Sunday, June 30, 2013

I Forgive You

I'm tempted to say that today has been a regression of some sort, but I need to give myself more credit than that. After days when I put in a lot of effort to be out, smiling, and around people (like I did yesterday) sometimes I need to take the next day to lay in bed, reminisce, and cry. Although it feels a bit like a step backwards to do this, I actually think it is both necessary and positive. I need to be true to how I feel and cut myself some slack when I need a break from the world.

Today I decided to go through all of our old text messages. I remember the days of flip phones when I could only keep 100 messages at a time and had to constantly go through and delete old ones to make room for incoming messages. This is definitely not the case now. My texts messages with Blake go back all the way to the beginning of February (when I got my new phone after dropping the last one in the toilet... whoops). It took me hours to read through all of them.

I screen shotted several messages that made my heart really hurt. Blake was so incredibly romantic and said the sweetest things to me. Whenever he would send me a huge paragraph telling me how much he loved and appreciated me, I would always thank him, say something cute back, and then go about my day. I know at the time I was definitely touched by them, but now more than ever I am realizing how good he was to me.

But I don't actually want to write about those messages right now.

Blake and I argued over little things from time to time, but we only got in two big fights throughout the course of our relationship. In hindsight, I have figured out that during both of those fights Blake had been using drugs without me knowing. (I'm not blaming the fights on him or on the drugs, because I definitely had a part in them, I'm just saying the drugs definitely had a hand in escalating them)

I remember in both of those instances I was so incredibly confused by how irrational he was acting. Usually Blake was a great communicator and could tell me exactly what was bothering him, why, and how he wanted us to fix it. In both of our big fights, I felt like I didn't even know him. He said things that didn't make sense, got really angry, and jumped to crazy conclusions. It was exhausting. At some point in both of those fights, Blake finally seemed to "snap out of it" and then realized immediately that he was being ridiculous, apologized, and said all of the right things to make me feel better about what had just happened.

I came across a text he sent me after one of those two fights.

"I don't deserve you, Briana. I'm sorry. You are right. I'm so sorry. You may not forgive me now... or ever, but I'm sorry for everything. Truly. There is so much more to this than you know. So much more than apologies that is due to you."


Was this his first attempt at admitting to me he had a problem? Was he trying to let me know that he was aware that things were out of control for him?

After rereading that message I have two thoughts:
1. You did deserve me.
2. I forgive you.

One of the things the medium said the other night is that Blake kept saying he didn't deserve me. That he felt that I was on a much higher level than him and he wasn't able to reach it. I interpreted this as he was too sick to ever function as the person I really deserved to have in my life.

But what I want Blake to know is that I know in my heart he was at that same high level as me. The real Blake (in his pure form) was a brilliant, inspiring, generous, and truly beautiful person. I felt very lucky to be with a person like that. Who he was deep down was perfect. For him to say he didn't deserve me hurts because I know how good of a person he was. Just like he never let me doubt myself or belittle my talents, I will not allow him to say he is undeserving.

And most importantly, I want him to know I forgive him. I know he wasn't functioning as the best version of himself. I know he probably beat himself up often about wanting to be better for me or provide more for me. But he couldn't. He was so sick. I know he would've given the world to me if he could, but he couldn't. He had a horrible addiction that consumed him.

I forgive him for that.

Forgetting You (A Poem)

I'm terrified of forgetting you.

When I close my eyes,
I can picture you next to me,
talking to me,
being with me.

When I do that it's almost like you're still here.

But this morning when I did that,
it was a little bit harder to get your exact face,
your exact voice,
your exact touch.

I looked at a picture of us to remind me of you,
but that just made it worse.
I have to look at a photograph to remember you?

My heart is racing right now.

It's only been a month and already it's harder to keep you alive in my mind.
I don't think I've ever felt more guilty about anything in my life.

Are you mad at me or is this what you want?

How could you possibly want this?

Saturday, June 29, 2013

The Medium: An Adventure in ESP

Blake's sister was stopped in a store the other day by a medium who felt extremely compelled to talk to her. She let him know her brother died recently, but that was it. He ended up coming over last night so he could deliver Blake's message to us. He did this for free because he felt like it was his duty since Blake came to him and asked him to do it.

