You Were the First Person I Thought of: A Memoir of Love, Loss, and Healing

“You’re the first person I thought of”

is generally the type of plaudit I’d hope to hear after phrases like:

“funniest person ever,”

“most creative individual you know,”

I’ve devoted an embarrassing amount of time to woolgathering—lost in daydreams that conjure up would-be accolades about the person I aspire to become someday. I never wanted those words to be uttered in mourning; I didn’t wish for people to associate me with grief.

Thankfully, by some benevolent twist of fate, I wasn’t irrevocably linked to that tragic incident itself. Yet, despite not being directly involved, I still bear the weight of the world as it keeps hurtling forward. I’m like one of those beasts tethered to a tree that’s suddenly yanked back when it ventures too far beyond the confines of its rope. I’m haunted by this relentless march of time, a colossal facet of my existence.

I find myself carefully choosing the words I use to describe what transpired. In ways I never knew I could, I’m being gentle with myself, whispering to myself,

“Who reminds you of those sunsets God seemed to spend extra brushstrokes on?”

“It’s OK, Cris.” (Only she called me Cris—it felt like a natural nickname, but to everyone else, I’m just not Cris. No one else ever calls me Cris. Except Nancy. Nancy called me Cris.)

As I stare at the ground, I open up to her about my day, really pouring it all out. Sometimes, I catch myself almost answering for her, as if the phrasing of our conversation is in constant flux. Through letters and words, I’m gradually making sense of the intricate web of emotions surrounding it all. It’s like I’m trying to customize these complex feelings, making them uniquely mine.

On some occasions, I’ll paint a vivid picture of a golden stairway bathed in blinding, pure light, leading to Elysium. She’s there, gently guided by hand, with winged seraphs assisting her in a peaceful transition—and she’s smiling back at me. But in other versions, it’s a different story. Teeth grinding, the whites of my eyes turn a shade of scarlet, my anger throbbing through me. My hands grow pallid white as they clench into a tight fist, draining the blood from them. This is often followed by a stern


Experiencing a mugging is nothing short of jarring. The act of choosing between something inherently valuable and potentially your life may sound straightforward, but within the confines of that decision lurk a whirlwind of emotions, all compressed into a fleeting moment. I’ve had a gun pointed at me before, and regardless of who’s holding it or how far they are, it feels as though they possess an insatiable force in their hands. The sound it emits is deafening, demoralizing, and utterly spineless.

Once it’s over, you enter a phase of questioning, what I like to call the “what if” trials. These trials are both vexing and guilt-inducing. It’s a quirk of human nature to revisit moments that didn’t go in our favor and use the clarity of hindsight to further undermine the already fragile version of ourselves that endured this trauma. In my analogy, mental illness becomes the villain, through and through. Anyone who’s ever pointed a gun at me was a male, except for one police officer who, although a woman, bore a strong resemblance to a man. So, in this narrative, mental illness takes on a masculine identity.

Mental illness ticks all the boxes of a typical mugger: it strikes when you least expect it, snatches something from you without warning, doesn’t introduce itself, and leaves you pondering, “Why me?” You might find yourself becoming an advocate for those less fortunate, championing gun control, or seeking solace in the realms of freedom, security, and providence. Some might even enroll in self-defense classes, arm their keychains with pepper spray, or install motion-detecting cameras in their homes. However one chooses to respond, action is required.

What complicates matters is that, in this instance, I wasn’t robbed in the conventional sense—there wasn’t something of intrinsic value taken from me during this invasion. Yet, it feels as if someone is holding a gun to my head, even though, of course, no one is. I yearn to take action, but what can I do when there’s nothing to be (properly) angry about? Does this stop me from feeling furious? Absolutely not. The rage still simmers within me.

