09.15.14

Hey Laythe,

I miss you. I donated blood today, and it didn’t go so well. I was able to complete the donation, but halfway through my body was not taking it so well. I wish you had been there with me. Afterwards, I nearly passed out and ended up throwing up a couple of times. They lied me down on the floor and put ice packs all over my face and neck because I was burning up and sweating bullets. I guess I went very pale. I don’t think I will be donating blood again for awhile. Something similar happened the last time I donated also. I wonder why that happens now.

I also went to see Dr. Allen today. He is taking me off of Seroquel and putting me on a beta blocker instead. It should really help my anxiety. The way it works is it blocks the body from absorbing adrenaline, at least that’s what I gathered from his explanation. I am willing to try to anything at this point. I really hope it helps me.

I am stressing about next week’s exams. I really hope I do well. I’m afraid because the exams are such a huge part of my grade. I know worrying over it isn’t going to make anything better, but I just can’t help it. I’m looking forward to going back to therapy. Maybe Dr. Hahn will be able to help me overcome my issues surrounding school and perfectionism. I guess we shall see.

I’m very tired tonight, love. I think I am going to go to sleep early. I need to be up at 5am to get ready for school anyway. I really miss you and wish you were here. I miss being able to talk to you about my day and hearing about yours. I miss the sound of your voice, your laugh, your smile, your hugs. I wish things didn’t end up this way. I wish you had chose life instead. I don’t love you any less, though. I’m sure you were confused and in a lot of pain. Wherever you are, I hope that pain is gone. I love you, my handsome.

Yours,
Alex

09.11.14

Laythe,

I really missed you today. I wore my The Color Morale T-shirt to school that says “Hold On Pain Ends” because it is Suicide Prevention Week. I hope some people on campus received the message. I’m under a lot of stress right now. I have a challenging take-home quiz and a video project from ASL, and two psychology exams coming up. I briefly entertained the idea of offing myself to be able to avoid the stress altogether. I am going to push through.

I stopped going to therapy a couple months back, but I really think I need to return to my sessions. I have not been attending my support groups either. I called Dr. Hahn today and left him a message. Hopefully, I will be able to be seen soon. The suicidal ideation is a bad sign and is becoming worrisome. The sooner I can deal with it, the better off I will be. Additionally, I think I need better coping skills to deal with the anxiety and stress of school because I clearly am not managing well with the tools I have now.

Lately, I have been missing you more and more. It feels like a dull sadness that stays with me all day, coupled with a mild sinking feeling in my chest. I miss you terribly. I wish I could hear your comforting voice and feel your arms around me to help calm my nerves. I would kill for one of your daily back massages. I don’t want one from just any person, I want to feel your hands on me again, your touch. I long for you, my handsome. How do I come to terms with the fact that you will never again exist as a physical being in my lifetime? I don’t know the answer. I don’t even know how to adequately express how much I miss you. Words are so limiting. I hope you can understand. I love you so much. Please give me the comfort I need to deal with the present. I can’t do it alone. I hate that I am this way, Laythe. You know that better than anybody. I’m starting to cry again. I just want a sign that you aren’t completely gone. Is that silly of me? I felt your presence a couple times before, but I feel like I am not as in tune anymore. I want to feel you around me again. I know I miss you, but do you miss me at all? I’ll leave you with that question. I probably won’t get an answer any time soon, but I guess that is just how things are going to be from now on. Good night, sweetheart.

Love always,
Alex

Six Months

My dear Laythe,

Today marks six months since you decided to leave this earth. I know it has been awhile since I have written to you. I guess I am still struggling with denial. I still think about you every day, that has not changed. Sometimes when I am missing you, I use your shampoo- sparingly because I want to save it for as long as possible- to get your familiar scent. It brings me comfort. Your toothpaste still sits in it’s proper place in your sink drawer. I still go to sleep holding Teddy Laythe. I haven’t been sleeping with your T-shirts only because it has been so hot at night lately. All in all, not much has changed since I last wrote to you, besides the fact I started school a few weeks ago. That has put me under tremendous stress. My anxiety has rocketed back to it’s old levels. It feels as though all the gains I made in therapy have reverted to zero. I am doing my best despite my anxiety and depression.

