Just Try To Breathe (From Angie)

Posted by on Aug 27, 2013 in Updates | 32 Comments

How to grieve. How to live. How to just exist to get to the next moment. Maybe it’s through writing…? I don’t know, but maybe I’ll try because I’m sitting here in an almost empty apartment. Internet is turned off. “FRIENDS” DVDs are packed away. And, I’m waiting. Waiting to the sounds of incredibly loud sirens outside my window and vacuums inside, while I try to drown myself in music so that I don’t have a panic attack. Down times like these are often the hardest and the sound of sirens are too often my breaking point. Life is happening all around me, but my world no longer has the feeling of movement, just the effort of existing.

Movers came yesterday and took everything but a few bags and what my parents will be driving across the country this week, loading it up in a truck headed for Nashville, TN. It was one of the hardest days of my life. One month to the day of Will’s passing. Hopes of this places that never came to be. Hopes of healing. Hopes of knowing our neighbors. Having people over to hang out or play Wii with us. Hopes of sleeping in our bedroom again side by side… and Will being able to lay flat. Hopes of hosting Thanksgiving again. Hopes of a place where Will could have co-writers over to write.

Every place we ever moved to came with a list of hopes and dreams. I don’t think we ever rented a place or made any purchase without saying, “With this I / we can…” All of those hopes are gone. As my parents and I taped up each box I was reminded of what will never be, with Will’s music playing in the background just to hear his voice and to distract my mind from all the terrible things that happened in this place.

I don’t know how to do this. I haven’t known how to do any of this. Truth is, I just don’t want to do it. I want it to be different. I want Will here with me.

Breathing is too hard these days. The emotions are too extreme. Extreme sadness. Extreme anger. Extreme depression. With an occasional moment of deep thankfulness. I can’t handle the extremes so I suppress… just to get through the day. I’ve had a lot of practice at suppressing my feelings so I can function. It’s not something I would recommend as healthy, but what do you do when life doesn’t stop? I think the world should have stopped… everything should have stopped when Will died. Not because my world did — although it kind of did — but because I think his life was worth stopping for. But, it didn’t. It doesn’t. The next moment comes whether I want it to or not and with it the responsibilities of that moment. I don’t really know what that means, I just feel it. I feel the weight of living… of getting up each morning and trying to do something… things I have to do and things I wish I wanted to do because of what Will devoted his life to, what we devoted our lives to.

I feel like most of the time I’m just trying to make it through to the next moment. For the last 12 years, Will and I did everything together. Even when we weren’t in the same place physically, everything was together. Now, I feel an emptiness — a void I’ve never felt before. He filled a void I didn’t know that I had when I met him. I always felt so uncomfortable in my own skin, I tried so hard to figure out who I was. What I wanted to be and do. Negative thoughts about myself were my constant companion. I wanted to love people, but I didn’t know how I could ever make anyone feel loved when it felt like everything I did or said was wrong. I wanted to help people, but my fear of not being helpful paralyzed me. I wanted to live my life for a greater good, for the betterment of someone else, but I didn’t know how.

Then I met Will.

We were a perfect fit for each other. Our personalities, our dreams, our hopes, our worldview complimented and challenged each other. We loved each other deeply and believed in each other whole heartedly, even when it felt like no one else did. With all my insecurities, Will loved me for me. He thought I was beautiful. He loved my personality… what had always been my greatest foe, what I viewed had kept me from all I dreamed of… he didn’t just accept or tolerate it, it was what he always told me made him the best him. He just loved me. He believed in me. He believed I could do anything and he didn’t just say it with words. He always jumped right in with me in whatever I wanted to do. He bought me books when I wanted to learn something new. He helped me study for tests. He started designing my website and business cards when I wanted to start a business. He helped me edit my writing and resumes. He helped me pick out clothes for interviews. He helped me articulate and shape my ideas. It helped that he was really good at everything. He was in it with me from the beginning to the end. He would wait anxiously to get the report upon my return from whatever it was I was doing and he would listen to every little detail. He gave me courage and confidence I had never had before or at least didn’t know I had. With him, I really felt like we could accomplish anything.

What do I do now, there is a void that can never be filled and it feels paralyzing. I can’t even articulate in my own mind what I feel. I think it’s so deep that just to even skim the surface of it is too much, so I shut it off. My goal is to just make it through this week. If I can just make it to Nashville. Start counseling. Be in a place that doesn’t torment me with memories and images. Maybe try to process some of this… at least try to figure out how I can make it to the next moment without the extremes that physically hurt my body. I just miss him. To hug him, kiss him, sit next to him… that would heal so much of what is broken in my mind and heart, but that will never happen now. So I guess I either shut it all off so I can finish packing to get through this week, or I just try to breathe. Sit with my friends. Sit with my family… and just try to breathe.