Once you’ve navigated the labyrinth of “what ifs,” the next stage is often marked by finger-pointing, as you desperately search for someone or something to blame. After mulling over a trillion reasons for your irrational “what ifs,” it seems only natural to start pointing fingers. It’s akin to becoming an advocate for gun safety, akin to demanding more security at subway stops X, Y, and Z if you were robbed after disembarking there. You believe that the lack of security is to blame, and so you point the accusatory finger. But be warned, sometimes those fingers may end up pointing right back at yourself. Here’s a spoiler alert: not everything traumatic or “bad” that happens to you is your fault – sometimes, things just happen because they do. While you might have been the target or played an important role, it’s not necessarily because of you. You just happened to be in the right place at the wrong time, much like how you were a part of Nancy’s life during a particular phase.

On the flip side, embracing this acceptance can be quite challenging, something I find myself avoiding. It’s as though these rules are conditional, as if I’m still held at gunpoint by those haunting memories. This is what “he” does to me. Moreover, grappling with mental illness makes accepting what has transpired all the more unsettling. It serves as both a rude awakening and a painful truth, a tormenting gospel, a melody that shifts based on the precise stage of grief and trauma I find myself floating toward.

Honestly, I detest this. Every day feels like a home invasion. I suffocate daily, reliving this trauma over and over again.

Sitting on my nightstand is a book on trauma, and it delves into the idea of trauma taking up residence within the body. It seeks refuge there, but the exit routes are blocked, leaving it trapped until you take action. This isn’t something you can simply address with a couple of meditation sessions, a glass of morning water, and the occasional sermon. It’s a lifelong commitment to interventions, facing hard truths, and adopting healthy routines that carve a path for this poison to exit your body.

I often feel like I’ve been robbed, forced into acceptance. Mental illness has stolen countless precious moments from me, marred the images in my mind with clumps of gray, rendering my canvas bleak. It’s used its venomous tongue to spew acid on my garden, setting it ablaze. It’s robbed me, and countless others, and I want you, the reader, to understand just how agonizing this can be. It’s as if they’re picking up pieces of my diamond-studded heart and casually walking out the door with them. This is a daily ordeal. Even as I write this, I feel like I’m being robbed.

And it doesn’t stop.

There’s a part of me that feels like it’s rotting away. What’s the medical term for that feeling when I clutch my lower abdomen and check if there’s some sort of gaping hole through my body? It’s like there’s a black-hole mass slowly taking over me, much like a cancer. I’m certain of it. When I scream, it’s as if things are escaping from me, and I keep screaming “why” until my ears ring and the world around me falls silent.

During these moments, I’d almost prefer to be sedated. I absolutely despise this feeling.

Sometimes, I try to articulate this sensation poetically, reciting Mark Twain’s “Warm Summer Sun.”

Warm summer sun,

Shine kindly here,

Warm southern wind,

Blow softly here.

Green sod above,

Lie light, lie light.

Good night, dear heart,

Good night, good night.

“She passed” is one of those phrases I often resort to. It carries a certain gentleness in its sound, yet the harsh truth still lingers—

I’m in denial. I find myself waking up from dreams, or rather, nightmares, where I receive a text from her saying, “Just kidding.” She wants to meet up somewhere to explain everything. I’m overjoyed that she’s alive, but I’m also infuriated because she subjected me to this unbearable pain. I wake up around 3:39 AM, my heart feeling like it’s about to burst through my chest, hurriedly checking my phone only to realize that, once again, my brain is playing its tricks on me.

“I didn’t want to wake up. I was having a much better time asleep. And that’s really sad. It was almost like a reverse nightmare, like when you wake up from a nightmare you’re so relieved. I woke up into a nightmare.”

― Ned Vizzini, It’s Kind of a Funny Story

I find myself gradually drifting into slumber amidst bouts of scream-cries (sometimes my neighbors even check on me), with my pillow serving as a vessel for my own sadness. This has been happening for three consecutive nights now, and it currently ranks as one of the top three emotions I wouldn’t wish upon anyone, in this life or the next.


“She succumbed to mental illness.”

