Anyone who knows me knows that today is Lanny’s birthday. He should be celebrating being 32 right now, likely a little hungover, and getting ready to watch the Lions take on the Vikings. Hopefully not wearing the Harrington jersey he so proudly bought the same season he died. The last time I saw him, Thanksgiving 2005, he was wearing that jersey. Five months later I wore it over my suit, along with his Michigan baseball cap, when I spoke at his funeral. I’ve had my fair share of ups and downs but I can tell you one thing: that day fucking sucked the life out of me. It was, and likely always will be, the worst day of my life.
Every year, certain milestone days are pretty tough to get through. The day he died (which is also my brother Jamie’s birthday), Thanksgiving, Christmas, football season, and today. I keep thinking that time will make it better. Everybody says that’s the case. And it does during the non-milestone every day days. But it doesn’t when days like today roll around. I think this year it’s even worse. I’m in the middle of a transition and am preparing to move back to New York City. For better or worse, I’m currently (and obviously temporarily) living in the same exact place I lived when I learned Lanny died — making today a lot harder to handle.
Thanksgiving has been particularly hard every year. This Thanksgiving I’ll be back in the city I love more than anywhere in the world. I can’t even express how happy that makes me. To be closer to my dear friends and family, something I’ve really missed while living on the west coast, makes my heart smile. (And, don’t feel bad west coast friends: I love you guys, too, and will see you every month!)
Over the years I’ve found that writing tends to help deal with these emotions. We all have our own ways of dealing with grief, right? I used to write a lot more. And I used to get pretty deep. I stopped doing that a few years ago because it can sometimes get creepy (more on that another time) but I still periodically look at my old blog posts. Being the sensitive, sentimental person I am, I did that this morning. After Lanny died, I wrote a few shorts posts, mostly to thank the people in my life who were so incredibly supportive during that time. This morning I found another one. I’m posting it below because it’s exactly as true today as it was 6+ years ago.
And I leave you with this… please, if you do nothing else today, tell the people you love that you love them. Reach out to an old friend. Smile at a stranger. Open the door for the person behind you. Take a minute to appreciate the life you have… because you truly never know when it will end.
All my love.
From May 6, 2006
last year when my father passed away i thought that life pretty much sucked. this past march when i neared the one year anniversary of his death, i realized that i was a lot stronger than i had thought. then a month later, sitting on my couch, thinking that nuccio was hungover and drinking water for the hell of it (not because she was secretly freaking out about telling me the worst thing i could have ever dreamed of hearing that sunny saturday), i realized that i never really truly ever felt real pain before.
just an hour before, if leslie had said to me, “erin, if there was one person in your life who you would be lost without, who would it be?” i wouldn’t have been able to answer because it would have been impossible to make that call. but i can tell you that my siblings would have been at the top of that list.
when nuccio said “this is the hardest thing i have ever done,” i thought maybe she was sick. then she said something about my sister, lanny and jamie, and in my heart i knew immediately that my life had changed forever. in one split second. i can’t even begin to tell you what a tremendous sense of loss it is to lose someone who you love more than life itself. it’s so hollow and so surreal and so painful and so gut wrenching and so empty that you just don’t feel like you’ll ever be able to go on. i have. i’m trying to anyway. i’m still in shock. and i’m pretty sure that’s normal.
lanny was my world and i loved that guy more than anything else. i don’t know if i’ll ever feel the same again but i know that wherever he is, he knows how much i love him. and will always love him. because i told him every time we spoke. i always loved that about my little brother. he ended every call with “i love you, erin.”
so today i say, and then every day for the rest of my life and then perhaps some more, “i love you, lando.”