I'm not sure how I feel about mediums, but Blake was VERY spiritual and believed in spirits, guardian angels, and an afterlife. He was always telling me about his grandfather, the signs he sent him, and how he watched out for him. The way Blake lit up when he talked about it made me want to believe too. I have always been somewhat spiritual too and Blake definitely brought that side out of me.

Going into last night, I was so nervous. I really don't know why.

My mom had told me a couple weeks ago about how she went to a medium after her best friend died. The medium gave her very specific information about something hidden that she needed her friend's daughter to find. It turned out to be completely true. After hearing that from my mom, a person who I respect above anyone, I was much more open to the idea. I knew it was something I would be interested in exploring down the road, but I wasn't quite sure if I was ready for it yet.

I'm not going to go into any specific details, but basically Blake told me everything I wanted to hear about us, our relationship, and how he is doing now. The medium had no idea how Blake died, but said some very specific things about what was going on with him and his regrets after he reviewed his life. Although a lot of the information was pretty general (things that any girlfriend would want to hear about her boyfriend, her importance in his life, and the difference in connection from any other relationship), there were a couple really specific things that only he and I would've known. When those few things were mentioned, it definitely gave me shivers.

Do I believe Blake was really there last night? Yes. Do I believe that the medium has a special gift that allows him to talk to people who have died? Maybe. Did I feel comforted after he talked to me? Yes.

I think the real important thing is that I answered "yes" to the third question.

Throughout this whole process, I've learned that anything that helps a person feel better is a good thing. If hearing all of those things from a person that didn't even know Blake made me feel at all more confident in their truth, then that's a great thing for my healing process. I can reassure myself a thousand times, and so can his family and friends, but I guess it's really different hearing it from the medium because it felt like it came directly from Blake (regardless of if it really did).

But honestly, all of that stuff did come directly from Blake because he told me it when he was alive.

I think I am now at peace with the whole "soul mate" thing I was questioning a few days ago. Even if I got nothing else out of our adventure in ESP, then that alone would make it worth it.

Friday, June 28, 2013

One Month/ Our Twin Freckles

Why are mornings the hardest?

I think it's probably because I'm either waking up from a dream about you, expecting to have you next to me but having to realize you're not, or starting the process of another day that I am going to have to fight to get through. Usually it's all three.

So for today, the official one month anniversary of your death, I am going to get through this morning by focusing on one of my happiest memories with you:

I've always been fascinated by freckles because I only have about 10 total. For whatever reason, I find them extremely cute, especially when they are placed randomly on a person's body with no other freckles around.

I decided to pick out which of your freckles were my favorites. You had one on your face that was really cute, I kissed it. One on your neck. And then I found one on your shoulder. Since I only have about 10 freckles, I know exactly where all of mine are. When I found the one on your shoulder, I freaked out a little bit. I have one in the EXACT same place!

You laughed, because I am ridiculous, and checked to make sure I was right. I was, obviously.

You kissed my shoulder freckle and told me they were our twin freckles. You told me I had to kiss yours back to make it official.

You decided that from now on, we could send each other love and positive energy through our twin freckles whenever we were apart. Since we were in a long distance relationship, we were apart often. This would be a way that we could always remain connected and be with each other even when we weren't in the same room.

When I put my finger on my twin freckle, the rest of my hand touches my heart. I am going to do that a lot today. I hope Blake is up in heaven sending me lots of love and positive thoughts as he is touching his twin freckle.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Your Last Night

It was exactly one month ago that you dropped me off at the Phoenix airport.

You were a mess. I could see it in your eyes.

It seemed like your whole world was crumbling around you. 
Everything was slipping through your fingers.
I apologized for having to go. I wished it was our normal two-week-or-less countdown, but you were busy, I was busy, there was nothing we could do.
You told me that if you had any money, you would buy a one-way ticket to come with me.
But you didn’t, you couldn’t.

You were shaking.

I told you that everything was going to be ok. I told you that it wasn’t going to be that bad. One month would fly by and before we knew it we would be living together for the whole summer.
We’d share the whole summer together. Everything would be different.

We split ice cream as you tried to make me smile.
 You almost made me miss my flight because you wanted to wait until the very last minute to let me go through security.
 When it was time, you walked up with me to the security line and forgot all of your bags back by the chairs.

You were a mess.

I had to go, but you told me, “One more kiss!” I complied and then turned to walk away.
 “Just one more kiss!” 

Oh, how I loved you.