I use this approach in various languages because I believe it’s making a significant impact in raising much-needed awareness. Someone once told me that taking your own life isn’t a choice you make—you don’t commit suicide; you become a victim of suicide. Suicide is what happens when mental illness consumes you, when it overwhelms you. It’s akin to how cancer shuts down your body or how COVID claims your last breath. That’s how I see it, and it brings me some sense of comfort. I’ll keep framing it this way until the language surrounding it shifts, until the stigma fades into obscurity. It’s something I have to do. You don’t just commit to things like that.

“She’s not with us anymore.”

I use this as my closing statement, a personal touch to wrap up my thoughts. I don’t see it as my duty to keep everyone informed about everything all the time. It’s a choice I make willingly. If I feel the need to explain, I will do so, but if I choose not to, that choice should be respected.

The day I stumbled upon the news, it had already been a week since the incident occurred. I had gone a whole week without any knowledge of it. On that particular day, I decided to look into what had transpired. I was informed of the details through a rather shoddy news article on Facebook. If I happen to come across that article again, I tend to just skim over it, almost as if I’m deliberately ignoring it. It reminds me of something Einstein once said; he didn’t consider himself smarter than the average person, but rather, he possessed an insatiable curiosity to understand the “why” behind things.

I must confess, though, I did read the comments on the Facebook post itself. Some of the comments, even if well-intentioned, struck me as callous, to say the least, and downright sickening at worst. I could feel the tension in my jaw as I clenched my teeth while reading them.

The comments were mostly variations of “rest in peace” or “I loved her in (insert show/series here).” I’m not sure what changed in me, but for the first time, my curiosity hit a brick wall. I wasn’t seeking information; I was in deep contemplation. Over the years, I’ve been extremely careful about how I express condolences. I don’t just offer condolences; I carefully select my words and share my honest vulnerability. My aim is to convey a sense of genuine support so profound that the grieving person can at least feel a fraction of it.

I yearned for answers, a glimpse into the “why” of it all. I sought the perspectives of strangers to fill the void within me. However, what I received was an ocean of seemingly blunt and insensitively tone-deaf monologues. I had to quell the overwhelming urge to unleash my frustration upon everyone in that thread. I didn’t even know if the original post was factual or a fabrication. I harbored a desire to inflict emotional pain, to erase that post entirely from everyone’s memory.

I can recall numerous instances where I cradled her in my arms, almost like a baby. She allowed it, and I yearned for it. There was no sense of obligation or awkwardness; I felt a deep need and, simultaneously, a desire to be there. In those moments of vulnerability, I willingly listened and provided selective protection. She confided in me, and when panic struck, I’d assure her, saying, “It’s alright, I’m here, don’t worry.”

We both shed tears.

We both fell asleep with tears still wet on our cheeks.

Now, I longed to protect her, even if she wasn’t physically in my embrace.

Last week, I embarked on a new job, marking the end of a tumultuous year spent in the limbo of job transitions, compounded by a head injury whose effects remain largely misunderstood by others. To say it’s been challenging would be an understatement. The adjustment to this new role has been no less daunting. Amidst it all, I had to carve out time for my grieving process. “Siri, set an alarm for 8:30, labeled ‘grieving,’ then another alarm for 9, labeled ‘tea time.'” The world marches relentlessly forward, showing no signs of slowing down. As I write this, our planet has journeyed a staggering 444,939 miles – nearly nineteen times the Earth’s circumference.

In the interim, half a million miles of space travel have transpired, equivalent to the length of twenty Earths. Time shows no inclination to pause, to grieve, or to observe moments of silence – and that’s profoundly unsettling. The world continues to turn, fires rage, and hearts shatter. New occurrences unfold – both auspicious and tragic. There’s an indomitable resilience in existence, and we are captives to it, especially me. I bear witness to unfolding events, events I must adapt to. I encounter new faces, engage in novel pursuits, and my life traverses beyond a certain point in time.



Up until now, every person I’ve crossed paths with had some connection, even if tangential, to Nancy. But now, that thread has unraveled. At best, they’ll rely on me to share memories, flaunt photographs, and recite poorly documented poetry about our shared experiences. It’s a feeling that can only be described as heart-wrenching or enchanting, depending on the angle you choose to view it from. I’m in the process of constructing the narrative of my life, and it weighs on me with guilt.

