Hey Babe,

I tried to give platelets, today, but my iron was too low, so it was a no-go. I hate it when that happens. Guess I’ll be eating more spinach, this week. I didn’t get to donate as much as I wanted in 2022, but much more than I donated in 2021, lol. The American Red Cross is sending me a very nice travel mug for my efforts. You didn’t tell me there were gifts for donation levels- did you just never opt for them? I’ve already got like 4 tshirts but you didn’t have any swag, as far as I can tell. You truly gave for the sake of giving.
The woman checking me in was really nice and seemed to give a fuck about how I was doing, asking questions, and I was open with her about things not going so well, saying that thing about there being highs and lows in life and i was just waiting for the high to come. So we got to talking and I eventually told her about you. She said she knew I had a personal reason for coming but for whatever reason thought I had lost someone to cancer. She told me a lot of people come in after losing a partner who was an avid donor, and take up the charge by donating themselves, in their loved one’s absence. That was comforting to me, and interesting too, that there is a whole demographic of us out there that have been inspired to carry on their partners’ legacy of giving.
Then she said no wonder everything was hard, and that I should be proud of myself for waking up and getting out of bed, paying a bill, and it was so nice to hear, babe…I don’t give myself that grace as much as I used to, but she’s right- losing you is still so fresh. Anything I manage to do I should be proud of. I need to remember to give myself grace, even when others don’t.
Walking back to the metro reminded me of when you called me one day after also not being able to give and the voicemail you left. You walked the same path, from the same place, for the same reason. Maybe I even stepped in your footsteps. The feeling those moments give me is some mix of comfort, nostalgia, surreality, somberness, and yearning.
I saw the doctor, the other day, and he confirmed what I already knew- I have PTSD. The memory problems and brain fog, the paralysis and seeing you where my mind thinks you should be, the flashbacks, the closing my eyes and seeing your dead body, seeing you fall- all very symptomatic. It’s validating but also feels so finite to have it on record. It just makes me sad.
I started on prazosin for it (it’s supposed to help with PTSD-related nightmares), and although I don’t dream anymore and therefore dont have nightmares, anymore, I do still close my eyes and see you, some nights, and I can’t fall asleep.
So I only just started taking it but I have had dreams both nights- which feeds into my suspicion that my not dreaming was my brain’s own sort of coping mechanism for the nightmares. I wasn’t mad about it. Last night, I dreamt about Kristen- I wish I had written it down, this morning, because I don’t remember what it was about, or if you were involved.
Your mom wants to do a big blood drive push for your birthday month. You would have been 30 on February 1st, babe. You would have been 30, but you’re forever 29. I’m hoping I can get a ARC blood drive van to come to our building next month for people to donate.
I was in Georgetown yesterday and stopped in that French patisserie I like, and ordered a croque monsieur because you loved croque monsieurs. And i ate it and thought about how it compared to the one at Duke’s that you weren’t impressed with when we went for brunch that one time. I was watching TV the other day and a commercial referenced making your “honey-do” list shorter- I haven’t heard that term since you died. You taught me that term. It’s definition is just so wholesome and full of love it’s comforting to hear.
I went to get a facial, yesterday, and I hadn’t seen the woman since before you died. She commented I had lost weight, and I told her you killed yourself. Her brother killed himself. There are so many of us out there, it needs to be recognized, and then it needs to be fixed.

I quit my Jew class, babe. I really didn’t want to, but I just can’t handle everything, and I know it will be there to pick back up when I am ready. Ill have to start all over again, redo these last 5 months, but it is what it is. It gives me more time to focus on Hugo, performing well in the fellowship, and getting the barrier up. Maybe now I will have more time to sleep.

I love you, babe. I’m so angry at you for leaving. I’m so angry that you werent able to see the other options available to you. So angry. I feel so stressed and disheartened and discouraged. I’m convinced people are getting tired of me talking about how much life sucks right now when they ask how I am. But it does suck, babe.
You’re probably nodding your head, somewhere, like ” yeah, I know, that’s why I opted out.”
It sucks, what you did, babe.