I wish you were here. Every day, more and more, I wish I could just talk to you again. I miss my best friend and partner. You can find me alone at home most of the time that I am not at school. If I’m not doing homework, I sit around anxious about what exams and homework assignments are coming up. I pace a lot. I get antsy. This house is very empty without you. I still avoid cooking. I’m trying to be vegetarian at home. It’s less involved and easier for me right now since I lack the drive to cook. I miss cooking for you, Laythe. You know it gave me such pleasure and fulfillment to see you enjoy the meals I prepared for you. And I associate eating dinner together with watching anime. That still is not the same for me. I only watch animes that Christian suggests I see, and even those take time for me to watch all the way through.

Something else that has happened since I last wrote was the birth of your niece. Vye and Rebekah named her Emma. I haven’t had the opportunity to see the baby in person, but I have seen pictures on Facebook. She is so darling. You would be such a proud uncle.

I wish with all my heart you could take back your decision. I hate how permanent and final this is. It really is not fair. I am sure you would reconsider if you could. I have been having suicidal thoughts off and on. My mom told me I have to think because you didn’t think it through, and she is right. This is one of the few times I will ever agree with my mother.

I want you back home, my handsome. Time has helped mend me some, but missing you will never go away. I will always miss you. My love for you will always remain as well. I cared about you so much. Maybe it didn’t seem that way at times. I got after you because I cared. I got upset out of worry because I cared. I did not always know the right way to communicate this to you. I am so sorry for that. I wish I could have done better back then. Being able to do better now isn’t much consolation. I find myself mentally kicking myself for you. By that I mean, what goes through my head is,”I can’t believe he did that, and why didn’t I see it.” I am pretty sure this is something that will also stick with me for the rest of my life.

I find it interesting how our mind’s protective instincts help us to move forward. Right after your suicide, I was devastated, frantic, guilt-ridden. I didn’t see myself ever getting beyond that. A person simply cannot sustain that sheer amount of mental stress for too long. I am still devastated by what happened, but not in that same debilitating manner. I think about it, and my heart sinks, my mood drops, but I can still carry on. I don’t break down in tears. I do need to cry sometimes, though. I usually call up my sister or stepdad or mom if I am missing you and need to let out some of my sadness through tears and verbal expression.

I am not mad at you. I am sad you are gone. Very sad. I miss you so much. I’m not trying to idolize you, but the more I see and experience, the more I feel you were such a gem. I mean it, Laythe. You were amazing. I want you to know that. I love you, sweetheart. I hope you are happy wherever you may be. I hope you check in with me in some tangible way one day soon. Another dream would be nice, or a visit from a persistent butterfly. Or you can surprise me, that will work, too.

Good night, love. Muah!

Yours forever,
Alex

07.24.14

Hello Laythe,

Today was such a hot day. I felt like I was constantly sweating. It’s after 9pm and still feels uncomfortable. I want the temperatures in the mid 70s back. That I can handle. Sorry for whining to you. It’s just that you know how intolerant of heat I am.

I spent my morning doing a few things around the house. I swept the floors, washed some towels (which reminds me I forgot to dry them… Crap), gave Annie her ear drops, and finally got around to putting most of my nicer clothes on hangers.

Precious also called and wants to try playing World of Warcraft with me. While her download was going, we added each other on Battlenet, and I explained the classes to her. Now the only problem is getting her drivers updated. I am going to try to help her with that tomorrow. I hope I get to play with her soon and teach her the ways of WoW. Who knows, maybe she will actually enjoy the game.

I also watched an episode of Black Butler. I wish I could watch the anime more quickly, but I’m always running around. When I do get to finally sit down to watch, I am usually exhausted and start falling asleep. One of these days, I shall finally finish.