Returning home reveals newly arranged things, soon to become everyday fixtures. Yet, she’ll never be privy to these changes. Encounters with new people serve as poignant reminders of her; just the other day, I wandered into our beloved hole-in-the-wall eatery. I ordered the same dish she always favored. Mundane tasks often spiral into disassociation – I’ve managed to burn through four wooden spoons, break three coffee mugs, and consistently forget to eat every single day.

There are traces of her presence on the calendar for the day she departed, marked by blood stains. Sometimes, when I drift off to sleep with tears streaming down my face, I can sense the comforting embrace of an unseen presence, cradling me and whispering, “It’s alright, I’m here, don’t worry.”

to whom could I put this question (with any hope of an answer)? does being able to live without someone you loved mean you loved her less than you thought…?”

Roland Barthes.

I had just returned from an interview, and let me tell you, the past couple of years have been a real ordeal, pandemic aside. Work injuries have knocked me down to a point where I’ve started questioning if I’ll ever get to cradle my imaginary baby in my arms – all of this, set against the backdrop of my imaginary wife’s smiling but blurry face.

It’s a mild traumatic brain injury, coupled with a diagnosis of post-concussion syndrome. It takes months to even begin feeling somewhat normal again (and I’m still in the midst of vestibular therapy). They explained it to me like this: my brain’s neural pathways had some bridges that got seriously messed up. Since my head injury, it’s been like these vital bridges have been under constant attack. As a result, the everyday routes I usually take in my brain – you know, like pouring a bowl of cereal or tackling more complex tasks – well, they just weren’t there anymore. It’s like I had to rebuild those bridges from scratch. My whole personality went through a transformation. Mood swings, hormonal shifts, even the way I perceive light and sound, and how I interpret people’s actions – all of it took on a whole new dimension. Sometimes, I felt like everyone around me wished I’d just disappear. I tried telling my doctors about it, but…

“I think my friends want me to fucking die.”

All I could muster was a perplexed “Why?”

And the response? Well, it was a tangled web of thoughts. “I don’t know. It’s like they’re yearning for my demise, exhausted by my presence. Scratch that, they’d probably be melancholic for a single day, or maybe, just maybe, a month. But deep down, they’d find solace in my departure, extract strength from it. They’d harness the roses sprouting from my grave as a source of fuel. They’d pluck the fruit that grows from my ribcage and nourish their offspring with it, making them robust. Heck, they might even bestow my name to their kids as a middle name or something. It would make quite the narrative, but the catch is, I’d already be six feet under. It’s this eerie sensation that my family couldn’t care less if I were to shuffle off this mortal plane. Sometimes, it’s as if my own brain’s pushing for a special lights-out mode.

“But I don’t want to die.”

I’d use humor to lighten the heavy atmosphere, almost like a life-saving “get out of the psych ward” card. It often felt like they’d throw me in some institution if I didn’t assert that I didn’t want to be there or didn’t love myself the way they expected me to. It was as if they had a rigid checklist to determine who’s mentally sound and who’s not, reducing human complexity to a mere scorecard. By projecting these feelings enough, I hoped to elicit the sympathy I desperately needed but couldn’t bring myself to ask for. I yearned for people to empathize with my fragile state and cater to my vulnerabilities.

In those moments, my thoughts drifted to Nancy. She had a way of openly discussing death with me, sharing intimate details of her struggles. Even in my weakest moments, I drew strength from not feeling alone, because I had once been on the other side – the side of the doctor who just couldn’t grasp it all.

At those ungodly hours, I’d rush to the bathroom, dry heaving into the toilet bowl. I’d restrain myself from vomiting, fooling myself into believing I was on the mend. Frustration often surged within me, and anger became increasingly difficult to contain. I even managed to get banned from a chess app I’d been using since I was thirteen because I couldn’t hold back a string of curses aimed at an opponent who wasn’t responding in time.