Three more times of that and you finally let me go after I started getting panicky about missing my flight. I was always the worrier.
 I usually sleep the entire flight, but this time I couldn’t. I was frantically writing out schedules trying to figure out a way to surprise you with a trip so we didn’t have to wait an entire month. I wrote all over the whole barf bag and asked the flight attendant to bring me some napkins.
I had to make it work. There must be a way.

The hours between 5 and 10.
Where were you my sweet Bear? How lonely did you feel? How desperate did you become?
 Thank God you eventually went home to your parents. 

Thank God.

You sat down with your mom and told her I was the one. 
You told her that they needed to get to know me better.
 You called me to say goodnight. I was annoyed you waited so long. It was already midnight. 
I had to be up for work at six.

Goodnight my love. 

Talk to you tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Soul Mates?

I have been struggling with identifying Blake as my "soul mate" or the "love of my life" because to me, that makes his death and losing him so much more tragic.

I've always thought that there is just one soul mate out there for me: the person who will become my husband. However, I realize there are probably hundreds of definitions of soul mates. I'm sure some people believe you can have multiple soul mates and some who think that they don't exist at all. But what I've always believed is that you have one true soul mate and he is the person you're meant to spend the rest of your life with.

My personal definition of a soul mate is someone who compliments your strengths, respects
your weaknesses, and is there to support your growth using both his strengths and weakness. He's the person who's going to challenge you, call you out on your bullshit, and not let you get away with being any less than you're meant to be. I don't see a soul mate as someone who you're exactly alike or is your "other half." How would we evolve as individuals if we spend our lives with someone who is the same as us? Our negatives would just multiply each others negatives and our positives would seem less positive. And if we think of soul mates as the other halves of us, isn't that saying we're not whole people without them? I think it's damaging to view yourself that way.

I think I got these ideas because I truly believe my parents are soul mates. I watch them and I just know that they were destined to be together. They definitely are dissimilar in many ways, but I don't think that means they "complete" each other. Neither of them has something missing that they need to provide one another to make each of them whole. Instead, it's more like they help each other grow in all of the right ways due to their differences. Blake said the same thing was true for his parents. He said he saw us that way as well.

When I look back on Blake and my relationship, I see that in us too.

I have always had a problem with taking everything too seriously and not just enjoying things for what they are at face value. Sometimes I get so interested in the most insignificant details that I miss the big picture. I over analyze, am hypercritical of myself and others, and it's very hard for me to just relax. Blake always laughed that he was exactly the opposite. My weaknesses were his strengths.

He did such an amazing job making light of stressful situations, letting little things slide off his back, and truly just living life moment to moment, focusing on things that made him happy and made others around him happy too. But these wonderful aspects of Blake were also a hinderance to him. Being so spontaneous gets you into a lot of trouble because you don't anticipate challenges or plan for setbacks. Always doing what makes you happy means putting off less glamorous but ultimately vital things. He told me I inspired him because the things he needed to work on were my strengths. He inspired me too.

The fact that we were opposite in this way was sometimes frustrating, but we both saw the value in each others strengths and the potential lessons we could take from loving and sharing a life with someone who possessed those qualities. Blake and I both believed that you should constantly be working on ways to better yourself and that a soul mate was your partner in this. We respected each others strengths and weakness and truly saw how we could grow together.

So based on my definition of a soul mate, I really don't think I could've been with a better partner. And part of the reason that losing him is so hard for me is that I feel like we were only just beginning to help each other grow into the people we were destined to become.

But if Blake fits my definition of my soul mate, where does that leave me now?

If I truly believe you only get one soul mate, and he was mine, does that mean I missed my chance at having a life long soul mate? Am I supposed to be alone forever now? Maybe I was his soul mate, but he's not mine? Or maybe I was the love of his life, but he wasn't mine?

Or maybe I have to change my definition of those two things. Maybe I have to start believing that some people have multiple soul mates, multiple loves of their life.

You Build Me Up

One of my absolute least favorite things to do is drive, especially long distances. Which is funny because one of Blake's absolute favorite things to do was drive, especially long distances.

Against my better judgment, I decided to take this summer to drive from where I was living in San Jose,  to LA, to Orange County, to Arizona, then back to LA, back to the Bay Area, and then finally down to San Diego where I am moving. So basically, my whole summer is going to be a series of road trips in my car. And unfortunately these trips are just me, alone with my thoughts.

