. In the first picture you will notice there is, NOTHING in the sky, no clouds, nothing. In the second, picture you will notice something in the top right of the picture. My mom put a big heart around it, but if you can zoom in, it literally looks like a little angel wing. Like a little angel wanted to be in the picture, letting us know, she was with them, the entire time. “Hi Bug”
Nick and I decided we would spend the afternoon in Linden Hills. We live there but he’s never really been to the heart of it. Besides I wanted to show him what places Aria was speaking about in the poem she wrote for me (which is now tattooed on my arm). Also, there is a new grilled cheese restaurant that I have been dying to try.
I started by taking him to the “book store.” The book store that Aria is referring to is The Wild Rumpus. As we leave, I notice their window display is all about butterflies, “Hi Bug”. I took a video of it on my Insta story but forgot to save it, sorry. Then we head to Cheese Louise, the new grilled cheese restaurant. We walk in and to the right, no bullshit, is a BIG butterfly mural, “Hi Bug.” I also took a picture of that for my Insta story and forgot to save it, sorry.
We finished lunch and I wanted to take him to one last place. I don’t know what “tree” Aria is referring to in the poem, but I know what ice cream shop she’s referring to, Sebastian Joes. We start to walk there and from a block away I can see the line is long, probably 50 people. I didn’t want any ice cream, I just wanted to show Nick the shop and its patio. As we walk by Sebastian Joes, and the people in line, a man grabs my arm. He immediately starts rubbing my tattoo, then points at Sebastian Joes. Rubs my tattoo again and then points. I look at him in awe and say “Yes, sir how did you know that this tattoo is about this specific ice cream shop.” He was alone, looked homeless, didn’t have any teeth and could not speak. But he kept rubbing my tattoo. Then makes a gesture for me to get behind him in line and keeps pointing as if he wanted to show me something. People are now starting to notice and stare. I look at the people behind him and say, “We don’t want any ice cream but I’m just going to stand here with him for a moment.” He’s the type of person most people don’t notice or really try to have a conversation with. He could look “scary” to some people, but not to me, not a social worker. I was too blown away by the experience to leave. As we proceed to the front of the line to get in the door, he points up, he was pointing at the address, 4-3-2-1. “Hi Bug”