Games I’d been immersed in for years decided to give me the boot because of my emotional outbursts. My libido became a rollercoaster, and it felt like I was on a wild ride with no control over the throttle. Intrusive thoughts barged in, some of them bordering on the bizarre. I’d find myself daydreaming about the incredible technological leaps humanity would make once I was no longer part of this world. I’d brainstorm new inventions, as if attempting to outdo the very concept of my own absence.

Then came the headaches, the real skull-pounders. The type where you clutch your head and squeeze your eyes shut so tightly that all you can perceive is an abyss of darkness. My eyes would twitch involuntarily, and I later learned it was due to overtaxed nerves. At one point, the mere sound of the garbage truck’s clanging metal would bring me to my knees, as if a jet engine had taken up residence in my living room. During one of these episodes, the weight of the world seemed to grind me into stardust, flinging me into the cosmic oblivion with the gravitational pull of Jupiter. It’s strange how, despite hearing about it so often, feeling like you have no one to turn to can be such a universally disorienting experience.

I’d curl up into a tight ball, uttering a prayer as I drifted into slumber, my journals filled with haphazard scribbles documenting my inner turmoil. The constant sense of impending doom gripped me tightly. Sometimes, my hands would clench up, mirroring her own struggles. She’d explain that she couldn’t text much, so we kept our messages brief, to the point of resembling some cryptic code. It was simultaneously endearing and heart-wrenching, a unique form of Morse-affection that became our shared language. I extended this tenderness to myself, a gentleness that I had always readily offered her. My love for Nancy was profound; she was my fragile treasure. I’d snuggle and caress her with those broken, awkward hugs, reminiscent of crackling firewood.

I’d sing her praises to anyone who’d listen, and even those who wouldn’t, I’d share my poetry about her. Strangers were my favorite audience because they seemed the most delighted. They’d beam with joy that a complete stranger could speak so openly and warmly about such an extraordinary person. Their eyes would light up, and I’d proudly display pictures of her and us, and they’d say,

“Really? No way.”

Irony has this knack for being a real pain in the fucking ass. When one of my closest friends broke the news to me, it turned out they had just received the same text from me:

“really? no way”

“no way”

There were moments when my speech would stumble and falter, like a double-edged sword misused, as my doctors put it. It was one of those mornings when you can sense the fog thickening, and you swear you can hear the grass growing. The sunlight seemed to bend in ways that, instead of warming your skin, cast an unusual spell. And in those moments, the only person I believed would truly listen was Nancy.

At times, I felt an irresistible pull towards her. Despite holding back and trying to delay the profound connection we shared, because I couldn’t bear the thought of ever being vulnerable to the point where I’d have to sacrifice a part of myself. Yet, now, the weight of that restraint is unbearable. I hear myself crying, and it’s agonizing to witness that raw, unfiltered pain pouring out of me. The burden of my inaction has rendered my eyes heavier than lead; they’re dense like the core of a nuclear reactor. What could I have done differently? Why is all of this happening to me? Why did I let fear hold me back from speaking up when words have always been my refuge?

“I waste at least an hour every day lying in bed. Then I waste time pacing. I waste time thinking. I waste time being quiet and not saying anything because I’m afraid I’ll stutter.”

― Ned Vizzini, It’s Kind of a Funny Story

I can sense my energy, my mana, gradually unraveling, strand by strand, piece by piece. Each individual thread dissolving into an immeasurable void. I’ve taken on the role of a detective, with a singular mission to unearth evidence that this is all just an elaborate hoax. I desperately yearn for it to be untrue. I yearn for that knock at my door and the sight of that familiar, goofy smile through the peephole. I’m sidestepping the process of denial, navigating this labyrinth of conspiracy theories.

Every passing day feels like I’m witnessing her slow departure, and it’s a kind of grief I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. She didn’t simply die; she’s still slipping away from me. I’m losing a part of Nancy with each sunrise. I’m meticulously cataloging fragments, amassing a stockpile of jpeg files, .mov clips, and gifs of her. Every day, another piece of Nancy slips through my fingers. Maybe I’ll forget some little detail about her, like the exact shade of carrot-stained vermillion we marveled at during the most enchanting sunset over that Ganymede-sized horizon, just before she set off for Los Angeles.