At first I was very, very worried about this. First of all, I hate driving. Second of all, I think being alone with myself too long has proven to be kind of dangerous for me because I end up making myself too sad or thinking incessantly about things.

But actually, during this particular five hour drive I just did today to Arizona, I was thinking a lot about how good this is for me. Because driving was something Blake and I did a lot together, it's actually brought up really wonderful memories of the two of us doing that. Anytime I flew into Arizona, we would have to make the two hour drive up to Prescott and then eventually the two hour drive back to the airport, and we spent my entire spring break doing a road trip up and down the coast of California. Clearly we spent a lot of time together on the road and made a lot of memories that way.

During my drive today, I thought of one specific memory that really just encapsulates Blake as a person and how being in a relationship with him always made me feel:

Something that was really important to me when I was growing up in elementary school and middle school was singing. I was in choir, I did a lot of plays, had a lot of solos, so that was part of my identity. I really identified as a good singer. But over the years I kind of lost that. I had different priorities and got interested in different things. After I stopped being specifically involved in that activity, I guess I decided it was easier not to try to sing. No one I met from that point on ever knew I was a good singer or I ever had that tallent that meant so much to me when I was younger. It was always weird to me that something that was so fundamentally who I was and what made me me, was just gone. And I just let it go because I was too embarrassed to ever try once I felt I lost it. So it was easier for me to just pretend I was a bad singer. 

Blake and I were in the car and it was my turn to drive so he was in the passenger seat resting. I took this as an opportunity to listen to some of "my music." We would always argue over that because he liked pretty atrocious music, in my opinion, but we decided to trade off because gangster rap made him happy. Whatever.

After I turned on my music, I started to sing. I sang very quietly. I wasn't really doing it for him or for me, it just sort of came out. I didn't really think Blake was paying any attention because it was his turn to rest, but he sat up and looked at me and said, "Briana, why didn't you tell me that you have the most beautiful voice?" I immediately got really embarrassed, stopped singing, and explained "Oh I don't. I used to sing, but I don't anymore." And he turned down the music and grabbed my hand and said, "Why would you ever try to hide or downplay that? It's so lucky that you have a tallent like that."

I started to tear up because he was right. Not about me having a beautiful voice (I'm sure he was being overly generous with his compliments because he loved me) but for calling me out for ever trying to put myself down or make myself less than I knew I was. And that's how Blake always was, always building people up. He was always building me up and making me feel like I could do anything.

Blake told me from that point on whenever we were in the car I had to sing for him. After that, all of our road trips were filled with us singing to each other, which sounds silly, but it was so special to me. He saw that tallent in me and made me feel like I didn't have to be embarrassed of it (or the faded aspect of it) anymore and I could own it again. Blake made me feel like I could be completely myself when we were together because he loved every part of me.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The Truth.

Today has been one of those days that I start to question everything. I find out one new piece of information and then suddenly I start a tail spin into the land of "what ifs" and "was this a lie toos".

I find myself digging and prying uncontrollably. It's like I'm on a quest to find out something that will hurt me and I can't stop myself. I know what I'm doing is dangerous and harmful, but I just have to know.

There's nothing quite like what I'm experiencing. When there are just so many lies, it feels like the only thing that will bring comfort is the truth. But what if the truth is potentially more detrimental? What if actually knowing the whole truth only exposes more questions?

I finally had to tell myself enough.

I actually had to say it out loud so my whole body could register it and I couldn't brush it off like another one of the millions of thoughts swirling around in my head.


These are my everlasting truths. These are the only things that matter now:
1. Blake and I were truly and deeply in love.
2. Blake had an addiction that completely consumed him. Any lies or hurtful things he said and did can be attributed to this disease.
3. There was an addict Blake and a real Blake. Real Blake was my true love and best friend. He was the Blake I was in love with and was completely in love with me.
4. Blake is gone in body, but will always be with me in spirit.
5. I have so much to live for and so many people who will continue to love and support me through this tragic time. I have the blessing of new family and friends in my life now that Blake brought to me. I need to love, cherish, and support them just as they have graciously done for me.

That is it.

I need to learn to calm my mind and only focus on these truths. These truths are all that matter now.

In Too Deep (A Dream)

I just woke up from a dream.