  1. Wayne Kerr
    October 2, 2013

    Prayers for you today. I pray His peace surround you and yours as you walk thru this. Never at one time has HE left you alone.

    God bless


  2. An Essay: Processing is a Bit#^ Difficult | girlandboystories
    September 25, 2013

    […] My God is Powerful – but He doesn’t always use His power.  My God is Merciful – but oftentimes, it does not seem so.  My God is the Healer – but only when He chooses (earthly-speaking).  My God is Loving – and I’m not sure how that exactly fleshes itself out on earth.  I hear people talk about crawling up on God’s lap and things like that that sound really nice and cozy.  But I also crawled up on God’s lap and watched my brother die, knowing He had the power to rescue him.  And this does not even compare to Angie’s experience which has left her simply trying to breathe (Just Try to Breathe). […]

  3. Beth Skinner
    September 5, 2013

    I have walked this path. I have stood by myself outside my car on a country road and screamed at the top of my lungs to the sky COME BACK! I CAN’T DO tHIS ALONE! I did it more times than I could count. I do not agree time heals wounds. At least not for me. Life was never the same. Time did not make things better. 17 years later at age 53 I still wish desparately October 7 was not even on the calendar. But time did continue to move forward and when I was ready, little by little, I joined back in. Life is so different than what I thought it should have been. But life is full again. I am living again. I have purpose and meaning, and amazingly more to me than anyone I found love again. It is not a replacement. That would be impossible. But it is a different love. A different life. But one full of possibility and joy again. And as I consider that I realize he never needed to Come Back. Because the part of him that taught me about the beauty and joy of the possibilities of life…he left that with me. I just had to be able and ready to pick it up,
    I pray in time you will find Will left you that same gift.

  4. Traci
    August 30, 2013

    I have never met you and only remember Will from high school. I have followed from the beginning, I have ached for Will’ s and your struggle. Though I have followed I have never commented, until now. I don’t know alot, but I know loss. Just breathe. For now let things fall where they may, just breathe. The fog will lift and life will feel like you are not just watching a movie…eventually. For now, just breathe. Let yourself be miserable, and be sad, and be angry. You need to be all those things. You will never forget this journey and you will still grieve sometimes, but time really does heal all wounds. It doesn’t feel like it now, but it does. For now, just breathe. Survive this day and call it a victory. And rely on those around you, let them support you and breathe.

  5. Mindi
    August 30, 2013


    I don’t have much to add that others haven’t already said — it’s an honor to be on this journey with you; your honesty is inspiring; I’m praying for you, as your pain is palpable — but I wanted to share two things, and I hope you’ll forgive me for being long-winded.

    First, I can’t stop watching Will’s video manifesto. I bet I’ve watched it 25x now, maybe more, and have been meditating on his way with words and lofty ideas. I am profoundly moved, and I want to find a way to honor those words and ideas, in my own time and way. I think that’s part of the movement Will was trying to create, but it’s your continued openness that has made it seem possible to me. How can we as a community find a way to embrace his legacy? How can we as individuals strive to have the lasting personal and professional impact he had?

    Second, in the past three months I have read every comment posted to every update on this site. And I’m continually surprised by the variety of people who share, from all over the U.S., whose relationships to Will differed wildly. (For every person who comments, there are dozens who don’t.) But I’m most surprised that Will was — and still is — at the center of a revolution. I was shocked to find that one comment was by someone I know from a completely different part of the country and phase of my life than the part of the country and time of my life in which I knew Will. Will and I met in TN, saw each other frequently at clubs around Atlanta and DC, and related to each other purely through music and friendship. I met this other person in Savannah, and related to him solely via ministry and art. Their paths never crossed in my presence; they crossed in L.A., and through neither music, friendship, ministry or art. Their commonality was business. And I don’t think it’s a coincidence that this is the case: I think Will achieved what he sought to achieve, bringing together people of all different backgrounds, professions, beliefs and experiences.

    He transcended the bounds of what he seemed possible, much less reasonable. The reach of his music and mission are greater than you will ever know.

    My prayer for you in the coming days, weeks and months will be for some measure of comfort, fleeting though it may be. My prayer for you in the coming years will be that you take up the mantle Will did — in your own time and in your own way. As the commenter said a few days ago, you were Will’s source of comfort and courage as much as he was yours. And your way with words? Equal to his, though not the same.

    Peace and blessings,

  6. Lindsey Czechowicz
    August 30, 2013

    I love your writing and I love your honesty. Please don’t stop! It’s an honor to be on this journey with you…


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