Yesterday, marked the 6th month “anniversary” of Aria’s death. I put it in quotes because the word anniversary feels like a celebration, even though the correct term is a “date where an event took place.”
I have no words really? I’ve been physically ill all week. To comprehend that I haven’t seen or heard Bugs voice in “real time” is indescribable. It still doesn’t feel real. I know I am still very much in denial. “Aria’s at my moms,” or, ” Aria’s at the Burches or on vacation.” I tell myself, that’s why her room is empty. That’s why her stuffed animal Leo the Leopard looks at me with such sad eyes. She must be coming back…..right?
I miss her laugh. I miss her funny video’s. I miss her pissing me off. I miss her asking for money I don’t have. I miss her sneaking snacks at 1:00am. I miss making GT’s for her. I miss her walking through the door and saying ” Hi Mom.” I can hear it….. but still, it doesn’t feel real.
I’m conflicted because in my heart I know Aria is safe and in heaven and I’m happy for her. She is surrounded by a love I could never give her. The ultimate and greatest love. I don’t know if my contentment in that is the peace or the Grace of God but, I’m grateful. I sure as hell don’t deserve it. It doesn’t change the fact that I just miss her, terribly. I’m jealous of the angels and family that’s passed who get to spend time with her.
This time without her has felt so empty……it’s void. But, its also taught me a lot of things thus far. I am humbled by the love and support I’ve received from so many friends, family, and even absolute strangers.
Nick, I don’t know what I’d do without you.
I remember a conversation I had with a co-worker right after Jamie Closs was found alive on January 10th, 2019. During lunch I said ” If something ever happened to Bug someone better come find me asap. Because I’d have no reason to live. I’d be done, I’d end it.” Being a father of 3, he understood. It wasn’t until a week before my last day at work, he brought up that conversation.
He said the first thing he thought of was that statement I made at lunch and brought it to the attention of our clinical director,
” Who has Brittani? Where the fuck is she? Is she safe?
If Nick wasn’t laying next to me that morning when I got that phone call from Gary, I truly don’t know if I’d be here. Your love, selflessness, and support blows me away. I truly believe Aria put you in my life so I didn’t have to go through this alone. Also, to continue to try and make change in her honor.
I have since promised myself, God, and Aria that I will never harm myself. No matter how bad it gets. I have too much work to do in Buggy’s memory. I will honor her and thank God everyday for the 13 years and 321 days I got to be her mother.
So for people who say I am “strong.” I’m really really not, I am weak and broken. But, I am driven by my love for Aria and God’s purpose for my life.
Losing Aria really helped open my eyes to what’s important to spend my time and energy on and what’s not. I’ve learned how important it is for my own self care to let go of toxic people and relationships in life. Life’s too short. You’d be appalled to hear how some people have used Aria’s passing to justify hurtful behavior and expect me to “understand.” I’ve learned to choose joy, love, and forgiveness always. But its ok to let go of a relationship that gets in the way of your healing
Aria has helped me realize as a parent and a mental health professional that suicide looks different in everyone. You can never be too sure. So, check in. Check in on your friends that are struggling, the ones who seem happy, the ones who seem strong and have it “all together.” Also, no matter how much they might despise it, always check in with your kids. Talking about suicide does NOT make people complete. Its NOT talking about it that creates stigma and can become extremely dangerous.
Aria was cremated. She’s been kicking it with me in my living room everyday since. Last year, this exact weekend, Aria, Alli, and I went to visit Ashlee in LA. We ate at In and Out, we partied at Pump, we shopped, we went down to Hollywood BLVD to find Nsync and Billie Eilish’s Star of Fame. I told Aria she didn’t have one yet, but, I’m sure it will come. But the most memorable day in LA was when we took Bugs to Malibu.
If you knew Bug, you knew, she loved the water, particularly the ocean. I have been indecisive on what I want to do with Bug’s ashes. But, I knew one thing for sure…………… Tomorrow, Alli, Mom, Buggy and I are headed to LA. There is one place part of her soul remains and now will have a part of her for eternity……. THE OCEAN!
” when i grow old with you, mama; were gonna sit in our favorite tree and read the Book’s You get by the ice cream shop, and go to the ocean and Listin to the Angel’s sing at night. When i grow old with you mama, were gonna Dance in the rain, and Listin to our Faveorite song. when i grow old with you, mama”
Written by Aria Joy