I'm not an expert, but I feel like the message of this dream was pretty clear. I'm going to explain what  it was and what my interpretation is.

Blake and I were living at this apartment complex with a whole bunch of our friends. It almost seemed like we were on vacation because we were having so much fun every day. We didn't have to work, we constantly had people around, and there were always activities going on.

Then Blake's family showed up and were very concerned. Blake died. They wanted to get to the bottom of it, so they started looking up his medical records and asking everyone what he had been doing with whom. I, of course, started helping them try to figure it out. I was so shocked! I started getting angry at everyone. How could my friends be using with Blake right under my nose?

After we had all gathered evidence, we sat down in a room and started going over it. There were records of prescriptions, where they were filled and by which doctor. A couple of our friends came to speak to us, telling stories about times they used with us. With us?

I was only half paying attention at first, but after I really started to listen, I realized the intervention was not about Blake, but about ME. I started to panic. I grabbed the medical records they were going over a second ago and realized they weren't Blake's, they were MINE. I looked at the faces of the people and they weren't Blake's family, it was MY family. I was so confused. I wasn't the drug addict, why was this happening to me?

This was not our apartment complex, it was a rehab. Why was I there? What went wrong?

Then I woke up.

Let me first preface this by saying I do not do drugs. At all.

After taking a second to get over the shock of waking up from such a crazy nightmare, I think I understand what it might have been trying to teach me.

My last blog post was about heroin. In the end I wondered a little bit about if your choices were even your own when you're an addict. I also was thinking a lot about the powerlessness one must feel when they are addicted to a drug. I said I'd never understand this feeling, so it was hard for me to understand Blake. I think this dream gave me the answers and the insight into what I was questioning before bed last night.

I think this dream/nightmare gave me the opportunity to feel how Blake might have felt either before going to rehab or at the end of his life. Clearly I had no idea in the dream I had a problem. Mine was even more extreme because I didn't even know I was doing drugs at all. When my family was trying to give me an intervention, I didn't even realize it was for me because I was so convinced in my head I was fine. I'm pretty sure even at the end of my dream before I woke up, I still hadn't really accepted that my family had any right to be concerned about me. I thought it must have been a mistake and was trying to think of other people that clearly were worse off than I was that I could divert the attention to.

Maybe I'm interpreting this wrong, but I feel like this dream was my first dive into putting myself in Blake's shoes for a moment. I have felt sorry for him and wondered why he did the things he did and made the choices he made, but I never tried to really understand how it was possible to not get help and not know how deep into his addiction he was.

So much to think about.

Monday, June 24, 2013




On our very first date at the Suns game, we watched very little of the game because we talked about our whole lives the entire time. When I was asking Blake about what he did for work, he seemed to have a pretty large gap between one thing he did and his current business. I asked him why that was.
He took a deep breath and explained to me that he went to rehab.

On our first date? He was telling me all about how he went to rehab? Really? 

He explained that he got into an accident, was prescribed pain killers, and then got hooked. He explained how his life spiraled downward from that point on. He was surrounded by bad influences, felt alone, felt desperate, and didn't like who he had become. Finally after realizing how far his casual second income, pain relief, and partying habit had come, he agreed to go to rehab to get his life back.

I had two choices at that point: I could smile, thank him politely for a nice night and scurry back to California or I could continue this date with the guy who just revealed more skeletons than I've ever seen in anyone's closet. I didn't know whether to run away or admire him for his honesty. I chose to do the latter.

Maybe that makes me crazy, but I saw something in him that night. I saw a man that just wanted a new start. I watched him explain what he learned, what he wanted for himself, and his determination to become the person that he always knew he was capable of becoming. I looked in his eyes and I felt something powerful. I knew I'd be missing out on something amazing if I walked away. So I stayed.


When his mom told me he had an overdose, I assumed it was from pain killers because that's all I ever knew that he did. I had to call her back and check it wasn't some crazy rumor. When his friend said he couldn't believe it was heroin, I snapped back that it wasn't! Blake never did heroin! Who started that rumor? But sure enough, it was. 


Heroin to me always seemed like THE WORST drug you could ever do. Only a homeless person would even consider doing heroin. If you did heroin, you must LOOK like you did heroin. I'm not sure what that "look" would be, but I knew it was probably distinct. The idea that Blake, my charming, sweet, preppy boyfriend ever touched heroin was ridiculous. But when I found out he did, my world crumbled. I dated a person who did heroin. What did that say about me? Am I a horrible judge of character?