I called API and got in touch with Shiva! I felt so happy. That alone made my day. I was able to drive out there and visit with her for an hour. I missed Shiva a lot. I feel very fortunate to have met her. If it was not for her guidance and support, I don’t know if I would still be here writing letters to you. She has been extremely influential in my life since your passing. I wish you could meet her. You would love her, too. I am positive you are grateful to her for what she has done for me.

After seeing Shiva, I spent an hour at Joanne’s. When I walked in, she had a cold glass of iced tea lemonade waiting for me. I thought that was really sweet of her. She also made me lunch which was great because I had not eaten all day. If you were here, you would be getting after me.

This evening I had the grief support group again. We were supposed to bring something special connected to the person we were grieving. I brought the poem and letter you had handwritten for me when you gave me Teddy Laythe and a beautiful bouquet of flowers you had picked out yourself. It was difficult to share that. I had not read them in three months. I felt like the wind was knocked out of me. I cried quite a bit as others shared some of their stories. I was able to relate to most of the others in some way which I suppose is the great thing about a group setting.

Now, I’m home. I played a quick ARAM with Daniel on League of Legends and started on my letter to you right after. I am very drained tonight, love. I miss you and wish you could hold me right now… Except it is freaking hot, so that might not work out very well. We could work something out though, I’m sure. Hope I can still make you laugh, smile and that I am making you proud. I love you!

-Your Beautiful

07.22.14 & 07.23.14

Hey baby,

Yesterday was a rough day for me, so I didn’t feel like writing. I had attended my WRAP class in the morning, leaving only one remaining. After that, I don’t really remember what I did. Guess it wasn’t that exciting or important. I had plans with Allan to go to the multifamily group in the evening. That turned into a fiasco. I won’t go into detail in this letter. It is in the past now, so it is no longer of consequence, and I refuse to let it take up any more space in my head. Moving on..

Today started horrible. I woke up from a dream where we discovered you were still alive. Immediately, I called you and your mother picked up. I asked for you and she went to get you, but you did not want to speak to me. I was devastated. I opened my eyes and was panicked, heartbroken all over again. I had really believed you were alive while I was in the dream. I wanted it to be true. I told tabby, and this is what she had to say about the dream:

That is strange. But it couldn’t be true. I am sure he would talk to you. Maybe this is how your mind is handling this. It would be better to have him alive not talking than never seeing him again.

I was still worried that you were upset with me. My fear was lessened later that morning. I walked the golf course. A yellow butterfly passed me on the right twice. It disappeared over a building and I thought to myself, “Laythe, if that is you come back one more time.” It did, and this time you flew right over my head. I am hoping it was your way of reassuring me that the dream was just a dream and that you aren’t mad at me.

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I returned home, showered, and relaxed. Then, around 2, I got ready and headed over to Walmart for a few toiletries. I found your Cuba Lima Monster! I was so excited I sent a snapchat of it to Christian. From there, I made a short drive to API and visited Joyce and Rose. Joyce gave me Shiva’s email, so now I will be able to keep in better contact with her! That makes me really happy.

The SMART recovery meeting started at 4. I went with Rihannon. I enjoyed the group and will likely attend this one more often. When the meeting was over, we went to Starbucks and chatted for awhile. It was a nice way to end the afternoon.

Driving home, I stopped at the Von’s by my house to pick up my favorite sandwich that you used to buy for me. Aaron, the man who usually made my sandwich, was there. He asked where I have been. I asked if he remembered you. I showed him a picture and he recognized you immediately. He said you were a cool dude and was really sorry about what happened. So am I.

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Anyway, I am home now. I just ate my yummy sandwich and plan on spending the rest of the evening sipping on your Monster and playing League of Legends with Daniel and Frank. I wish I could be playing with you, honey. We used to have a lot of fun playing games together. As long as I didn’t get mad. Sorry about those times. :(

I love you and I miss you. Next time, please come in a good dream. I guess I hadn’t specified. I’m hugging and showering you with kisses right now. Good night, Laythe.

