I’m so tired of jolting awake in a cold sweat from nightmares where she’s just standing there, vomit caked down the front of her dress, looking at me accusingly, and I open my mouth to tell her I’m sorry, but no sound comes out of my mouth.
I just want this feeling to go away. I know if she were still alive, she’d forgive me for being such an absolute shit friend.
But that’s sort of the point.
She isn’t, so she can’t. Not ever.
One of my extremely close friends, Maddy, is dealing with far too much shit for her to handle, and if she dies, I will go with her. I have already had a best friend die from my pathetic shortcomings, and I cannot bear it again. I can’t survive someone else’s suicide, again.
Please. Message her. Say hello. Tell her how much she is loved, how beautiful she is, how she will find so many people that love her, and how she has a beautiful, bright future ahead of her, because I cannot convince her of it.
Her tumblr is here: (x)
I don’t know if you’ll read this, and I know if you do, I will probably never know. That’s fine with me; I just need to get this out there. But I really do hope that you do read this, because these are some of the most important words I will ever type.
Today, I read Looking for Alaska. I knew nothing about it besides the fact that there was an Alaska and someone was looking for it. I picked it up on a whim in the library, after the shame of being a Nerdfighter who has never actually read one of your books finally got to me.
And I want to say thank you, because I think you just saved my life.
Today is not only the day I first read Looking for Alaska, it is also the one month anniversary of the death of my own Alaska. She was painfully beautiful, mischievous, witty, smart, and oh-so-wonderful. She was also prone to fits of moodiness that nobody wanted to admit that they did not want to put up with. She passed away on April 19th after an “alcohol related incident”, exactly 2 months before her 22nd birthday (and 3 weeks before our college graduation), and with her went a part of myself I will never get back.
When I was reading your book, I was literally reading my own life. The conversations mirrored my own from the past month so closely that I got goosebumps. The day we heard, my friend came over. We cried. We drank. We called our Alaska a selfish bitch. We drank some more. We said she couldn’t have done it on purpose. We drank some more, and cried because we knew she did. We asked ourselves why we didn’t tell her that we loved her enough. We blamed ourselves. We said we wanted to puke and hung our heads over the side of the porch. We blamed each other. We wanted to die.
My friend asked me what our Alaska would want us to do. I screamed at her that it didn’t matter, because she was dead and couldn’t have an opinion anymore. It was not my finest hour.
I put on my Sunday best (which, in retrospect, wasn’t very good at all) and went to her memorial. I had taken a film photography class, and our Alaska modeled for me. My friend and I spent hours in the dark room, staring at the little negatives of her, prancing, smiling, laughing. We gave the best copies to the family. We hoarded the rest and gave them to the ones that knew her and loved her. Her family gave her clothes and things to her friends, and we found a lacy thong in a pair of sweat pants. We laughed until we cried, and then we sobbed. I raged at everyone who pretended that they loved her, that used her passing as an excuse to get out of exams they weren’t ready for, or papers they didn’t want to write. I hated nearly everyone that mourned her, because I didn’t think they could love her the way we did, the way I did. I hated everyone that wasn’t curling up into bed wearing her clothes and soaking them with their tears, too, because what the hell did they have to be so happy about when someone so precious was dead?
Her mother called her a firecracker. She was. She just had this look she would give you, when she was up to something. She would smile, and scrunch her face up, and wiggle her nose at you, and tease you. That’s the stupid expression that’s always frozen to her face when I try to call her image up in my mind.
I blamed myself. I still do. She had called me, a week before her death, in one of her moods. I had family visiting, and I didn’t have time to “deal” with her, so I blew her off. I figured I’d get a chance to call her back later, smooth things over. I didn’t. She died thinking we didn’t love her (and whether her death was intentional or not is something known only definitively to herself), and she couldn’t have been more wrong.
So thank you. Thank you so much for writing that book. It was one of the hardest things I have ever read; I had to keep putting it down, because I couldn’t read the words through my tears, but I’m glad I finished it.
My Alaska deserved better friends, too. She also didn’t deserve to die. She was supposed to live, and we were supposed to love her, and get irritated by her moods, and ignore her. We were supposed to fight, and then get together for a potluck, and make up again. We were supposed to graduate, give our last goodbye hugs, and drift apart in life, wondering every once in a while, “I wonder what she’s up to?”, and hope that she’d gotten shit sorted. It wasn’t supposed to go like this, but it did.
But there is a part of my Alaska that is not dead. She lives on in everyone that knew her and loved her. Our memories will get distorted, faded, warped with time, like an old forgotten piece of furniture in the back corner of an attic, but they will never completely leave us, and that’s what matters.
So, yet again, thank you. I did not know how to deal with this event in my life, and to be perfectly honest, I still don’t, but your book made me feel so much less alone in the universe.
I hope where-ever my Alaska is, it’s beautiful, and I hope she forgives me, too, because I forgive her. I am going to get out of this labyrinth. I think I can do it now.
Jess texted me, looking for help, a week before she died. I couldn’t help her. I was busy.
She died a week later.
I feel like I killed my best friend.
I do. Nothing anyone can say helps. I. Feel. Like. I. Murdered. One of my closest friends.
One of the few reasons I have not taken my own life is because I don’t want to put others through what Jess put us.
Sometimes that’s the only reason.
The rest of the time, I want to die.
And that’s that.