I've had a lot of people from all different places contact me about the note I posted on Facebook. Two weeks ago I had my first heroin user contact me. I used this as an opportunity to learn more about it.  This man explained heroin in a way that finally humanized Blake for me.

He explained that heroin was basically the same thing as Oxycotin, only much cheaper and more accessible. He said that if you don't have a prescription for it, each pill could cost $40-60, while a balloon of heroin (which contained roughly the same as two pills) was only around $20. When you're addicted enough to pain killers or running low on money (or both) heroin was not only an option, but actually an inevitable one. 


So now, instead of thinking Blake was evil or I was an idiot, I immediately started to feel awful for him. Of course he turned to heroin, it completely made sense. How awful. What started out as a doctor prescribed and suggested form of rehabilitation from an injury eventually sent him on this path. The combination of the accessibility due to his prescription, the extremely addictive nature of Oxycontin, and his addictive personality, created a perfect storm. Couple that with being in college and living a party lifestyle... my heart breaks for him.

I know he was not completely powerless in all of this. He definitely made choices that got him to that point. But were the choices ever really his? Is addiction so strong that even your conscious choices aren't really yours anymore?

All I know is that I will never again assume anything about drugs and the people that use them. I will never understand the true power of an addiction and how it renders people completely helpless. It is only when the person acknowledges that he or she is helpless that any progress can be made. How much pride must you swallow to admit you're helpless? It's amazing to me what a person has to go through to get out from under something like that. 

Are You There, Blake? (A Letter)

This is the last thing I am going to post retroactively. I thought it was important because it reminds me of my struggle to feel some sense of contact with Blake. I was (and still am) adjusting to the fact that the one person I shared absolutely everything with at all times of the day (whether it was in person, on the phone, or by text) is no longer there. Or is he? It is such a hard adjustment to know my best friend and love can't be there to comfort me, laugh with me, cry with me, and grow with me. Or maybe he can? See the dilemma... it's so weird.

I wrote this on his Facebook when I woke up in the middle of the night and started thinking about this:

Speech From Blake's Funeral

Another post of old thoughts to make sure I have everything in one place. This is my speech from Blake's funeral. After I was asked if I wanted to speak at the funeral and immediately said yes, these thoughts effortlessly poured out of me. 

At first I thought I'd share about the millions of memories that had been flooding my brain non-stop since I found out he died. I thought it might be important to paint a picture of our love for everyone so people would know how truly wonderful our relationship was and how happy we were together. I stopped and realized this was not the purpose of speaking at his funeral. Especially after I found out none of his immediate family members were speaking, I felt an obligation to not only express what he meant/means to me, but how important all of his best friends and family members were to him too. He talked about them all of the time to me because they truly made him who he was. I figured if I was wrapping up the speeches at his funeral, I needed to make sure that was known.

Here it is:

It was always crazy to think that when we both started school at Brisas 18 yearsago the person I would end up falling in love with was sitting in a classroom right down the hallway. I had the privilege of growing up with many of the same people you did, but for some reason you and I never became friends until much later in life. I have so many memories of Timmy and Josh in Mrs. Grams 4th/5th grade class and those boys were two of your closest friends up until the day you passed away.

Growing up a grade behind you since elementary school, I always was envious of the people in your year. I think everyone else at Brisas, Aprende, and Corona saw how close you were and the incredible friendships that formed and endured all of these years. And you were at the center of it all.

When I came home for Thanksgiving, I remember going up to Ryan, Matt, Daryl, Chris, and you as you all greeted me with genuine hugs and we talked about old times. After driving you and Chris home that night, you got my phone number and sent me an awkward text message about how you were a wuss, I was beautiful, and you were glad we talked. When fate intervened and I had two extra Suns tickets later that weekend, I tried and failed to convince Chris to be our awkward 3rd wheel even though we both swore that wasn’t going to be the case. I guess I was just too afraid to admit I was trying to ask you out on a date.

After I went back to California, you decided you didn’t want to wait until I went home for winter break to see me again. You asked if I would come out the next weekend and take Friday off if you got me a plane ticket. I decided why not. I didn’t know what was happening between us, but I knew I liked it and it was making me very happy.