Love,
Alex

07.21.14

Hello my dear,

I think I need to start writing these letters earlier. I end up staying awake much later than I should. It’s alright though because I get to connect with you.

I had a class in the morning today. It was my sixth WRAP class, meaning I only have two more to go before I am eligible for peer employment training. The topic today was the Wellness Toolbox. I gleaned some good ideas that I will tell you more about at a later time. I am looking forward to implementing some of these ideas. I think they will help my depression and anxiety tremendously, especially if I adapt these into a new lifestyle.

Class was over at 11am, from which I drove over to Alan’s Music Store in La Mesa. I decided to rent a violin. I used to play during elementary school and part of middle school. I had actually been pretty good. Since then, however, I have not picked up a violin. I don’t remember how to play, or even read music, but I am hoping that with the help of YouTube videos and other online resources, I can begin to gradually pick it up once again. I wish I could have played for you one day. Maybe you heard me playing around with it today. It was beautiful to hear the sound of a violin again.

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I went to visit Joanne for about an hour before heading over to my psychiatrist appointment. She bought some lemonade iced tea from Trader Joe’s. I was taken by surprise; it tastes almost identical to your favorite Peace Tea, the sweet lemon tea variety. I think I may start buying it occasionally, or find a recipe to make some homemade. I think that would be an even better option. I could make it using organic ingredients. Here is a picture of Teddy Laythe enjoying some of the tea.

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Shortly after, I became very agitated at Dr. Allen’s office. The receptionist had failed to mention that they only accepted cash. You know I don’t carry cash. Of course, I was embarrassed. I started my period today and have the worst cramps I have ever experienced, so maybe that contributed to me overreacting. I cried out of frustration. It was stupid. Oh well, can’t change what happened, right? I wish you could have been there to comfort me. The psychiatrist upped my dose of Abilify to 5mg from 2mg. I hope it helps. I have been feeling relatively flat, if that makes sense. Not really happy, not terribly sad, and I can’t even say I am content. I guess apathetic? I’m not quite sure.

I returned to Joanne’s place afterward. We laughed about my mini breakdown at Dr. Allen’s, chatted, cooked dinner, and ate together. I left for home totally stuffed. When I got home, I played with the violin a bit, started on laundry, and washed dishes. I usually have to push myself to keep up with things around the house, but today I just got right to it. Playing music through the computer and singing along made it more enjoyable as well.

I spent the evening playing World of Warcraft with Daniel which was a nice distraction. I haven’t wanted to play games since your suicide. I miss playing them with YOU. I feel guilty about playing without you. It just isn’t the same. I am not sure if I will ever get over it enough to actually enjoy gaming. I can’t say I have fun. I enjoy the chatting on vent more than playing games. Frank and Daniel are fun people to talk to. I am glad I met them through Tabby and Richard.

So that was today. I am getting tired now. I think I may watch an episode of Black Butler in bed and pretend I’m cuddled up with you like old times. I love you, Laythe. I wish you could come home because I am missing you so much. Please visit me in another dream again soon. It would really mean a lot to me if you did.

Yours truly,
Alex

07.19.14 & 07.20.14

Dear Laythe,

I would like to start off by telling you how much I adore you. I don’t feel like I said that enough when you were alive. I miss you, honey. I think about you all of the time. So many things remind me of your handsome, amazing self. You brought a lot of light into my life. More than I had seen in a long time. I wish I could have appreciated it better, but it was difficult at times for I was fighting my own battles against depression. I hope you can forgive me, my love. I still feel like I failed you in many ways, and I wish you had given me the opportunity to become a better girlfriend, a better Alex. You took that chance from me, sweetheart. I feel very sad that I cannot even try to make things better for you and for us. I really did and continue to love you. I still consider you my boyfriend. You may not be in the same reality as me, but you are as real to me as the people around me. You existed, and continue to exist in some way, shape, or form. I want to believe this.