Perhaps, I’ll relocate, and her cherished red-striped tank-top from Old Navy will go missing during the move, only to end up in some thrift shop along the way. Maybe I’ll eventually part with the car that bore witness to so many shared moments. Bit by bit, my existence transforms into a museum of lost and found artifacts.

“There should be a statute of limitation on grief. A rulebook that says it is all right to wake up crying, but only for a month. That after 42 days you will no longer turn with your heart racing, certain you have heard her call out your name. That there will be no fine imposed if you feel the need to clean out her desk; take down her artwork from the refrigerator; turn over a school portrait as you pass – if only because it cuts you fresh again to see it. That it’s okay to measure the time she has been gone, the way we once measured her birthdays.”

― Jodi Picoult, My Sister’s Keeper
“i don’t know”

I’ll never forget that one time she managed to hurt my feelings deeply, and my response was to simply hold her in a tight embrace. I wrapped myself around her and declared my love. We had countless nights like that, falling asleep after heartfelt conversations and moments of intense passion. It was as if five plus five equaled a million, and we’d deliberately sit a bit apart from each other. She’d text me something like, “I can feel your presence all the way from over here.”

On a mysteriously misty morning, a group of youngsters embarked on their school bus journey. A few of them were still sporting those timeless ’90s jackets, a curious fashion relic. As if orchestrated by some unseen hand, there was a pervasive hint of blue present in everyone’s attire. As for me, I was the kind of lad who kept to himself, especially when it came to interactions with girls. I exuded an air of quiet confidence – not off-putting, but sufficiently stoic to discourage any notions of approachability, even for a sixth-grader.

This particular morning, the school bus seemed to defy time, taking an eternity to pick us up and deliver us to our destination. Just as I was lost in my thoughts, lost in a reverie of solitude, a gentle tap on my shoulder disrupted my musings.

I turned to find a girl clad in a distinctive blue jacket.

“Hey there. Mind if I take this seat?” She pointed to a precise spot on the seat, as if she anticipated a refusal, or as if she hadn’t just plucked the stars from my eyes and held them within her grasp.

“Uh, sure,” I stammered, my response tinged with shock. I couldn’t help but wonder if this was some sort of test or prank.

Great, I’m staking my claim, then!” Without hesitation, she settled into the seat as if it were her destined place, as though the narrator of my life had begun the chapter titled “Nancy and Cristian.”

Hi, I’m Nancy,” she introduced herself with a cheerful smile, “and you are… Cristian, right?”

“Yeah,” I replied, still somewhat bewildered by the unexpected turn of events. It was as if the universe had conspired to bring Nancy and me together on that peculiar, foggy New Jersey morning.

Rarely does fate conspire to seat the most captivating beauty you’ve ever beheld right beside you. My recollection is somewhat hazy, but I suspect we’d been formally introduced previously, courtesy of one of her friends. The entire encounter felt choreographed, as though there was an orchestration behind it; I mean, there were plenty of vacant seats. I distinctly recall attempting to recreate that scenario, hoping to recapture the magic, but it proved elusive. Fate played its hand differently, leaving me either stranded with a missed bus and a long walk ahead or with her conveniently securing rides to and from school. Our budding friendship was, regrettably, short-lived.

Nevertheless, we forged a profound bond. At the tender age of 17, I summoned the courage to profess my love for her, albeit via text on my trusty razor phone. Our paths diverged as she pursued higher education, while I embarked on the journey of work. Our relationship began to take shape in our early twenties, marked by intermittent periods of togetherness well into our mid-twenties. The journey was marked by trials and tribulations, but also by unforgettable moments.

Just before our romantic journey took flight, we embarked on a daring escapade into a public pool, shrouded in the cloak of 1 a.m. Darkness embraced us as we shed our inhibitions, our laughter mingling with the cool water as we swam together. It was nothing short of extraordinary, a clandestine adventure that involved trespassing, stripping down to our bare essentials, and immersing ourselves in the water’s embrace.