And you continued to make me very happy. We fell so deeply in love and started planning our future together. It breaks my heart that we never got to cross off most of the items on our joint bucket list, but I am going to carry you with me for the rest of my life and hopefully cross them off for the both of us.

In preparation for celebrating our anniversary together, I was in the process of completing a scrapbook for you. Thank God we’re both just a little bit vain and loved taking photos of ourselves, because I have so many great memories of us that we captured that I’ll always be able to look back on.  Although I never got a chance to give you your present because I still had to finish the last couple pages, I wanted to make sure you got the card I wrote for you in the back:

When I first started making this scrapbook I was overwhelmed by how many adventures we’ve been on together. I know that being in a long distance relationship is difficult, but it has made us really cherish and make the most of the time we do get together. There was not a trip that went by without amazing pictures to document all of the fun things we were able to do. We truly are lucky.

I am so grateful for the past six months (excuse me, half year- since it sounds better ;) ) with you as my boyfriend. You have, without a doubt, made me happier than anyone else has ever been able to. I feel truly myself, and the best version of myself, whenever I’m around you. You make me laugh, challenge me to always look for the positives, and make me feel so safe and secure. I love you for how you make me feel, but also for who you are as a person. You are generous, sincere, and have the biggest heart out of anyone I know.

Thank you for everything you do for me and how special you always make me feel. I am so excited for the next six months and beyond with you. I can’t wait for all of the new adventures that are in store for us. I love you!


I just wanted to close by thanking everyone for making me feel so much a part of celebrating Blake’s life. Although I’ve grown up with most of you, your memories of Blake don’t include me. It’s just a testament to how wonderful your friendships were with Blake that you all have taken me in with open arms and made me feel so loved and supported. Blake loved you all more than anything and would’ve done anything for you. Even though he may have not seen you a lot towards the end, he was constantly talking about you and letting me know how important you all were to him. You were all his heroes and his relationships with you were his biggest source of pride.

To Blake’s family, my heart breaks for you. I know we didn’t get to spend nearly enough time together, but I truly love all of you. To his aunts and cousins, even though we never met it was always so good to see your support on Facebook practically anytime Blake or I posted a picture. You made us feel like celebrities. Juliana, I will forever remember the hour we spent laughing backand forth about Blake’s pen pal Fairy Dust. The picture you sent me after was such a highlight. I am eternally grateful for the lengths you went to to get my best friends to San Jose to be with me until I could come out here. Nana, Blake was always telling me about you and your late husband’s amazing relationship and how he wanted to travel the world just like you two did. Looking through all of your old albums together is such a beautiful memory that I will always cherish. Bill, your phone call after our dinner a week ago brought me to tears. Hearing you say all of those sweet things about me and how truly grateful you were that Blake found me made me happier than you’ll ever know. Stephanie, you have made me feel so loved and accepted from the moment I met you. Thank you for all of the phone calls we had these past few days and welcoming me into your home and your family.

I’m going to finish on a positive note because that was something Blake was always working with me on: stay positive, look on the bright side. I know in my heart the REAL Blake was my best friend, true love, and always had my back. We all love you Blake. We know you’re smiling down on all of us right now. Thank you for all of the laughter, memories, and unconditional love. 

Blake's Legacy

I posted this on Facebook three weeks ago, but I wanted to put it here so I can keep everything I've written in one place so I can look back on it.

At the time when I posted it, I never gave context about why I was posting it. From what I've heard, some people thought I did it to send a message to Blake's friends who were struggling with similar problems, but were somewhat in denial about the severity of it. That's actually not true.

The truth is this note was written in response to a girl who had messaged me after hearing what happened to Blake. Her boyfriend is currently in rehab for a similar addiction and she wanted to share that with me. After hearing about what she was going through, I wrote this to share Blake's story, my thoughts about what happened, and how I thought I might have been able to help, but realized that the only way things would've gotten better is if HE wanted to change.

After sending the message to her and getting all of that out, I was filled with a sense of strength and comfort. I decided soon after that maybe sharing what I wrote to her could potentially help other people who were going through something similar with a boyfriend, friend, relative, or daughter/son. I added a conclusion paragraph to solidify what I hoped would be a final message, took out any personal information about her boyfriend, and put it up for everyone to see.