I did not write to you yesterday because I was tired and felt I needed a break for a day. In the morning, Nadia came over for a short while. She had her coffee while I sipped some peppermint tea. Once she left, I drove up to my stepdad’s timeshare at Welk’s Resort. It was nice to spend time with him, Debbie, and her family. My stepbrother was also there with his wife Amanda. When I see them, I think of what it could have been like to be your wife. That can’t happen now, but it doesn’t stop me from wearing the promise ring you placed on my finger. I cherish my ring. Thank you, Laythe.

While at Welk’s, I swam in the pool with Debbie and rode the water slide a few times. I had a chance to tan a bit, which turned into a minor sunburn. Oops. All of us had pizza for lunch. So bad, but so good. It was little Anthony’s 7th birthday, so we celebrated with ice cream cupcakes. That was the first time I heard of those. Did you know about them, babe? You would probably be all over something like that. You and your sweet tooth. I am very glad that I made the trip up there. It was relaxing and nice to get out of San Diego for a day. Next time they are up there, I will probably join them for the whole weekend instead of just for the day.

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Today was a long day, but a fulfilling one. My friend Chance went with me to Balboa Park to volunteer at the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s tent for the Pride Music Festival. We were able to raise awareness and pass on information about the warning signs for suicide. I had the opportunity to work alongside a few other women who had lost family members to suicide. One had lost a daughter, another a father. I heard a few stories from people passing through about friends they had lost to suicide. I want to make it stop.

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I learned today that depression is the most easily treated mental illness. If only I had known how to get you help and recognize the signs in you, my handsome. I hope to help others since I was not able to help you. I want to make a big difference, Laythe. And I will. I am determined. I found the courage today to organize a team for the walk in October. Chance said he is in. Now, the real work will begin. I have a lot of planning to do. I think this will be a wonderful thing, baby. This is for you, for me, and all of the others who are suffering and on the verge of losing hope. I will be strong for us, I promise.

I will leave you here tonight, darling. I have quite a few things going on tomorrow. I am sure I will learn something new to share with you. Good night, Laythe. I love you and miss you tons. I hope you are happy where you are and smiling down at me. I hope I am making you proud.

Love,
Alex

Happy 21st Birthday!

Hi my love,

You weren’t here for you birthday, but I made the most of it. Before I went to class, I straightened my hair for you. I only did it one time while you were with me, and I remember you loved it. You were speechless that night. I wanted to do that for you again. I also wore my shirt to commemorate you today.

On my way to class, I picked up one of your favorite Monsters, the pink lemonade one. I checked two gas stations, Von’s, and a smoke shop today, and none of them carried the Cuba Lima that you really liked, so I settled for this one.

Class went smoothly for the most part. I did cry a little bit because people were bringing up their low points in life where they wanted to die. Hope was a word that kept getting thrown around, so it became sensitive for me. Obviously, in the moment you made your decision you felt there was no hope. I recovered and collected myself in order to see the rest of the day through.

I did quite a bit of running around to pick up some of your favorite things. My first stop after class was our favorite smoke shop. I picked up your favorite flavor, double apple. Next, I walked over to Von’s to get your favorite ice cream, Ben & Jerry’s Chocolate Fudge Brownie. They changed the label, which made me a little sad. Oh well. From there, I went to our Sprouts and picked up some ingredients for dinner. I also headed over to Trader Joes to pick up your coveted banana bread before heading home.

Once I arrived back at my house, I cleaned the hookah and set it all up. I smoked double apple while sipping on your pink lemonade monster and watched anime, just like you and I used to do. I tried hard to be like you and actually enjoy the drink rather than gulp it down. I made it last for hours, babe- just like you! You would have been proud.

