When Bob died.

I didn’t find out right away.

You’d think news that the boy you’d dated for like two years in high school had died would reach you the day of.

That there’d be a phone call from the family. Or that an old mutual friend would tell you about the funeral. Or that you’d just know. That you’d somehow feel it in your bones, or your soul, or your toes when someone you love that much dies.

But I didn’t find out until two weeks later.

My friend Donell and I were chatting on the phone, while I sat on my dorm bed, and he brought it up in the most nonchalant way you can picture. He brought it up like he was going to tell me what he ate for dinner.

“Did you hear about Bob?”

I will forever regret what I said next. The sentences sting my memory and leave a bitter taste in my mouth when I remember them. It’s a regret I can never repair.

“No. What? That’s he’s coming to visit or something? I don’t even care.”

It haunts me. And, it was the very next moment that I changed into who I am today. That I gained clarity about life, and death and pain.

But when I spoke those sentences, even though it was just seconds away, I was still too young to understand.

“Oh. You haven’t heard? Oh. Well, I’m sorry to be the one to tell you this Crystal, but, um Bob died.”

A shock like that feels like someone has taken a metal bat to the back of your knee caps and then dropped you in an ice tank.

I didn’t believe it. I called other friends, but they confirmed it was true. Thinking about it all now, remembering the details, makes my core ache.

On that day though, the wound was too fresh, too bloody, to ache. Instead, I just fell to the icy tile floor and lost it.

I had never before or since dropped to the ground with such force. It was as if an airplane had flown through my ceiling and actually pushed me to the earth. I was sick and sore and sad and in shock and losing my mind simultaneously.

And for some reason, I thought I’d get over it by Monday.

I thought it was a fleeting sadness.

I don’t know why I thought that, but I remember thinking it.

That death, of that person, who held that place in my heart, was not fleeting though. It consumed my thoughts for a long time after that day. I questioned why I was alive, but he wasn’t. I questioned why anybody anywhere was alive, but he wasn’t. I chastised myself for not trying harder for the ever elusive “us.” I begged God to let him into heaven.

And I couldn’t understand why other people couldn’t understand. Why they’d say the most awful things when I brought it up, like “Oh. I don’t get upset when people die” or “Oh, what a waste” or, just “Oh.”

I wanted to talk about it. And him. And death.

But people hate that kind of talk. They snuff it out like a house fire or baby’s cry.

I still don’t understand that.

And I’m still not over it. There may be days, or even weeks that align where I’m not sad. Where I can mention him in my nightly prayers without crying or when I can tell a story about him without my heart stopping for a second.

But other days. Other weeks.

I feel his spirit. And I miss him intensely.

This is one of those weeks I guess. Maybe it’s because Thanksgiving is looming – it was our first holiday – or maybe it’s because it’s been about six years since he died – 11/03/03.

Or maybe it’s just because.

But I miss him tonight.

I wonder what he’d think of who I became. I wonder if we’d still talk or be friends or even know of each other anymore. And I wonder if there was anything I could have done. Any way I could have altered his history. Or just moved it a little to the right.

It’s the unknowns that change you. They don’t just alter your heart or change your psyche – they take them out of your body and give you new ones.

And because he can never be here again, that place he held in my life I’ve dedicated to good. To living all my days like I could die, or worse, someone with a spot in my heart could die. To using my life to do as much as I can in the world while I’m here.

And to listening anytime someone wants to talk about it. or him. or death.

bob thanksgiving

Bob and I, Thanksgiving, circa’ 1999.


My junior year turn-about dance.

– Robert E. Eaton. Oct. 27, 1981-Nov. 3, 2003. May his rest be filled with only peace.

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my grandma lindell had wonderful coffee-colored hair

im watching the sound of music while waiting for mad men to start.

i used to watch the sound of music when i was like 9 at my grandma lindell’s house. i’d sit in front of her wooden TV and lean against her coffee table. i knew the movie was long, because holy crap it was TWO vhs tapes. except, im pretty sure i didn’t say things like “holy crap” when i was 9. also, i didn’t say VHS, because dvd wasn’t a thing, so there was no need to specify. i probably said something more along the lines of “this is the longest movie ever. there are TWO tapes.”

i miss my grandma lindell very much.

she died in 2006.

and it sucked.

i always wonder what she would think of my life now. what she would think of my job, and where i live, and how i look, and the stories on my blog.

she was beautiful. with wonderful coffee-colored hair and gorgeous olive skin that looked radiant no matter how old she got.

she was articulate. two-hour phone calls with her were not uncommon because she loved talking with us.

and i like to think i get my “say whatever im thinking” attitude from her. she was just cool like that.

i wish i could go visit her. or call her up. or just send her a card.

she used to send me cards every year on my birthday. and she always wrote long poems inside them. but i was stupid and i didn’t keep them in a beautiful fire-proof box like i should have. instead, i let all of them becomes victims of carelessness.

even though she died almost three years ago, i didn’t go visit her gravestone until this summer.

i’d been in town before. i’d driven past the cemetery. but i couldn’t do it before this summer.

it was too weird.

i wasn’t ready.

you’re never ready though.

i wasn’t even ready this summer.

but i knew i had to see her. i had to see where she was spending her time these days.

i’ts not so bad. the grass seems to be well maintained. and she over looks the town that became a part of her soul. plus, im sure she’s happy to be just down the road from her church.

my grandma lindell was very strong catholic. the religion still brings a piece of her to me. i do the cross after communion at my methodist church mostly just because it reminds me of going to mass with her as a child.

i used to be so annoyed that she’d wake me up to go to 7:30 a.m. mass with her, but of course i’d give anything to wake up with the sun and tag-a-long now.

shortly before she died, she told me she was ready to go. that she was ready to be in heaven.

and her faith, expressed without doubt, helps me believe in God everyday.

i just miss her so much.

i found an old picture of her today while going through some boxes. a picture of her at her best with a great smile and the sun lighting up the exact right parts of her face.

i set it next to my bed. this way she can see what my life is like now. and i can tell her about my job. and she can see where i live, and how i look and she can even hear about my blog.

im pretty sure i don’t need to visit her gravestone to let her know about any of those things.

because we’re just cool like that.



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a sad day.

my friend died.

his name was Dionate. and today was his funeral.

we grew up together.

he was my next-door neighbor.

he was only 23.

and someone stabbed him to death last week.

today was his funeral.

a funeral for a 23-year-old.


and he wasn’t in a gang. or on drugs. or shooting people.

he wasn’t anything bad.

he was my friend.

and last weekend he was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

he was at a party.

and now he dead.


the funeral was very sad.

and everyone from my childhood was there.

and they were all crying.

a lot.

and so was I.

i hugged his brothers.

and walked up to the casket.

i said good bye.

and cried.

a man sang amazing grace.

and Dionate’s girlfriend read a letter to him.

she cried the most.

and then they closed the casket.

why did this happen?

why did my friend die?

he was only 23.


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