Here it is:
In college, my boyfriend Blake was in an accident where he was injured and subsequently prescribed the pain killer oxycontin throughout his college years. Due to the extremely addictive nature of this drug, he became hooked. This addiction to painkillers eventually lead him to experiment with heroin, which is actually a cheaper, more accesible drug derived from the same source. Blake was admitted into rehab 15 months ago and was clean when he graduated the program. However, the chances of an addict relapsing are extremely high.

Blake died of a overdose a week ago, but unfortunately (fortunately?) the whole time we dated I knew nothing about his continued struggle with addiction. I found out a few days ago that he actually overdosed a month ago too, but neither he nor his roommates told his family or me about it. We were robbed of the opportunity to get him help because we were left completely in the dark.

I am trying to think about it in a positive light and have chosen to believe that Blake knew he was already so far gone and never wanted to burden me with this ugly side of him. He wanted a clean start in life with me (someone very naive about drugs and overall pretty innocent) and never wanted to have me view him as the addict that he was.

On the other hand, if his family and I had known, we would have made sure he was in rehab right now, even if he didn't want to go. But this is something I have really struggled with. From what his roommates (who went to rehab with him) have told me, Blake never really hit rock bottom before he went to rehab last year, so he never thought throughout the whole time he was there that he actually had a problem. Because he never saw himself as an addict, he coasted through rehab and never got the message it was supposed to send him. After putting the pieces together, it seems like it’s possible he started using almost immediately after he got out of rehab.

So now I am thinking that even if I had been given the opportunity to put him into rehab and stuck by his side throughout the process, I am not sure it would have saved him. After he overdosed, his roommates said that Blake was not scared about his mortality, but scared about going back to rehab because that would mean losing everything (his business, the respect of his friends and family, and potentially his relationship with me). This shows me that he STILL didn't think he had a problem even though this time he technically hit rock bottom by overdosing. He wasn't worried about his life even though he almost lost it. He felt immortal and that he had things under control.

I am not trying to be pessimistic and say that if a person is an addict it means his/her only fate is death. I just think the very critical difference is whether or not you understand you have a problem and that you WILL DIE if you don't stay away from every drug (including pain pills and alcohol) for the rest of your life. Until an addict understands that, he/she will never get better. Never.

Blake had told me often that he wanted to marry me and I really believed at the time that I wanted to marry him too. I was, and still am, so incredibly in love with him. I feel like it's almost betraying him saying this, but I now know a marriage or even continuing a relationship with him would have never worked. All it would've done is sucked me in and changed my life.

I am trying to come to terms with the fact that realizing this does not take away from how much I love him. It is just acknowledging the severity of his disease and his mindset that he was not an addict and didn't need help. If he never truly believed he was out of control and needed help, he would have continued to relapse until the day he died. My love and support could have never saved him. He needed to decide he wanted to save himself.

I was about to move in with him in a couple weeks. I can't imagine how much more scarring this whole situation would have been if I had been the one to find him dead. I am very grateful that things worked out the way they did, because I don't really know how I would be able to recover from that. I am glad I never have to find out.

It’s hard to come up with a final message to sum up what I hoped to get across by sharing this story. I guess I can be cliché and say that the first step to recovery truly is admitting you have a problem. In the end, Blake never believed he had a problem and thought he was in control of his drug use the whole time. This was ultimately his downfall. All of the love, support, medical attention, and expert counseling cannot begin to repair you if you are not willing to admit an addiction exists. So please, I am begging you, do not let my wonderful, sweet, talented, and incredibly loving boyfriend die in vain. Look at yourself and admit it in your heart that you have a disease. Let down your defenses and the walls you’ve built up around yourself. The people who love you the most will be proud that you did. Save your life while you still have the chance. 

X Amount of Time

The most helpful coping method for dealing with the loss of my boyfriend and love, Blake Norvell, has been to talk to others who have gone through similar losses (be it a loss of a boyfriend, best friend, sibling, grandparent, or parent). Yesterday I was talking to a dear friend who lost his father years ago. When I asked him for advice about what to do to start feeling "normal" or more like myself again, he told me this:

So I created this blog.

As of right now, this blog is private, but I may make it public later on if I feel like other people may benefit from reading my ramblings. I think it doesn't really matter at this point if it's available to others or just for me, what matters is that it exists. Here is a place for me to allow myself to mourn, reminisce, analyze what happened, pose questions, cry through words, or just reflect. My X amount of time per day will be spent here, however I need it to be spent that day.