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I started falling asleep around episode four. As you know, I’ve been very tired lately. I took a little power nap and then started preparing dinner. I made your favorite meal, Japanese chicken curry. While I was prepping the vegetables and poultry I listened to a YouTube mix, just like we did when you helped me out in the kitchen. Making dinner took much longer without my helper. You used to peel the vegetables for me, help with the dishes, and keep track of cook times for me. Remember that? I definitely do. I cut and burnt myself. I know, I know. I should be more careful. I could hear your voice telling me that. After one and a half hours, it looked something like this.

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And an hour after that, here was the end product.

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The curry was delicious. You would have loved it, and had seconds, and probably thirds. You loved that stuff. I am so glad I was able to feed you well and had the chance to make food you enjoyed. I am also happy that I did this today. I have avoided cooking since your suicide. It had not been the same for me. I don’t enjoy just cooking for myself. I received fulfillment out of cooking for you. Making your curry was, in a lot of ways, therapeutic. More than I expected. I felt like I had alone time with you today. Just us.

Since it is your birthday, I made an exception for dessert. I had a slice of the banana bread, lightly toasted and buttered. You taught me the right way to eat it. I also had a few spoons of ice cream. I let it sit for awhile to get it nice and melted on top, precisely the way you liked it.

I tried very hard to make today a special day. I hope that you were somewhere nearby and could observe my efforts. I hope I was able to give you a good birthday, despite the distance. I love you, Laythe. I miss you more than words can ever describe. Happy birthday, my handsome.

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All my love,
Alex

P.S. My friends Daniel and Nadia wish you a happy birthday as well. You are remembered and in the hearts and thoughts of many.

07.17.14

Hey love,

I am going to write a partial letter tonight. I hope that doesn’t upset you. The grief support group tonight left me drained and numb. I think I need to process some things overnight.

I know I said I would tell you about girls’ night, so I did want to let you know that Christian and I had fun together. Her bus was late, but it gave us a chance to learn that the Starbucks by your Dad’s work office is open 24 hours. We had a good time driving around at night with the windows down blasting music. When we arrived at the house, Christian started up a bonfire for us. Last night was perfect for a fire. It was chilly enough, but not too cold. We started an anime called Chaos Head. It is kind of weird; we haven’t decided how we feel about it. The two of us slept in the living room.

Rihanna came and gave me a hug in the morning before leaving to her church camp. Christian made breakfast. Her vegetarian breakfast panini using your favorite sourdough bread was amazing. You would have enjoyed her creation. After breakfast, the two of us got dressed and headed to Parkway Plaza for, you guessed it, Hazelnut Fraps from The Coffee Bean! Then, we drove over to the thrift store by our favorite Vietnamese restaurant where you and I used to always order grilled chicken spring rolls. The thrift store was closed when we got there, so we walked over to Michael’s and browsed through knitting supplies to kill time.

Christian wants to relearn how to knit now. We are going to be knitting buddies, like old ladies. All we need are some rocking chairs to complete the stereotype. We walked back to the thrift store and browsed around. We were looking for shirts we could cut up and design, or upcycle. We found a few cute shirts for Rihanna, nine for Christian, and four for me. A lot of the shirts we picked had skulls on them. We were really happy about our purchases. 16 shirts came to $30. Not bad at all!

Back at your house, we got to work on the shirts. Christian designed one for Rihanna and worked on the sleeves of one of her own shirts. I turned one of mine into a workout shirt, and played around with the sleeves of another. I’ll have to take some pictures to show you later.

During lunch time, we made burritos, listened to music, and I showed Christian how to get her knitting started. She got in quite a bit of practice. I had to leave at 5 to make it to my afternoon grief support group, so we used the rest of my time there to squeeze in a few episodes of Chaos Head. We still think it’s weird. I guess we will see where it goes.

Tomorrow is your birthday, and I am going to try to celebrate it in a way we might have if you were still alive. I am not sure if your mom plans to do anything, so I am going to try my best to keep my schedule flexible to accommodate whatever may come up. I have a WRAP class in the morning, so I will be winding down to get ready for sleep now. I love you, my handsome. Wish you were with me. Sweet dreams.

Love,
Alex