The fence guarding our impromptu aquatic haven stood as a formidable obstacle, its height daunting. Yet, our resourcefulness prevailed as we discovered a miraculously balanced construction pallet amidst a pile of discarded building materials, offering us passage to the forbidden waters. In a twist of fate, Nancy found herself ensnared by the slightly-barbed fence, humor still intact despite the predicament. It went something like this-

Cris, help, my cooch is stuck,” she giggled, though concern lingered beneath the laughter. Naturally, I scaled the fence, becoming her temporary savior, providing a perfect landing spot for her to free herself. Guiding her over, I couldn’t resist a cheeky remark, “I always knew this day would come.” To which I earnestly replied, “I’ve longed for this moment.

It remains etched in my memory as one of the most cherished experiences we shared. Yet, amidst all those fond recollections, my absolute favorite was simply the times when she sat beside me. She had an uncanny understanding of my penchant for close proximity, touching, especially with those I held dear. There was an undeniable intimacy in the discomfort of sitting too close, and my eccentricity was something I wore proudly.

Sometimes, in solitude, amidst the enveloping mist, I try to recreate those moments just right, hoping that she might return to sit beside me once more. Perhaps she’ll clasp my hand again, say something silly in a foreign accent. Maybe, by revisiting our beloved spots or savoring the N16 black pepper chow udon noodle special or setting up a picnic in that park where we witnessed the grandeur of a giant sunset, I could summon echoes of her laughter; something that resembles a memory of her.

Perhaps, just maybe, she could reappear for a fleeting moment, granting me the chance to express all the words I’ve yearned to say.

A heartfelt plea follows: Please, remember to check in on your friends, your family, the people you hold dear. I implore you. I miss her so profoundly.

Thank you.

“You ask everybody you know: How long does it usually take to get over it? There are many formulas. One year for every year you dated. Two years for every year you dated. It’s just a matter of will power: The day you decide it’s over, it’s over. You never get over it.”

– Junot Díaz

Published by Cristian Leonardo Gajardo

Welcome to Cristian’s Cafe, a website where I showcase my various forms of expression and happiness. Here you can find poetry, podcasts, personal blogging, research articles, open mic, comedy, and art. Whether you are looking for inspiration, entertainment, or information, you will find something that suits your taste and mood. Enjoy browsing through my content and feel free to leave your comments and feedback. Please note that the Wi-Fi connection may be slow or unstable at times, so please be patient and look at the art instead. Thank you for visiting Cristian’s Cafe

8 thoughts on “You Were the First Person I Thought of: A Memoir of Love, Loss, and Healing

  1. I lost a friend 2 years ago. I found out from an ig post a couple days after it had happened. Reached out to 3 people before I finally got details on how I lost him. I had already lost him a year before that, a fight we had that I walked away from never looked back. I thought I had time to fix things, come back, I always came back. But it was too late this time. Your text message passage reminded me about a dream I had where Diego was alive. He was sitting on a bus, told me the rumors were a lie and he was fine. Then suddenly he got off the bus in a crowd of people without a goodbye. It felt like losing him all over again.

    I cried at the end of reading your work.

  2. Reading your work always makes me feel like I am not alone. I only wish that you’d feel the same. In the anger, the sadness, the madness, the grief, the loss, the helplessness, the indignation, the unresignation, you’re not alone. There’s a stranger out there rooting for you.
    I struggle with migraines and nerve complications too and it brings me to my knees, tears me apart, kills me, by the second. Yeah and people refuse to understand.
    I only hope that some day you will feel like you’re not alone. Meanwhile, feel. Allow yourself to feel whatever emotions in their wretched forms. ❤️

    1. Hi Destiny, thank you for your message! I agree that those times are very challenging and confusing. It’s important to have a strong support system that can help you cope with everything. But, we ultimately are not alone in this journey, and I hope we find the support and guidance we all truly need.

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