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One Month.

One month. One month without my best friend. One month without my better half. One month to contemplate and navigate life without an identity. I’m not ready to discuss the grief I am feeling, but I do want to share my love for Lindsay and some of our story.

Lindsay and I literally grew up and became functional adults together. We met early during our senior year of high school in 2002, although we went to rival high schools. Lindsay worked at the Regal Parkway Plaza movie theater in Tukwila (by Claim Jumper) where my childhood best friend, Nick, also worked with a few other friends. It was great to have friends working at a movie theater because I would enjoy free movies nearly every Friday and Saturday night, and afterwards hang out with everyone when they finished working.

Over time and with a side story for another time, Lindsay and I took a fancy to each other and started talking on the phone for hours at a time. We’d continue to hang out at the theater and became more flirtatious. I remember the first time Lindsay and I hung out alone--my mom needed a ride into Seattle for something so I invited Lindsay to join (I have no idea why except that it gave me an excuse to hang out with Lindsay--but it led to this story). I drove a 1993 Nissan Sentra that had some issues and that night the battery randomly died in downtown Seattle. We managed to roll into a parking garage and the attendants helped jump the battery--I was so embarrassed. Here I am trying to impress this awesome girl and my car breaks down. We managed to get home without any accessories running and only using the windshield wipers as needed since it was pouring.

It might have been that same night we had our first kiss at her door and I remember sheepishly asking her, “does this mean we’re boyfriend and girlfriend?” She then told me no because I have to ask her to be my girlfriend--so I did the next night. I have no idea why I didn’t ask at that moment, but I’d say things worked out okay.

The interesting thing for both Lindsay and me is we had both been struggling with relationships. We were awkward teenagers in a time where people were just learning to meet others online. The big things were AOL instant messenger and Yahoo chat rooms, and we both had met our share of people via the internet. I was also acting out as a teenager, struggling in school, and even ran away from home. It was not a good time in my life, but then I met Lindsay and my life and reason for being was forever changed.

Lindsay and I grounded each other and provided stability when we each needed it most. We had each other to care for and we encouraged each other to do well our senior year of high school so we could go to college together. We wrote love notes during the school day that we exchanged after school (and I still have every one of hers):

We both immediately turned things around in our lives because we were now living for another person. It was hard to find motivation in high school, but we found it in each other. Despite only being months into what became an 18 year love story, we knew we had found our person. She first told me she loved me by subtly tapping me three times on the back, which I figured out after a few minutes, and immediately reciprocated. From that moment until the end, three of anything meant I love you--we always kissed three times before falling asleep each night.

When I say Lindsay is my identity it’s because she came into my life when I needed her most and I am who I am today because of her. Likewise, I know Lindsay became the compassionate and caring person she was because of me. We didn’t know what we wanted to do after high school, so together we made the decision to attend community college to learn more about ourselves and establish possible career paths. Thereafter, we together went to Central Washington University because it was a school that had programs we were both interested in. Lindsay developed her passion for teaching and obtained her degree in early childhood education while I dabbled a bit in psychology and law, which ultimately led to my career as an attorney.

In 18 years--which included high school, community college, moving out together to Ellensburg for college, moving back to the Seattle area to pursue careers during a recession, me attending law school and starting a career as an attorney, the birth of Arya, buying a house, the birth of Ellis, and finally the devastating cancer journey--Lindsay and I never took a break or spent time apart. Our love was unconditional. We always put each other first.

I continue to be positively overwhelmed by the love and support for my family, and one of the greatest compliments I continue to receive is how the love between Linday and I was an inspiration for many. I had never thought of our love as inspirational because it came so naturally but hearing and reading these words means so much to me. I wish I could share some secret to our love but it’s based on us growing up together and supporting each other as we followed our passions. Some people grow apart as they age and establish careers, but we grew closer and fell more in love each day. I could not love Lindsay any more than I do now. I miss her dearly every moment of every day and have asked myself how am I supposed to live another lifetime without her? Of course, I live for Arya and Ellis and continue living to share my love for Lindsay.

I’m saving writing about my grief journey until I’m better equipped but I do want to end with a relevant quote that has struck me:

“What is grief, if not love persevering?”

This is from WandaVision, which I haven’t watched, but this quote resonates so strongly with me because the pain, guilt, and grief that I am feeling is affirmation of how strong my love is for Lindsay. It wouldn’t hurt so bad if the love wasn’t so real.

Lindsay, you are my best friend and I am the person I am today because of you. You have made an impact on the world that far surpasses anything we could have imagined. I will love you forever and always.

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